בְּנֵי בָנִים הֲרֵי הֵן כְּבָנִים כִּי תַּנְיָא הָהִיא לְהַשְׁלִים Grandchildren are considered like children. This indicates that if one’s children have passed away, he has fulfilled the mitzva to be fruitful and multiply only if they had children of their own, as they are considered like his own children. The Gemara responds: When that baraita is taught it is with regard to completing the required number of children, e.g., if he had only a son, but his son had a daughter, he has fulfilled the mitzva to be fruitful and multiply.
מֵיתִיבִי בְּנֵי בָנִים הֲרֵי הֵם כְּבָנִים מֵת אֶחָד מֵהֶם אוֹ שֶׁנִּמְצָא סָרִיס לֹא קִיֵּים פְּרִיָּה וּרְבִיָּה תְּיוּבְתָּא דְרַב הוּנָא תְּיוּבְתָּא The Gemara raises an objection to the opinion of Rav Huna from another baraita: Grandchildren are considered like children. If one of a man’s children died or was discovered to be a eunuch, the father has not fulfilled the mitzva to be fruitful and multiply. This directly contradicts Rav Huna’s statement that one fulfills the mitzva even if his children die. The Gemara concludes: The refutation of the opinion of Rav Huna is indeed a conclusive refutation.
בְּנֵי בָנִים הֲרֵי הֵם כְּבָנִים סְבַר אַבָּיֵי לְמֵימַר בְּרָא לִבְרָא וּבְרַתָּא לִבְרַתָּא וְכׇל שֶׁכֵּן בְּרָא לִבְרַתָּא אֲבָל בְּרַתָּא לִבְרָא לָא אֲמַר לֵיהּ רָבָא לָשֶׁבֶת יְצָרָהּ בָּעֲיָא וְהָא אִיכָּא § It was taught in the baraita that grandchildren are considered like children. Abaye thought to say that if one’s children die, he fulfills the mitzva to be fruitful and multiply through grandchildren, provided a son was born to his son and a daughter to his daughter, and all the more so if a son was born to his daughter, as his grandchildren take the place of his children in these cases. However, if a daughter was born to his son, no, she cannot take the place of her father. Rava said to him: We require merely fulfillment of the verse: “He formed it to be inhabited,” and there is fulfillment in this case, as the earth is inhabited by his descendants.
דְּכוּלֵּי עָלְמָא מִיהַת תְּרֵי מֵחַד לָא וְלָא וְהָא אָמְרִי לֵיהּ רַבָּנַן לְרַב שֵׁשֶׁת נְסֵיב אִיתְּתָא וְאוֹלֵיד בְּנֵי וַאֲמַר לְהוּ בְּנֵי בְרַתִּי בְּנֵי נִינְהוּ The Gemara comments: In any event, everyone agrees that if one has two grandchildren from one child, no, he has not fulfilled the mitzva to be fruitful and multiply, even if he has both a grandson and a granddaughter. The Gemara asks: And has he not? Didn’t the Rabbis say to Rav Sheshet: Marry a woman and have sons, as you have not yet fathered any sons, and Rav Sheshet said to them: The sons of my daughter are my sons? This indicates that one can fulfill the mitzva through grandchildren even if he did not have a son and daughter of his own.
הָתָם דַּחוֹיֵי קָמְדַחֵי לְהוּ דְּרַב שֵׁשֶׁת אִיעֲקַר מִפִּירְקֵיהּ דְּרַב הוּנָא The Gemara answers: There, Rav Sheshet was merely putting them off. The real reason he did not want to get remarried was because Rav Sheshet became impotent from Rav Huna’s discourse. Rav Huna’s discourses were so lengthy that Rav Sheshet became impotent after waiting for so long without relieving himself.
אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַבָּה לְרָבָא בַּר מָארִי מְנַָא הָא מִילְּתָא דַּאֲמוּר רַבָּנַן בְּנֵי בָנִים הֲרֵי הֵן כְּבָנִים אִילֵּימָא מִדִּכְתִיב הַבָּנוֹת בְּנוֹתַי וְהַבָּנִים בָּנַי אֶלָּא מֵעַתָּה וְהַצֹּאן צֹאנִי הָכִי נָמֵי אֶלָּא דִּקְנֵית מִינַּאי הָכָא נָמֵי דִּקְנֵית מִינַּאי Rabba said to Rava bar Mari: From where is this matter that the Sages stated derived, that grandchildren are considered like children? If we say it is derived from the fact that it is written in Laban’s speech to Jacob: “The daughters are my daughters and the children are my children” (Genesis 31:43), which indicates that Jacob’s children were also considered to be the children of their grandfather Laban, if that is so, does the continuation of Laban’s statement: “And the flocks are my flocks” (Genesis 31:43), indicate that so too, Jacob’s flocks were considered as belonging to Laban? Rather, Laban was saying that you, Jacob, acquired them from me. Here too, with regard to the children, Laban was saying: You acquired them from me, i.e., it is only due to me that you have children.
אֶלָּא מֵהָכָא וְאַחַר בָּא חֶצְרוֹן אֶל בַּת מָכִיר אֲבִי גִלְעָד וַתֵּלֶד לוֹ אֶת שְׂגוּב וּכְתִיב מִנִּי מָכִיר יָרְדוּ מְחוֹקְקִים וּכְתִיב יְהוּדָה מְחוֹקְקִי Rather, the proof is from here: “And afterward Hezron went in to the daughter of Machir, the father of Gilead…and she bore him Segub” (I Chronicles 2:21), and it is written: “Out of Machir came down governors” (Judges 5:14), and it is written: “Judah is my governor” (Psalms 60:9). Consequently, the governors, who were from the tribe of Judah, were also called the sons of Machir, who was from the tribe of Manasseh. This must be because they were the children of Machir’s daughter and Hezron, indicating that grandchildren are considered like children.
דְּלָאו כְּרַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ דְּתַנְיָא רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אוֹמֵר נָשָׂא אָדָם אִשָּׁה בְּיַלְדוּתוֹ יִשָּׂא אִשָּׁה בְּזִקְנוּתוֹ הָיוּ לוֹ בָּנִים בְּיַלְדוּתוֹ יִהְיוּ לוֹ בָּנִים בְּזִקְנוּתוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בַּבֹּקֶר זְרַע אֶת זַרְעֶךָ וְלָעֶרֶב אַל תַּנַּח יָדֶךָ כִּי אֵינְךָ יוֹדֵעַ אֵי זֶה יִכְשָׁר הֲזֶה אוֹ זֶה וְאִם שְׁנֵיהֶם כְּאֶחָד טוֹבִים § The Gemara comments: The mishna is not in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua. As it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehoshua says: If a man married a woman in his youth, and she passed away, he should marry another woman in his old age. If he had children in his youth, he should have more children in his old age, as it is stated: “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether they both alike shall be good” (Ecclesiastes 11:6). This verse indicates that a man should continue having children even after he has fulfilled the mitzva to be fruitful and multiply.
רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר לָמַד תּוֹרָה בְּיַלְדוּתוֹ יִלְמוֹד תּוֹרָה בְּזִקְנוּתוֹ הָיוּ לוֹ תַּלְמִידִים בְּיַלְדוּתוֹ יִהְיוּ לוֹ תַּלְמִידִים בְּזִקְנוּתוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בַּבֹּקֶר זְרַע אֶת זַרְעֶךָ וְגוֹ׳ אָמְרוּ שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אָלֶף זוּגִים תַּלְמִידִים הָיוּ לוֹ לְרַבִּי עֲקִיבָא מִגְּבָת עַד אַנְטִיפְרַס וְכוּלָּן מֵתוּ בְּפֶרֶק אֶחָד מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא נָהֲגוּ כָּבוֹד זֶה לָזֶה Rabbi Akiva says that the verse should be understood as follows: If one studied Torah in his youth he should study more Torah in his old age; if he had students in his youth he should have additional students in his old age, as it is stated: “In the morning sow your seed, etc.” They said by way of example that Rabbi Akiva had twelve thousand pairs of students in an area of land that stretched from Gevat to Antipatris in Judea, and they all died in one period of time, because they did not treat each other with respect.
