A Collection of Sichos
On the Topic of “Be Fruitful and Multiply”
And a Negation of the Concept of “Family Planning”
Summary of Contents of the Sichos
According to what is written in Gemara, “Moshiach will not come until all souls will be emptied from ‘Guf,’” it is understood that bringing children into the world is not a matter that is relevant only to fulfilling the specific mitzvah of “Pru u’Rvu,” but is something on which the Redemption of the Jewish people depends! This special mission is dependent primarily on the Jewish women. When the conduct of the home is as it should be, she is given all the matters she needs in order to raise her children to Torah, to chuppah and to good deeds, with expansiveness.
The first blessing that G-d blessed mankind, which shows that this is primary, is (as written in the beginning of Parshas Bereishis) is “Be fruitful and multiply and fill up the world and conquer it.” In order to conquer it—to “conquer” all undesirable matters of this world, there must be the “Be fruitful and multiply” in its literal sense—to be blessed with sons and daughters, who will be brought up by their parents in a manner of “to command his sons and his household after him to perform charity and justice.” The fact that the blessing and “thanks” to a Sota who is found pure is to have more children is a proof that one does not need to wait until the shalom bayis in the home is perfect. Each Jewish child that is added, even in a home in which the conduct is not tzanua, is a blessing for the whole family and for the whole Jewish people. This is not a “burden” on the parents—it is a son or daughter! G-d, who provides and sustains everyone, will take upon Himself the responsibility to provide for this child, and every child is born with the money needed to provide for him. All the “excuses,” that first one needs to ascertain that the parnassah and the shalom bayis and the education that the child receives are all proper, are all arguments of the Yetzer Hara who enclothes himself in a silk kapote and a gartel. One must know that family planning is harmful. We see in actuality that it harms shalom bayis and brings on depression and visits to doctors etc. This is all a result of mixing in to a process that Hashem has established.
The greatest possible mitzvah is for a Jew to conduct his life according to the directives of the Torah, which is a vessel for the blessings of Hashem in their fullest sense: In children, to be blessed with healthy, happy Jewish children; in life, to lead a normal and healthy life; and more so, it is known that there is nothing that complicates life as much as family planning. As mentioned, one should not mix in to Hashem’s order, but rely on the fact that only Hashem, the Creator of the world and its Conductor, Who supervises each and every one with His personal supervision, can determine how many children it is best for one to be blessed with. In sustenance, Hashem brings parnassah with expansiveness to be used only for good and healthy things. It is forbidden to think “What could change already through my personal actions?” According to what the Rambam writes, even one deed can tip the scale and bring merit and salvation to the whole world; how much more so an action that establishes generations in Israel! One who comes to purify—is assisted!
There is no room for debate if one has already fulfilled the mitzvah of Pru u’Rvu, then what is the necessity to have yet another child. The first mitzvah in the Torah is “Be fruitful and multiply,” until we “fill up the entire world and conquer it.” It is a halachic ruling that every child is an entire world! If there is a genuine reason to delay this, one should rely on Hashem Who is the “Essence of good,” Who supervises everyone with His personal supervision, particularly since not even a leaf falls by happenstance. One should not mix in to this G-d forbid, unless there is a clear halachic ruling.
It is brought in Midrash in connection with the plague of blood, “Why did Hashem bring the plague of blood upon them? Measure for measure—they did not allow the Jewish women to immerse and purify themselves, so they should not be fruitful and multiply. Therefore the waters were struck with blood.” The lesson is: It is incumbent upon each and every one to do all in his or her power to nullify the decree of Pharaoh through the matter of “Be fruitful and multiply and fill up the earth.” When we act according to these principles, we fulfill the end of the passuk, “and conquer it.” When we “conquer” all the calculations that come from “earthliness” that are made in connection with this matter (such as how much money or exertion is required for this, a calculation of the pain involved in birth and raising children which will prevent them from serving G-d with peace of mind, and even the calculation that they will not be able to enjoy the pleasures of this world as much), when the mother and father listen what their soul says, which is an actual part of Hashem above, and what Hashem says about all their calculations, then it is understood that there is no room for a question to begin with. Then the “conquering” will be fulfilled in a literal, revealed sense, and they will be vessels for the “blessing of Hashem,” not only according to their lack, for all their necessities resulting from the birth of another child, but also to become wealthy, physically! We must know that Hashem is the sole Master over birth, He is the Essence of good, and He chooses the best possible time for a child to be born. The only thing that G-d gives freedom of choice to a mother or father (since Hashem wants them to be partners [an amazing description!] in this) is whether or not to prevent or delay this. Unless there is a situation in which a rav, who is objective, rules that this is a matter of danger to life r”l, in which case it is a ruling of the Torah to delay this.
