Thursday, November 19, 2015

Medical Halacha, Morality, Philanthropy, and Politics

A few miscellaneous links of interest -
  • The Rationalist Medical Halachist is back! This time he has written an in-depth article on giving medical treatment to gentiles on Shabbos. You can read it at this link.
  • Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz is a family friend and a major supporter of the Biblical Museum of Natural History. He is well known for his philanthropic endeavors in many areas, especially fertility treatments. Yesterday, he gave a spontaneous gift that was not only touching but also an outstanding kiddush Hashem, in the most unlikely of places: Businessman Buys 400 American Soldiers Meals During Airport Layover


9 comments:

  1. Good links, especially the Rechnitz one. We orthodox Jews really ought to be giving more money to American causes. Many of us give so much to Jewish causes - would it kill us if we gave to non-Jewish causes as well? How can we be a light to the nations, if all we care about are ourselves? We all know this is true, which is why we are so happy to see stories like the Rechnitz one [prediction - it will be on all frum websites within the next 24 hours] or Israel sending disaster relief. Sorry to preach, but you'll never hear any rabbi or rosh yeshivah, who depend on donations, telling people to give to other causes. Like all good things, change has to come from the bottom up.

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    1. DF, very good point. We often forget about minor things like Or Lagoyim or Tikkun Olam in our pursuit of the next and best chumra.

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    2. Neither of those concepts originally meant what you are implying they mean. I don't think Charedim (the Chumra-chasers) are forgetting either. It's more like, to them, chasing a Chumra is fulfilling both. Truth is, they don't think about either, and there's no reason for them to do so.

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    3. except Or LaGoyim, Tikkun Olam, B'Tselem Elokim are not "minor" things; if we applied these approaches more often, we wouldn't have to engage in the amazing mental/legal gymnastics that I read about in the RMH's article.

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  2. Note to the two people whose comments were rejected (which I hardly ever do): One was because you have been trolling every post and ignoring my responses to your comments. The other was for two reasons - first, your link was to a hatchet job which was a complete perversion of reality, and second, you are one of only two people who have been banned from commenting on this blog, for several years now. I'm surprised you haven't noticed.

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  3. Thank you to the Rationalist Medical Halachist link. It is a supremely important article that deals with a supremely important topic.

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  4. I don't have the time now to review the Rationalist Medical Halachist long article properly, however, I believe that more emphasis needs to be placed on the permission to treat any potentially grave condition on Shabbat, whether observant Jew, non-observant Jew, or Gentile, as derived from "vechai bahem". This is the apparent conclusion of the gemara in T.B. Shabbat. I would go further and invoke the basic principle of "ki betzelem Elo_im bara et Ha'adam", i.e. all men are subsumed in the category of divine image. Keeping Shabbat testifies to divine Creation, while saving life preserves the divine image. The latter takes precedent. The same rationale would dictate that consumption of human flesh under duress constitutes the abrogation of a far greater prohibition than eating any prohibited animal or insect for it turns the divine image into a food substance, i.e., it is sacrilegious. In this connection, Rav Amital as I recollect, advocated for human flesh being a far greater prohibition than that of any other creature, and advocated treating a Gentile on Shabbat even under circumstances where there would be no negative repercussions should the Gentile die for lack of treatment. He was said to disagree with Rav Lichtenstein who would also treat the Gentile but then bring a chatat (sin offering) in a rebuilt bet Hamikdash to expiate the alleged sin.

    Y. Aharon

    Y. Aharon

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  5. 400 meals is lechumrah...

    I don't know its smart to announce rechnit's support, some do gooder might convince him otherwise.

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  6. While i agree 100% with the rechnitz mitzvah, it must be done carefully, lest troublemakers start claiming Jews are buying up the US army.

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