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Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach

Rabbi Shabtai Rappaport
Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach

[2 minutes  9 seconds]

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach refused to allow organ transplant, and he refused to acknowledge brainstem death because he said that the tests were risking the person’s life. He’s considered to be someone who is on the verge of brainstem death as a gosses(?) not a dead person. About the Apnea test, I didn’t get a straight answer, I wrote to him about the Apnea test and didn’t get a straight answer, how you contradict the Apnea test. But then they talk to him about the decapitation, I’m sure Rabbi Halperin told you about the sheep that was there, and I was involved in this story also. I wrote letters that were published in Assia.


I did not get a clear answer from him why when the Apnea test is performed, it does not clearly prove that the person is dead. He said that maybe that performing the Apnea test is dangerous to one’s health, because you have to measure the partial pressure of the CO2 in the blood. But then, when it was explained to him that the person is anyway connected to IVs to pipes, and you don’t do anything you just open one of the connections and test the concentration of the CO2, to that I did not get a clear answer. But to the last of his days, he refused to allow organ transplants from a Jew – the harvesting a heart from a Jewish donor.


Interviewer: But did you understand that Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach understood that death is defined as having autonomous breathing?


Sure, no doubt about it, Rav Auerbach said that against this he does not argue. Of course the death is the cessation of autonomous breath and is death and breathing with a ventilator is not life. This Rav Auerbach acknowledged 100%. The problem was a technical problem, how do you determine that a person does not breathe on his own.

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