Life in the Womb
1 א

Introduction

2 ב

(יג) כִּֽי־אַ֭תָּה קָנִ֣יתָ כִלְיֹתָ֑י תְּ֝סֻכֵּ֗נִי בְּבֶ֣טֶן אִמִּֽי׃ (יד) אֽוֹדְךָ֗ עַ֤ל כִּ֥י נוֹרָא֗וֹת נִ֫פְלֵ֥יתִי נִפְלָאִ֥ים מַעֲשֶׂ֑יךָ וְ֝נַפְשִׁ֗י יֹדַ֥עַת מְאֹֽד׃ (טו) לֹא־נִכְחַ֥ד עָצְמִ֗י מִ֫מֶּ֥ךָּ אֲשֶׁר־עֻשֵּׂ֥יתִי בַסֵּ֑תֶר רֻ֝קַּ֗מְתִּי בְּֽתַחְתִּיּ֥וֹת אָֽרֶץ׃ (טז) גָּלְמִ֤י ׀ רָ֘א֤וּ עֵינֶ֗יךָ וְעַֽל־סִפְרְךָ֮ כֻּלָּ֪ם יִכָּ֫תֵ֥בוּ יָמִ֥ים יֻצָּ֑רוּ ולא [וְל֖וֹ] אֶחָ֣ד בָּהֶֽם׃

(13) It was You who created my conscience (lit., kidneys); You fashioned me in my mother’s womb. (14) I praise You, for I am awesomely, wondrously made; Your work is wonderful; I know it very well. (15) My frame was not concealed from You when I was shaped in a hidden place, knit together in the recesses of the earth. (16) Your eyes saw my unformed limbs; they were all recorded in Your book; in due time they were formed, to the very last one of them.

3 ג

Considerations

4 ד
  • Our cultural and political context
  • Private and personal experience of pregnancy
  • Hopes and anxieties
  • The nature of the texts we will be reading
    • Statements about specific issues, not overarching discussion about pregnancy
    • Sometimes can be jarring
    • Pay attention to what the texts say and what they do not articulate.
5 ה

Words

אדם / 'adam: human being איש / 'ish : human being (when not specified as male)

גוף, גופא / guf (Hebrew) , gufa (Aramaic) : body

ולד / valad: offspring (either before or after birth)

חיים / hayyim: life (as in the life of a living organism)

ירך / yarech: thigh (limb)

ממונא, ממון / mamon (Hebrew), mamona (Aramaic): property, money

נפש / Nefesh : life force, living being (animal or human), person (living human being)

עובר / `Ubar : fetus (animal or human)

תינוק / Tiynok: infant, baby (lit. suckling, from the verb י.נ.ק. / y.n.k.)

6 ו

Some Relevant Verses from the Torah (Chumash)

7 ז

(ו) שֹׁפֵךְ֙ דַּ֣ם הָֽאָדָ֔ם בָּֽאָדָ֖ם דָּמ֣וֹ יִשָּׁפֵ֑ךְ כִּ֚י בְּצֶ֣לֶם אֱלֹקִ֔ים עָשָׂ֖ה אֶת־הָאָדָֽם׃

(6) Whoever sheds the blood of man (האדם / ha'adam), By man shall his blood be shed; For in His image Did God make man.

8 ח

(כג) רַ֣ק חֲזַ֗ק לְבִלְתִּי֙ אֲכֹ֣ל הַדָּ֔ם כִּ֥י הַדָּ֖ם ה֣וּא הַנָּ֑פֶשׁ וְלֹא־תֹאכַ֥ל הַנֶּ֖פֶשׁ עִם־הַבָּשָֽׂר׃

(23) But make sure that you do not partake of the blood; for the blood is the life (nefesh), and you must not consume the life (nefesh) with the flesh.

9 ט

(כב) בְּשִׁבְעִ֣ים נֶ֔פֶשׁ יָרְד֥וּ אֲבֹתֶ֖יךָ מִצְרָ֑יְמָהּ וְעַתָּ֗ה שָֽׂמְךָ֙ ה' אֱלֹקֶ֔יךָ כְּכוֹכְבֵ֥י הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם לָרֹֽב׃

(22) Your ancestors went down to Egypt seventy persons (nefesh) in all; and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.

10 י

(יז) וְאִ֕ישׁ כִּ֥י יַכֶּ֖ה כָּל־נֶ֣פֶשׁ אָדָ֑ם מ֖וֹת יוּמָֽת׃

(17) If anyone kills any human being [כל-נפש אדם / kol nefesh adam / any person-of-a-human], he shall be put to death.

