The Midrash (Kohelet 11:13) relates the metaphor of a free bird who envies the food of a caged bird. The caged bird replies, "You see my food, but you do not see my captivity."
In what ways might your envy of others be similar to this?
There are many benifits to what seems to be bad things that happen and then turn out better. For two months I have been disappointed that a new place that I thought was perfect for me was denied to me. Now it seems I might just get it and a slightly lower price. G-d works in mysterious wasys. I don't want to count my chickens before they are hatched.
Love Yehuda Lave
Two sides to the gun Control issue--quick point made in 60 seconds
The most extraordinary story was in the news recently. Stan Larkin of Michigan, age 25, has led a fairly normal life - except that for nearly two years, he didn't have a heart in his body. Last month, he finally received a heart from a donor. But for over a year and half before that, he had no human heart at all! Instead, he had a pump, connected to a machine that he carried around in a backpack, which circulated his blood.
The entire story is amazing. It also powerfully illustrates why brain death should be rated as death - with the consequence that the organs of people who are brain dead should be used to save the lives of other people.
Stan Larkin's story shows that the heart, as incredible an organ as it is, has nothing to do with housing our identity or our soul. It's just a sophisticated blood pump - nothing more, nothing less. When Stan didn't have a heart, just a machine in a backpack, he was no less of a person. And when he received the donor's heart, he didn't "become" the donor.
Due to the wonders of modern technology, enabling scenarios that never occurred before in history (and are thus not addressed in halachic sources), the same thing could happen with pretty much any of the body's organs. You can switch them out for artificial replacements, or you can transplant them from other people. It's amazing medical technology, but it has absolutely no consequences for their identity or their soul.
Except for the brain! You can't replace the brain with a machine. And you can't currently transplant one from someone else - but when technology eventually makes this possible (as it presumably will), there will most certainly be crucial consequences for the person's identity and soul. If, a hundred years from now, Stan Larkin Junior loses his brain, and has it replaced by that of a donor, then Stan Larkin Junior has ceased to exist, and the donor has taken over his body. The only way that Stan Larkin Junior can remain existing without a brain is if by then it is somehow possible to download the "software" of the brain onto a computer (which seems highly unlikely).
It's clear that a person's identity and soul is fundamentally rooted in his brain, not in his heart or any other organ. The heart is no more significant than any other organ. It can be replaced by a machine in a backpack. It's only the brain that is crucial to personhood. When the brain is no longer present, the person has passed on. And this gives us a unique opportunity to use their organs to save the lives of several people.
If you haven't yet signed up to be an organ donor, please do so today, at www.hods.org.
Israeli innovation could save countless stab victims via @ArutzSheva_En
UK Israel-basher Livingstone wonders if he has Jewish roots |
Ex-London mayor, suspended by Labour for insisting Hitler supported Zionism, says he felt completely at home when he visited a kibbutz
Former London mayor Ken Livingstone, recently suspended from the UK Labour Party after claiming that Adolf Hitler supported Zionism and a series of alleged anti-Semitic remarks, discussed the possibility he has Jewish roots.
In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle, Livingstone, who also said last month that the creation of Israel was wrong and a catastrophe, mused on whether he has Jewish ancestors on his mother's side.
The former mayor cited the late Lord Greville Janner, a Labour MP and later member of the House of Lords, as a Jewish friend. "Greville Janner used to drive me home from the House of Commons at night. We would chat away about the Middle East. He would speculate about whether or not I was Jewish because my grandmother's name was Zona," Livingstone said in the interview published Thursday. (Zona is not a common Jewish name, being the Hebrew word for whore and a commonly used slur.)
"I have lots of Jewish friends and I always have. I have had members of the Board of Deputies (the British Jewish leadership body) round for parties. When I went to Israel and stopped by a kibbutz, I felt completely at home there. Everyone was a leftie like me," Livingstone told the JC.
Livingstone told the Jewish paper he would go to court if Labour does not reinstate him.
"I find it bizarre that people who were suspended after me have already been reinstated; I am certain the reason my case is being dragged out is because next week is the closing deadline for nominations for Labour's National Executive Committee and I won't be allowed to stand unless I have been readmitted. It is the old Blairites trying to keep me off the NEC because I support Jeremy (Corbyn)" — the Labour leader.
"It's not really about anti-Semitism; it's just about undermining Jeremy because I am one of Jeremy's key supporters. All I want to focus on is Jeremy's economic policies. Jeremy and I have been campaigning side by side for 45 years," Livingstone said in reference to Corbyn, who was chosen as Labour's leader last year following the party's election defeat. Corbyn, a relentless critic of Israel, has called Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends."
According to a report in the Telegraph last month, Labour has recently suspended 50 members for racist and anti-Semitic views.
Livingstone rejected the view that his anti-Israel opinions are an indication of anti-Semitism. "It is an absolutely ridiculous thing to conflate anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel," he said. "I criticize David Cameron's government, that doesn't mean I'm anti-British."
Denying that he was "obsessed" with Nazi history, Livingstone said that he never read the Nazi party's manifesto or Hitler's Mein Kampf.
"I haven't read Karl Marx either," he said. "I have never seen the Nazi manifesto. If I would have seen it, I would have read it. I have a thousand books I am still waiting to read, that I am trying to find time to read. Now I am retired, I am catching up. If anyone actually wants to send me a copy of it…" he said.
Someone like you--Van Morrison
This was the favorite song of my love between wifes. I will always love her and think of her often.
Have a told you lately that I love you-Van Morrison