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children or righteousness

Rabbi Ari ShvatAdar 27, 5777
100
Question
Isaiah 56, 3-5 speaks about the priority of righteous life over having children. However, people have twisted the priorities and want to have children by any cost and look down on people who don’t have any. Isn’t the means just as important as the goal? If one achieves something by the wrong means then it contains evil. Consequently, marriages that are constructed only to have children are degrading for people because couples shouldn’t act as biological production units. If the highest priority is loving G-d (and with that loving truth) then loving children more than that turns them into idols. People press themselves to marry and procreate because of fear of biological age and inability to conceive. A couple may marry to procreate but G-d holds the keys to woman’s womb and they may end up childless and end up fooled by this social lie. Wouldn’t it be better to marry with no fear of time, biological age? If a couple share chemistry, common values and are both marriage material this a good basis for marriage but marriage is not to be about having children. We say we are now free to marry for the right reasons but are we? We seem to marry because that is expected of us. Human heart is deceptive, it loves what it shouldn’t and doesn’t love what it should. But, is it that deceptive that other human hearts (community) should decide if there is enough of feeling for someone to marry? Wouldn’t it be more truthful to simply stay single all life if one doesn’t find that soulmate?
Answer
It’s obviously not good to look down on anyone, especially one who cannot have children. Having children is a positive mitzvah, but if one tries his/her best and doesn’t succeed, obviously it’s not their fault, although today, about 99% of couples can conceive! The highest priority is not “loving God” but “being Godly”, part of which is creating worlds, by having children. That’s clearly not the only goal of marriage, for the loving relationship between man and wife is also a classic way of being altruistic and Godly. Accordingly, it’s understandable why building a family is a basic and central aspect of Jewish life, and we should do our best to help (and surely not look down upon) all of our brothers and sisters to find their loving soulmate!
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