Shabbat Parashat Vayigash| 5763
Vayigash | | 08/01/2003
As Ya’akov prepares to descend to Egypt, he begins to fear. Hashem appears to him in Be’er Sheva and reassures him (Bereishit 46:3-4). What was the great reassurance? “I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will certainly bring you back up.” But did Ya’akov ever return to his homeland? Rashi and other commentaries explain that the promise referred to his burial, which would be in Eretz Yisrael. Indeed we see that Ya’akov was preoccupied with his burial.
The final obligation of the husband to his wife that we will discuss in this series is that of burial. (A wife is not obligated to pay for the funeral of her late husband. The expense is taken from the estate, even if the deceased left instructions that it should not (Ketubot 48a). Of course, if the wife controls her late husband’s bank accounts (personal or joint), as she usually does, then she should see to it that the proper funds are spent from that money toward a respectable funeral).
Is one allowed to endanger his life in order to donate tissue or an organ, e.g. bone marrow, a kidney, the lobe of a liver or a lung? What is the level of danger into which it is permitted to enter and what is the forbidden level of danger? Is a person obligated to donate his organs to save another? There is a Torah-based obligation to act to save someone who is in danger. This is learned from that which the Torah writes in regard to returning a lost object, “vahasheivoto lo (lit. you shall return him to him)” (Devarim 22:2).
This edition of Hemdat Yamim is
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).