Haredi urges: Give a year of your lives to save ailing rabbi

Haaretz, Israel/October 19, 2009

An ultra-Orthodox supporter of former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, who has been hospitalized in a serious condition for more than a month, has urged the Haredi public to "donate" a year of their lives to spur the rabbi's recovery.

The man made the call in a message he published in the religious weekly Besheva a few days ago.

He told Haaretz on Monday that since the publication of the advertisement, hundreds of Hasidim have told him of their intentions to sacrifice, at least symbolically, different periods of time from their lives in order to extend the lifespan of the rabbi.

"This is my own private initiative," said the man, who requested to remain anonymous. "In my eyes, it's like donating a kidney or an organ to a sickly patient. This isn't a big sacrifice for the donators. I've seen how upset people have been since the rabbi was hospitalized, and this initiative cheers them up."

The idea to donate a period of time from one's life and transfer it to that of another is not based on any kind of Jewish law, although the man said the idea was taken from Talmudic literature, and different interpretations indicate that the idea is in fact possible.

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