Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Let's Get Some Answeres.

As our dear friend Reb Chaim is doing us all proud in the Mir, I thought I’d take up the questions he was recently asked regarding blood transfusions and the like. Let’s go over some of the points now. Come along, won’t you?

“Live by the law not die by it," correct? But Shagra Simmons said the opposite. What Rabbi Simmons said is more to what the truth is, because it’s the written Torah, Gods spoken word, and that supersedes oral Torah, any day.”

There are two very important points here that I think must need to be addressed. Both Rabbi Simmons and Reb Chaim are correct. To save his life, a Jew may disregard any of the 613 commandments, including eating blood. There are however, three exceptions to the rule. 1) Murder 2) Idolatry 3) Certain types of sexual relationships (i.e. incest homosexuality, bestiality adultery, ect) For example, If a gentile were to hold a gun to my head and command me to eat pork, I would be required by Jewish law to eat it. However, if he told me to shot my friend, I must die rather than listen. If you e-mail Rabbi Simmons, He can explain this in more detail.

The second point is important, in that it addresses the core of Judaism, namely the oral law. You said, “It’s the written Torah, Gods spoken word, and that supersedes oral Torah, any day.” This is making a massive mistake in understanding both G-d and his relationship to mankind.

At Mt. Sinai, Hashem gave the Jewish people the Torah, however, contrary to your belief, it was given in two forms, oral and written. The written Torah is the bare bones facts and is impossible to understand without the oral Torah. For example, we are commanded to slaughter an animal as G-d command, but nowhere in the written Torah is the procedure described. We are ordered to keep Shabbos under penalty of death, but are never told what it entails. Moreover, the Written Torah is filled with contradictions and logical errors.

The oral law, just was much as the written law came from G-d and was given as a special gift to his people, Beni Yisrael. A none Jew is forbidden to study it, and may only learn the written law. A Jew is commanded to keep the Torah as best he can, including its oral laws. Most of the Torah in fact is oral and both the laws that a Jew my break a commandment and the exceptions to that rule were given by the mouth of Hashem to Moshe at Sinai.

For more info, check out

“Just imagine how we, here can get some sort of sickness from these people, just like the bird flu?”

The sad fact is, in every surgery there are risks and things that can go wrong. In fact a good number of hospital deaths occur every year due to infections that were caught at the hospital. However, by that logic, we could never see a doctor for anything.

“Take a look at the symbol of the blood donor? It’s a red cross isn't it? A Idolatry symbol...Hmmmm, see something wrong with this picture yet?”

In Israel, the simple is a red magan dovid. In addition, the symbol is the symbol of an organization, not of blood donation itself.

“God made us with this built in feature to repair itself by our own immune system, our blood and tissues working day and night, trying to make a mends and repair what is damaged.”

G-d also commanded us to see a doctor. We learn this from the fact in the written Torah that if a man injures his fellow, among the restitutions he must make is the medical bill. If there is a medical bill, obviously the sick person went to a doctor.

“This is my favourite scripture....”

It’s dangerous to learn Torah without a Competent Orthodox Rabbi. It’s impossible to understand beyond a very surface level, and must the time people make mistakes. They mean well. However, without an understanding of the Torah and its principles, and without the high level of devotion and good character must rabbis have, it’s all but impossible not to interpret it according to our own views, instead of G-d’s.

“The question is. Do you care? Do you care about Gods and his creation? Do you care about life and people, and everything he made for you and has given to you?”

Sadly the answerer in many cases is no. I don’t mean me personally, I am referring to the fact that although Torah learning is growing, over 80% of American Jews are ignorant of their Judaism and are totally assimilated. The average Jew in the reform and conservative movement has no understanding of even basic Torah laws. Trust me, I grew up conservative, and thy go out of their way to exclude G-d was the equation. Although there is massive outreach, we still loss many to intermarriage and other religions.

I hope this helps. Feel free to e-mail me with any other questions at

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Reb Chaim Haqoton has moved.

I have recently re-located from the United States of America to Jerusalem, Israel. Interestingly, I sat next to Avshalom Katz on my plane trip from New York City to Tel Aviv. I want my readers to post in the comments section of this post some ideas for future articles on Reb Chaim HaQoton.

Blood Transfusions in Halacha (an email discussion)

On 7/29/07, dt catherine taylor manna <> wrote:

