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A dead soldier’s infinite potential

The preserved sperm of a deceased IDF combat reservist should be put to use even though his widow objects

‘Brave New World’ had a rendezvous with Israeli jurisprudence on March 24th in the Petah Tikvah Magistrate’s Court with Judge Miriam Kraus presiding.

Here are the core facts of the case: In 2005 an IDF combat reservist in his 20’s was killed in a military training accident. With the approval of his young widow, hours after the reservist’s death the IDF preserved 19 test tubes of his sperm. At the time of his death, the reservist had been married four months; he had no known children nor was his wife pregnant. Subsequently, his widow re-married and today she has children from that subsequent marriage.

Significantly, the viability of the sperm is uncertain as it was extracted hours after the soldier’s death and never put to the test.

At issue is the fact that now, ten years after his death, the parents of the deceased combat veteran want to deploy the sperm – with a woman to be selected – to bring forth a child for their deceased son; however, their son’s widow and the State have objected to the idea on a variety of grounds. Observers can easily understand the grandparents’ desire to have their deceased son’s legacy live on through a child; indeed, the words of Judge Miriam Kraus beautifully convey that sentiment, when she ruled on behalf of the parents of the soldier “The deceased’s human desire to leave a child to carry on his name cries out from the circumstances of this case.”

The reservist’s widow stated that she will appeal this ruling but has not yet done so. Her opposition to the ruling is based, in part, on the claim that the unique circumstances under which her late husband might now sire a child fall outside of any social convention or framework.

The moral ambiguities are evident in this fascinating case, which has captivated me…not only on a human level but on a metaphysical level. Amicus curiae is the Latin legal term for a Friend of the Court brief to the presiding judge. I would like to file a virtual ‘metaphysical’ brief in support of the argument of the parents, based on my theory of the overarching power of potential in energizing and driving the universe.

As the reservist’s parents are his genetic progenitors, their interests align with his ‘posterity-interests.’ However, as the remarried widow now has children of her own, her ‘posterity’ interests no longer align with those of her deceased first husband – who died childless. From the perspective of potential, the parents’ birthing and 20+ year parenting relationship with their son would seem to eclipse the 4-month childless marriage of the now remarried widow, however rich the four months may have been.

Further, while the reservist’s case is a secular one, argued in a secular court, my brief incorporates metaphysical arguments, including some drawn from the Torah itself. As known, the first mitzvah in the Torah is the mitzvah of procreation – Peru U’revu: Be Fruitful and Multiply (Genesis 1:28). Fast forward to Exodus 3:14 at the Burning Bush saga where the Divine self-identifies as Eheyeh asher Eheyeh – I Will Be That Which I Will Be. God and Evil, the first volume of my three-volume work Summa Metaphysica, builds upon these two points to make the case that the God of Israel is the God of Potential – with life-potential at the apex.

The overarching theme and proposition of my Potentialism Theory is that it is the force of Infinite Potential that drives the Cosmic Order. Indeed, the raison d’etre of the Cosmic Order is to seek after its optimal potential. Extending the potential of the human genetic chain is a prime cosmic potential; this power trumps the lack of a current established framework to handle the specific situation at-hand, which is the position argued by the reservist’s widow and the State.

Judge Miriam Kraus’s verdict is closely aligned with my treatise: it is Infinite Potential that animates the universe. Therefore, the projection of Infinite Potential takes precedence in this case.

The possibility of extending the (currently childless) combat reservist’s potential onward – and potentially infinitely – trumps the unknowns and uncertainties of this Brave New World situation. There is no rule book here. The loving parents are to be entrusted to optimize the launch of this extraordinary endeavor as best they can. Hopefully, the possibilities of life and love will prevail over the potential challenges faced by a child born through this extraordinary circumstance.

In a moral quandary such as this one, potential trumps clarity.

Indeed that was the Divine gamble in Creation itself.

About the Author
David Birnbaum is the architect of Potentialism Theory. His Summa Metaphysica treatise has been the focus of a landmark international academic conference (Bard College, Upstate NY, April 16-19, 2012); the work has been a course text at 15 institutions of higher learning as well as the prime focus of over 100 articles globally in the past 18 months alone.