Exclusive: Rabbi Moshe Tendler Slams England's Chief Rabbi, Others, Over Organ Donation
Speaking at a synagogue in Israel, Rabbi Tendler slams England's chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Yeshiva University's Rabbi J. David Bleich, and the RCA member who co-authored the RCA's discredited report on brain stem death and organ donation, Rabbi Asher Bush.
The video was recored earlier this week, I think, in Israel.
Here is a transcript of the video:
Rabbi Dr. Moshe Dovid Tendler: The Chief Rabbi of England and their Beis Din… also basically sided with the RCA [Rabbinical Council of America].
I read Rabbi Sacks’ Shabbas sermon every Shabbas, one of my members that happens to be president of my shul, that’s why I read it, I am afraid he will fire me if I don’t… It is a brilliant exercise in human language… how that man masters the English language.
And suddenly they ask him about the brain-stem thing. So here is number one. Somebody asked him so what about this business about getting without giving… that you can get an organ from a brain stem [dead] patient because he is dead but you can’t give it because you are alive. To which the Chief Rabbi answered “that is a spurious question." Spurious question? It’s a question that’s [unintelligible – seems to be omeid m'rubo shel haolam, meaning Rabbi Sacks's position separates Jews from the rest of humanity in a negative way]. Spurious means irrelevant… He used the word so no one else would understand what it means. [Laughter]
And then he comes out with statement concerning… well we believe what the Bet Din believes but you should know you are supposed to ask your own rabbi et cetra, et cetra. A man who has mastered the language for clarity… suddenly is mumble bumble; don’t know what he is talking about. There are tremendous… tremendous political issues that are here that I don’t understand.
But the fact is that I would venture to say… I will put it as a fact; no member of the Beit Din of London ever saw a brain-stem dead protocol performed. If anyone sees it you can’t have any doubt in your mind before the doctor comes to his conclusion that he is brain-stem dead you know very well that man is dead. He looks dead; he behaves dead.
This is, im yirtzah hashem [with the help of God], maybe bedieved [retrospectively] a wonderful thing [the Chief Rabbi’s Statement]. To hang the issue up for public review and let the public respond the way they have to respond. Each of you have rabbanim, each of you… there are members here of the RCA, you still have a voice in the RCA, if you pay your dues at least.
Im yirtza hashem, they have to back off. They have to back off first on the… if you don’t give then you don’t get, that must be established. If it is death for one side; it is death on the other side. Then it is not death on one side then it is not death on the other side. That’s the key.
And then to review what are the facts and who are… what are the sources of the information. I venture to say that it was the influence of Rabbi Bleich that convinced Rabbi Schachter and Rabbi Willig and the RCA. And I say again: he [Rabbi Bleich] hadn’t the slightest idea of what we are talking about.
Question from Audience: I don’t know if you know, but why did they start the process… why would they start the process that resulted with this report, was there something… somebody had to organize [RCA issuing the Bush Report on brain death and Organ Donation]
Rabbi Dr. Moshe Dovid Tendler: Let me tell you something again something from my father zz”l [may his memory be blessed] folklore... two yeshiva bochrim [yeshiva students] studying together for 15 years in Radun [city in Poland] and then one of them leaves for America. And after 10 years one of them comes back to see his old chaver [friend]. So he stops… he doesn’t know where he lives any more… he stops at the first house and he asks do you know where Yonkil is. So he says Who? Yonkel the mamzer [bastard]? Goes to the next house: Do you know where Yonkil is? Yonkil the ganaf [thief]. Finally meets Yonkil and he says what do you do here in this town? He says I'm the rosh kollel, I’m the president of the shul. He says what do you need it for? He says I wanted a little kavod [honor].
You say in the bentchin [prayer after meals] harachaman hoo yifarnasenu bekavod [the merciful one with provide me sustenance with honor/respect]. You want to feed me little kavod [honor, public recognition], whoever wrote that thing – largely Asher Bush - he wanted kavod …. so he got bizayonot [disgrace] instead.
Update 1-23-11 12:45 am CST – As noted in the comments below, HODS posted to YouTube a video of the entire Tendler lecture. Here it is: