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Letter to Dr. Bondi from Rav Moshe Feinstein

Rabbi Shabtai Rappaport
Letter to Dr. Bondi from Rav Moshe Feinstein

[2 minutes  26 seconds]


Rav Moshe was nifter [passed away] in ’86. In ’85, he issues a tshuva to Dr. Bondi. So now, I want to tell you about the history of this response. At that time, Rav Moshe [Feinstein] could not write because he had problem with his eyes, he stopped writing in ’83 or ’84, but he still was asked many questions, he was asked to rule very important rulings. So he used to say the things in Yiddish, and someone wrote it, then he reviewed, someone read him the written tshuva and then it was sent off. The tshuva that I’m speaking about now is a tshuva of this kind that Rav Moshe said it and it was read to him and sent off.


This is a tshuva to Dr. Bondi where Rav Moshe writes again that, about heart transplants, this tshuva regards organ transplantations and then there were the Harvard criteria were published for brain death, then Rav Moshe said that the Harvard criteria is an acceptable criteria in halacha and that anyone who is brain dead according to this criteria is considered to be dead to halacha.


Anyway, recent development, recent – the late 80s and early 90s – brought with itself the new Apnea test, which actually obviates the whole issue becomes superfluous that we not talk about brain death anymore. We are talking about the strictly halachic definition of cessation of breath.


Interviewer: Let me stop you for one second, do you know who Rav Moshe dictated the letter to Rav Bondi to?


Yes, Mordechai, Rav Mordechai Tendler, my brother-in-law. This letter was dictated, this tshuva was dictated to Rav Mordechai Tendler.


Interviewer: And how do you know that?


Rav Mordechai told me at that time. But it was no surprise, because there was nothing new in this tshuva. When I received a copy of this tshuva, there was nothing new in this tshuva more than what was written eight years ago about the “pulling the plug” issue.


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