In the space of a few minutes, I heard of two separate (religious) individuals (one type O in Israel, one type A in the US) in their 20s looking to donate one of their kidneys to complete strangers.
I've never heard of this before, so upon hearing this, and learning that (at least) one of the individuals learns in a B”T yeshiva, two thoughts immediately came to mind, either this is a disturbing new cult trend, or the guy is trying to get over some major psychological guilt feelings he has from his past and figures this will help.
I admit it could be they are truly altruistic, and they see this as a natural and obvious outlet for their altruism, but that simply wasn’t among the first thought that crossed my mind.
It all sounded so strange, I started to do a little research.
It turns out that there is actually a Kidney Macher in the Jewish Community. A young woman name Chaya Lipschutz, who she herself donated a kidney to a complete stranger, and now is working hard to get other people to donate kidneys too. And there is a non-profit Jewish organization that is also involved in this called Renewal.
However, I am still personally having trouble contemplating the concept that someone might willingly and voluntarily give up a non-renewable piece of his or her body to a complete stranger. I’m sorry if you all now think less of me, but I simply can’t get my mind around it, even if it is clear that they are saving the life of someone with their actions.
I’m also aware that some readers here will take exception to what I am writing after either donating or receiving a kidney themselves (or knowing someone that did), or because they see only the positive side to the story.
I will whole-heartedly agree that it is clearly an incredible mitzvah to perform, and you are clearly changing and saving the life of the recipient.
So let’s hear what you have to say, because my first reaction when hearing these stories was that something is wrong with these people, while the initial reaction of the person who told me the stories was only the highest of praise.
If you want to read about this (the subject, not the specific people that I heard about) in more detail go to the article on the Aish site.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד