In the fall of 1977, twin girls were born in New Jersey who were conjoined from shoulder to hip. They shared one six-chambered heart and a liver. Their heart could fail at any moment. The surgery organized a committee to discuss and decide the ethical and halachic (Jewish legal) issues involved, as the parents were committed Jews. The key question was: Is it permissible to separate the twins, resulting in the immediate death of one twin but enabling the other to live?
One of the people on the committee was Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986), a prominent thinker and decisor of the 20th century. In this class we will analyze cases from the Talmud that were fundamental in analyzing the moral and ethical issues raised by this case.
Some questions we will discuss include: Is it permitted to kill one person in order to save another? Is there a difference between actively causing a death and passively causing a death? What should be done if the death of one person can save many lives? Does the legal status (halachah) change if one person is pursuing another? How are these legal principles implemented in real life?
This course will be taught by Rabba Claudia Marbach and meets weekly on Tuesdays, 406 p.m., from June 23 to July 28.+ More... - Less...
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