Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Rabbinic Obligation to Procreate

26 February, 2004

Question:

Could you explain to me the rabbinic obligation to have more than a boy and a girl or two children? Does it exist? What is the actual text? What have the prominent halachic authorities said about it?


Answer:

The rabbinic admonishment to continue to procreate even after fulfilling the quota set by the Torah is expounded from the verse in Ecclesiastes 11:6 "In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not desist." In the Talmud (Yevamot 62b), R. Yehoshua explains that a man should have children both in his youth and in his old age, and the Shulchan Arukh rules according to his opinion (Even HaEzer 1:8). The exact definition and parameters of the rabbinic obligation are the subject of much discussion and debate among the prominent halachic authorities, although most agree that one may not decide to cease and desist from procreating forever.  

In determining how to keep this obligation, a specific individual question should be asked. If you do not have your own rabbi and would like a direct psak, please get back to us or call the hotline.

 


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