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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 fruitful

Jewish law and ethics would not consider the cloning of human beings to be forbidden.  As Elliot Dorff has put it, “human cloning should be regulated, not banned” (1997, 6; 1999, 322). Indeed, whereas most non-Jewish religious ethicists have consistently opposed the ethical propriety of cloning human beings, Jewish ethicists, particularly those from the more traditional camps, have consistently maintained that there is no a priori prohibition in Jewish law against cloning humans, and that with certain controls, cloning of human beings is permissible according to Jewish law [citations omitted].  While the cloning of human beings does not appear to be prohibited, by Jewish law, neither is it obligatory (hovah) in most cases. Even an individual who would have no other way of engendering a child but through cloning is not obliged to do so.  Like any other commandment, the commandment to “be fruitful and multiply” [this verse] (obligatory according to Jewish law only upon men), can only be expected to be fulfilled if one has the normal capacity to do so.  A person is not obliged to fulfill a commandment that exceeds his or her biological abilities.  As J. D. Bleich has written summarizing Jewish law’s attitude toward the use of reproductive biotechnological methods: “Although Halakhah may demand employment of extraordinary and heroic measures in prolonging life, with regard to the generation of life it requires only that which is ordinary, normal and natural.  However, so long as the methods employed in assisted procreation do not entail transgression of halakhic structures such methods are discretionary and permissible” (1998, 147). SHER20C 121
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GENESIS — 1:28 fruitful

Perpetuate your race.  Extend the thread of the generations and raise up descendants to carry on what you have started.  Plant in the garden of G-d new human shoots to whom you will mean everything and whom you will train to serve G-d.  There can be no higher activity than to bring into existence human beings, so that you may train them toward the perfecting of humanity.  And there is no greater blessing than to succeed in this endeavor.  In order to do so properly, G-d says: Make the world the right kind of dwelling place for man.  Begin with a family.  Form a circles around yourself, and into this circle draw the largest number of G-d’s creatures and gifts in order that you and yours may be able to flourish in it. This circle is the home and the gifts—your property.  [Samson Raphael Hirsch, Horeb] GOODSOC 95
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GENESIS — 1:28 fruitful

Procreation according to the Hebrew Bible is a Divine imperative incumbent upon both man and woman, as is evident from the text of [this and preceding verse] and restated in Genesis 5:1 –2. … In the rabbinic period, the Mishnah, in tractate Yevamot 6:6, however states: “No man may abstain from keeping the law, ‘Be fruitful and multiply,’ unless he already has children… The duty to ‘Be fruitful and multiply” is incumbent upon the man and not the woman. Rabbi Yochanan ben Beroka says: (But) of both of them it is written, ‘And G-d blessed them and G-d said unto them, be fruitful and multiply.’” Despite Rabbi Yochanan ben Beroka’s objection (and against a “simple” reading of the biblical text), the law was subsequently codified according to the majority opinion and only men are obligated concerning procreation in (rabbinic) Jewish law! Sefer HaHinuch #291; Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 1.13 This rather radical step, i.e., to state that women are not legally obligated to procreate, was probably necessitated by prevailing social and historical circumstances. The rabbis in other periods instituted laws which, although they diverge from the biblical letter, were nonetheless intended to reflect the spirit of the Holy Writ. BT Temurah 14b, Menachot 99a-b So one finds that the biblical law (Deuteronomy 15:1 – 6) concerning the remission of monetary debts during the seventh year was contravened by the early rabbinic prosbul instituted by Hillel, Mishnah Sheviit 10:3-4 as well as the famous medieval taqana which prohibited polygamy among European Jews from the early 11th century onward. The Responsa of Rabbi Meir ben Baruch of Rothenburg (Prague, 1895), response #866. Though according to Rabbi Joseph Caro in his Shulchan Aruch, Eben HaEzer 1:10, this taqana was in force only until 1240. So, too, the rabbinic rationale for obligating only the man in procreation and removing the obligation from woman is probably rooted in the ethical and social conditions extent in the Hellenistic period.
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GENESIS — 1:28 fruitful

