I thought it would be interesting to revisit the halachic permissibility of cryonics. This previous answer mentions a view that requires >50% chance of the preserved person being brought back to life. However, what if the person who is being preserved can be viewed as being still alive?

There are two criteria for halachic death: a) No activity of heart [or possibly brain] and b) This lack of activity is irreversible.

The second point is crucial, otherwise heart surgery where the heart is temporarily stopped would be considered murder.

Similarly, if someone's heart stops we don't immediately pronounce him dead and bury him (that seems like it'd be murder too). Instead we rush him to a hospital where they can use a defibrillator and other devices to try and restart his heart. And we do everything possible, including melachos on Shabbos, to stabilize and preserve the person so he has the best possible chances to survive being transported to the hospital. Even if the chances of restarting his heart there are low.

This is all because as long as the lack of activity is reversible he is still considered alive.

Can cryopreservation be viewed as simply another technique that stabilizes and preserves someone so that he has the best possible chances of being resuscitated? The difference here is that instead of preserving him to survive the transport to a hospital, we preserve him to survive the passage of time until the technology to resuscitate him becomes available. From this point of view, we are not cryopreserving a dead person. Instead we are preserving someone who is still alive and able to be revived, from irreparably destabilizing and decomposing (i.e. dying).

  • 1. You see it wrong. IIRC a person is frozen after he/she's halachicly dead. The dead body is preserved in hope of being revived 2. Everybody is revived in the final resurrection 3. Don't confuse speculations with Halachic rulings. 4. We can hardly revive frogs, so it's too early to talk about humans. 5. I vote either rephrase the question and focus on R'Unterman's thoughts or close it as a duplicate. I don't see what it adds to the previous one.
    – Al Berko
    Sep 17 at 9:10
  • judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/124410/… Obsessed much?
    – user6591
    Sep 17 at 11:17
  • @user6591 No, not obsessed. This is a completely different question.
    – user9806
    Sep 17 at 20:13
  • @AlBerko "IIRC a person is frozen after he/she's halachicly dead" Not necessarily, and that's the essence of point 1 in the post - that if we view cryopreservation as an attempt to resuscitate someone who's still alive (here this resuscitation takes the form of stabilizing the body from deteriorating [i.e. from dying] until a method to help becomes available), then questions about chances go away because it becomes a standard case of pikuach nefesh.
    – user9806
    Sep 17 at 20:20
  • @AlBerko As for your point #2, I'm not sure how that's halachically relevant at all to this case. (Just like it's not halachically relevant when resuscitating someone or performing surgery on them, etc). #3. Where am I confusing speculations with halachic rulings? #4 -The "too early" argument is addressed in bullet 3 in my post. If someone is having a heart attack, do you say "The nearest hospital is 200 miles away, let him die"? No, you rush and make a best effort to get there. Same goes here, except the distance to help isn't spatial, but temporal.
    – user9806
    Sep 17 at 20:28

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