A Sign of the Times

Susan Hattie Steinsapir

A Sign of the Times

A construction worker on a high scaffold, falls.
A doctor at the hospital pronounces him brain dead.

Another doctor speaks to the family.
May we take parts of his body
and transplant them
so that others may live.

The brothers reply
without hesitation:
"If there are sick people
whose lives can be improved,
you may remove any organ."

In four different homes
the telephone rings. Four families rush
To four hospitals.

One person receives a "new" heart.
Another a kidney
A third a kidney and pancreas,
A fourth a liver.

It was Shabbat.
A "donor" died.
A doctor asked
Brother's replied

Doctors saved lives.
Patients woke to a new life.
It was Shabbat.

The "donor" was a Palestinian Arab.
The doctor was an Israeli Arab.
One recipient was an Israeli Arab
Three were Israeli Jews.

When the Israeli Arab doctor
Asked the Palestinian Arab's brother for their consent
They said:
"Why should we not agree.
The body goes into the ground
The soul ascends into the heavens.
Let others live and enjoy life.
To us it does not matter
whether they are Arabs or Jews."

A sign of the times.

by Rabbi Moshe Tutnauer, Jerusalem February 12, 1996
Moshe Tutnauer mstut@pluto.mscc.huji.ac.il

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