Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Position of Judaism on Organ Donation.

With few exceptions, the obligation to preserve human life ("pikuah nefesh") is an overriding principle of Jewish law. This would support the idea of organ donation.

At the same time, Jewish law prohibits desecration of a dead body ("nivul hamet"). A dead person's body, since it once housed the holy soul, is to be treated with the utmost respect. Every part of the body must be buried - which is why you see the heart-wrenching images of religious Jews dutifully going around after a terrorist bombing, scraping up pieces of flesh and blood for burial.

How do we resolve these two principles?

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