The State is Not God: Jewish Perspectives on "Playing God"
1א

Anton Chekov, "The Bet"

The State is not God. It has no right to take away that which it cannot give back, if it should so desire.

2ב

I. Reasons for the Commandments/Playing God

3ג

והמרכיב שני מינין משנה ומכחיש במעשה בראשית כאילו יחשוב שלא השלים הקב"ה בעולמו כל הצורך ויחפוץ הוא לעזור בבריאתו של עולם להוסיף בו בריות.

One who cross-breeds two species (of animals) changes and contradicts the act of creation, as if he thinks that Hashem did not sufficiently complete His world, and he wishes to assist in the creation of the world to add creations.

4ד

שאל טורנוסרופוס הרשע את ר' עקיבא איזה מעשים נאים של הקב"ה או של בשר ודם, א"ל של בשר ודם נאים...

א"ל טורנוסרופוס הואיל הוא חפץ במילה, למה אינו יוצא מהול ממעי אמו, א"ל ר' עקיבא ולמה שוררו יוצא בו, לא תחתוך אמו שוררו, ולמה אינו יוצא מהול, לפי שלא נתן הקב"ה לישראל את המצות אלא כדי לצרף בהן, לכך אמר ודוד (כל) אמרת (אלוה) [ה'] צרופה וגו' (תהלים יח לא).

Tyrannus Rufus the Wicked asked R. Aqiva: Which works are the more beautiful? Those of the Holy One or those of flesh and blood? He said to him: Those of flesh and blood are the more beautiful. Tyrannus Rufus said to him: Inasmuch as he finds pleasure in circumcision, why does no one emerge from his mother's belly circumcised? R. Aqiva said to him: And why does his umbilical cord come out on him? Does not his mother cut his umbilical cord? So why does he not come out circumcised? Because the Holy One only gave Israel the commandments in order to purify them. Therefore, David said (in II Sam. 22:31 = Ps. 18:31 [30]): {EVERY} WORD OF {GOD} [THE LORD] IS PURE….

5ה

II. Medicine/Cloning

6ו
(יט) אִם־יָק֞וּם וְהִתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ בַּח֛וּץ עַל־מִשְׁעַנְתּ֖וֹ וְנִקָּ֣ה הַמַּכֶּ֑ה רַ֥ק שִׁבְתּ֛וֹ יִתֵּ֖ן וְרַפֹּ֥א יְרַפֵּֽא׃ (ס)
(19) if he then gets up and walks outdoors upon his staff, the assailant shall go unpunished, except that he must pay for his idleness and his cure.
7ז

ורפא ירפא מכאן שניתן רשות לרופא לרפאות

When the verse states: “And shall cause him to be thoroughly healed [verappo yerappe]” (Exodus 21:19), it is derived from here that permission is granted to a doctor to heal, and it is not considered to be an intervention counter to the will of God.

8ח

שהוא מצוה ר"ל חיוב הרופא מן התורה לרפאות חולי ישראל וזה נכלל בפי' מ"ש הפסוק (דברים כב) והשבותו לו לרפאות את גופו

There is a mitzvah, in other words an obligation, to heal the ill of Israel. This is included in the meaning of the verse "And you shall return to him" - to heal his body.

9ט

Rav Soloveitchik, The Lonely Man of Faith

"The brute's existence is an undignified one because it is a helpless one... Man of old who could not fight disease and succumbed in multitudes to yellow fever or any other plague with degrading helplessness could not lay claim to dignity. Only the man who builds hospitals, discovers therapeutic techniques and saves lives is blessed with dignity." (pp.16-17)

10י

אמר רבא אי בעו צדיקי ברו עלמא שנאמר כי עונותיכם היו מבדילים וגו' רבא ברא גברא שדריה לקמיה דר' זירא הוה קא משתעי בהדיה ולא הוה קא מהדר ליה אמר ליה מן חבריא את הדר לעפריך רב חנינא ורב אושעיא הוו יתבי כל מעלי שבתא ועסקי בספר יצירה ומיברו להו עיגלא תילתא ואכלי ליה

Rava says: If the righteous wish to do so, they can create a world, as it is stated: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God.” In other words, there is no distinction between God and a righteous person who has no sins, and just as God created the world, so can the righteous. Indeed, Rava created a man, a golem, using forces of sanctity. Rava sent his creation before Rabbi Zeira. Rabbi Zeira would speak to him but he would not reply. Rabbi Zeira said to him: You were created by one of the members of the group, one of the Sages. Return to your dust. The Gemara relates another fact substantiating the statement that the righteous could create a world if they so desired: Rav Ḥanina and Rav Oshaya would sit every Shabbat eve and engage in the study of Sefer Yetzira, and a third-born calf [igla tilta] would be created for them, and they would eat it in honor of Shabbat.
11יא

III. Justice/Partnering with Hashem in Creation

12יב

כל דיין שדן דין אמת לאמיתו אפילו שעה אחת מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו נעשה שותף להקדוש ברוך הוא במעשה בראשית כתיב הכא ויעמד העם על משה מן הבקר עד הערב וכתיב התם ויהי ערב ויהי בקר יום אחד

Any judge who judges a true judgment truthfully, even if he sits in judgment only one hour, the verse ascribes to him as if he became a partner to the Holy One, Blessed be He, in the act of Creation. This conclusion is derived by means of a verbal analogy [gezera shava]: It is written here: “And the people stood over Moses from the morning until the evening.” And it is written there, in the act of Creation: “And it was evening and it was morning, one day” (Genesis 1:5).

13יג

כל המתפלל בערב שבת ואומר ויכולו מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו נעשה שותף להקדוש ברוך הוא במעשה בראשית

Anyone who prays on Shabbat evening and recites the passage of vaykhullu, the verse ascribed him credit as if he became a partner with the Holy One, Blessed be He, in the act of Creation.

14יד

שלשה שותפין הן באדם הקב"ה ואביו ואמו

There are three partners in the forming of a person: The Holy One, Blessed be He, his father and his mother.

15טו

סַנְהֶדְרִין הַהוֹרֶגֶת אֶחָד בְּשָׁבוּעַ נִקְרֵאת חָבְלָנִית. רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה אוֹמֵר, אֶחָד לְשִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה. רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן וְרַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמְרִים, אִלּוּ הָיִינוּ בַסַּנְהֶדְרִין לֹא נֶהֱרַג אָדָם מֵעוֹלָם. רַבָּן שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן גַּמְלִיאֵל אוֹמֵר, אַף הֵן מַרְבִּין שׁוֹפְכֵי דָמִים בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל:

A Sanhedrin [highest court, charged with deciding cases and appeals that had national significance. It was comprised of 71 scholars who had received the full traditional rabbinical ordination, and its decisions fixed Jewish practice for subsequent generations]that would execute somebody once in seven years would be considered destructive. Rabbi Elazar Ben Azariah says: "Once in seventy years." Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiva said: "If we were on the Sanhedrin, nobody would have ever been executed." Rabban Shim'on Ben Gamliel said: "They too would have increased violence in Israel."