I was recently reading an article about cryogenics, there are around 200 bodies frozen in cryogenics labs around the world, and in the article they said that in the near future they may be able to resuscitate the bodies and bring them back to life. What is the Jewish view on cryonics and "bringing people back to life" using cryonics? Is it allowed or disallowed?
- Anybody can ask a question
- Anybody can answer
- The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
See our discussion and the sources brought here where it is shown that the pikuach nefesh of reviving a dead person is different than that of saving a live person in that it only overrides Torah commandments if there is a good chance (defined by some to be >50%) of success. Cyrogenics has about as low a success rate as one could imagine, so it would seem that the biblical obligation of a speedy burial (cf Yoreh Deah 357) is not overridden.
I found also this letter where a Rabbi P Waldman of Aish Hatorah forbade using cyronics.
Insofar as I do not believe there is any clear halachic conclusions on this I will offer the following speculation:
If medical science comes to a place where there is sufficient possibility that a particular ailment can be treated in the future, or perhaps even a hope once this process has been established in other cases, then I believe it can be considered squarely within the realm of pikuach nefesh and would over ride any concern about k'vod hameis (respectful treatment of corpses/quick burial). As an analogy I would say that this isn't inherently any different than any contemporary case where someone who is clinically and halachicly dead (albeit only briefly) is resuscitated. In such a case we are not concerned about burial.