Q & A: Ask the Rabbi

The Torah’s View on Organ Donation

Question:

Hello Rabbi, I want to know if I'm allowed to donate my organs after death. The subject is very sensitive to my family because my brother twice needed a liver transplant. I know there is a problem with it, but isn’t it permitted to save a life or several lives instead of letting the whole body rot in the ground? Is the reason why connected to the Revival of the Dead? Thanks and hope for a fast answer.

Answer:

The core of the matter is that we do not save a person’s life at the cost of another’s life. We do not kill a person in order to save another person. Most organ donations are taken when the donor is still alive, and by harvesting his organs, they are murdering the donor, which is strictly forbidden.

It does not depend on the donor’s consent, because if it were permissible, then we would be able to take organs to save lives without the donor’s permission. But since it is forbidden, it is completely forbidden, and there is no possibility to permit it.

It is completely wrong to think that we are against donating organs [in the case where the donor remains healthy] due to the belief in reincarnation.

During the Revival of the Dead, all those who were burned and destroyed in every conceivable way will also come back to life. If G-d can bring people back to life, He has no problem with creating a missing lung or heart. There is no more difficulty in creating a new lung or heart than in reviving the dry bones that G-d did thousands of years ago. May we merit to see the coming of the messiah soon.

Sincerely,

Benjamin Shmueli

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