Ask the Rabbi:Rabbi Levy please tell me, can a live donor submit himself to an operation to remove his kidney to save the life of another person?

By info, posted on August 8, 2010 - כ"ח אב תש"ע at 9:25 pm.

Answer: The Torah tells us: ‘Take heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently’ (Devarim 4:9). Both the Talmud and Rambam take this to mean that one may not subject himself to any physical danger which could result in the loss of life. Furthermore, one may not forfeit one’s life to save another (Oholot 7:6).

However, ┬áin this particular case, there is a fair degree of unanimity amongst the halachic authorities that such an operation would be permissible. The reason is that without the operation, the recipient suffer certain death, whereas the donor’s death is only a small possibility. In other words, the possibility of saving the recipient’s life is far greater than the risk of losing the life of the donor. The Radvaz regarded such an operation as ‘an act of piety’ and even the Minchat Yitzchak who normally adopts a stringent line allows the small risk to life in this case.