Halakhic Realities: Collected Essays on Brain Death
edited by Zev Farber
Maggid Books – International Rabbinic Fellowship
The essays, written by rabbis, ethicists and physicians, have some overlap, but surprisingly they manage to approach the issue from new and different angles. Most, but not all of the essays, support and encourage transplants.
The variety of tone in the book is striking. For example, Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, sounding like the prophets of old, chastises those who say that a brain dead patient is not really dead:
“In the name of fealty to tradition, a tradition based on very limited and primitive science is upheld against a procedure that has saved thousands of lives. In the name of the sanctity of life, an act of lifesaving is labelled murder.”
Contrast this with the dispassionate words of the philosopher-bioethicist, Jeremy Rosenbaum Simon: “Neither side has the clearly ‘right’ answers to these questions.”