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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 multiply

As late as 1970, all American states except Nevada required that a divorcing couple justify their divorce as a response to adultery, insanity, imprisonment, or some other communally accepted reason for the couple to separate. In contrast, the covenantal nature of Jewish marriage had enabled couples to divorce simply for “irreconcilable differences” almost 2,000 years earlier.  Furthermore, the covenantal character of Jewish marriage enables the couple to create special conditions for their marriage, usually regarding the monetary arrangements between them, but sometimes also other matters. The only condition Jewish law forbids the couple to make with each other is to promise never to engage in conjugal relations, because the Rabbis construe sexual intercourse to be the defining characteristic that distinguishes marriage from other close relationships. After they have produced both the male and a female child to fulfill the Torah’s commandment, “Be fruitful and multiply” [this verse], they may mutually decide never to have sex again, but they may not put that decision into their marriage covenant. Nowadays, couples—especially those where one member brings much more money into the marriage than the other, or where there are children or property from a prior marriage—often create a prenuptial agreement that can be very specific about certain matters. This, however, is a relatively new phenomenon in Anglo-American law. Jewish law provided for such mutually agreed-upon conditions to a marriage from as early as the second century Mishnah as a manifestation of the covenantal character of Jewish marriage.  DORFFWITO 173-4
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GENESIS — 1:28 multiply

Is the duty of procreation binding on women or only on men?  … The answer … is given in an ancient Mishnah: Yevamot 55b: “A man is commanded concerning fruitfulness and multiplication, but not a woman: Rabbi Yahanan ben Beroka said, “Concerning both of them it is said: ‘Male and female He created them; G-d blessed them, and G-d said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and master it.’ [this and preceding verse].  The Gemara immediately raises the question: How do the Sages (who disagree with Rabbi Yohanan ben Beroka) cope with the text in Genesis which seems to imply that the commandment to be fruitful applies to male and female alike? The answer given is that the Sages hold that the duty of procreation applies to the male sex, because the Biblical text is speaking of activities that require bold ness and aggressiveness. Mastering the earth is a masculine activity, since it involves prowess and relentless expenditure of physical energy. All activities included in the text are associated with mastery of the earth. Hence, they are regarded as functions of masculinity. The opinion of the Sages is based on the view generally accepted in civilized societies that it is man who seeks out the woman and not vice versa. Some degree of aggressiveness is required in seeking out a mate, a quality that is not in harmony with the essential or ideal character of woman.  Rabbi Levi ben Gershom (Gersonides) commentary to Genesis. The Talmud phrases it in a somewhat different manner: Why is it written: “When a man will take a wife,” and not vice versa: “When a woman will be taken by a man”? Because normally a man seeks after a wife and it is not normal for a woman to seek after a husband; whoever loses an article goes out in search for it. Kiddushin 2b. Text in Deuteronomy 22:13. [The institution of shadkhanut developed in Jewish life testifies to the extent of modesty achieved by our people, that even young men were not possessed of the aggressiveness required to seek out a mate. The right of the father to betroth his minor daughter Ketubot 45b may have similar grounds].  [See also Genesis 9:7 fruitful ROSNER 64, ROSNER 65]
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GENESIS — 1:28 multiply

The Jewish tradition sees two primary purposes for sex within marriage, as evidenced by the two commands in the Torah to engage in sex. One appears in Exodus 21[p:10], where the Torah says, at least as the Talmud understood it, that a man taking a woman in marriage must not deprive her of “her food, clothing, or conjugal rights.”  The other appears in the very first chapter of Genesis, in which G-d tells the first man and woman to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” [this verse].  Thus companionship and procreation are the two divinely ordained purposes of sex within marriage. Moreover, these are independent commandments. Thus before, during, and after the years that a couple plans to have children, the duty to have conjugal relations for the sake of companionship continues. G-d’s desire, according to the Torah and Talmud, is that people should, if at all possible, live in marital partnership, regardless of their ability to procreate. B. Yevamot 61b, where Rabbi Nahman, quoting Genesis 2:18, asserts that “although a man may have many children, he must not remain without a wife, for the Torah says, ‘It is not good that a man should be alone.’” Later Jewish law codes take this as authoritative law; see M.T. Laws of Marriage 15:16; Laws of Forbidden Intercourse 21:26; and S.A. Even Ha’ezer 1:8. DORFFLOV 82
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GENESIS — 1:28 multiply

