Volume 26 Number 17
                      Produced: Sun Mar 30  9:32:13 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cloning (3)
         [Ken Miller, Mark Dratch, Gershon Klavan]
Cloning and Halacha (2)
         [David Charlap, Eitan Fiorino]
Cloning and Halakha
         [Robert Kaiser]


From: Ken Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 10:11:16 -0500
Subject: Re: Cloning

In Mail Jewish 26:12, Robert Kaiser wrote about cloning, <<< Obviously,
there is no need for this whatsoever. >>>

This is not at all obvious to me. If the halacha determines that there
is a parent-child relationship betweeen the clone and (a) the person who
donated the genes and/or (b) the woman who carried the embryo, then
cloning will be yet another useful tool by which people with fertility
problems may be able to fulfill the mitzva of having children.

From: <MDratch@...> (Mark Dratch)
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 10:30:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Cloning

A few ideas that are relevant to the discussion.

Jewish tradition does recognize the capacity for creating life by other
than natural means.  The golem, a creature created in mystical ways
through the use of divine Names, is the prime example.  The Talmud
records that the Babylonian sage Rava created a golem (Sanhedrin 65b),
the most popular one is attributed to Maharal of Prague, and tradition
has it that the Vilna Gaon told his disciple R. Chaim of Volozhin that
as a boy he had decided to make a golem, but desisted.  It seems to me
that Judaism is not concerned about creating life by artificial means.

A close parallel in Jewish texts to the relationship between clones is a
discussion of co-joined twins.  These twins have the identical genetic
material, they develop from one egg, and are attached to one another.
The Talmud, Menachot 37a, questions: If such twins have two heads, on
which head must he/they put the tefillin?  If he/they are the first born
must a parent pay five shekels or ten for the pidyon haben?  Jewish law
recognizes them as two distinct and separate individuals.  They must
wear tefillin on both heads.
	Of greater concern are the moral issues that such scientific
know-how creates and the ethical community does not know how to respond.
May a person be cloned to provide organs for potential transplant?  It
seems to me that if Shimon is considered a separate human being then he
is entitled to the integrity of his own body and organs.  Thus, he may
not be viewed as inferior to Reuven or as merely a resource for "spare
	May an exceptional leader or scholar be cloned over and over
again for the contributions he could continuously make toward the
welfare of society or the understanding of Torah?  It seems to me that
the answer is no.  Judaism respects the unique contributions that each
generation, its leaders and its scholars, can make.  Dor dor vedorshav
(each generation and its leaders) and Yiftach bedoro keShmuel bedoro
(Jeptha in his generation is as authoritative as Samuel in his
generation) express the rabbinic understanding that each generation must
have leaders that are uniquely appropriate to it and its special needs.
And opportunities must be given to other's to make their own
contributions to the world.  Rashi, in his commentary to Hullin 7a,
comments, "If our children who come after us will find nothing to
contribute, how will they achieve fame?"

From: Gershon Klavan <klavan@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 10:50:54 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Cloning

While not exactly exactly on target here, those interested in the
cloning issue might wish to take a look at the Malbim on Parshas VaYero
regarding the pasuk "u'ven habbakkar asher a'sah".  One explanation that
the Malbim brings (albeit somewhat skeptically) to the famous basar
B'chalav issue by Avraham and the Malachim is that Avraham created the
cow via Sefer Yetzira (note "asher a'sah") and a cow created this way is
not halachic basar.

One could probably attempt to apply this to cloning (at least some of
the non-human issues).

Gershon Klavan


From: David Charlap <david@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 97 10:57:09 -0500
Subject: RE: Cloning and Halacha

Moshe Freedenberg <free@...> writes:
>This was recently reported in Israeli news:

This is an important decision, but the article you quoted does not
answer a more fundamental question: If someone (a non-Jew, or a Jew
violating halacha) performs a cloning procedure, what is the status of
the clone?

