To understand the application of Jewish Law to issues of death and the dying process one must first be aware of the importance of life, and saving life (pikuach nefesh), in Jewish thought. Judaism "attribut[es] . . . infinite value to human life. Infinity being indivisible, any fraction of life, however limited its expectancy or its health, remains equally infinite in value." The Mishnah teaches that creation began with a single human being to "teach you that to destroy a single human soul is equivalent to destroying an entire world; and that to sustain a single soul is equivalent to sustaining an entire world." This core value of the Jewish tradition, combined with the traditional belief that God decrees the time of death for person on earth, has led a modern English Rabbi to conclude that: "On the whole, in the Jewish tradition, we don't die well. We rage and we storm. None of us needs that verse, 'Do not go gentle into that good night' (Dylan Thomas). For us, life, chayyim, is the great blessing."
Stephen J. Werber, Ancient Answers to Modern Questions: Death, Dying, and Organ Transplants - A Jewish Law Perspective, 11 J.L. & Health 13 (1996-1997)