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"For Instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the L-rd from Jerusalem." -- Isaiah 2:3

Jerusalem

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GENESIS — 1:28 fertile

Although a very noble goal, would Judaism permit a woman to get pregnant in order to cure her husband’s Parkinson’s disease by aborting ad inserting the stem cells of the fetus into his brain? In addition to the obligation [to be fruitful and multiply], Isaiah also mentions that the general purpose of Creation is to populate the earth. Isaiah 45:18 Therefore, the only “permission” to go through the painful (and sometimes life threatening) process of pregnancy is for the sole purpose of populating the world – i.e., having children.  If that is not the purpose of the pregnancy, then such an act would never be permitted in the first place.  Thus Rabbi Moses Feinstein even forbids marital relations, and all the more so pregnancy, if not for the express purpose and possibility of having children. Responsa Igrot Moshe, Even Ha’ezer 1:71 In several other response, Rabbi Feinstein gives other reasons to forbid what the couple was trying to do to cure the husband’s disease.  In one place he says that every abortion is considered murder.  Responsa Igrot Moshe, Chosen Mishpat 2:69  However, this murder or abortion is sanctioned and permitted only when the mother’s life is at stake.  But in any other circumstance, such as our dilemma, it would be forbidden to abort because it is considered murder.  Rabbi Feinstein also writes that since every birth and every abortion put a woman in a possible life-threatening situation, it is even forbidden to intentionally move up the birth date (unless medially mandated), because the only reason to allow the woman to enter into this life-threatening situation in the first place is to give birth, and only if it comes naturally.  But to force it (or perform an abortion, which subjects the woman to similar risks) is forbidden. Responsa Igrot Moshe, Yoreh De’ah 2:74  He also says that even an abortion within the first forty days, which is permitted by some authorities, is forbidden. (Responsa Igrot Moshe, Chosen Mishpat 2:69)  htat5 ruling would certainly forbid abortion in our dilemma (where the husband’s life is not directly threatened), which takes place well after forty days.  AMJV 87
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GENESIS — 1:28 fertile

Does the Bible approve of, or even condone, celibacy? Emphatically, no. Celibacy is contrary to the marital obligation of procreation [Note: Author cites Genesis 1:25, but as that verse does not mention procreation, this verse may have been intended – AJL].  Furthermore, sex is a conjugal right and duty inherent in the marital status. This duty is independent of procreative obligations and must be discharged even if the latter have already been fulfilled Exodus 21:10.  The foregoing discussion leads us to the inescapable conclusion that asceticism is contrary to the letter and spirit of the Bible. BLOCH 38-39
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GENESIS — 1:28 fertile

How should man train himself to acquire the quality of Power? Know that all actions which excite the evil inclination actually stir up the strong Powers. Therefore, man should not excite the evil inclination, so as not to awaken the Powers. The reason is that man is created with two inclinations, good and bad: the one belongs to Lovingkindness, the other to Power. However, in the Zohar to the first section of Genesis I. 49a it is stated that the good inclination was created for the sake of man himself, the evil inclination for the sake of his wife. See how sweet are his words. Behold Beauty, and merciful quality [Literally, “the master of mercy”], turns to the Right and all its conduct is with the Right, the good inclination. But the Female is of the Left [The Sephirah of Power. The Sephiroth on the left side are the passive Sephiroth] and all HER conduct is with Power. It is, therefore, proper not to bestir the evil inclination for man’s own sake because this bestirs Powers in Supernal Man and so destroys the world. Hence, every excitement of man towards Power and the evil inclination makes a flaw in Supernal Man.  From which one can observe how ugly is anger and such-like, for it causes the strong Powers to prevail.  In truth the evil inclination should be bounded and tied down so that it is not incited to any bodily act whatsoever, not for the desire of cohabitation, nor the desire of money, nor towards anger, nor towards honor in any way.  However, for his wife’s sake he should gently bestir his evil inclination in the direction of the sweet Powers, to provide her with clothes and with a house, for example.  And he should say: ‘By providing her with clothes I adorn the Shekhinah,’ for the Shekhinah is adorned with Understanding which is Power (for it includes all Powers and these are sweetened in Her abundant mercies).  Therefore, all the needs of the household [Lit. ‘all the Tikkunim,’ ‘all the ways in which the house is set in order.’ By doing this for his wife’s sake man uses the evil inclination to give adornment to the Shekhinah] are the Tikkunim of the Shekhinah, which is sweetened by means of the evil inclination, which was created to do the will of his Creator and for no other purpose. Therefore, a man should not intend to derive any kind of pleasure from the evil inclination but when his wife appears before him in her beauty in a fine house he should have the intention of adorning the Shekhinah, for She is adorned by the good Powers of the Left from whence come wealth and honor [‘In her left hand are riches and honor’ Proverbs iii.16).  For this reason he should bestir his evil inclination to love them [wealth and honor] and he should then have the intention that the Left bestir itself to draw Her near, according to the secret of: ‘His left arm is under my head’ (For She does not at first find Herself except towards the Left). And then: ‘his right arm embraces me,’ [Cant. ii. 6, v. Zohar I, 133a] he should intend to sweeten all those Tikkunim with the good inclination and to really perform the Tikkun for Her, to make her happy in performing the divine command for the sake of the Supernal Union.  Behold in this way he sweetens all the judgments and performs their Tikkun with the Right. This message applies to all desires which derive from the evil inclination. These should be directed chiefly towards the benefit of the wife whom G-d has chosen to be a help meet for him and afterwards he should turn them all towards the service of G-d to bind them to the Right. CORDOVERO 102-4
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GENESIS — 1:28 fertile

