Difference between revisions of "Having Children"

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[[Category:Between Man and Hashem]]

Revision as of 00:47, 20 October 2014

There is a positive mitzvah to bring children into the world and raise them to be proper Jews.[1] A possible reason behind this mitzvah is that Hashem didn't want the world to be empty.[2] Additionally, it is also the doorway to all mitzvot because only living people can fulfill mitzvot and the Torah was given to man and not the angels.[3]


  1. The mitzvah is to endeavor to have children according to his ability.[4]
  2. Technically, only men are obligated in this mitzvah.[5] Nonetheless, women who do have children do fulfill a mitzvah in aiding her husband to have children.[6] Additionally, some say that women are obligated to have children in order to ensure that the world is populated.[7]
  3. A person fulfills his obligation once he has two children, one son and one daughter.[8]
  4. Continuing to have more children is also an important mitzvah.[9] Nonetheless, it is important to take into account other values and concerns. [10]


  1. Ideally, chazal advised that one get married at 18 and certainly no later than 20.[11] Nonetheless, nowadays some suggest waiting longer in order to fully mature in Torah learning. [12]
  2. If a person is involved in learning Torah and is concerned that getting married will prevent him from learning because of financial concerns and the like, he may delay getting married in order to learn Torah [13] as long as he isn't overtaken by his evil inclination.[14]
  3. When delaying in order to learn Torah, some say that there is a fixed cut off at which point one shouldn't delay any more, but others hold that there's no time limit as long as the conditions still hold.[15]
  4. It is permissible for a younger brother to get married before his older brother. Yet, sometimes it is advisable for the younger brother to wait in finding a shidduch until his older brother already found his shidduch. In these cases, it is proper to ask a Rabbi for personal advise and pesak.[16]

Related Topics


  1. Rambam (Asin), Sefer HaChinuch (no. 1)
  2. Yishayahu 45:18, Sefer HaChinuch (no. 1)
  3. Sefer HaChinuch (no. 1)
  4. The language of the Gemara Shabbat 31a in heaven a person will be asked whether he "involved" himself in Pru Urevu and not whether he actually fulfilled the mitzvah. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe EH 2:18) writes that the actual mitzvah for men is to have relations with his wife in order to have children. However, when his wife actually gives birth to children, that isn't this mitzvah but an exemption of the mitzvah. The Minchat Chinuch (no. 1, s.v. VeIm Adam), however, assumes that having the children is the actual fulfillment of the mitzvah. Rav Soloveitchik quoted by Rav Schachter in a shiur (Yevamot 47, min 54-9) on yutorah.org had a compromise opinion in which a person fulfills the action of the mitzvah (maaseh ha'mitzvah) with relations and fulfills the completion of the mitzvah (kiyum ha'mitzvah) when his wife actually gives birth to children.
  5. Yevamot 65b, Sefer HaChinuch (no. 1), Rambam (Ishut 15:2), S"A EH 1:1. The Mishna (Yevamot 65b) states that women are exempt from this mitzvah because the end of the pasuk states that people should conquer the world and that isn't the tendency of women. Meshech Chachma (Beresheet 9:7) suggests that the reason the Torah exempted women is because having children is dangerous and the Torah wouldn't obligate them to put themselves in danger.
  6. Ran (Kiddushin 16b)
  7. Tosfot Bava Batra 13a s.v. Sheneemar implies that woman are obligated in the mitzvah of "לא תהו בראה לשבת יצרה". Levush YD 249:15 codifies this. See this article by the Schlesinger Institute for more sources.
  8. Yevamot 61b, Rambam (Ishut 15:4), S"A EH 1:5
  9. Rabbi Yehoshua in Yevamot 62b states that if one had children when he is younger he should continue to try to have children when he is older because one never knows the outcome of his children. The Rambam (Ishut 15:16) writes that even though already fulfilled his mitzvah of having children, he has a derabbanan mitzvah to have more children and if he does it is as though he built an entire world. Rabbi Melamed adds that there is a mitzvah of VeHalachta Bedrachav to have more children. Tosfot Bava Batra 60b s.v. din writes that if everyone would only have one son and one daughter, the Jewish nation would cease to exist.
  10. Rabbi Melamed explains that it is important to weigh one's decision carefully. For example, he says, if a person knows that if he has more than eight children they will have a lot of stress, frustration, and difficulty, then it is likely advisable not to continue to fulfill this mitzvah if it will cause one to sin and negatively impact the Chinuch of the children.
  11. The mishna in pirkei avot 5:21 states that a person should endeavor to get married at 18. The Rambam (Ishut 15:2) interestingly deviates from the mishna and writes that a person should endeavor to get married at 17. The Maggid Mishna (ad loc.) explains that in fact the Rambam agrees but just means after a person has lived 17 complete years and is 18, he is obligated to get married. The Mishna Halachot 9:240 explains that in fact the Rambam agrees with the Mishna but understands that it takes a year to find a suitable spouse and get married; at 17, he should be involved in finding a spouse and at 18 get married. The Gemara Kiddushin 29b emphatically states that a person may not delay beyond 20 before getting married and if he does he is cursed by Hashem. This is codified by the Rambam (Ishut 15:2) and S"A EH 1:3.
  12. The Chelkat Mechokek 1:3 states that a person is technically obligated to get married at 13 when he becomes a Bar-Mitzvah. Why, then, does the mishna say he should get married at 18? He answers that until then he isn't completely ready to get married since he needs to learn Torah and he doesn't start learning gemara until he is 15. Yalkut Yosef EH 1:2 writes that it is advisable for yeshiva bochrim to get married by 20 and for some it is advisable to wait until after 20 depending on his personality.
  13. Rambam (Ishut 15:2), S"A EH 1:3
  14. Bet Shmuel 1:5 based on the Rambam
  15. Bet Shmuel 1:5 quotes the Rosh who says that certainly there is a fixed cut off but it is unclear when that should be. However, the Bet Shmuel explains, the Rambam holds that there's no cut off as long as all of the conditions apply.
  16. Yalkut Yosef (Chupah VeKiddushin p. 43)