Q: A relative of ours, a fairly young widower, has only one kidney, but he functions very well, baruch Hashem. Recently, we started persuading him to consider hearing shidduchim and remarrying. He is in doubt, however, regarding the matter of the kidney: Is he required to mention his condition in advance? It might give him the image of being sickly and deter potential candidates.
I should point out that, on the one hand, it sounds like a real defect. But, on the other hand, it is known that a person can live to 120 in robust health with only one kidney. There is an organization that encourages people to donate kidneys to patients and there are many stories of people who did so and are healthy and happy.
A: The answer must be broken down into several scenarios:
If we are speaking of someone who donated one of his kidneys (to a patient, in the accepted manner), there is no “obligation” to tell the other side about it. But even in this case, as a matter of fairness and honesty, it would seem that he should mention it in the course of the dates. He may add that the psak he got was that he didn’t have to say anything, but that he felt it was only right to reveal this fact to his future wife.
If the cause of the absent kidney is a congenital defect, or if he suffered an infection in childhood that damaged one of the kidneys, it would appear that there is an “obligation” to mention it, but this may be done in the course of the dates.
If the cause is the abovementioned infection, and damage was done to the second kidney as well, or there is concern that this may happen in the future, and he, therefore, must take medication for the rest of his life in order to maintain the functioning kidney, he must inform the other side of this in advance.
May Hashem bless him with robust health and may he find his proper zivug easily.
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The views expressed are of the individual author. Readers are encouraged to consult their own posek for guidance.