1) Deuteronomy 21:22-23
2) See Avraham Steinberg, MD Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics; Feldheim: New York, 2003, p. 79, for a discussion of the various opinions regarding to whom desecration of a dead body applies.
3)Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 47a
4)Rashi explains that " It is a slight to the King, because man is made in the likeness of His image and Israel are his children. This may be likened to two twin brothers who resembled each other. One became a king and [the other] one was arrested as a criminal and was hanged. Whoever saw him, exclaimed: ‘The king is hanged!'"
5)Talmud Bavli Chullin 11b. Rav Kahana proves that we execute murderers based on rov, a halachic concept that we follow the majority. Even though we could never absolutely prove that a murder victim was not a treifah (non-viable person), we execute the accused murderer anyway, based on the rule that a majority of healthy appearing individuals are not treifos. The Mechilta learns from Exodus 21:12 ("He that smites a man so that he dies, shall surely be put to death.") "that one is not put to death, unless the victim was a viable person [ben kayama]." This sentiment is echoed in Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 78a where it states that "All agree that one who kills a treifah is not liable to [capital] punishment." Talmud Bavli Bava Basra 154a also objects to exhumation of a body for examination to avoid monetary loss as a desecration of the dead body.
6)A treifah is a person with an organic illness that is expected to be fatal within a year. For such a terminally ill person, there is a prohibition of murder, but no death penalty. See, Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Murder 2:8: "One who kills a treifah, even if the treifah can eat, drink, or walk in the street, is not punished in a human court. And every person is presumed to be healthy. Therefore a killer is executed unless it is known for certain that the victim was a treifah, and the physicians say that the victim had suffered from an incurable condition that would have killed him had nothing else killed him sooner."
7)As we see from the passage quoted above, ". . . his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but you should surely bury him the same day."
8)Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Laws of the Sanhedrin, 15:8
9)Talmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 46A
10)Rashi, Commentary on Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 47A
11)The Talmud also discusses whether immediate burial is required because of "kavod" (the honor of G-d and/or the person who died) or "kappara" (atonement for the individual). While one may not forgo the honor due to G-d, one may conceivably (at least temporarily) forgo one's own atonement. This issue is much more important in the area of cadaveric transplant where the time between death and burial may be much longer.
12)Gesher HaChaim II 28:2, Responsa Tzitz Eliezer 4:14.
13)Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Aurbach (as well as several other opinions) quoted in Nishmat Avraham (2004), Mesorah Publications, Vol. 3 Choshen Mishpat, pp. 224-226. See also Responsa Yebia Omer 3 Yoreh Deah 23.
14)There is a difference of opinion in halachic literature as to whether partial burial fulfils the obligation of burial. The Jerusalem Talmud, Nazir 7:1, states regarding burial, "Kulo v'lo miktzaso," that is "all and not [only] part" of the corpse must be buried. Tosofos Yom Tov, (Mishna Shabbos 10:5) states that as long as a single organ remains unburied, the obligation of burial is not fulfilled. Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg rules that the body must be interred intact for future resurrection of the dead. In cadaveric organ transplant, where the issue of not burying the transplanted organ is a bigger issue, there are various rabbinic opinions. Rabbi Meir Steinberg rules that the prohibition of incomplete burial is only when the remaining parts will never be buried (which is not the case in transplant since the recipient will eventually be buried with the organ). Rabbi Yehuda Unterman (Responsa Shevet Meyehuda p. 314), a prior Chief Rabbi of Israel ruled that a transplanted organ is no longer dead, so it does not require burial. Rabbi Yitzchak Liebes rules that burying a majority of the body fulfills the obligation of burial since we a have a halachic concept called "rubo k'kulo" that means that a majority of something has the status of the whole thing and therefore burying a majority of the body is considered to be burying the whole body."