11 יא

(יב) מַכֵּ֥ה אִ֛ישׁ וָמֵ֖ת מ֥וֹת יוּמָֽת׃

(12) He who fatally strikes a person (איש / 'ish ) shall be put to death.

12 יב
(כב) וְכִֽי־יִנָּצ֣וּ אֲנָשִׁ֗ים וְנָ֨גְפ֜וּ אִשָּׁ֤ה הָרָה֙ וְיָצְא֣וּ יְלָדֶ֔יהָ וְלֹ֥א יִהְיֶ֖ה אָס֑וֹן עָנ֣וֹשׁ יֵעָנֵ֗שׁ כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֨ר יָשִׁ֤ית עָלָיו֙ בַּ֣עַל הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה וְנָתַ֖ן בִּפְלִלִֽים׃ (כג) וְאִם־אָס֖וֹן יִהְיֶ֑ה וְנָתַתָּ֥ה נֶ֖פֶשׁ תַּ֥חַת נָֽפֶשׁ׃ (כד) עַ֚יִן תַּ֣חַת עַ֔יִן שֵׁ֖ן תַּ֣חַת שֵׁ֑ן יָ֚ד תַּ֣חַת יָ֔ד רֶ֖גֶל תַּ֥חַת רָֽגֶל׃ (כה) כְּוִיָּה֙ תַּ֣חַת כְּוִיָּ֔ה פֶּ֖צַע תַּ֣חַת פָּ֑צַע חַבּוּרָ֕ה תַּ֖חַת חַבּוּרָֽה׃ (ס)

(22) When men fight, and one of them pushes a pregnant woman and a miscarriage results [ויצאו ילדיה / veyatz'u yeladeha / her 'yeladim' (offspring) depart], but no other damage ensues, the one responsible shall be fined according as the woman’s husband may exact from him, the payment to be based on reckoning. (23) But if other damage ensues, the penalty shall be life for life [נפש תחת נפש / nefesh tahat nefesh], (24) eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, (25) burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

13 יג

From the Rabbis (Chazal)

14 יד

The Early Stages of Pregnancy

15 טו

(ז) הַמַּפֶּלֶת לְיוֹם אַרְבָּעִים, אֵינָהּ חוֹשֶׁשֶׁת לְוָלָד. לְיוֹם אַרְבָּעִים וְאֶחָד, תֵּשֵׁב לְזָכָר וְלִנְקֵבָה וּלְנִדָּה. ...:

= Talmud Niddah 30b (7) If a woman miscarries on the fortieth day, she need not be concerned that there was offspring [ולד / valad]. On the forty-first day, she sits as for both a male and a female and as for a menstruant. ...

16 טז

אינה חוששת לולד - שלא נגמר יצירתו עד שיכלו כל מ' יום:

[Mishnah] she need not be concerned that there was an offspring - for its form [יצירתו / yetzirato] is not complete until all forty days have elapsed:

17 יז

אמר רב חסדא טובלת ואוכלת עד ארבעים דאי לא מיעברא הא לא מיעברא ואי מיעברא עד ארבעים מיא בעלמא היא

[Regarding the daughter of a kohen widowed after the passing of her non-kohen husband. May she 'return to her father's house' and resume eating terumah?] Rav Ḥisda said: She immerses and partakes of teruma only until forty days after her husband’s death, when there is still no reason for concern, for if she is not pregnant then she is not pregnant. And if she is pregnant, until forty days from conception the fetus is merely water [מיא בעלמא / mayya be`alma].

18 יח
וכמה הכרת העובר סומכוס אומר משום רבי מאיר שלשה חדשים

At what stage is the embryo discernible? Symmachus citing R. Meir replied: Three months after conception.

19 יט

תנו רבנן שלשה חדשים הראשונים ולד דר במדור התחתון אמצעיים ולד דר במדור האמצעי אחרונים ולד דר במדור העליון וכיון שהגיע זמנו לצאת מתהפך ויוצא וזהו חבלי אשה

The Rabbis taught: For the first three months, the fetus dwells in the lower dwelling (portion of the womb). The middle (three months): The fetus dwells in the middle dwelling. The last (three months): The fetus dwells in the upper dwelling. Once its time to depart arrives, it flips over and departs. This is "a woman's birth pangs."

