Friday, December 09, 2016

Honi the Circle-Drawer and ... cryonics?

TALMUD WATCH: Torah For Today: Cryonics. Rabbi Ariel Abel offers the Torah’s take on the latest scientific frontier (Jewish News).
Cryonics opens a new frontier in science. The preservation of materials at a very low temperature will one day lead to bodies being preserved for revival at a later date. What does the Torah have to say about this?

Essentially, there is nothing wrong with waking up at a later time than one’s designated life.

However, such revival can lead to disappointment. The Talmud cites the example of a sage who woke up 70 years after he had first fallen into a slumber equivalent to death.

Unfortunately, he only wished to die again, and this time permanently, as he found that noone recognised him.

The sage was Honi the Circle-Drawer, who famously prayed for rain and in his merit drought was averted.

Not untypically, the article does not give the Talmud reference, but it is b. Taanit 23a. You can read it here.