Jewish Thought and Law III Children
1 א

תָּנֵי בִּזְמַן שֶׁהַוְלַד נוֹצָר בִּמְעֵי אִמּוֹ, שְׁלשָׁה הֵם שֻׁתָּפִין בּוֹ, הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְאָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ, אָבִיו מַזְרִיעַ בּוֹ לֹבֶן שֶׁמִּמֶּנּוּ הַבָנִים, וְהַמֹּחַ, וְהַצִּפָּרְנַיִם, וְלֹבֶן שֶׁבָּעַיִן, וְהָעֲצָמוֹת, וְהַגִּידִין. אִמּוֹ מַזְרַעַת אֹדֶם שֶׁמִּמֶּנּוּ הַדָּמִים, וְהָעוֹר, וְהַבָּשָׂר, וְשֵׂעָר וְשָׁחוֹר שֶׁבָּעֵינַיִם. וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִתְבָּרַךְ שְׁמוֹ וְיִתְרוֹמֵם זִכְרוֹ, נוֹתֵן בּוֹ עֲשָׂרָה דְבָרִים, וְאֵלּוּ הֵן: רוּחַ, וּנְשָׁמָה, וּקְלַסְתֵּר, פָּנִים, וּמַרְאִית עֵינַיִם, וּשְׁמִיעַת אָזְנַיִם, וְדִבּוּר שְׂפָתַיִם, וּנְשִׂיאוּת יָדַיִם, וְהִלּוּךְ רַגְלַיִם, וְחָכְמָה, וּבִינָה, וְעֵצָה, וְדַעַת, וּגְבוּרָה. וּכְשֶׁבָּא שְׁעַת פְּטִירָתוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא נוֹטֵל חֶלְקוֹ וּמַנִּיחַ חֵלֶק אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ לִפְנֵיהֶם, וְאָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ בּוֹכִין. אָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַה לָּכֶם בּוֹכִין כְּלוּם נָטַלְתִּי מִשֶּׁלָּכֶם, לֹא נָטַלְתִּי אֶלָּא שֶׁלִּי. אוֹמְרִים לְפָנָיו רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם כָּל זְמַן שֶׁהָיָה חֶלְקְךָ מְעֹרָב בְּחֶלְקֵנוּ הָיָה חֶלְקֵנוּ שָׁמוּר מִן רִמָּה וְתוֹלֵעָה, וְעַכְשָׁיו שֶׁנָּטַלְתָּ חֶלְקְךָ מִתּוֹךְ חֶלְקֵנוּ, הֲרֵי חֶלְקֵנוּ מֻשְׁלָךְ וְנָתוּן לְרִמָּה וְתוֹלֵעָה.

Translate ___________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________

2 ב

1. Psychological Need

3 ג

(א) וַתֵּ֣רֶא רָחֵ֗ל כִּ֣י לֹ֤א יָֽלְדָה֙ לְיַעֲקֹ֔ב וַתְּקַנֵּ֥א רָחֵ֖ל בַּאֲחֹתָ֑הּ וַתֹּ֤אמֶר אֶֽל־יַעֲקֹב֙ הָֽבָה־לִּ֣י בָנִ֔ים וְאִם־אַ֖יִן מֵתָ֥ה אָנֹֽכִי׃

(1) When Rachel saw that she had borne Jacob no children, she became envious of her sister; and Rachel said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die.”

4 ד
(כב) וַיִּזְכֹּ֥ר אֱלֹקִ֖ים אֶת־רָחֵ֑ל וַיִּשְׁמַ֤ע אֵלֶ֙יהָ֙ אֱלֹקִ֔ים וַיִּפְתַּ֖ח אֶת־רַחְמָֽהּ׃
(22) Now God remembered Rachel; God heeded her and opened her womb.
5 ה
(כג) וַתַּ֖הַר וַתֵּ֣לֶד בֵּ֑ן וַתֹּ֕אמֶר אָסַ֥ף אֱלֹקִ֖ים אֶת־חֶרְפָּתִֽי׃
(23) She conceived and bore a son, and said, “God has taken away my disgrace.”
6 ו

What, in your opinion is the psychological need for children?

