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This question pertains to a related question.

Leviticus 7:20-21 says:

כ וְהַנֶּפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר-תֹּאכַל בָּשָׂר, מִזֶּבַח הַשְּׁלָמִים אֲשֶׁר לַיהוָה, וְטֻמְאָתוֹ, עָלָיו--וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא, מֵעַמֶּיהָ.

But the soul that eateth of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace-offerings, that pertain unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from his people.

כא וְנֶפֶשׁ כִּי-תִגַּע בְּכָל-טָמֵא, בְּטֻמְאַת אָדָם אוֹ בִּבְהֵמָה טְמֵאָה אוֹ בְּכָל-שֶׁקֶץ טָמֵא, וְאָכַל מִבְּשַׂר-זֶבַח הַשְּׁלָמִים, אֲשֶׁר לַיהוָה--וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא, מֵעַמֶּיהָ.

And when any one shall touch any unclean thing, whether it be the uncleanness of man, or an unclean beast, or any unclean detestable thing, and eat of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace-offerings, which pertain unto the LORD, that soul shall be cut off from his people.

According to a relevant article on myjewishlearning.com:

Rashi, an 11th century Torah commentator, explained that this prohibition against touching pigs only applied when Jews were on their way to Jerusalem to observe the three pilgrimage festivals–Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot. During those festivals the people were required to be in a heightened state of purity, so they had to avoid touching something like the flesh of a pig. Even on the way to Jerusalem, Jews were only prohibited from touching the flesh, that is, the meat of a pig.

Rashi considers the context to discern that it is being unclean while eating the peace offering that would cause one to be cut off from their people. This, however, does not change the fact that the result of touching an unclean animal is that one becomes unclean.

This makes me wonder how organ transplants from unclean animals will affect people going up to Jerusalem when the temple is rebuilt. Will they die?

One comment points out that touching a dead body also renders one unclean so the same questions might be asked in regard to transplants from human cadavers.

  • 2
    The core question here is: if something that's inherently "unclean" (טמא) becomes part of your body, are you unfixable טמא as long as it's there? I think this is a very interesting question; I wonder if there is any literature addressing it. – Isaac Moses May 20 '16 at 12:46
  • I haven't listened to tape 152...torah.org/torah-portion/ravfrand-5756-chukas – rosends May 20 '16 at 13:10
  • If I am tamei and go to the mikvah, I become pure even if the water doesn't touch my new kidney. The "I" seems holistic when it comes to internal organs. The question then is about "can something inherently impure like a pig ever become ritually pure - leave its original status and adopt a new one which is not inherently pure?" – rosends May 20 '16 at 16:24
2

This question is relevant to understand that each of negative mitsvot has a spectrum and is not an idea only. In Torah, Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy are alloyed which each other.

  1. Leviticus 11, 3 - 8:
    וּבְנִבְלָתָ֖ם לֹ֣א תִגָּ֑עוּ טְמֵאִ֥ים הֵ֖ם לָכֶֽם:‏
    and their carcasses ye shall not touch; they are unclean unto you.
  2. Rashi summarized briefly the chazal lecture of our verses:
    מבשרם. על בשרם באזהרה, ולא על עצמות וגידין וקרנים וטלפים: ובנבלתם לא תגעו. יכול יהו ישראל מוזהרים על מגע נבלה, תלמוד לומר אמור אל הכהנים וגו' (ויקרא כא, א.), כהנים מוזהרין, ואין ישראל מוזהרין, קל וחומר מעתה, ומה טומאת המת חמורה לא הזהיר בה אלא כהנים, טומאת נבלה קלה לא כ"ש, ומה תלמוד לומר לא תגעו, ברגל. וזה שאמרו חייב אדם לטהר עצמו ברגל: ‏


    and you shall not touch their carcasses: One might think that Israelites are prohibited to touch a carcass.

    Scripture, however, says, “Say to the kohanim …[(a kohen) shall not defile himself for a (dead) person among his people]” (Lev. 21:1); thus, kohanim are prohibited [from defiling themselves by human corpses], but ordinary Israelites are not prohibited. Now a kal vachomer can be made: Since in the more stringent case of defilement by a human corpse, only kohanim are prohibited, then in the more lenient case of defilement by animal carcasses, how much more so [should only kohanim be prohibited! If so,] what does Scripture mean by, “you shall not touch their carcasses”? [It means that Israelites may not touch animal carcasses] on the Festivals [since at those times they deal with holy sacrifices and enter the Temple]. This is what [the Sages] said: A person is obligated to cleanse himself on Festivals. - [R.H. 16b, Torath Kohanim 11:74]
  3. Concerning cadaver the uncleanness is a problem (despite that greffon are extracted mostly before the death, the uncleanness of Bassar Min Hachay or Ever Min Hachay of a human is the same as uncleannes of a death person), but after the greffon becomes a part of the body (incorporated, corpus is body in latin), the unclean man can be clean again by hazaa 3rd and 7nt day + tevila and haarev shemesh.
    An other topic is bet hasetarim or Blua (swallowed). An unclean object in inner part of the body do not make the body unclean, if someone swallow an unclean ring can purify itself, but when the ring go out he is unclean and makes the body unclean when he touch the out gate. (Mishna Mikvaot 10, 8 "בָּלַע טַבַּעַת טְהוֹרָה, נִכְנַס לְאֹהֶל הַמֵּת, הִזָּה וְשָׁנָה וְטָבַל וֶהֱקִיאָהּ, הֲרֵי הִיא כְמוֹת שֶׁהָיְתָה. בָּלַע טַבַּעַת טְמֵאָה, טוֹבֵל וְאוֹכֵל בַּתְּרוּמָה. הֱקִיאָהּ, טְמֵאָה וְטִמְּאַתּוּ").
    An other issue is that the greffon is transformed in a new part of body (this argument is weaker) see Ohalot chapter 11, mishna 7 about digestion of dead man meat ("כַּמָּה תִשְׁהֶה בְמֵעָיו. שְׁלשָׁה יָמִים מֵעֵת לְעֵת. בְּעוֹפוֹת וּבְדָגִים, כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּפֹּל לָאוּר וְתִשָּׂרֵף, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בֶן בְּתֵירָא אוֹמֵר, בְּעוֹפוֹת וּבְדָגִים, מֵעֵת לְעֵת:")
    An other point is in massechet orla about transplanting a tree in a new land, it become Orla because the nutrishment is from a new land. Orla chapter 1, mishna 3:
    אִם יָכוֹל לִחְיוֹת, פָּטוּר (מן הערלה), וְאִם לָאו, חַיָּב : ‏
  • How does he address Leviticus 7:21 about touching anything unclean. If something can make the priest unclean it seems it would make anyone unclean? The uncleanness was inherent in the thing itself, not in respect to whom or what touched it for even if food touched an unclean thing it could not be eaten, and likewise, utensils and bows were to be even destroyed in some instances. I've never considered the matters very deeply, but doubtless your people have. – user2411 May 20 '16 at 15:52
  • @Sarah I improved the answer. with proofs from mishna – kouty May 22 '16 at 6:57
  • This is insightful information from your tradition. I guess I did not realize human organs are removed prior to death. And I had not considered the possibility of human cells taking over or assimilating. I had not considered, what grafting in causes the graft to become as its life is derived from the whole, not the part. odd considerations. Anyway, thank you for your thoughtful work; it is thought provoking. There are many grey areas involved and one would still have to make such decisions based on their conscience before God. – user2411 May 22 '16 at 22:48
  • @Sarah all is grey. light and darkness mixtured – kouty May 22 '16 at 22:53
  • Could you clarify the first paragraph? – mevaqesh Nov 4 '16 at 21:17

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