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?

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    I don't think you use cryonics to bring people back to life. You just are trying to preserve a dead body.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 0:19
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    +1 I think it is a good question for the site. Off the cuff I'll let you know that I'm skeptical that it would be permitted in Judaism (especially considering its as yet unproven track record).
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 0:32
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    Maybe those resuscitated people would have the status of a golem! judaism.stackexchange.com/captcha
    – Dave
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 0:40
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    @SethJ-That would be a great disappointment for the Yidden throughout the generations who didn't have the chance to be preserved in such a manner.
    – Yirmeyahu
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 2:41
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    @Yirmeyahu, wouldn't this be a violation of laws about handling corpses? So far as I know they don't bury the cryogenically-frozen bodies. Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 3:14

2 Answers 2


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.

  • a)I suppose I paved the path, but it is worth pointing out that both our answers tend to address using cyrogenics rather than whether it is permitted to revive someone who has been. b)Your answer also addresses the current situation while the question references future, albeit hypothetical, advances.
    – Yirmeyahu
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 5:01
  • @Yirmeyahu My answer has two sentences. The first outlines the principles. The second applies them. I think the method of application is clear enough that one could easily derive the application to any future situation. || And it says you can for sure revive someone; you just don't break the rules to do so unless you really think it's going to work.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 5:05
  • Can you cite "the biblical obligation of a speedy burial" please? My impression was that that's only for death-sentence cases, not that I ever learned the sugya.
    – msh210
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 5:12
  • @msh210 Just as an example, consider Chinuch #537 entitled מצות קבורה לנהרג על פי בית דין וכן לכל מת
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 20, 2012 at 5:16
  • "Cryogenics has about as low a success rate"... I thought the whole point was to rely on future, as-of-yet-unproven technology. Isn't the rise of life-reviving nanotechnological medical solutions obvious and inevitable? Why wouldn't this assumption help to qualify a situation as a "good chance" of success? Surely more than 50% Commented May 3, 2015 at 6:40

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.

  • "Sufficient possibility" -- researchers at MIT are already starting to figure out how to reprogram the brain through the bloodstream. Given the awesome pace of scientific development since the Internet, isn't it obvious that in 30, 50, or 100 years there would be "sufficient possibility" that ANYTHING can be treated? Commented May 3, 2015 at 6:45
  • Why are we worried about the future opportunity of coming back to life? We know that the dead will anyhow be brought back to life.
    – HaLeiVi
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 15:48

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