The morality (or immorality) of contraception boils down to two-sided argument.  On the one hand, many people claim that there is no moral difference between preventing the natural process of conception by contraception and preventing the natural process of obesity by diet or pills. On the other hand, traditional Judaic-Christian teaching maintains that by the mind and will of G-d there is an objective standard of right and wrong in the universe, and that men are possessed with the rational faculty to choose one or the other. Thus, if the Torah considers any interference with the act of procreation as morally wrong, then such interference is legally prohibited in Jewish law. The commandment of be fruitful and multiply [this verse] interdicts the indiscriminate use of contraceptives. … The economic argument for contraception emphasizes that parents should only have the number of children they can support in an adequate fashion. This argument possesses its greatest strength and appeal when it is applied to large families with below-average income. That some good man be derived from contraception employed for economical reasons does not, however, make such a practice morally right. In order that all children in a family be provided with adequate food, clothing, shelter and education, contraception may be no more morally justified than robbery by the parents to provide for the needs of the children. Robbery and contraception are both immoral, although both might achieve a desirable outcome. The solution to the economic argument for contraception is a better organization of society, with sufficient work and distribution of wealth for all. ROSNER 86-7
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GENESIS — 1:28 rule

[Article on Ethics of Animal Experimentation] On the other side of the spectrum is the group that supports animal experimentation. This group believes that human beings are superior to animals in the hierarchy of life, implying that humans have the right to use animals to serve humanity’s needs. This viewpoint is supported by the Judeo-Christian tradition as can be seen in such texts as [this verse]. Moreover, because human life is more sacred, the end goal of saving human lives justifies the means of animal experimentation. REFJEW 104
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GENESIS — 1:28 rule

[E]ven independent of the Israelites’ covenant with G-d, [Douglas] Knight [“Cosmogony and Order”] demonstrates, the biblical authors conceived of G-d as establishing a moral relationship with humanity and of human beings as creatures capable of moral discernment.  The fact the people are granted dominion over the natural world [this verse], he notes, is but one more indication of this for, in the ancient Near Eastern context, such dominion presupposed a duty of care and responsibility … it seems evident that the biblical writers conceived of humanity as possessing the capacity for moral decision and an awareness (however undefined) of right and wrong that predates the covenant with Israel and the revelation of Torah.  The text of Scripture, of course, does not provide an account of how humanity comes to know its moral responsibilities, or even exactly what they are. But just as clearly it assumes that they exist.  PASTIMP 124-5
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GENESIS — 1:28 rule

Morality As Grounded In The Nature of Man. What, then are the grounds of morality?  We have already referred to the morality of Judaism as being theonomous, or grounded in G-d. But since G-d created man in His image, morality may be said with equal validity to be grounded in the nature of man as well. What does Judaism teach us about the nature of man? Biblical and rabbinic literature make it clear that man is not like the other creatures, completely a part of nature, but like G-d stands apart from and, in some sense, transcends nature. This we learn not only from the specific instructions given to man in the Pentateuch to have “dominion over” the other orders of creation, but from an important stylistic innovation. [this verse]. All of the other portions of the universe, including living creatures, are brought into existence without any prefatory remarks as to what G-d has in mind or is intending to do. Only in the case of man is the description of the creative act preceded by the announcement: “And the Lord said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’” Genesis 1:26  Furthermore, in bringing into existence all of the other living things, G-d, as it were, addresses portions of nature already in existence and commands, “Let the earth bring forth … Let the waters swarm …” Only in the case of man does G-d exercise His original creative power in a direct, unmediated fashion: “Then the Lord G-d formed man of the dust …” Genesis 1:11-20  In regard to the creation of man, we are told: “And G-d created man in His own image, in the image of G-d created He him.” “Then the Lord G-d formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7  It is not clear whether “image of G-d” is identical with the inspiration of a divine soul. Rabbinic usage seems to indicate that the concept of “image of G-d” carries the additional implication of a special dignity which attaches itself to the body of the person as well as to his soul. Kariv, חכמים מסוד pp. 121-122.  The rabbis saw this mode of creation as expressive of a “special love” on the part of G-d which fashions man as a dual creature belonging to both the “lower” and “upper” orders.  Sifrei, Ha’azinu, sec. 306  There is something distinctive in man, which has its source in G-d, and which might be associated with the capacity to think and speak conceptually, to choose freely, and to be self-reflective, that makes man a responsible moral agent.  Thus, the passages which describe man as “giving names to all the beasts of the field” seem to suggest a degree of intelligence which involves empirical observation, conceptual power, and linguistic skills. Genesis 2:19-20  Furthermore, man is commanded, held responsible, and punished for disobedience, all implying the freedom that gives rise to moral agency. Deuteronomy 30:19  Finally, whatever the exact nature of the “knowledge of good and evil” acquired by man, it is evidently a sort of moral cognition that invites divine comparison: “Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil.” Genesis 3:22 This, of course, may not mean “one who is able to determine what is good and what is evil” but simply “one who knows that there is good and evil in the world.”  SPERO 75-6
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GENESIS — 1:28 rule

A few verses later Genesis 2:15 the Torah tempers this by telling us that G-d put man in the Garden (symbolic of the entire world) “to work it and to guard it.”  Since guarding something means preserving it, G-d essentially wants man to both use the world of his needs, but, at the same time, to preserve the world and not destroy it. AMEMEI 61
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