On the sixth day, the earth was commanded to bring forth living creatures, cattle, creeping things, and beasts of the earth. G-d saw that what He had made was good. He, therefore, decided to create man in His own image. Man was to have dominion over all that moves in the seas, in the air, and on the face of the earth. The blessing which the Creator had pronounced on the creatures of the fifth day was now repeated in behalf of the last and choices of His creatures – Man. G-d created man male and female. [this verse]. ROSNER 59
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GENESIS — 1:28 fertile

The commentaries on the Talmudic passage Nedarim 51a say that by abandoning heterosexual relations, the person is straying from one of his prime goals in life – to procreate and populate the earth. This Talmudic explanation does not seem to reflect the “abhorrence” that the word “To’avia” implies in the simply meaning that is understood by most regarding the Jewish view of homosexuality.  Thus, the Talmudic explanation of why homosexuality is prohibited in the Torah is because of “straying,” i.e. failure to populate the earth.  Sefer HaChinuch, Mitzvah 209 explains that any “wasting of seed” on homosexual relations is preventing procreation and inhabiting the earth, the prime directive of man.  This “prime directive” is echoes by Isaiah in describing the purpose of creation – for the world “to be inhabited.” Isaiah 45:18.  If this explanation does not point to the “abhorrence” of the homosexual relationship, but rather to the violation of man’s purpose o earth and of core Torah values, then this new understanding is the true reason for the prohibition of homosexuality.  AMJV 139
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GENESIS — 1:28 fertile

Sex has two goals, the pleasurable bonding of the couple and procreation. The Torah includes a number of sexual prohibitions regarding with whom one may have sex [for example, Leviticus 18, 20] and at what times during a woman's menstrual cycle [See Leviticus 15:19-32, esp. 19–24], but it also includes two positive commandments. One, the very first commandment mentioned in the Torah, is "Be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:22,this verse). Although the command is given to both the first man and woman, and although both are clearly necessary to produce children, for exegetical and possibly for moral reasons the Rabbis of the Mishnah and Talmud asserted that only the man was obligated to fulfill this commandment. [Yevamot 65b; Kiddushin 35a; Laws of Marriage 15:2; Shulchan Aruch, Even Ha-Ezer 1:5].  Among the moral concerns were the facts that the man was going to have to support his children and so he had to be commanded to procreate against his economic self-interest, and that pregnancy endangers a woman and so it would not be fair to command her to have children.  In any case, this rabbinic decision has important consequences for the use of contraceptives, for it makes it much easier to allow women, who have no duty to procreate, to use them that it is to justify their use by men.  OXFORD 314
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GENESIS — 1:28 fertile

The Jewish people have been called the people of the book, but we are surely the people of the family.  One of the first mitzvoth in the Bible is that of “be fruitful and multiply,” thus clearly indicating the value placed upon having a family.  We began centuries ago as one family with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and have grown enormously over the centuries.  Through the many difficult and trying times during our history, strong family ties and a proliferation of children have always been important strategies for Jewish survival.  There are three partners in humans – the Holy Ones, the father, and the mother.  Kiddushin 30b.  ISAACS 123.
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GENESIS — 1:28 fertile

The Jewish people have been called the people of the book, but we are surely the people of the family.  One of the first mitzvoth in the Bible is that of “be fruitful and multiply,” thus clearly indicating the value placed upon having a family.  We began centuries ago as one family with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and have grown enormously over the centuries.  Through the many difficult and trying times during our history, strong family ties and a proliferation of children have always been important strategies for Jewish survival.  There are three partners in humans – the Holy Ones, the father, and the mother.  Kiddushin 30b.  ISAACS 123.
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GENESIS — 1:28 fruitful

It is a positive commandment to marry a wife in order to be fruitful and multiply (have children) as Scripture states, And G-d said to them: Be fruitful and multiply [this verse]. One's intention should be the continuation of the human species. When a man is eighteen, he becomes subject to the duty of begetting children; and if he passes the age of twenty without having married, he thus transgresses and disobeys this positive commandment. If he is occupied in Torah study and he fears that the problem of earning a livelihood will interfere, he is permitted to delay – but in any event not beyond the age of twenty-five.
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