So nice to have found your post.
I had made a comment on the birthdays from your blog.
I am a student of the Torah, and observer and would very much like to covert formally, although i have done so in my heart.
also, i am learning so much and it is a blessing.
I would like to ask you if there is a blog on blood transfusions. this is something i am opposed to, I beleive it is an offense to God, to do this from my understanding of the tanak and the torah, are there any rabbi who are against this invented proceedure to try to temporarily save a humans life? and is there any debates on this subject like the birthdays. are there any jews that believe like i do? or rabbis:? If saving one life is performing a mitzvot, would it really be saving if you had to break a mitzvot that God has felt so strongly about?
for example God says, in lev chapter 17 you must not eat "or take into our body" blood of any living creature, if you do you must be cut off. because the life of every living creature is in its blood, you must pour it onto the ground you must not eat it if you do i will turn my face from you. on the ground it must be poured, it is used to make attonement for you, that all, thats it.
just in this last hundread years, of the almost 6 thousand since the creation of mankind, has this been invented, the blood transfusions to save ones life.
this is not wright. how can this be an acception to Gods rules or laws after he clearly states how he feels about blood.? about life? since God is all knowing and powerfull, he knew we would be capable of the intellegence on inventing all kinds of ways to preserve our temporary life here on earth, he knew what we are capable of, but the question still is, are Gods people supposed to sucome to the ways of the world? its practices? absolutly not. Gods people are a clean people, who are supposed to stay free and clear of Idolotry. and if one thinks that they can give there own blood to save someone who is loosing there own blood and is near death and if someone thinks that all they have to do is give there blood to save you, that is a form of Idolotry. saying, i will save you with my blood, over steping Gods authority on this one thinking its ok, im performing a mitzvot, playing God, its not like someone is drowning and you perform mouth to mouth resesitation, thats different or, you dodged a bullet to save your brother or friend, or you took the blow to the head to defend someones life, or you spoke out abouts GOds words stood firm and followed his ways, till your death reciting the shema, as many of Gods true faithfull followers did during the inquisitions and holocost, this is different. do you know what i mean rabbi?
anyways, i share my thought with you. I love our creator, and study his word daily. thank you for listning...
here is a free music site me and my husband have wrote songs for hashem and share them with his people...
shalom catherine manna
I responded:
Life is the most important concept and thus life supersedes any commandment in the Torah. Maimonides writes (Laws of Foundations of Torah, Ch. 5) that the Torah is something by which one is supposed to live, not die. Therefore, in order to save a life, even for a short amount of time, all prohibitions and commandments are suspended. Therefore, even if the prohibition of consuming blood included a blood transfusion, violating this prohibition would be REQUIRED in order to save an individual's life. Furthermore, the prohibition not to consume blood, only means not to eat/drink blood anyways, it does not include other forms of consumption. Remember, the prohibition includes even your own blood (so if, for example, you finger is bleeding, you are not allowed to suck on it).
Please forgive me for not expanding thoroughly on the topic like I usually attempt to do because my grandfather's sister died earlier today (interestingly, her name was Katherine, like yours) and I delivered a eulogy, and then I went to visit my cousinwho is terminally ill in the hospital.
Good Luck on your quest towards Truth...
Reb Chaim HaQoton

On 7/31/07, dt catherine taylor manna <> wrote:
Im sorry to hear that your sister has passed away. thank you for writing to me. I understand, but is it allright if i choose to disagree with Maimonides on this one, and still become a convert? I agree with everything else, just not this one.
respectfully yours