15)Talmud Bavli, Avodah Zarah 29b: "How do we know that one may not derive benefit from a cadaver? It is learned by analogy from the egla arufa, where the word "sham (there)" appears, just as it does at the death of Miriam. For it says here (Numbers 20:1) "and Miriam died there," and it says there (Deuteronomy 21:4) "and they shall axe [the back of the neck] of the calf there in the valley." Just as it is forbidden to derive benefit from the calf, so too, it is forbidden to derive benefit from the human cadaver.
16)Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Mourning 12:1
17)Rabbi Yaakov Emden , Responsa Yaavets, 1:41. Even Rabbi David ben Abu Zimra (Responsa Radvaz 3:548), who considered gaining benefit from the dead to be a biblical prohibition, ruled that conventional uses of a corpse are forbidden, but non-conventional uses such as medical are permitted. See also Rav Ovadia Yosef (Responsa Yebia Omer 3 Yoreh Deah, 21) who also permits medical benefit from a corpse. Rabbi Shlomo Kluger held that the prohibition of deriving benefit from a corpse is to avoid delayed burial which will prevent dishonor to the corpse.
18)Responsa Har Tzvi, Yoreh Deah 278. Rabbi Frank ruled that the reason autopsy is forbidden is not because of the prohibition of benefiting from a corpse. Nonetheless, Rabbi Frank does not permit autopsy for medical education in his responsum.
19)Avraham S. Avraham M.D., Nishmat Avraham (2003), Mesorah Publications, Vol. 2, Yoreh Deah, p. 338. See Responsa Radvaz, 1:297.
20)Minchas Shlomo, Tinyana, 97 (last paragraph).
21)Responsa Binyon Tzion 170-171
22)Responsa Nodeh Beyehuda, (Medura Tinyana) 2, YD 210
23)While it is likely that the child suffered from urinary bladder stones, they may possibly have been gallstones.
24)"Autopsy in Jewish law is permitted only to answer a specific ques¬tion. The knowledge gained would then contribute to the immediate improvement of care of patients. Autopsy would for, example be allowed where a patient received experimental chemotherapy for a neoplastic disease, or where a patient received an experimental antibiotic or an untested vaccine for the treatment or prophylaxis of an infectious disease, or where a patient underwent an operation in which a new or experimental surgical technique was employed. In each of these situations, it is imperative to ascertain whether or not the drug or vaccine or surgical technique contributed to the patient's death. In addition, the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of the experi¬mental drug, vaccine or operation may be learned. Such information concerning the possible toxicities or benefits to the now deceased patient is critical in the physician's decision-making process for existing patients." Rabbi M.D. Tendler, Ph.D, Medical Ethics, 5th edition (1975) with addendum (1981), Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, p. 59.
25)Rav Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer 4:14 ) allows a post mortem examination on a patient with an uncommon disease even if no other patients are currently present with the same disease, if the deceased consented to it before death or sold his body for such a purpose. However, "Jewish bodies may not be dissected for the study of medicine even if the deceased consented or sold his body for such purposes" (which is an act which he is halachically forbidden from doing.) (Cited in A. Steinberg, MD, Concise Medical Law, Beit Shammai Publications, 1989, p. 153).
26)See Rabbi Y Arieli, Torah Shebe'al Peh, Vol. 6 (1964), pp. 40-60 and Noam, Vol. 6, 5723 (1963), pp.82-103. See also Fred Rosner, MD, Biomedical Ethics and Jewish Law (2001), Ktav Publishing House,, p.376.
27)See Rabbi Shalom Meshash, "Banking skin for the treatment of burn patients," Techumin 7(1986), 193-205 and Rabbi Shaul Yisraeli, "The treatment of burns by skin transplantation from the dead," Techumin (Winter 5740/1980), pp. 237-247 See also the excellent chapter in Biomedical Ethics and Jewish Law (Rosner 2001) entitled "Grafting Skin and Skin Banks," pp. 355-365.
28)Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah II:151 (last paragraph), Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Aurbach, cited in Nishmat Avraham, Yoreh Deah, ibid. (Hebrew edition, Yoreh Deah 349:2, note 121).
29)Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Noam , vol. 8, 5725 (1965), p. 9 (cited in Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics, p. 87).