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Soul Meetings



Donating limbs from a dead body
A letter from 1969 to a student in England – Part one

Blessing and Greetings:

Your letter reached me with some delay, and I will attempt to answer your questions in their order.

With reference to the question of the pronunciation, Ashkenazi or Sefardi, surely you know that there is also Yemenite pronunciation and others. The adherents of each pronunciation of course claim that theirs is the right one. […] At any rate, if you want my opinion as to which pronunciation you should use personally, my answer is that you should not mix pronunciations, at any rate not during the same prayer, or better still not even during the same day.

In view of the force of human habit, and especially in such as prayer requires concentration and heartfelt devotion, it be well to get used t one pronunciation, and to abide by it, at least insofar as prayer is concerned.

With regard to the question of leaving one’s eyes to an eye bank after 120 years [when you will pass on], or similar bequests, I am of course reluctant to discuss this subject, since this whole matter is no immediate concern to you at all, inasmuch as you have many mar years to live and to fill them with productive and joyful activities, etc. However, since you have already raised is question, and in view of the fact that there are various misconceptions about it which have gained currency, I cannot pass over this question without telling you that there is a clear and distinct Rabbinic judgment, which leaves no doubt as to what e position of our holy Torah and religion is in regard to this matter. It is that not only is the Jewish soul “Verily a part of G-dliness above” in the words of the Tanya, but also the body of a Jew is sacred and is the property of G-d, while the Jew is no more than a guardian of it.

This position explains also many rules relating to the body, having to do with hygiene and the like, which are also part of our Torah. Thus the Rabbinic law, rules explicitly that one must not mutilate, G-d forbid, something which belongs to G-d, and which has been placed in the care of a person as guardian and keeper. For the same reason, our Sages of blessed memory have been so strict in the matter of mutilating dead bodies. In those exceptional cases, which are very rare, where an exception was made to the rule, it is because of special reasons, which in no way diminished the sanctity and inviolability of the body, as G-d’s property, because under special circumstances, G-d Himself has permitted certain isolated exceptions, in which case it is the Owner’s will that is being

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