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Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv speaks out against Chinese organ harvesting.


And in a related story to organ harvesting in China, 97-year old Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv is the leader of the Lithuanian Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews. He’s well known by many religious Jews around the world who call him the generation’s authority on Jewish law. The Rabbi’s son-in-law heard him speak about organ harvesting in China and quoted him during a public assembly. NTDTV received a recording of his speech:

Rabbi Elyashiv (through an interpreter):
“It is inappropriate to seek treatment in a hospital which is rumored to be holding, in its cellars, people who were sentenced to death and are then picked out following a demand for a transplantation. Then, their organs are tested to see if they match the patients. Then, they are killed and their organs are sold. This is disgracing the name of God, and it is forbidden to apply for treatment in such a place, even if the life of the patient depends upon it.”

Professor Jonathan Halevy is a former manager of the Israeli National Center of Transplantation, and is now the Manager of Sha’areh Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem. NTDTV asked him to comment on the Rabbi’s remarks:

Professor Halevy (through an interpreter):
“I greatly respect the fact that the Rabbi did not make a distinction here, and truly a distinction should not be made between a Jew and a non-Jew, for all men were created in the human image, and it is unacceptable that organs are taken in such a criminal fashion.”

The people who know the Rabbi told us that he is very careful in his speech, and has a clear rule: Talking about only things that he’s totally sure they are true.

Rav Elyashiv does not accept brain-stem death as halachic death.

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