20 כ

דרש רבי שמלאי למה הולד דומה במעי אמו לפנקס שמקופל ומונח ידיו על שתי צדעיו שתי אציליו על ב' ארכובותיו וב' עקביו על ב' עגבותיו וראשו מונח לו בין ברכיו ופיו סתום וטבורו פתוח ואוכל ממה שאמו אוכלת ושותה ממה שאמו שותה... ומלמדין אותו כל התורה כולה שנאמר (משלי ד ד) וַיֹּרֵ֗נִי וַיֹּ֥אמֶר לִ֗י יִֽתְמָךְ־דְּבָרַ֥י לִבֶּ֑ךָ שְׁמֹ֖ר מִצְוֺתַ֣י וֶֽחְיֵֽה ... וכיון שבא לאויר העולם בא מלאך וסטרו על פיו ומשכחו כל התורה כולה שנאמר (בראשית ד, ז) לפתח חטאת רובץ

Rabbi Simlai expounded: To what may the fetus (ולד / valad / offspring) in his mother's womb be compared? To a ledger that is set down folded: His hands are upon his two temples. His two elbows are upon his two ankles. His two heels are upon his two buttocks. His head is set between his knees. His mouth is sealed and his navel is open. He eats of what his mother eats and drinks of what his mother drinks... And he [the fetus] is taught the entire Torah, as it is said: (Proverbs 4:4) "He instructed me, and said to me, 'Let your mind hold onto my words; Keep my commandments and you will live'"... And when he [the fetus] comes to the light of the world, an angel comes and strikes it on the mouth and makes him forget the whole Torah, as it is said (Genesis 4:7) "Loss (חטאת / hata't / usually translated "sin") crouches at the door (lit., "petach", opening, i.e. of the mouth)."

21 כא

The Pregnant One and her Fetus

22 כב

אלא הא דתנן ולד טרפה ר' אליעזר אומר לא יקרב לגבי מזבח ר' יהושע אומר יקרב במאי קא מיפלגי כשעיברה ולבסוף נטרפה רבי אליעזר סבר עובר ירך אמו הוא ור' יהושע סבר עובר לאו ירך אמו הוא ...

[Concerning a pregnant animal:] Rav Ashi asks: But if a tereifa cannot become pregnant, that which we learned in a baraita is difficult: With regard to the offspring of a tereifa, Rabbi Eliezer says that it shall not be sacrificed on the altar, and Rabbi Yehoshua says that it may be sacrificed. With regard to what case do they disagree? It must be with regard to a case where the mother animal became pregnant and only afterward was rendered a tereifa. Rabbi Eliezer holds that a fetus is considered like the thigh of its mother and is rendered a tereifa as part of its body, and Rabbi Yehoshua holds that a fetus is not considered like the thigh of its mother. ...

23 כג

אלא אמר רבינא אימא אם עד שלא נגמר דינה עיברה וילדה ולדה מותר ואם עד שלא נגמר דינה עיברה ומשנגמר דינה ילדה ולדה אסור עובר ירך אמו הוא:

Rather, Ravina says: Emend the baraita and say that the distinction in the baraita is: If before its verdict was finalized, the cow was impregnated and calved, its offspring is permitted. If before its verdict was finalized, the cow was impregnated and after its verdict was finalized it calved, its offspring is forbidden because the legal status of the fetus is not that of an independent entity; rather, its status is like that of its mother’s thigh, i.e., a part of her body. Therefore, when the mother is sentenced to death, the offspring is also forbidden once it is born. (See also Rambam, Hilchot Nizkei Mamon (Property Damages) 11:12ץ)

24 כד

(יא) ... פָּסְקוּ לָהּ מְזוֹנוֹת הָרְאוּיוֹת לָהּ וַהֲרֵי הִיא מִתְאַוָּה לֶאֱכל יוֹתֵר אוֹ לֶאֱכל מַאֲכָלוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת מִפְּנֵי חֳלִי הַתַּאֲוָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהּ בְּבִטְנָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ אוֹכֶלֶת מִשֶּׁלָּהּ כָּל מַה שֶּׁתִּרְצֶה וְאֵין הַבַּעַל יָכוֹל לְעַכֵּב וְלוֹמַר שֶׁאִם תֹּאכַל יוֹתֵר מִדַּאי אוֹ תֹּאכַל מַאֲכָלִים רָעִים יָמוּת הַוָּלָד מִפְּנֵי שֶׁצַּעַר גּוּפָהּ קוֹדֵם:

...If a certain amount was set aside for her support, but she has a desire to eat more, or to eat other foods because of the sickness that comes from her craving, she may eat...whatever s he wishes. Her husband may not stop her, saying "if she eats too much or eats unhealthy foods, the fetus will die; for her physical pain comes first.

