The highest commandment

December 3, 2011 in Featured Question of the Week, Question of the Week, What are your thoughts about organ donation? by Micah Greenstein

What are your thoughts about Father Val’s donation as well as organ donation in general? Have you stated your intent to be an organ donor on the back of your driver’s license? Why or why not? Do you know anyone who has donated organs or received organ transplants?

In Judaism, the highest commandment of all is pikuach nefesh – the saving of human life. Organ donation is nothing short of a godly act. Every year, over six thousand people die waiting for a liver, kidney, lung or heart. We have the ability to save other people’s lives but we don’t. The question is: What stops us? Some people believe that organs should be kept in the body because they are necessary in order to be resurrected from the dead. This is pure fantasy because immediately upon death, organs begin to rapidly decompose and after a few months are gone. Further, when the Almighty resurrects us in the afterlife, He assuredly will have the power to supply missing parts! I believe that fear of death undergirds our general reluctance to embrace the godly act of organ donation. Members of Temple Israel would have died years ago had living and deceased donors not granted them the greatest gift imaginable – life itself.