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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777
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A Revolutionary Rabbinic Idea For Organ Donations


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Rabbi Ratzon Arusi



Those who favor the Bilvavi card argue that it includes more sensitive language and does not relate directly to the card-bearer’s death. The Bilvavi card also clearly mentions the concepts of determination of death and organ-donation and is very specific about the rabbinic body that must approve both the determination of death and the donation.

Rabbi Arusi finds several halachic faults in the Adi card – not least of which, he said, is that it leads to a form of “selling organs” by granting the bearer or his family priority in transplants and other privileges and rights. The Bilvavi card is less problematic, he feels, but “it is actually so vague as to render it unnecessary – although there are public considerations that justify its existence.”

In short, Rabbi Arusi concluded, “the advantages of my proposal are clear: It obviates the possibility of family objections when there is an immediate need to save another life; it will save more lives than the present system of Adi and Bilvavi cards; it will impede the dissemination of anti-Jewish ideas regarding a person’s absolute ownership over his body; and will stop the slide towards trafficking in body organs.”

Hillel Fendel

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