The call to Misaskim that Rabbi Chaim Lipshitz was involved in a fatal traffic accident triggered an immediate response from the organization. The call on Motzei Shabbos from Rabbi Menachem Mendel Feller in Minnesota included the ominous threat of a possible autopsy on Monday morning. The local coroner wanted to perform an autopsy on Monday morning. Misaskim immediately reached out to its contacts in the Midwest, contacts that were helpful in the past.
The coroner’s office in the Midwest that had worked with Misaskim in the past immediately contacted the Coroner’s office in Minnesota. He explained why it was important according to Jewish law not to do the autopsy. The coroners not only refrained from performing the autopsy, but also opened the office on Sunday when they are usually closed so that the body could be released for burial before Tisha B’av.
The Minnesota incident again pointed to the importance of Misaskim’s ongoing efforts to educate coroners and medical examiners wherever possible.
A Misaskim spokesman pointed out that the Minnesota incident shows just how critical it is for Misaskim to be contacted immediately in the event of a possible autopsy. “Not only do we have to immediately stop the autopsy, but we must also strive to assure that the levaya takes place the same day, if at all possible, in accordance with halacha.”