Ortho­dox man stumped as am­pu­tated leg buried

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY DAN FRIED­MAN

WHENORTHODOXMosheLe­fkowitz agreed to have his left leg am­pu­tated, for re­li­gious rea­sons he wanted it to be buried with him when he died.

So he was stunned when he later dis­cov­ered that hos­pi­tal staff had cre­mated the leg, even though he claimed they as­sured him it would not be.

Mr Le­fkowitz, 43, never saw the con­sent forms he signed be­cause he is blind. But he in­sisted that a nurse and a rabbi af­fil­i­ated to the hos­pi­tal told him that the forms re­lated to the surgery only and that his wish would be granted.

He claimed $100,000 dam­ages from the hos­pi­tal in Skokie, a Chicago sub­urb, but a judge dis­missed the claim. An ap­peal court over­ruled that de­ci­sion and a new hear­ing is now due.

A court date has yet to be set and nei­ther he nor the hos­pi­tal will com­ment on the case, al­though it is un­der­stood that the hos­pi­tal is in­sist­ing there should be no re­course for “clergy mal­prac­tice”.

There are three rea­sons why ob­ser­vant Jews might want to keep an am­pu­tated limb.

First, the body is viewed as a ve­hi­cle for the soul to do mitzvot. Like any ma­te­rial ob­ject that helps hu­mans achieve divine com­mand­ments — a tefillin strap, for ex­am­ple — it should be treated with re­spect.

Sec­ond, the hu­man body is seen as be­ing on loan from God, so should not be de­faced.

Fi­nally, ac­cord­ing to some tra­di­tions, when the Mes­siah comes, there will be mass-phys­i­cal res­ur­rec­tion and, con­se­quently, bod­ies should be kept to­gether.

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