For the beginning of the fulfillment of the mitzvah of Pru u’Rvu, we indeed need the “arousal from below” of the two partners, the mother and father. However, the fulfillment of the mitzvah in actuality depends entirely on the third partner, Hashem, His infinite power. He knows when is the best possible time for the child, for the mother and the father. However, since He is the “Essence of good” He does not want to force the matter and gives the mother and father free will whether to actualize Hashem’s blessing, and through this they become partners. But when they do not rely on the time that Hashem wants (even though they themselves say and see in actuality that He “sustains the entire world, etc.) and certainly it is within His power to sustain their son and daughter etc., and they mix in their own personal desires and make calculations, etc., through this they lack a “vessel” for Hashem’s blessing. In order to be a proper partner, one must also consider the opinions of the other partners, and how much more so, the opinion of Hashem! And we can take a lesson from what Hashem said to Moshe, as related in Midrash: “When I wanted, you did not want,” and therefore “You saw My back but you did not see My face.” Even though we need to make a vessel according to nature, nevertheless, it must not enter one’s mind that the vessel one makes according to this principle should go against Shulchan Aruch!
The “calculation” to delay the conception of another child in order to devote more time to mivtzayim, this is an argument of the Yetzer Hara, since Hashem also knows this “calculation,” and if he blesses them with another child, this is a proof that this is even more important to the survival of the Jewish people. Especially since this will add to the success in the mivtzayim afterwards.
The “argument” that according to Torah, “A woman was not created except for beauty,” spiritual beauty but also physical beauty (but one needs to use the beauty in a modest manner, through which we merit all good things in this world), and the Gemara itself says that pregnancy and childbirth affect a woman’s beauty—Hashem also knows this, but this is only temporary (in order for the woman to show that she can withstand the test), and He guarantees that “A woman was not created except for beauty,” and after birth there will be the “addition of light.” (Through following the laws of separating from her husband, which are not intended to cause suffering G-d forbid, but on the contrary—keeping these laws leads to greater affection by the husband for his wife.)
Another point: When we look at what is happening in actuality in the last 2-3 generations, we see with our eyes of flesh that for those families who relied only on Hashem’s calculations, the shalom bayis, healthy parents, parnassah and the atmosphere of peace in the home are better than those families who used their own calculations, even though they went through 2-3 times more pain of pregnancy and childbirth and childrearing than their neighbors did. Since these are actual results, not estimates, there is no room for argument! It is redundant to ask rabbanim or to read seforim—one only needs to look at one’s grandparents to see in actuality where there was a better life, better relationships etc., and where the woman had true beauty etc...
We find a wondrous thing: Every one of the four foremothers, Sarah, Rivka, Rochel and Leah, took such a strong stance, demanded and prayed for the merit of having a child, until they put it into effect! If every matter in Torah and every behavior in which our Imahos excelled is a lesson for us, how much more so for a matter in which all our Imahos were equal, a fundamental matter.
The leader of our generation said in the name of the Rebbe Maharash, that the parnassah of a Jew in our times is like the mann, which was bread from heaven. There is no place for it according to nature. The fact that a person is involved with matters that are associated with “bread from the earth” is only a garment which needs to be there according to nature, but it is the blessing of Hashem that brings wealth! It follows, then, that what is the point of all the calculations. First one worries that one should have enough money, a home, clothes, etc., and only then one thinks about fulfilling Hashem’s commandment to “be fruitful and multiply” in a manner of “filling up the world.” All this is only a garment. First of all, one must worry to prepare the “bread from heaven,” which is the main thing, to conduct oneself according to the Torah from Heaven, to make sure that there are sons and daughters. Moreover: The land and people of Israel are likened to a deer, whose skin grows according to its flesh. If so, even if it seems that whatever he toiled for parnassah is not enough for the children who will be born, this is not a proof at all! The parnassah comes together with the child and because of him! However, sometimes Hashem gives parnassah with expansiveness to begin with, since he relies on the person to understand that this is for the children that he will bring into the world, and he will withstand the test and not think about all the calculations which are foolishness—to forgo the joy that Hashem wants to give him from above all limitations through more children who will be educated in the path of Torah and mitzvahs, even though it is clear that the parnassah of a Jew today is “bread from heaven.”
The beginning of the first commandment is “I am G-d your G-d Who took you out of Egypt”—singular! From this we can understand the great importance of one individual soul in Israel. It follows, then, that when one argues that he already has several children and soon Moshiach is coming, so why should he make an effort to do everything in his power to have yet another child? We tell him that in this week’s portion (Yisro) there is a clear answer: Moshe, Aaron and the seventy elders and the whole chariot etc. all stood and heard how Hashem said to this child who will be born, “I am G-d your G-d Who took you out of Egypt!” The explanation is so simple that we don’t need a Dubno Maggid etc.—these are simple matters that are taken from Chumash!
