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Not Taking Sides
Mon, 12/13/2010 - 19:00

I am quoted as having “said in an e-mail” that Agudath Israel “sides” with the judgment of halachic decisors who have ruled that “brain dead” human beings are still alive (“RCA Backs Off Stand on Brain Death for Transplants,” Nov. 26).
I did cite the fact that there are major halachic decisors who so rule, as there in fact are. But nowhere did I “side” — either personally or in the name of Agudath Israel — with any halachic opinion on the subject. Agudath Israel encourages every Jew to follow the guidance of his or her posek, or halachic decisor.
Indeed, Agudath Israel’s “Halachic Medical Directive,” which is available free of charge from, requires the recording of the name of the halachic decisor whose rulings the signatory wishes to be followed.

Director of Public Affairs
Agudath Israel of America

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If cardiac death is the standard (against the almost unanimous medical opinions) the removal of the recipients heart to receive the transplant is, by definition, murder/suicide and must be forbidden. Having it both ways, being allowed to receive a heart but not donate a heart is, in addition to being immoral, is also a Steirah menei uvei, a logically contradictory position.