More on “Did the autopsy find no soul?”

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6 Responses

  1. Chana says:

    I agree with you- I do not believe Terri should have been starved to death. I understand the Judaic laws with regard to the feeding tube, and the distinction (in Judaism) between being brain-dead and heart-dead, and hence hastening one’s death. I would not advocate any kind of pulling of the plug. But for me, personally, if I knew that simply to keep myself in a vegetative state would do no good, versus having the ability to help someone else with the money being used…I would just wish they had never put the feeding tube in in the first place, and I could have died a natural death. That is my personal opinion- because I would prefer others to be restored to the quality of life they had before, rather than me slumbering on in a vegetative state. I understand that what happened in Terri Schiavo’s case was quite different. Obviously, the main thing we can learn from Terri is to create a living will so that nobody will ever have to guess at our wishes.

  2. sarah elias says:

    Your words are absolutely correct, Toby. Thank you.

  3. Micha says:

    Rn Katz wrote, “In Judaism, the soul is not the same thing as the mind.” This is true, but there is a clear relationship between the two that you do not address. The mind is something the soul does. This is clear from Emunos veDei’os’s description of nefesh, ru’ach and neshamah (6:3), which ascribes to each of these terms about soul very psychological connotations (physical desires, emotion, and thought, respectively). It’s also a necessary conclusion of the fact that the soul is held accountable for our decisions yet our decisions are conscious — and therefore performed by the mind.

    That’s not to say that the soul couldn’t exist without running (computer term intentional, but don’t stretch the metaphor) a mind. Or that consciousness of a soul need be connected to the body.

  4. Toby Katz says:

    Micha wrote:

    “That’s not to say that the soul couldn’t exist without running (computer term intentional, but don’t stretch the metaphor) a mind. Or that consciousness of a soul need be connected to the body.”

    I did write that the mind can’t work without the soul.

  5. Micha says:

    Sorry about that. I simply missed it.

    I was trying to raise what I believe is an important issue: The soul does the mind, and that includes in contrast to the body doing it. Mrs Schiavo’s consciousness didn’t stop, its association with the body did. There are two different things: disconnection between the aspect of the soul that does the mind from that aspect that is in contact with the body, and disconnection of that part of the soul from the body (ie death). There’s a third step, as it’s some time after death before the soul ceases to care about the fate of the body (the end of chibas haqever). How long depends on how much one inculcated within oneself a love of they physical.

  6. Toby Katz says:

    Micha wrote:

    “it’s some time after death before the soul ceases to care about the fate of the body”

    That’s true. I’m on the chevra kadisha, and when we do taharos, we are very aware of the need to maintain the person’s dignity even after death.

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