Autopsies in Jewish Law: A Dissection of the Sources
ere are additina issues that cme int pay whendiscussing autpsies. As nted abve, there is a Bibicarequirement
t bury the dead immediatey, s as nt taw fr prnged expsure f the crpse. Mrever, thereexists a specic Bibica prhibitin f eaving a dead bdy unburied vernight.
e perfrmance f an autpsy wiinevitaby deay the buria, thereby adding anther factrthat must be taken int accunt in deciding this issue. Sti,anther Bibica restrictin invves deriving benet frm a dead bdy,
and there is a cnict f pinin ver whetherusing an autpsy t attain medica knwedge cnstitutesderiving true benet frm the dead.e Jewish autpsy debate is nt just a questin f physica desecratin, but encraches upn the spirituaream as we. e main purpse f the Jewish humanbdy in ife is that it prvides a hme fr the
,the eterna spiritua su, upn which man’s whe being functins. But many Rabbis beieve that the humanbdy maintains its hiness even after the su departs indeath, and thus an autpsy wud be a disruptin f thathiness.
Furthermre, there is the beief that the su isnt cmpetey detached frm the bdy even upn death,
7 e Bibica prhibitin is earned ut frm executed criminas; therefresme debate whether the bigatin t bury a thers is f Bibica r Rabbinicrigin, ntaby Rabbi Sadya Gan’s
, psitive precept #19 andRabbenu Chanane, Sanhedrin 46b wh hd that it is Rabbinic in rigin, whie Rashi, Sanhedrin 46b, and Maimnides
, psitive precept#231, hd that it is indeed a Bibica requirement.8 Deuternmy 21:23. is is subject t certain exceptins, such as whena deay wud cause hnr t the deceased, r if the death ccurred shrty befre Shabbs.9 Rashi, Sanhedrin 47b10 Rabbi Y. Ariei
Torah SheBe’al Peh
, V. 6, 5724 pp. 40 .11
Derashot Ran #7