וְהָיָה הָעוֹלָם שָׁמֵם עַד שֶׁבָּא רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אֵצֶל רַבּוֹתֵינוּ שֶׁבַּדָּרוֹם וּשְׁנָאָהּ לָהֶם רַבִּי מֵאִיר וְרַבִּי יְהוּדָה וְרַבִּי יוֹסֵי וְרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן וְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן שַׁמּוּעַ וְהֵם הֵם הֶעֱמִידוּ תּוֹרָה אוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה And the world was desolate of Torah until Rabbi Akiva came to our Rabbis in the South and taught his Torah to them. This second group of disciples consisted of Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Yehuda, Rabbi Yosei, Rabbi Shimon, and Rabbi Elazar ben Shamua. And these are the very ones who upheld the study of Torah at that time. Although Rabbi Akiva’s earlier students did not survive, his later disciples were able to transmit the Torah to future generations.
תָּנָא כּוּלָּם מֵתוּ מִפֶּסַח וְעַד עֲצֶרֶת אָמַר רַב חָמָא בַּר אַבָּא וְאִיתֵּימָא רַבִּי חִיָּיא בַּר אָבִין כּוּלָּם מֵתוּ מִיתָה רָעָה מַאי הִיא אָמַר רַב נַחְמָן אַסְכָּרָה With regard to the twelve thousand pairs of Rabbi Akiva’s students, the Gemara adds: It is taught that all of them died in the period from Passover until Shavuot. Rav Ḥama bar Abba said, and some say it was Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Avin: They all died a bad death. The Gemara inquires: What is it that is called a bad death? Rav Naḥman said: Diphtheria.
אָמַר רַב מַתְנָא הֲלָכָה כְּרַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ Rav Mattana said: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua, who said that one must attempt to have more children even if he has already fulfilled the mitzva to be fruitful and multiply.
אָמַר רַבִּי תַּנְחוּם אָמַר רַבִּי חֲנִילַאי כׇּל אָדָם שֶׁאֵין לוֹ אִשָּׁה שָׁרוּי בְּלֹא שִׂמְחָה בְּלֹא בְּרָכָה בְּלֹא טוֹבָה בְּלֹא שִׂמְחָה דִּכְתִיב וְשָׂמַחְתָּ אַתָּה וּבֵיתֶךָ בְּלֹא בְּרָכָה דִּכְתִיב לְהָנִיחַ בְּרָכָה אֶל בֵּיתֶךָ בְּלֹא טוֹבָה דִּכְתִיב לֹא טוֹב הֱיוֹת הָאָדָם לְבַדּוֹ § Apropos the discussion with regard to the mitzva to have children, the Gemara cites statements about marriage in general. Rabbi Tanḥum said that Rabbi Ḥanilai said: Any man who does not have a wife is left without joy, without blessing, without goodness. He proceeds to quote verses to support each part of his statement. He is without joy, as it is written: “And you shall rejoice, you and your household” (Deuteronomy 14:26), which indicates that the a man is in a joyful state only when he is with his household, i.e., his wife. He is without blessing, as it is written: “To cause a blessing to rest in your house” (Ezekiel 44:30), which indicates that blessing comes through one’s house, i.e., one’s wife. He is without goodness, as it is written: “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18), i.e., without a wife.
בְּמַעְרְבָא אָמְרִי בְּלֹא תּוֹרָה בְּלֹא חוֹמָה בְּלֹא תּוֹרָה דִּכְתִיב הַאִם אֵין עֶזְרָתִי בִי וְתוּשִׁיָּה נִדְּחָה מִמֶּנִּי בְּלֹא חוֹמָה דִּכְתִיב נְקֵבָה תְּסוֹבֵב גָּבֶר In the West, Eretz Yisrael, they say: One who lives without a wife is left without Torah, and without a wall of protection. He is without Torah, as it is written: “Is it that I have no help in me, and that sound wisdom is driven from me?” (Job 6:13), indicating that one who does not have a wife lacks sound wisdom, i.e., Torah. He is without a wall, as it is written: “A woman shall go round a man” (Jeremiah 31:21), similar to a protective wall.