Procreation is a primary aim of sexual relations. The biblical command of procreation [this verse] is fulfilled with the birth of a boy and a girl Yevamot 61b. However, a husband’s sexual obligation continues in force even after the requirement of procreation has been met. Judaism does not sanction birth control by means of interrupted coitus Genesis 38:9-10.  The use of contraceptives, tampons, or oral sterilizing drugs by pregnant or lactating women is permissible, if it is needed to prevent conception which may endanger the life of the mother or her offspring Yevamot 12b. Men may not use contraceptives. Continence is the only permissible birth-control method, providing it is practiced with the consent of the wife and that the minimal requirement of procreation has been fulfilled. Childlessness is a painful problem which confronts some couples. Modern science has achieved remarkable progress in alleviating that condition Prevailing rabbinical opinion sanctions artificial insemination, using the husband’s semen but not the semen of another donor. Test-tube fertilization with the husband’s sperm of a human egg taken from the woman’s ovary is permissible. The embryo may be reimplanted in the mother’s womb. Some rabbis object to this procedure on moral grounds. The implantation of a fertilized egg into the womb of a host mother raises a problem of maternal identity. According to one opinion, if the embryo is forty days and older, the child is the offspring of the biological mother. According to another opinion, the woman who experiences the labor and travail of childbirth is regarded as the mother. There is as yet no consensus on the moral aspect of surrogate mothers. A similar problem regarding parental identity is raised in connection with the transplant of an ovary or testicles. Except for the problem, there seems to be no objection on moral or ethical grounds.  BLOCH 225
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GENESIS — 1:28 fruitful

The first commandment of Genesis is to bear children.  While it was originally about guaranteeing that there would be future generations, today the size of each generation is an issue that deserves our scrutiny.  The value of nurturing children has to do with the bonds of love between us; our ability to pass on our beliefs, values, attitudes and practice; and the mutually transformative nature of the parent-child relationship.  We fulfill the value by raising children, regardless of whether we are biological or adoptive parents.  Those who are unable to give birth, or who for personal reasons decide not to raise children, fulfill this value by teaching and providing guidance to young people. AGTJL 574-5
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GENESIS — 1:28 fruitful

The Mishna states in Yevamot 65b that the Torah’s commandment to “be fruitful and multiply” only applies to a man, obligating him to try to sire at least one son and one daughter.  Therefore, when a couple has been married for ten years without having children – at which point it is assumed that they cannot have children together as a couple – the husband is entitled to a divorce, since he cannot fulfill the commandment to have children with this wife, but may be able to do so with another woman (Yevamot 64a; see also Shulchan Aruch EH 154:10).  EYES 163
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GENESIS — 1:28 G-d

The subject G-d is repeated twice. The blessing extended to other creatures has but one subject: “G-d blessed them saying: ‘Be fruitful and multiply’.” Genesis 1:22  The two phrases in the case of man imply a commandment in addition to the blessing. Various commentaries on this verse, including Luzzatto, S.R. Hirsch.  Likewise, in the ninth chapter of Genesis, which recounts the blessing that G-d bestowed upon man after the Flood, we read: “And G-d blessed Noah and his sons and said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.’” Genesis 9:1 There is here also a doubling of the phrase as found in the first chapter of Genesis, without the repetition of that subject G-d.  However, in order to insure against any possibility of error, the phrase was repeated immediately after the prohibition of bloodshed: As for you, be fruitful and multiply; abound on the earth and increase on it. Nahmanides. In light of the above, the Oral Tradition has declared procreation a religious duty, an imperative placed upon man by the Divine Law, a commandment whose purpose is to channelize a wild instinct and subject it to conscious control of man’s intelligence, for the purpose of perpetuating the human species.  ROSNER 63
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GENESIS — 1:28 master

Man is charged with completing the task of creation that G-d began in the first commandment.  The world was intentionally made incomplete and was left up to man to complete.  That is why G-d did not create “bread trees,” even though every society needs and uses a form of bread.  It is man’s role to perform the creative activities necessary to make bread. Midrash, Tanchuma Tazria 5.  AMEMEI 267
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GENESIS — 1:28 multiply

The family creates, educates, and supports the next-generation. Sex within marriage has two distinct purposes: companionship and procreation. Thus, on the one hand, sexual relations are valued as a form of human love even when the couple cannot or is not planning to have children.  On the other hand, procreation is an important activity, so important, in fact, that it is the very first commandment mentioned in the Torah [this verse]. The rabbis later defined that obligation as the duty to produce minimally one boy and one girl—although this does not apply to those who cannot comply because of problems of infertility—and the ideal is to have as many children as one can.  On the minimum of two, see M. Yevamot 6:6 (61b); M.T. Laws of Marriage 15:4; and S.A. Even Ha’ezer 1:5. On the ideal of having more, see B. Yevamot 62b (based on Isaiah 45:18 and Ecclesiastes 11:6) and M.T. Laws of Marriage 15:16. Marriage not only provides the venue for having children but also, in the Jewish view, the context in which children are educated. Parents have the duty to educate their children in Judaism, including its moral components. Deuteronomy 6:7,20-25, 11:19. This was already one of Abraham’s duties Genesis 18:19.  Parents may use schools to help them fulfill that duty, but they must periodically check to make sure that the children are in fact learning what they should, because ultimately the duty to educate children remains theirs. Moreover, much of the Jewish tradition can be taught only at home, for this is a tradition that is not restricted to the synagogue or school: It intends to influence virtually every detail of life. DORFFLOV 27-8
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