[Avodah] R. Dovid Feinstein

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Thu Feb 28 08:03:53 PST 2013

On Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 06:07:24AM -0500, Michael Feldstein wrote:
: See
: http://www.hods.org/English/h-issues/YouTube_video%20pages/RabbiDovidFeinstein.asp

Or read the transcript. (Just mentioning the option to get more people
to check it out.)

: It's the other anti-brain stem death folks that have created confusion
: about RMF's position, by trying to suggest that RMF really didn't
: believe what his son and son-in-law have said he believed
: on the issue of brain stem death.

Well, there would be confusion either way if RMF wrote on thing but
changed his mind at a point in his life when he was done writing teshuvos.

But in any case, I do not see RDF agreeing with his brother-in-law about
RMF's position. Exact words "If .. and you say 'oh, that's brain
death, is that, I DON'T AGREE WITH THAT" (empasis added) From that page:
    My father's position was very simply that the stopping of breathing
    is -- the point of -- that's death. It doesn't matter if the heart
    is functioning or it doesn't function. As long as he stops breathing
    he's considered dead. That's the way he explained the Gemara in Yoma,
    that's the way he said they always did in Europe when the Chevra
    Kadisha would test if a person is dead or not. He always used to
    test his breathing and nothing else.

    I'll repeat again the same thing: If the breathing has stopped,
    then he's considered dead. And that's it, nothing else.
    Interviewer: In your opinion, what's the reason that Rav Moshe's
    opinion on brain death is so shrouded in -- into mystery, or is it
    many different sides on how to understand Rav Moshe?

    Rabbi Dovid Feinstein: There's only one way. I don't think anybody
    argues that point. It's very simple. Cessation of breathing. I don't
    think anybody ever said differently.

    Interviewer: Right but when Rabbi Mordechai Tendler wrote up the
    Health Care Proxy for the RCA, when Rabbi Moshe Tendler wrote up
    the Health Care Proxy, many people came out that were saying not
    necessarily he is, that he has a real understanding of Rav Moshe. Many
    people were saying, were voicing that opinion.

    Rabbi Dovid Feinstein: It never changed. It depends how you want
    to word it. If I tell you cessation of breathing, and you say, oh,
    that's brain death, is that, I don't agree with that; I don't know
    anything about brain death. Quote me correctly. That's all, nothing
    else. And that's the whole argument against Rabbi Tendler.

RDF's formulation would have RMF say that a person r"l with no brain
stem function who is breathing through artificial means is NOT dead. RMT
would say he is -- that RMF's position is that death is with the end of
AUTONOMOUS breathing.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             "I think, therefore I am." - Renne Descartes
micha at aishdas.org        "I am thought about, therefore I am -
http://www.aishdas.org   my existence depends upon the thought of a
Fax: (270) 514-1507      Supreme Being Who thinks me." - R' SR Hirsch

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