I responded:
She was my grandfather's sister, not mine. She was 93 years old, I visited her hours before her soul returned to its Creator...
I cannot possibly understand your position. How can you be so inhumane? Saving people's lives is one of the basic tenents of Judaism, the Torah itself says you MUST save someone's life even it means you wil be committing a sin in doing so, because such a sin is not considered a sin, rather it's a Mitzvah of saving someone's life. In order to be a Jew, one must possess the attribute of mercy, what type of mercy is it to not save someone because you think that a certain prohibition about consuming blood applies to a blood transfusion? The prohibition only applies to eating/drinking blood, and that's it. Surely, for the above two reasons there is nothing wrong with a blood transfusion according to Torah Law. Perhaps before converting to Judaism, you should do a lot more research on how Torah Law, called Halacha, works, because one does not simply "choose to disagree with Maimonides" on a certain law. Maimonides' rulings are based on the Talmud, which is the essential book of the Oral Torah which was given at Mount Sinai. I have the contact information for a Rabbi in Los Angeles who specializes in conversions, if you would like, I can give you his synagouge's phone number and address.
On 7/31/07, dt catherine taylor manna <> wrote:
THank you sure i would love the contact information of the rabbi speciallizing in converstion. can you also tell me where it says in the tanak that you can break the torah laws if it is to save someones life? Its not that i am being inhumane, its just that i see in the passages of Lev 17-10 how God feels so strongly about the consumption of blood and of course they didnt have the technology such as blood transfusions back then, so I personally feel that i dont want to violate Gods ways and i dont quite understand living by the law and not dying for it.
I thought Moses said, directed by God, Today I put befor you the blessings and maledictions, if you are carefull to follow all my ways, i will bless you, I will be your God you will be my people, and i will defeat your enemies, and not put the diseases that are put upon the rest of the people {who dont follow his ways, and laws?} After doing my own research on the subject of blood transfusions, theres a major risk involoved in this proceedure too, its not guaranteed save either. and it makes sence, the blood of all of us has everytihing in it. so when we take this that belongs to someone else, we become like someone else, so is it really saving your life? or is it actually killing you? How does God feel about this? is this really a clean thing for his people to do? everyone does it, but i dont care about everyone I care about his people and i feel i am one of them.
I think it is an offence to God, to play with lives like this. the blood of every living creature, belongs not to us but to God, he gives specific instuctions on what to do with blood, to pour it on the ground, you must not partake of it, in any way consume it...what if your wrong, will God forgive this? Or does he expect us to repent and turn back to him. and to trust him, in everything including this one. I personally think that Gods people should be discusted in this practise and i personally view this as Pagan. If I was God and im not, i would be very hurt over my people doing what the rest of the nations do. WHen are Gods people going to listen to his word and actually have respect for it. Life is a gift, and we have lost something in the process of it. but i believe its never too late. I beleive he loves his people Israel, and i do too. Im not here to condem or argue with you Rabbi,. in fact I dont even know at times why Im where I am at. but i say what i feel, and its from my heart.
sincerly, Catherine.
I responded:
According to your reasoning the following should be true: Since it is forbidden for one to drive through a red light or a stop sign without stopping, even if one is driving an ambulance with a critically ill patient, one should not be allowed to drive through without stopping because the law says not to do it and anyways, it's not a guaranteed fact that you can save the critical patient. Is such a conclusion true? Obviously not. The laws were given to apply under normal circumstances, when circumstances are extrenous, then the laws do not apply and certain things which could normally be forbidden could become permitted and even obligatory in order to save the life of a fellow human being.
And anyways, the prohibition of consuming blood applies specifically to eating/drinking blood, other forms of consumptions (including, for example, annointing with blood or even transfusing blood) are not included in the prohibition of consuminh blood.
When the Torah tells of a law, it is not our job to figure out the reasoning behind the law, rather it is our duty to merely carry out what the Torah tells us to do, without analyzing WHY we are supposed to do it. Accordingly, your explanation of the prohibition of the consumption of blood (that one cannot take something from someone else and if he does he becomes like that someone else) might be a nice explanation, but through your explanation you are changing around the actual law by applying it to cases where it doesn't apply, and not applying it in cases where it does apply.Why then do we fulfill G-d's commandments? G-d is the Master of the Universe and the King of the World, so just as when a king would command you to do or not to do something, you would never dare question the reasoning behind his commandment (WHY the king commanded you to do so), so too when G-d commands certain laws, one is not supposed to ask WHY one should fulfill them, rather one should simply fulfill them as he would fulfill any edict commanded by a king. Ignore the WHY, the WHY is irrelevant.
With your permission, I would like to post this to my website to ask other peoples for their opinion on this matter. By the way, I am not a Rabbi, so please do nto refer to me as such.
She then wrote back:
Thank you for your time and reply.
I would be honoured if you would post my letter for discussion.
I would like to know if there is anyone else that thinks the way i do?
I think its good to talk about spiritual things, Gods laws and ways, we could help each other and in the end become closer to the almighty.
I read everyday on I love there writings and participate very much there.
Like I said i am a Torah observer and student and I am loving it!
Iv never felt closer to God ever, and I thank his people that have guided me in the wright direction. I feel there is so much that i didn't know about our creator. but now i have the opportunity to learn from the best, his people!
I love the Torah, I love his people and I love Him. I know that no one is perfect, and even Gods people can make mistakes, but the difference is, he chose one people for his name, and no matter what...he will always keep his promise and they will always be his people, even if they make mistakes , he always has and always will correct his people when there wrong because he loves them, just like a father loves his children, and like a child loves his father, we will eventually see his way.
That's the way history was, and is today.
God has a theme, a message he sends to his people, Faithfull "Israel", 1/ repents 2/ changes or turns back to him, then 3/ he forgives them...but what must Israel need to repent of?
What is His people guilty of, if anything?
Do we need to take a look at ourselves and question what we are doing , how we are living and is it according to Gods ways or someone elses?
Is that not a part of Judaism? To question everything? To make sure we are not being like the nations that are all around us.? That practise Idolatry, and pagan customs?
Gods people. Are a clean people, that stand out in this world, they always have, and yes they have been persecuted for it many times over, atrocities, inhumane crimes, all because they stood up for Gods name, they didn't bow down to anyone, they didn't forsake there God.
Don't you think these ones well be remembered by God and that he will bless them for it ?
How many stories have we heard of faithful Jews, who died, because they wouldn't kiss the cross. or accept Jesus as there God or convert to pagan religions? That's the kind of thing I'm talking about.
They really loved God with there whole heart,they didn't care what was being done to them, even till there agonizing painfull death, they would rather die in this temporary life, knowing that they loved there God, whole heardedly, the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, Moses and Joshua, Ezekiel, and Isaiah, they would rather die, than disappoint there creator, who is all knowing all power full and almighty.
There is nothing more pleasurable than having a close relationship with God. I believe that.
Shalom! See you at the wall someday! where Gods presents Shekina, is and awaits us all there.

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