Tosefta Yevamot 8:4
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לא יבטל אדם מפריה ורביה אלא אם כן יש לו בנים... ר' נתן אומ' בית שמיי אומ' שני בנים כבניו של משה שנ' ובני משה גרשם ואליעזר בית הלל אומ' זכר ונקבה שנ' זכר ונקבה בראם
A man shall not desist from fulfilling (the mitzvah) to be fruitful and multiply until he has children... Rabbi Nathan says: The house of Shammai says two sons like the (two) sons of Moses, as it says "and the sons of Moses, Gershom and Eliezer," (Chronicles 1, 23:15). The house of Hillel says: [he must produce] a son and a daughter, as it says: “male and female, he created them," (Genesis 1:27) [Translation by Rabbi Steven Greenberg]
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Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. Why might Shammai have used Moses as the model of fulfillment and why might Hillel have used the text in Genesis to do so? What does this say about their disagreement?

2. The rabbis disagree about whether a convert's children born before the conversion count, Rabbi Yochanan thinks that he has fulfilled the mitzvah but Reish Lakish thinks that he hasn't. Might the controversy above between Hillel and Shammai shed light on this disagreement?

3. The Talmud (BT Yevamot 62a) has another reading of the controversy between Hillel and Shammai. There Rabbi Nathan says that Shammai holds that the mitzvah requires one male and one female while Hillel requires just one child of any sex. The Gemara explains Hillel's view here using another text, a verse from Isaiah: "He created the world not to lie empty; he formed it to be inhabited," (Isaiah 45:18). Even a single child is sufficient since it accomplishes "habitation." How does this view differ from either of the earlier views?

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Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)