History of medicine - The world of medicine encounters the world of Halakha - The great medical Halakhist and Israel prize awardee Rabbi Eliezer waldenberg (1915-2006)

Rael D. Strous, Eliezer Shenkelowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Recently, one of the most important medical Halakhists of all time, Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda waldenberg died. He was affectionately known as the Tzitz Eliezer after his monumental Halakhic treatise of that name. He was a leading rabbi, a judge on the Supreme Rabbinical court in Jerusalem, and an eminent authority on medical Halakha. He also served as the rabbi of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem for many years prior to his death. His most important body of work, the Tzitz Eliezer, is a treatise of medical Halakhic questions and many consider it as one of the great achievements of Halakhic scholarship of the 20th century. Although he has written in all fields of Halakha in general and medicine in particular, he is best known for his verdicts on physician responsibility, fertility, abortion, smoking, medicine on the Sabbath, organ transplantation, cosmetic surgery and determination of death. While some of his decisions on medical issues have proven controversial, they reflect scholarship and sensitivity and are respected by ethicists and clergy across the board. In 1976 he received the Israel prize, the nation's highest honor, for Torah literature. His greatness lay in his ability to connect and gain respect across the board of the worlds of modern medicine and Halakhic Judaism. Many of his decisions are today considered as routine and standard operating procedure, but, at the time, his definitions were considered new and original. He will be sorely missed by the medical and Halakhic communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-88
Number of pages4
JournalHarefuah
Volume147
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

Keywords

  • Eliezer waldenberg
  • Ethics
  • Halakha
  • Tzitz Eliezer

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