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Ask the rabbi Family and Society The Mitzva of Having Children

Birth Control

Rabbi Jonathan Blass10 Kislev 5763
873
Question
Shalom Rabbosanu I am set to be married on the 25th of February IY"H, and a subject has come up with my Kalah and me. The concept of birth control: I have been of the opinion that the more children the better; but I, for reasons of peace, decided that the amount of children that we have would be in the hands of Hashem and my wife. My question then is can a woman take birth control? I was of the opinion that birth control was allowed, do to the fact that the woman does not have an obligation to have children. Studying the Chochmas Adam, with my chavrusa, forced me to rethink that statement. Could it be that my kalah would be hindering my obligation to perform the mitzvah of fruitful and multiply? Is it ok for her to use the pill or shots because she does not have an obligation to have children? Is the answer up to us because there are two ways to view the actions, namely from her perspective or from mine? I am hoping that these questions are the path of making a bies ne’eman, and are not going to cause pain to our new family IY”H.
Answer
Mazal-Tov on your upcoming wedding! When there is no reason for delaying a pregnancy other than general convenience, all forms of birth control are prohibited. Birth control as such is permitted- depending on the means used- when there are valid reasons: e.g. the mother’s psychological and physical health. To determine if such reasons exist in any given case a halachic authority should be consulted face-to face. This is necessary so that he can fully understand the circumstances. From your letter it seems that your concern is not that your spouse doesn’t want a large family but rather that she objects to your feeling of “the more children the better”. Since babies come one pregnancy at a time you shouldn’t let this theoretical question worry you or interfere with your simcha. After, G-d willing, you are parents of a few children you will probably find dealing with this question a lot easier.
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