if there are two patients about to die of kidney failure and there is only one kidney available, does the halacha have a way to choose who gets the kidney? (such as lottery)

(assuming both cases are completely identical)

  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/10062/…
    – Menachem
    Jul 19, 2013 at 5:54
  • wouldn't you assume the one who fell into complications first?
    – Bochur613
    Jul 19, 2013 at 22:20
  • @Bochur613 both cases are identical.
    – ray
    Jul 20, 2013 at 20:28
  • 1
    @Bochur613 Why would you assume the earlier one takes precedence?
    – WAF
    Jul 22, 2013 at 18:43
  • 1
    Both cases being completely identical is an impossibility. Halacha (even theoretical) does not deal with questions of impossibility.
    – user17319
    Aug 31, 2021 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


Rambam in Hilchos Talmid Torah 4:8, gives order of precedence for replying to Torah questions. His conclusion is that when two people appear to be of the same rank, the discretion of precedence is up to the person making the decision. In absence of other guidance, I would conclude that the same principle applies in this situation as well.

הָיוּ הַשּׁוֹאֲלִין שְׁנַיִם אֶחָד חָכָם וְאֶחָד תַּלְמִיד נִזְקָקִין לֶחָכָם. תַּלְמִיד וְעַם הָאָרֶץ נִזְקָקִין לַתַּלְמִיד.שְׁנֵיהֶם חֲכָמִים שְׁנֵיהֶם תַּלְמִידִים שְׁנֵיהֶם עַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ שָׁאֲלוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם בִּשְׁתֵּי הֲלָכוֹת אוֹ בִּשְׁתֵּי תְּשׁוּבוֹת אוֹ בִּשְׁתֵּי שְׁאֵלוֹת שְׁנֵי מַעֲשִׂים. הָרְשׁוּת בְּיַד הַמְתַרְגֵּם מֵעַתָּה:

Loose translation:

If two people asked a question simultaneously:

  • If one is a sage and the other is a student, preference is given to the sage.
  • If one is a student and the other is a commoner, preference is given to the student.
  • However, if they are both sages, both students, or both commoners ... From this point and onwards, the decision [of precedence] is up to the translator [the one accepting questions].
  • Who is the analogue of "the translator" in this case?
    – Double AA
    Oct 22, 2021 at 15:52
  • It's obviously the one who has to make the decision.
    – user17319
    Oct 22, 2021 at 16:52
  • So the answer is "the one who makes the decision makes the decision"? I fail to see how that helps
    – Double AA
    Oct 22, 2021 at 16:54

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