The greatest zchus and good fortune of a mother in Israel is to bring another child into the world! The third partner, Hashem, to Whom belongs all the gold and silver, will provide everything that is needed, money and health, for the education of the children and to receive much nachas from them. It is the zchus and responsibility of a Jewish daughter to fulfill the mitzvah of “Pru u’Rvu,” and to do it joyously and with gladness of heart.
We can rely on Hashem, since when He grants a child, this is the greatest blessing to the parents and to the whole family. We should not mix in to His conduct. Do not think into the enticements of the “old and foolish king,” which are the opposite of faith in Hashem Who provides with His goodness the entire world, and one more child will not present Him with any difficulties. On the contrary, together with the birth of this child, his channel for sustenance is also born, and he brings an addition to the sustenance of the whole family. Fortunate is their lot and great is their merit of all Jewish mothers who have conducted themselves thus until now, and who will conduct themselves thus from now on.
On the birthday of a child, even a year-old child, the parents should learn an inyan in Torah and give tzedakah in his merit, and to contemplate the great good fortune that Hashem gave them by granting them this child to raise and educate in the path of Torah and Mitzvos. Regarding the argument that the child understands nothing, the Torah says that the conduct of the parents, not only from the moment that the child emerges from the womb, but even nine months before that, affects the child and all his descendents to the end of the generations! As related in Gemara, Kimchis had seven sons and all served as high priests. The chachomim asked her, what did you do to be worthy of this? She said, the walls of my house never saw my hair. In other words, her conduct was the ultimate in Tznius even when she was alone in her house. This had an effect on her sons and their children etc. And this is a lesson to every Jewish daughter, how important it is to be careful in this matter, not only for herself but for her children.
The Mishnah says an amazing thing: “The reason that man was created alone is to teach you that... a single soul in Israel... is an entire world.” We say to every Jew, in every time and every place: G-d created man in a manner different from all other creatures; alone, in order that he should know that he is an entire world! This is not because he learns Torah or fulfills Mitzvos, but as soon as one emerges into the world one already is an “entire world.” This strengthens even more what has been mentioned a number of times regarding the mitzvah of “Pru u’Rvu,” that even after having a son and a daughter, and several sons and daughters, one should still try to have more children, because when another Jewish child is born, a whole world is added, in a manner of “Gan Eden m’Kedem,” the way it was when Adam was created alone. And since it is so, it is understood that there is no room for questions, from where will we take the energy and how will we provide all the needs of this child, etc., just like it would not enter your mind to ask these questions about the creation of Adam when he was in “Gan Eden m’Kedem”! It is also understood from this how much is important his effort in educating every additional Jewish child to Torah, chuppah and good deeds—as if this child was alone in Gan Eden m’Kedem. And it is certain that Hashem will give the parents all the energy they need to raise the child, both from a physical as well as a spiritual aspect.
It is told in Gemara how much the Jewish women in Egypt tried to increase the number of Jews through the matter of “Pru u’Rvu,” with full faith and trust in Hashem. They did not make any calculations, that this is not an appropriate time because of Pharaoh’s decree, “All boys that are born will be cast into the Nile,” etc. The Gemara relates that a young girl, Miriam, was the one who nullified these calculations of her father Amram. As a result, Moshe, the rescuer of Israel, was born. The lesson: 1) Do not push off the mitzvah of Pru u’Rvu because of calculations of parnassah, etc., because Hashem is the One Who sustains and provides for the whole world. Even though Hashem wants parnassah to come in a manner that we make a vessel in nature, this also has to be according to the will of Hashem. When parents do their part in the partnership of this child, and worry for the spiritual aspects, that the soul of the child, the actual part of Hashem, should shine within him in a revealed way, and provide the child with a proper education in Torah and Mitzvos in a full and complete manner (and they don’t withhold this because of financial worries, etc.), then, as a matter of course, Hashem, the third partner, will do His part and will provide the physical aspects that the child needs, parnassah and health, etc. 2) The calculation of what will be if one more child is born, particularly since we are in galus, etc., is out of the question. Through the Jewish women in Egypt nullifying this question, the redeemer of Israel was born, who nullified the exile. Through the birth of more children in our time, this is not only a personal opportunity for the parents but this is also relevant to the redemption of the entire Jewish people from exile.
By the first Chana, we find that she was not satisfied with anything. She did everything in her power to have “seed of man.” She dedicated her life to the chinuch of her son, etc. The lesson is that the task of every Jewish woman and daughter is to do everything that is dependent on her to fulfill the mitzvah of Pru u’Rvu, to fill up the world and conquer it. Even though the conquering is done through the husband, for it is a man’s way to conquer, nevertheless the command to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill up the world” is given in plural, to both of them, the husband and wife.
