web analytics
July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Daf Yomi


Daf-Yomi-logo

When a Dead Ewe Gave Birth to a Live Lamb
‘We Do Not Wait For Her To Give Birth’
(Arachin 7a)

One day a truck delivered a pregnant ewe at Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Yerushalayim, and a large team of doctors and nurses accompanied it to an operating room. They were part of a research program on determining the moment of death…

This halachic issue is difficult and complicated and we cannot attempt to resolve it in this article. However, we will focus on one facet of the subject that originates in our sugya. The basic question of determining the moment of death is: Which signs indicate whether a patient is alive or dead?

Life After Brain Death

One may wish to prove from our Gemara that a person is not defined as dead after complete brain death. Our Gemara explains that a fetus has no independent life and derives food and life from its mother. Thus, it is impossible for the mother to die with the fetus continuing to live – “the fetus dies first.” When a pregnant woman stops living, her fetus dies immediately with her.

But in our era, there have been recorded cases of women lapsing into a state of brain death – with no apparent signs of life aside from breathing machines keeping the body’s systems going – but nevertheless giving birth to healthy infants. These brain dead women, therefore, must be considered alive if we accept the Gemara’s rule that dead women cannot give birth to live infants.

The Deceased’s Body Functions Via Machines

However, some reject this proof. They argue that although a fetus cannot live after its mother’s death, it can survive via machines that its mother is connected to. They contend that the fetus is like an infant in an incubator. Therefore, one cannot prove that a brain dead mother is considered alive from this Gemara.

This whole question was brought before Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l (Responsa Minchas Shlomo, 2nd edition, 2:86), who approved the following experiment to prove or disprove the suggested proof regarding the moment of death from our sugya:

A pregnant ewe was brought to the hospital and attached to breathing machines. Hospital staff then killed it before delivering its baby. Due to the lack of experience in delivering a lamb in this condition, 15 experts gathered from the fields of neurology, cardiology, gynecology, physiology, veterinary medicine, anesthesiology etc. Everyone voluntarily devoted long hours to explore this halachic topic.

Once it was determined that the ewe was dead, the doctors waited 25 minutes and then took out the fetus – live and healthy! It was thus proven beyond all doubt that breathing machines can supply the body with its needs to enable it to continue to function, though the host body may no longer be alive.

As noted, this experiment was performed to clarify if a dead ewe can pass life to its fetus by means of machines attached to it. Once it was proven that it was possible, the proof that there is life after brain death was refuted since all those children born after their mothers’ death get their life from medical instruments (not from the mother). The question thus still remains open whether brain dead people are alive or dead. Indeed, Rabbi Auerbach emphasizes: “I shall stand by my watch, as I wrote before, that one may not rely on medical science as long as there is a heartbeat though it is almost certain that it is due only to the machine.”

Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters are published by the Sochachover Kollel of Bnei Brak, led by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Kovalsky. Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters in Hebrew and/or English, are available for simcha dedications as well as for memorials such as yahrzeit, shloshim, etc., and are distributed by email dafyomi@hadaf-yomi.com.

About the Author: RABBI YAAKOV KLASS, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com. RABBI GERSHON TANNENBAUM, rav of Congregation Bnai Israel of Linden Heights, Boro Park, Brooklyn, is the Director of Igud HaRabbanim – The Rabbinical Alliance of America.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Daf Yomi”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Newly completed control tower at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. June 2, 2014
US and European Flights to Israel Cancelled Due to Rockets
Latest Judaism Stories
PTI-071814

Perhaps, just perhaps, we can relate to this: whenever we feel distant from Hashem, that is the Churban.

Parshat Matot

Over the next 2 weeks covering portion Matot and Maasei, Rabbi Fohrman will bring order to confusion.

Lessons-Emunah-logo

Our home is in the center of the Holy Land, surrounded by (what else?) green hills and valleys.

Business-Halacha-logo

“Sound fine,” said Mrs. Schwartz. “In the middle, paint their names, Shoshana and Yehonasan. He spells his name Yehonasan with a hei and is very particular about it!”

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

We may not recognize the adverse affect of eating forbidden foods, but they leave an indelible imprint.

There are several rules that one must adhere to when making a neder.

Important message for Jews in the Diaspora: In times of need run to Israel rather than from Israel.

The negotiation between Moses and the tribes of Reuven and Gad is a model of conflict resolution.

Once again we find ourselves alone – a little lamb among wolves.

When we return to our routines, things don’t have to go back to exactly the way they were.

The Three Weeks determines the “who we are and how we live” as Jews.

Sometimes when Chazal say that two different people are really one, they do not mean it literally, but rather figuratively.

The midrash says that Pinchas, (this parsha), and Eliyahu, prophet of Kings, are one and the same.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass and Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum
Daf-Yomi-logo

Ancient Cities, Ancient Walls
(Megillah 3b-4a)

Birchas Kohanim On A Fast Day
‘Because of Intoxication…’
(Taanis 26b)

A Siyum Validates It
‘Thereupon The Decrees Were Annulled’
(Ta’anis 18a)

A Unique Challenge
‘Tithe, You Shall Tithe…’
(Ta’anis 9a)

Pidyon Haben In The Afternoon?
‘…The First Reads Hallel Out Loud’
(Rosh Hashanah 32b)

The Shofar On Shabbos
‘Rosh Hashanah That Fell on Shabbos’
(Rosh Hashanah 29b)

Sanctified For Now And Thereafter
‘In Front of the Sun or Behind It?’
(Rosh Hashana 23b)

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/daf-yomi-8/2012/01/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: