8:00pm: Why Is Organ Donation Prohibited?

This week’s edition of MyLife: Chassidus Applied with Rabbi Simon Jacobson, Episode 156, will air tonight, Sunday, here on CrownHeights.info, beginning at 8:00pm. This week Rabbi Jacobson will address the topics: What Defines Morality? How to Distinguish Between Pure Faith and Meshugas? What is My Role as a Step-Parent? Why is Organ Donation Prohibited When We Are Taught to Love and Help Another?

MyLife MP3s are available to download from the Meaningful Life Center Shop. Become a free member today and receive unlimited Mylife MP3 downloads.

What relevance does Beis Nisan have to our lives today?

How can we distinguish between the super-rational and the irrational? Between behavior driven by pure faith or one driven by meshugas? With so much extremism surrounding us, how can we know if something is coming from shtus d’keduasha or shtus d’leumas zeh? On the surface level they may both appear the same. So what criteria can help us determine which is holy and which is crazy?

I recently had a discussion that left me wondering: What defines morality? Is it determined by an innate human inner compass? Or is it based only on what the Torah tells us? Can we have a code of civility without Torah? Especially considering that history is witness to different cultures independently developing ethical systems? I’d like to believe that all people, even those that are unaware of Torah, have an inherent sense of morality that helps keep society on the right track. Is this the case?

Why isn’t organ donation allowed in Jewish law? Since Ahavas Yisroel is the foundational principle of the entire Torah, why shouldn’t we have the seemingly love for another by helping them posthumously with an organ they need? It seems to run contrary to what we’re conditioned to do since young- namely helping someone else even at the expense of ourselves?

What should be the role of a step-parent? I’m asking because I have three beautiful step children and I don’t want to overstep any boundaries, yet I don’t want to be removed from them too much either. Did the Rebbe ever write or give guidance about the role of a step parent in a child’s life?

These are among the relevant issues Rabbi Jacobson will discuss in this week’s 156th episode of MyLife: Chassidus Applied. In addition, he will address feedback to previously covered topics of smacking children and olam hamalbish.

Rabbi Jacobson will also review the following essays submitted in this year’s MyLife: Chassidus Applied essay contest: “Reaching Beyond the Work-Life Balance” Miriam Metzinger, “The Power of Inclusion” by Yonasan Beitz, and “Combating Low Self Esteem with a Royal Attitude” by Yael Rosenberger. These and other essays can be read online at meaningfullife.com/essays-2016.

And finally, the Chassidus question of the week: I’ve found that some sources in Chassidus attribute different levels to infinity. How can we say that there are levels to infinity? Doesn’t the Tzemach Tzedek in Sefer Chakira say the opposite?

This hour-long dose of insights is meant to inform, inspire and empower us by applying the teachings of Chassidus to help us face practical and emotional challenges and difficulties in our personal lives and relationships. To have your question addressed, please submit it at meaningfullife.com/mylife.

The topics in this Sunday’s hour-long broadcast will include:

  • Chassidus Applied to Rosh Chodesh Nisan and Vayikra
  • Lessons from Beis Nisan
  • What defines morality?
  • What is my role as a step-parent?
  • Why is organ donation prohibited when we are taught to love and help another?
  • How to distinguish between pure faith and meshugas?
  • Is hitting children ever acceptable? Feedback
  • Olam Hamalbish: follow-up
  • Chassidus Question: Levels of Infinity?
  • MyLife Essays: Combating Low Self Esteem with a Royal Attitude, The Power of Inclusion, Reaching Beyond the Work-Life Balance


In what has now become a staple in so many people’s lives, MyLife: Chassidus Applied addresses questions that many people are afraid to ask and others are afraid to answer. When asked about the sensitive topics he has been addressing, Rabbi Simon Jacobson commented, “I understand that the stakes are high and great care has to be taken when speaking openly, but the silence and lack of clarity on matters plaguing the community can no longer go unaddressed. The stakes of not providing answers are even higher.”