I assume it will be considered human (unlike what some fundamentalist
Christian groups are already claiming.) But what else?  Is it a mamzer?
Can it inherit property?  Who is the mother and father?  What if the
genetic donor is a Kohen?  Etc.

It is all well and good to forbid the practice, but we must also
recognize that such things are going to happen, and we should decide
what the results will be.  And we should do it before it actually

Eli Turkel <turkel@...> writes:
>   This is indeed a fascinating topic. From what I have read both a
>sheep and a monkey have recently been "cloned". To the best of my
>knowledge cloning here means that they used an unfertilized egg and
>introduced DNA into the egg from some animal and then inserted the egg
>in a donor mother different from the that whose DNA was used.

Just a footnote.  The two cases are radically different.

In the case of the sheep, they took an unfertilized egg and implanted
DNA from an adult sheep.  Then they implanted the egg in a mother, where
it grew into a new sheep.

In the case of the monkey, they didn't do this.  They took a normally
fertilized egg and split it when it hadn't multiplied beyond a few
cells.  In other words, the monkey was not cloned.  The scientists
caused a normall egg to bear twins, which is something very different.
I assume the halachic status of forced twins would be different from
that of clones.

>   With regard to inserting a fertilized egg into a donor mother there
>is an argument whether the halakhic mother is the mother that gives
>birth or else the woman whose egg was used. If we assume that we follow
>the physical birth than I don't see why cloning would be any different
>from any other surrogate mother. For those that follow the woman that
>donated the egg they would have decide between the mother that donated
>the unfertilized egg and the mother that donated the DNA in the egg
>(does it have to be a female whose DNA is used?)

The biggest problem I can think of right now is determining who the
parents are.  In the case of a surrogate parent, there are three parties
involved - the mother, the father, and the surrogate.  One can decide
which party has what relationship to the child.

In the case of a clone, there may only be one party.  In theory, a woman
can have her egg cells implanted with her own adult DNA.  Or it can be
someone else's DNA.  The point is that only _ONE_ person's DNA will
exist in the clone, not two.  So who are the parents?  Maybe the clone
only has one parent - the DNA donor.  Or maybe the donor's parents
should halachicly be the clone's parents.  Or maybe something else.

From: Eitan Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 22:21:17 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Cloning and Halacha

In discussing the issue of cloning and halacha, several writers made an
analogy with in vitro fertilization, which is permitted by most poskim.
However, before drawing the conclusion that cloning may be permitted
because IVF is permitted, it is important to critically analyze the
analogy.  The cloning process is superficially like IVF (even more like
the newer technique of intracytoplasmic sperm injection).  However, what
is happening on the cellular level is very different.  Somatic cells
(which make up the body) have 2 sets of chromosomes (are diploid),
whereas germline cells (sperm and ova) have single copies (are haploid).
Fertilization occurs when two germline cells join, resulting in a new
diploid cell, the zygote.  In the type of cloning carried out on the
sheep featured in the news of late, a somatic cell nucleus is removed
and implanted into an enucleated ovum.  This is not fertilization at
all, and does not resemble any normal process that occurs in human
reproduction.  (Parenthetically, molar pregnancies result from the
fertilization of an "empty ovum" with a single sperm whose chromosome is
replicated after fertilization.  These pregnancies do not result in
fetal development, although trophoblastic tissue does proliferate.  This
is probably the closest thing to the cloning process that happens
naturally in humans.)

Given that cloning is not the same as fertilization, it is questionable
that the halachic argumentation that matirs IVF can be applied.  The
concept of "bath house insemination" (Chagiga 14b, see Eddie Reichman's
timely article on rabbinic concepts of conception in the recent
Tradition, vol 31 #1) is the basis for halachic discussions regarding
IVF, since it is essentially a primitive form of artificial
insemination.  However, "bath house insemination" is not at all a
primitive form of cloning and is thus not applicable to the question.
Furthermore, the halachic sources clearly recognize the need for male
seed in the fertilization process (again, see the article in Tradition);
in cloning, there is no male seed; again, this raises doubt as whether
the process can be halachically recognized as fertilization.

