Page 28 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 27

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Yesode Torah 5:6). Specifically, Scripture prohibits only the blood
of edible animals. If, for example, a man's gums were bleeding
and he swallowed some blood, no sin could be imputed to him.
Besides, the law has developed a general principle that things
prohibited when taken orally as food are not necessarily pro­
hibited when taken in another manner, for example, intravenously.
This is considered Shelo Ke-derekh hanaatan, “not in the usual
way of their enjoyment.” It is clearly explained by Hillel Posek,
who was Rabbi in Tel Aviv where he edited a magazine Ha-
Posek, in which he dealt with numerous practical modern prob­
lems. After his death his son gathered his unpublished responsa
in a book entitled Hillel Omer (Tel Aviv, 1956). In section Yore
Deah 70, he gives unqualified permission to receive a transfusion
of any kind of blood, Jewish or Gentile.
In recent years the practice of artificial insemination has be­
come quite prevalent. Jewish law as well as Jewish sentiment
cherish the blessing of having children. There are many religious
duties involving father and son—the teaching of Torah, Bar
Mitzvah, Kaddish, among others. Childlessness is therefore an
especially heavy tragedy in Jewish life. Therefore, when artificial
insemination developed it brought a ray of hope to many childless
couples. But numerous legal objections immediately arose, some
parallel to those prevalent in general law (e.g., who is the child’s
true father, the husband or the donor?). In Jewish law this
question was further complicated, first because when the child
becomes an adult, he might marry a blood kin without being
aware of it. Then there is the question of levirate marriage if
the man born of the artificial insemination dies childless. His
brother must then give the widow halitzah so that she may remarry.
But what if no one knows who is the brother of the deceased?
The first important discussion on this subject was by the great
authority of Galicia, Shalom Mordecai Schwadron (“Maharsham,”
Brzezany, 1919, Resp. Ill, 268). He dealt with a case in which
the husband’s semen was to be used. In that situation most of the
above mentioned objections did not materialize. However, since
the whole idea was new, he required further medical confirmation
that the process would work and then, reluctantly, gave his per­
Recently, and more comprehensively, the subject was discussed
by Moses Feinstein of New York in Igrot Mosheh (New York,
1955) Even Haezer 10. In this case the woman had been childless
for ten years, and the doctor injected the semen of a stranger
without apprising her husband. Subsequently, these questions
arose: Did this constitute sexual relationship with a male not
her husband? If it is so interpreted, the husband must by law
divorce her. Secondly, is the child a legitimate (kosher) Jewish
child? There was, interestingly enough, a precedent for this sort