רָבָא בַּר עוּלָּא אָמַר בְּלֹא שָׁלוֹם דִּכְתִיב וְיָדַעְתָּ כִּי שָׁלוֹם אׇהֳלֶךָ וּפָקַדְתָּ נָוְךָ וְלֹא תֶחֱטָא Rava bar Ulla said: One who does not have a wife is left without peace, as it is written: “And you shall know that your tent is in peace; and you shall visit your habitation and shall miss nothing” (Job 5:24). This indicates that a man has peace only when he has a tent, i.e., a wife.
אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי כׇּל הַיּוֹדֵעַ בְּאִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁהִיא יִרְאַת שָׁמַיִם וְאֵינוֹ פּוֹקְדָהּ נִקְרָא חוֹטֵא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְיָדַעְתָּ כִּי שָׁלוֹם אׇהֳלֶךָ וְגוֹ׳ וְאָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי חַיָּיב אָדָם לִפְקוֹד אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהוּא יוֹצֵא לַדֶּרֶךְ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְיָדַעְתָּ כִּי שָׁלוֹם אׇהֳלֶךָ וְגוֹ׳ On the same verse, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Whoever knows that his wife fears Heaven and she desires him, and he does not visit her, i.e., have intercourse with her, is called a sinner, as it is stated: And you shall know that your tent is in peace; and you shall visit your habitation. And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: A man is obligated to visit his wife for the purpose of having intercourse when he is about to depart on a journey, as it is stated: “And you shall know that your tent is in peace, etc.”
הָא מֵהָכָא נָפְקָא מֵהָתָם נָפְקָא וְאֶל אִישֵׁךְ תְּשׁוּקָתֵךְ מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהָאִשָּׁה מִשְׁתּוֹקֶקֶת עַל בַּעְלָהּ בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהוּא יוֹצֵא לְדֶרֶךְ אָמַר רַב יוֹסֵף לֹא נִצְרְכָה אֶלָּא סָמוּךְ לְוִוסְתָּהּ The Gemara asks: Is this last statement derived from here? It is derived from there: “And your desire shall be to your husband” (Genesis 3:16), which teaches that a wife desires her husband when he is about to depart on a journey. Rav Yosef said: The additional derivation cited by Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi is necessary only near the time of her set pattern, i.e., when she expects to begin experiencing menstrual bleeding. Although the Sages generally prohibited intercourse at this time due to a concern that the couple might have intercourse after she begins bleeding, if he is about to depart on a journey he must have intercourse with her.
וְכַמָּה אָמַר רָבָא עוֹנָה וְהָנֵי מִילֵּי לִדְבַר הָרְשׁוּת אֲבָל לִדְבַר מִצְוָה מִיטְּרִידִי The Gemara asks: And how much before the expected onset of menstrual bleeding is considered near the time of her set pattern? Rava said: An interval of time, i.e., half a daily cycle, either a day or a night. The Gemara comments: And this statement that a man must have intercourse with his wife before he departs on a journey applies only if he is traveling for an optional matter, but if he is traveling in order to attend to a matter pertaining to a mitzva, he is not required to have intercourse with his wife so that he not become preoccupied and neglect the mitzva.
תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן הָאוֹהֵב אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ כְּגוּפוֹ וְהַמְכַבְּדָהּ יוֹתֵר מִגּוּפוֹ וְהַמַּדְרִיךְ בָּנָיו וּבְנוֹתָיו בְּדֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה וְהַמַּשִּׂיאָן סָמוּךְ לְפִירְקָן עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר וְיָדַעְתָּ כִּי שָׁלוֹם אׇהֳלֶךָ הָאוֹהֵב אֶת שְׁכֵינָיו וְהַמְקָרֵב אֶת קְרוֹבָיו וְהַנּוֹשֵׂא אֶת בַּת אֲחוֹתוֹ § The Sages taught: One who loves his wife as he loves himself, and who honors her more than himself, and who instructs his sons and daughters in an upright path, and who marries them off near the time when they reach maturity, about him the verse states: And you shall know that your tent is in peace. As a result of his actions, there will be peace in his home, as it will be devoid of quarrel and sin. One who loves his neighbors, and who draws his relatives close, and who marries the daughter of his sister, a woman he knows and is fond of as a family relative and not only as a wife,