Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler
The human mind rationalizes. I’ve heard the rationalization of why we can take an organ and not give an organ. We can give an organ because, halocha says we can give an organ, but we can take an organ though because well anyway the organ will be wasted. If we don’t take it they’ll throw it into the garbage. That’s nonsense.
If you believe that you’re killing somebody and you send the doctor to harvest that organ, the fact that there’s someone else who wants to kill him doesn’t in anyway mitigate the sin, of your acting as someone who is sending out a murderer to take somebody’s life. Secondly, in reality, and very often, because of logistics, the Jewish recipient is the only one that matches that liver or that heart and there is no one else on the list that it matches. Or for logistic reasons, we can’t get it to that person because he’s too far away, etc. etc. So that in fact, in many cases, if not most, there is a direct relationship between the donor and recipient and the donor is made into a donor only because of the recipient, so that it’s not that they would take out the organ anyway. No, they don’t take organs out and leave them in the refrigerator; they take organs out when the recipient is prepped surgically to receive the organ. Therefore, this is a kind of a rationalization that questions the integrity of the people who make that rationalization. There’s no way, if you don’t give you should not get. That’s absolute. And unfortunately, it’s become that way. I don’t know that people are aware that Israel has not provided its share of organs to the international organ bank and no Israeli can get an organ transplant any place in the world except America. All the other countries have bumped the Israelis. They claim that the Israeli traffic deaths per capita are horrendous; therefore they should be adequate donors and Israelis, if you know the term, live on overdraft, meaning they don’t have that much money in the bank but they write checks and the bank honors it. Well there’s an organ bank and Israel tried to run it on an overdraft system, where they just took organs and didn’t contribute enough and therefore they were bumped. And that’s what would happen, G-d forbid, worldwide, if anyone got the notion that an Orthodox Jew doesn’t consider the person dead and therefore will not allow an Orthodox Jew to be a donor, but allow the Orthodox Jew to be a recipient. The end result will be that Jews will be bumped from the computer lists. That’s where you endanger Jewish lives.
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