It is related in the haftorah of Rosh Hashanah how Chana the prophetess devoted her life to giving birth to this child. When he was born, she called him Shmuel, because she “loaned him to Hashem.” There are two interpretations: a loan or a gift. The lesson is: 1) How much one needs to “turn over the world” in order that another child should be born (even if one already has many children). Even if one makes calculations, and one receives a heter etc.—when one makes a truthful calculation there is no doubt what the conclusion will be, and they will rely on the calculations of Hashem when will be the best possible time, etc. 2) On the one hand, one must give over the child as a gift to Hashem, and as a matter of course He will provide for the physical and spiritual needs of the child. However, on the other hand, this is a matter of “loaning,” because Hashem wants there to be an ongoing connection between parents and children, that they should also do their part. In the matter of loaning, there is also the allusion that Hashem’s giving the child to the parents is also a matter of a “loan.” The halacha is that if the loaned object is still in the possession of the master, the borrower is patur in all cases. If so, since Hashem, the Master, is always with us, “Behold Hashem is standing above him,” they will not be punished G-d forbid in any circumstances.
We must fulfill the mitzvah of “Be fruitful and multiply and fill up the world” in an actual, physical sense! It has been mentioned a number of times regarding the great blessing and merit that parents have. Regarding the argument about the expenses, etc.—for this there is the lesson that the command of Pru u’Rvu etc. was given to Adam on the day that he was created, which was the 6th day, when everything was prepared for the feast! According to the saying of our sages, “Therefore Adam was created alone,” to teach us that every Jew is an entire world. It is understood that when a person conducts himself according to the will of Hashem, Hashem will give him all his needs, a whole world, ready made! (One only needs to make a vessel according to nature.)
Every mitzvah that comes to hand, do not allow it to ferment. This applies in particular to the most important mitzvah whose fulfillment was entrusted to the woman: the first mitzvah in the Torah, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill up the world.” One should not mix in personal considerations, that it would be appropriate to wait until one has gathered a respectable sum of money, when they can buy a house and possessions etc. One should rely entirely on the third partner—Hashem—Who will bless them with a child who will live a long life in the appropriate time! “You have upon Whom to rely!”
The Torah grants women the highest Shlichus—to establish and raise a new generation which will serve as a continuation to the generation of Matan Torah! Through making an effort in Pru u’Rvu, which is dependent, along with raising children, on the mother. Particularly when a woman does this—she fulfills her purpose and reaches her personal perfection. When she makes plans and pushes this off for a later time, when she will earn enough money and build up her name etc., and only then will she start to think of when and how many children to have—this is out of the question even according to the logic of the animal soul, even of a simpleton! The daughters must also be raised this way—to fulfill their mission to be the mainstay of the home.
It is written, “And you shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst.” This means, within each and every Jew. Although “The heavens and the heavenly heavens cannot contain You,” however, the heart of every Jew, even a small child who has just entered the world, can contain the Shechina with all its power! From this is understood the great responsibility that lies upon the parents for each and every child. Even though this may at times be associated with great exertion, what is this exertion considered when we contemplate that in the heart of this small baby, the Essence of Hashem rests! From this is understood how much effort we must put into proper education, beginning with self-education to improve oneself, since we are talking about the chinuch of a child in whom the Shechina rests! It is understood the great reward for educating a child in this manner. From this is also understood what has been mentioned several times, that everyone must do everything that is dependent on him or her to fulfill the mitzvah of Pru u’Rvu: There is no place at all for worries of parnassah, etc., since Hashem must, so to speak, take care that the “dwelling” in which He rests, this child, should be healthy and complete with all his physical and spiritual needs. These worries come from the Yetzer Hara, who is an “old and foolish king,” and it is a disgrace to seriously consider his arguments...
True nachas of a Jew is to be blessed with children and grandchildren, and to have Chassidishe nachas from them, in a manner of L’chatchila ariber, that even before one begins to educate them, the children themselves come and demand that one should tell them stories, with all the details, about the avos and tzadikim, whether they faced challenges and whether they thought about their descendents who would be born. And one must not consider the concept of “Family Planning” (something which should not be mentioned in a holy place), but to do all that is in one’s power to be blessed with sons and daughters, etc.
Just like in regard to the exodus from Egypt it is said that “In the merit of the righteous women of that generation our forefathers went out of Egypt,” the same will be with the true and complete Redemption. In the merit of the Jews establishing generations of children and grandchildren, with joy and gladness of heart, with full faith in Hashem that He will provide them with parnassah as needed.
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