The on-going series has provoked a significant reaction from the community, with thousands of people viewing each live broadcast and hundreds of questions pouring in week after week. At the root of every question and personal challenge tackled by the series is the overarching question: Does Judaism have the answers to my personal dilemmas?

In inimitable “Jacobson-fashion”, the broadcast answers people’s questions in simple, clear language while being heavily sourced. Each episode is jam-packed with eye-opening advice from the Rebbeim, gleaned from uncovering surprising gems in their letters, sichos and maamorim that address our personal issues with disarming relevance. Simultaneously, Rabbi Jacobson is able to crystallize a concept quickly, succinctly, and poignantly for any level of listener.

All episodes are immediately available for viewing in the MLC’s archive and can be downloaded as MP3s for listening on the go.

Questions may be submitted anonymously at meaningfullife.com/mylife.


  • 1. Organ donation after death isn't always prohibited wrote:

    The answer isn’t so simple and clear.
    See http://www.hods.org
    Besides, in those situations where R’L a frum yid needs an organ donation, they want to be pushed to the top of the list. Those organs have to come from somewhere. If its ok to take: we have to be willing to offer too: under allowable guidelines.

  • 2. Robby Berman wrote:

    I’m surprised it states categorically “organ donation is prohibited” when the Chabad Beis Din of Sydney has ruled it is permitted as well as the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, Rav Ovadiah Yosef, Rav Moshe Feinstein, etc.


  • 3. Anonymous wrote:

    A bit shocking. Answering a question should be through explaining the details and dissection. This is allowed, this is not. Etcetera. Simon does the exact opposite. He smudges the truth hoping that you won’t pick up on the subtleties…

    He says “Ahavas Yisroel or Ahava in general”???

    He also uses vague terms such as to be “kind to each other”, which is equally inaccurate. The Mitzva is to be kind to Jews. [There is “virtue” to being kind to all creatures, but that’s something else.]

    A clear distinction must be made and it’s disappointing that he cleverly greys out the fine line between the two. Ahavas Yisroel is “the entire Torah.” Conversely, there is no Mitzva at all to love a gentile. The Possuk says “Reyacha”.

    These lectures are stimulating but they lack kedusha and intellectual honesty.

    He moves on from there to discuss saving a life, including on Yom Kippur. But he makes no mention that this is only true to safe the life of a Jew.

    The obvious reason the Rebbe writes not to leave one’s eyes to a “bank” is because one doesn’t know that it will be used by another Jew.

    Hence, the original question that he read is answered with simplicity: You may give it to a Jew and in fact it’s a Mitzva to do so. But you can’t leave it indiscriminately.


    • 4. "Give to a Jew....." wrote:

      There are other halachot such as if a wall falls down on people on Shabbat and no one knows of the person/people underneath are Jewish or not: it is a mitzvah to break Shabbat and save the people. Same with donating body organs. If there is a chance that the recipient is Jewish: it’s a mitzvah to donate and save a life.

  • 5. #3 - Chutzpah wrote:

    Would you also say that the Rebbe is being (chas v’sholom) intellectually “dishonest” by not in any way even alluding to the Jew/non-Jew distinction when he writes about donating one’s eyes to an eye bank?!

    Rabbi Jacobson, in his inimitable brilliant way, was simply taking his cue from the Rebbe’s letter (who does not make that distinction). Which is why MyLife i sdo popular and acclaimed including by our scholars and experts, due to precisely its meticulous intellectual honesty and being true to the sources and the integrity of the kedusha and spirit of Torah and Chassidus.

    You sound like some disgruntled guy, who hides behind anonymity with your critique (how halachik and kedusha’dik is that?) and resentment…

  • 6. Andrea Schonberger wrote:

    I’m guilty of being an organ donor–it even says so on my driver’s license and military ID card. I just feel that someone should be able to benefit after my death by using the organs that are so desperately needed. Isn’t it a mitzvah to save a life?


Comments are closed.