Halachic Organ donor Society, P.O. box 693, New York, NY 10108-0693, Phone: 212-213-5087, Email: admin@hods.org

Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein z”l

Aharon Lichtenstein z”l
[2 minutes  8 seconds]


Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein z”l: “There’s a critical issue… it’s the definition of death. There are conflicting views of whether it’s defined by the cessation of brain activity, cardiac activity, what, what defines that? It’s a very critical issue with regard to transplantations. Because if one accepts brain death as death, then the organs can be removed in a very short order while they’re still vital, still functioning, and before they degenerate.”

Student: “It’s the difference between murdering and saving life. It’s not… you know it’s such a fine, uh, balance that that’s why they’re so scared.”

Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein z”l: “The position that was taken by the chief rabbinate of Israel, who do recognize brain death as death. The father of Joseph Jessner was open to the possibility. And I said to him, this is an issue with regard to which I was not going to determine tell him “do this, do that”. He should know the different views and take that into consideration. What I very much encouraged him was, that what if in whatever indeed is defined as death, if indeed one acknowledges and recognizes brain death as death, then, I thought that donation of organs was not only permissible but a very desirable option because one can then possibly be saving other lives and enriching and enhancing the quality of life for other people who at present are in dire straits.”

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