25 כה

Accidentally Causing a Woman to Miscarry

26 כו

(כב) וְכִֽי־יִנָּצ֣וּ אֲנָשִׁ֗ים וְנָ֨גְפ֜וּ אִשָּׁ֤ה הָרָה֙ וְיָצְא֣וּ יְלָדֶ֔יהָ וְלֹ֥א יִהְיֶ֖ה אָס֑וֹן עָנ֣וֹשׁ יֵעָנֵ֗שׁ כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֨ר יָשִׁ֤ית עָלָיו֙ בַּ֣עַל הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה וְנָתַ֖ן בִּפְלִלִֽים׃ (כג) וְאִם־אָס֖וֹן יִהְיֶ֑ה וְנָתַתָּ֥ה נֶ֖פֶשׁ תַּ֥חַת נָֽפֶשׁ׃

(22) When men fight, and one of them pushes a pregnant woman and a miscarriage results, but no other damage (אסון / 'ason) ensues, the one responsible shall be fined according as the woman’s husband may exact from him, the payment to be based on reckoning. (23) But if other damage ensues, the penalty shall be life for life,

27 כז

(ז) ענוש יענש ממון. אתה אומר ממון, או אינו אלא מיתה. הרי אתה דן. נאמר כאן עונש, ונאמר להלן וענשו אותו. מה להלן ממון, אף כאן ממון.

(7) "then he shall be punished": (by payment of) money. You say this, but perhaps death is meant? It follows, inductively. It is written here "punish," and, elsewhere (Devarim 22:19) "and they shall punish (i.e., fine) him a hundred (shekels of) silver." Just as there, money; so, here, money.

28 כח

Extreme Case #1: The Pregnant Woman on Death Row

29 כט

מתני׳ האשה שיצאה ליהרג אין ממתינין לה עד שתלד האשה שישבה על המשבר ממתינין לה עד שתלד ...:

MISHNA: In the case of a pregnant woman who is taken by the court to be executed, the court does not wait to execute her until she gives birth. Rather, she is killed immediately. But with regard to a woman taken to be executed who sat on the travailing chair [hamashber] in the throes of labor, the court waits to execute her until she gives birth. ...

30 ל

גמ׳ פשיטא גופה היא איצטריך ס"ד אמינא הואיל וכתיב (שמות כא, כב) כאשר ישית עליו בעל האשה ממונא דבעל הוא ולא ליפסדיה מיניה קמ"ל

GEMARA: Isn’t it obvious that the court executes the pregnant woman rather than waiting? After all, it is (part of) her body. The Gemara answers: It was necessary for the mishna to teach this, as it might enter your mind to say that since it is written: “And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her offspring depart…he shall be fined, as the woman’s husband shall place upon him” (Exodus 21:22), the fetus is considered to be the property (ממונא / mamona') of the husband. If so, the court should wait until she gives birth before executing her, and not cause him to lose the fetus. Consequently, the Mishnah teaches us that the court does not take this factor into account.

31 לא

ישבה על המשבר וכו': מ"ט כיון דעקר גופא אחרינא הוא:

§ The mishna teaches: With regard to a woman taken to be executed who sat on the travailing chair in the throes of labor, the court waits to execute her until she gives birth. The Gemara asks: What is the reason for delaying the execution in this case? The Gemara answers: Once the fetus uproots from its place and begins to leave the woman’s body, it is considered an independent body and may not be killed together with the mother.

32 לב

אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל האשה היוצאה ליהרג מכין אותה כנגד בית הריון כדי שימות הוולד תחילה כדי שלא תבא לידי ניוול ...

Rav Yehuda says that Shmuel says: In the case of a pregnant woman who is taken by the court to be executed, one strikes her opposite the womb, i.e., on the abdomen, so that the fetus dies first and so that she not suffer disgrace as a result of publicly bleeding from labor. ...