Whether or not cloning would be permitted by the poskim is an
interesting question; equally interesting is the status of a person born
as a clone, specifically with regard to paternal and maternal
relationships.  If cloning is forbidden, would such a person be a mazer?
Or would they simply be a Jew with the status of an orphan or of a ger?
Or would a maternal relationship exist with the surrogate mother,
without a paternal relationship at all?

Eitan S. Fiorino, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Medicine - Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA  19104
email: <afiorino@...>
homepage: http://mail.med.upenn.edu/~afiorino


From: <KAISER@...> (Robert Kaiser)
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 13:39:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Cloning and Halakha

<rachim@...> (Rachi Messing) writes:
> 1) If you clone a sheep does it need shechita?  

	A sheep is a sheep is a sheep, no matter who its parent's are.
Any animal needs to be schechted to be kosher.  Does the fact that its
DNA happens to be a copy turn it halakhically into a plant?  No.  A
clone is no different from its DNA donor.  And its DNA donor is a normal

	Before we discuss these issues, it is incumbent upon us to get a
good grounding in solid bioloy and college genetics.  Once we do, many
of the questions that seem difficult will dissapear.  The problem is
that most people don't have the biology background to discuss the
isuues; And when it comes to cloning, many of us are more familiar with
sci-fi than with the real biology.

	Biologically, there is a fact that many of us are missing:
Clones are not interesting!  They are no different from any other

	What -is- interesting is that a mature animal can have its DNA
reset, so that it can once agin give instructions to an egg cell to make
a new being.  For years, this was though to be absolutely impossible,
but now we know better.  So while the -technique- of making a clone is
absolutely fascinating, the product isn't.  The product is just another
animal, just like its parent.

	Are normal human twins, or triplets, considered non-human by
halakha?  Of course not - but unusual biology is also going on there.
Normally, a man's sperm contributes DNA to a woman's egg.  From there,
the full complement of DNA gives instructions to the egg to begin
dividing, and the specializing, until a complete person is finally made.
But for twins (or triplets, etc.) something bizarre happens: Something
goes wrong, and the dividing zygote spilts into two (or 3 or more), and
from there each cell group begins to divide and specilaize on their own.
None of these sub-groups had a unique parent - They are literally
clones.  But they are still people!

	*When* and *where* he cloning process takes place is of no
concern to the halakha.  *That* it takes is what is important.  And the
halakha recognizes that twins are just as human as anyone else.  This
then should be our template for understanding cloning in a halakhic

>2) Is a cloned animal actually considered an animal at all - i.e.  would a
>cloned pig be considered a pig and not be kosher, or maybe it's a new
>category and may be eaten?

	Its as much a pig as its parent.  Calling it anything else would
be nothing more than a legal fiction.  And as we all know, Jews abhor
legal fictions...except for "annulment by a volume of 60" or "heter
iskas" or the "Shabbos Eruv" or....

	Umm, scratch that last point.  :)  Heck, its Purim.

	I also would like to clarify what I had written in a previous
post. I had written that one could clone an adult human to make a gentic
copy, and then wrote: "Obviously, there is no need for this whatsoever.
I was writing with the presumption that cloning would not be necessary
for couples with infertility problems to concieve.  Indeed, even if the
current cloning technique was improved by an order of magnitude, it
still would be far less successful than the in-vitro fertilization
techniques used today.  My assumption is that in-vitro fertilization and
other helpful technologies will continue to become easier and more
succesful, thus obliviating the need and desire for people to clone

	In a worst case scenario, where a couple could not have their
own child through any such technique, or adopt, then I believe it would
be quite ethical and halakhically permissible for a couple to have a
child by cloning.  In all other cases, however, I would hope that this
is not even considered as an option.

Shalom, and Purim Sameach

Robert Kaiser


End of Volume 26 Issue 17