33 לג

Extreme Case #2: A Severely Complicated Delivery

34 לד

(ו) הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁהִיא מַקְשָׁה לֵילֵד, מְחַתְּכִין אֶת הַוָּלָד בְּמֵעֶיהָ וּמוֹצִיאִין אוֹתוֹ אֵבָרִים אֵבָרִים, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁחַיֶּיהָ קוֹדְמִין לְחַיָּיו. יָצָא רֻבּוֹ, אֵין נוֹגְעִין בּוֹ, שֶׁאֵין דּוֹחִין נֶפֶשׁ מִפְּנֵי נָפֶשׁ:

(6) If a woman is having trouble giving birth, one may cut up the offspring (ולד) in her womb and bring it forth limb by limb, because her life comes before the life of [the offspring]. But if the greater part has come out, one may not touch it, for one may not set aside a person (נפש - nefesh) for a(nother) person (נפש - nefesh).

35 לה

יצא ראשו - באשה המקשה לילד ומסוכנת וקתני רישא החיה פושטת ידה וחותכתו ומוציאתו לאברים דכל זמן שלא יצא לאויר העולם לאו נפש הוא וניתן להורגו ולהציל את אמו אבל יצא ראשו אין נוגעים בו להורגו דהוה ליה כילוד ואין דוחין נפש מפני נפש ...:

its head came out: With a women that is experiencing difficulty giving birth and is in [mortal] danger. And it is taught in the first section [of this teaching], "the midwife extends her hand and cuts it up and extracts [the pieces]." So long as it has not come out into the air of the world, it is not a person (nefesh) and it is a given to kill it and to save its mother. But once its head has been delivered [lit. come out], we cannot touch it [take means] to kill it, as it is considered to be born; and one may not set aside a person (nefesh) for a[nother] person (nefesh). ...

36 לו

(ט) אַף זוֹ מִצְוַת לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁלֹּא לָחוּס עַל נֶפֶשׁ הָרוֹדֵף. לְפִיכָךְ הוֹרוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁהָעֻבָּרָה שֶׁהִיא מַקְשָׁה לֵילֵד מֻתָּר לַחְתֹּךְ הָעֵבָּר בְּמֵעֶיהָ בֵּין בְּסַם בֵּין בְּיָד מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא כְּרוֹדֵף אַחֲרֶיהָ לְהָרְגָהּ. וְאִם מִשֶּׁהוֹצִיא רֹאשׁוֹ אֵין נוֹגְעִין בּוֹ שֶׁאֵין דּוֹחִין נֶפֶשׁ מִפְּנֵי נֶפֶשׁ וְזֶהוּ טִבְעוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם:

(9) This, indeed, is one of the negative mitzvot - not to take pity on the life of a pursuer [rodef]. On this basis, our Sages ruled that when complications arise and a pregnant woman cannot give birth, it is permitted to cut the fetus in her womb, whether with drugs or by hand, for it is like one pursuing [rodef] after her to kill her. If the head of the fetus emerges, it should not be touched, because one person [nefesh] is not set aside for another person. [Although the mother may die], this is the nature of the world.

37 לז

והא דתנן וההורגו חייב. ודוקא בן יום א' אבל עובר לא דלא קרינא ביה נפש אדם וה"נ אמרינן בסנהדרין (עב, ב) האשה שמקשה לילד מביאין סכין ומחתכין אותו אבר אבר יצא ראשו אין נוגעין בו שאין דוחין נפש מפני נפש אלמא מעיקרא ליכא משום הצלת נפש וקרא נמי כתיב דמשלם דמי ולדות ...

In regard to the statement of the Mishnah, "one who kills [a newborn baby] is liable [for the death penalty]:" only a newborn but not a fetus, which is not called a human being [nefesh adam], as is stated in bSanhedrin (72b)...

38 לח

The Baby of One Day (Newborn) - תינוק / Tiynok

39 לט

תִּינוֹקֶת בַּת יוֹם אֶחָד, מִטַּמְּאָה בְנִדָּה. בַּת עֲשָׂרָה יָמִים, מִטַּמְּאָה בְזִיבָה. תִּינוֹק בֶּן יוֹם אֶחָד, מִטַּמֵּא בְזִיבָה, וּמִטַּמֵּא בִנְגָעִים, וּמִטַּמֵּא בִטְמֵא מֵת, וְזוֹקֵק לְיִבּוּם, וּפוֹטֵר מִן הַיִּבּוּם, וּמַאֲכִיל בַּתְּרוּמָה, וּפוֹסֵל מִן הַתְּרוּמָה, וְנוֹחֵל וּמַנְחִיל. וְהַהוֹרְגוֹ, חַיָּב. וַהֲרֵי הוּא לְאָבִיו וּלְאִמּוֹ וּלְכָל קְרוֹבָיו כְּחָתָן שָׁלֵם:

An infant girl (תינוק / tiynok) of one day [=newborn] defiles due to menstruation. A girl ten days old defiles due to zivah. A baby boy (תינוק / tiynok) of one day defiles due to zivah, and defiles due to scale disease and due to corpse uncleanness; He subjects [his deceased brother's widow] to yibbum [levirate marriage]; He exempts [his mother] from yibbum, He enables her (if he is a kohen) to eat terumah And he disqualifies her (if she is the daughter of a kohen married to an Israelit) from eating terumah; He inherits and transmits inheritance; one who kills him is guilty of murder, And he counts to his father, to his mother and to all his relatives as a fully grown man.

40 מ

וההורגו חייב דכתיב (ויקרא כד, יז) ואיש כי יכה כל נפש מ"מ

והרי הוא לאביו ולאמו ולכל קרוביו כחתן שלם. למאי הלכתא? אמר רב פפא לענין אבלות. כמאן? דלא כרשב"ג, דאמר כל ששהה שלשים יום באדם אינו נפל, הא לא שהה, ספק הוי! הכא במאי עסקינן? דקים ליה שכלו לו חדשיו

[Quoting the Mishnah (mNiddah 5:3 / bNiddah 43b) "One who kills him [=a day-old baby] is liable [for the death penalty]" --as it is written, "If anyone kills any nefesh (of a human)" {Leviticus 24:17}, in any case.

[Quoting the Mishnah (mNiddah 5:3 / bNiddah 43b) "And he counts to his father and to his mother and to all his relatives as a 'complete chattan.'" What is the halachic import? Said Rav Papa, 'In regard to the matter of mourning.' In accordance with whom? Not in accordance with Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, who said that any newborn who survives for thirty days is not considered a stillborn. This baby has not lived for thirty days, and is therefore a case of doubt! With what instance are we dealing? When it has been established that he has completed his months.

41 מא

The Septuagint to Exodus 21:22-23: the "fully-formed" (אסון) Fetus

42 מב

Septuagint to Exodus 21:22-23 (source: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/02-exod-nets.pdf)

43 מג
44 מד
45 מה

The Fetus and The Sons of Noah

46 מו

משום רבי ישמעאל אמרו אף על העוברין מאי טעמיה דרבי ישמעאל דכתיב (בראשית ט, ו) שופך דם האדם באדם דמו ישפך איזהו אדם שהוא באדם הוי אומר זה עובר שבמעי אמו

It is stated in that book of Aggadot that the Sages said in the name of Rabbi Yishmael: A descendant of Noah is executed even for killing fetuses. The Gemara asks: What is the reason for the opinion of Rabbi Yishmael? The Gemara answers: It is derived from that which is written: “One who sheds the blood of a person, by a person [ba’adam, lit. 'in the person'] his blood shall be shed” (Genesis 9:6). The word ba’adam literally means: In a person, and is interpreted homiletically: What is a person that is in a person? You must say: This is a fetus that is in its mother’s womb. Accordingly, a descendant of Noah is liable for killing a fetus.

47 מז

אף על העוברין - הכה את האשה ויצאו ילדיה נהרג עליהן ובישראל עד שיצא לאויר העולם כדתנן במס' [נדה] (דף מד.) תינוק בן יום אחד ההורגו חייב היכא דקים ליה בגוויה שכלו לו חדשיו ואינו נפל:

48 מח

Responsa Koach Shor כח שור - R. Isaach Schorr - vol. 1, #20, 1755 (http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=632&st=&pgnum=75)

49 מט
50 נ

It is not to be supposed that the Torah would consider the embryo as a person [nefesh] for them [Sons of Noah] but not a person for us. The fetus is not a person for them either; the Torah merely was more severe in its practical ruling in their regard. [Translation of Rabbi David Feldman, Birth Control in Jewish Law (1998 edition), p. 261.

51 נא

Additional Resources

52 נב
  • Rabbi Yona Reiss, Av Bet Din, Chicago Rabbinical Council, "Abortion in Halacha" (May 23, 2019), available at https://www.torahanytime.com/#/lectures?v=84087
  • Rabbi David M. Feldman, Birth Control in Jewish Law, Jason Aronson edition, 1998.