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

7 ז

2. The Blessing of Having Children

8 ח

(ח) רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יְהוּדָה מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחַאי אוֹמֵר... וְהַבָּנִים... נָאֶה לַצַּדִּיקִים וְנָאֶה לָעוֹלָם... שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר עֲטֶרֶת זְקֵנִים בְּנֵי בָנִים וְתִפְאֶרֶת בָּנִים אֲבוֹתָם.

(8) Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai.... children are becoming to the righteous, and becoming to the world... as it says: “Grandchildren are the glory of their elders, and the glory of children is their parents”

9 ט

How are children a blessing to parents? _____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

10 י

3. The Rewards

11 יא

(ב) עֲטֶרֶת זְקֵנִים בְּנֵי בָנִים (משלי יז, ו), הָאָבוֹת עֲטָרָה לַבָּנִים, וְהַבָּנִים עֲטָרָה לָאָבוֹת. הָאָבוֹת עֲטָרָה לַבָּנִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי יז, ו): וְתִפְאֶרֶת בָּנִים אֲבוֹתָם. הַבָּנִים עֲטָרָה לָאָבוֹת, דִּכְתִיב: עֲטֶרֶת זְקֵנִים בְּנֵי בָנִים. רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר רַב יִצְחָק אָמַר אַבְרָהָם לֹא נִצֹּל מִכִּבְשַׁן הָאֵשׁ אֶלָּא בִּזְכוּת שֶׁל יַעֲקֹב, מָשָׁל לְאֶחָד שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ דִּין לִפְנֵי הַשִּׁלְטוֹן וְיָצָא דִינוֹ מִלִּפְנֵי הַשִּׁלְטוֹן לִשָֹּׂרֵף, וְצָפָה אוֹתוֹ הַשִּׁלְטוֹן בְּאַסְטְרוֹלוֹגְיָאה שֶׁלּוֹ שֶׁהוּא עָתִיד לְהוֹלִיד בַּת וְהִיא נִשַֹּׂאת לַמֶּלֶךְ, אָמַר כְּדַאי הוּא לְהִנָּצֵל בִּזְכוּת בִּתּוֹ שֶׁהוּא עָתִיד לְהוֹלִיד וְהִיא נִשַֹּׂאת לַמֶּלֶךְ. כָּךְ אַבְרָהָם יָצָא דִינוֹ מִלִּפְנֵי נִמְרוֹד לִשָֹּׂרֵף, וְצָפָה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁיַּעֲקֹב עָתִיד לַעֲמֹד מִמֶּנּוּ, אָמַר כְּדַאי הוּא אַבְרָהָם לְהִנָּצֵל בִּזְכוּתוֹ שֶׁל יַעֲקֹב, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (ישעיה כט, כב): לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר ה' אֶל בֵּית יַעֲקֹב אֲשֶׁר פָּדָה אֶת אַבְרָהָם, יַעֲקֹב פָדָה אֶת אַבְרָהָם.

Translate: __________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

12 יב

4. Brings Husband and Wife Closer

13 יג

(תהלים קכח, ו) וראה בנים לבניך שלום על ישראל אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי כיון שבנים לבניך שלום על ישראל דלא אתי לידי חליצה ויבום רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר כיון שבנים לבניך שלום על דייני ישראל דלא אתי לאינצויי:

With regard to the verse: “And see your son’s sons; peace be upon Israel” (Psalms 128:6), Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Once your children have children of their own, there is peace upon Israel, as they will not come to require the ritual through which the yavam frees the yevama of her levirate bonds [ḥalitza] or levirate marriage, which are necessary only if a man dies childless. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said: Once your sons have sons there will be peace upon the judges of Israel, as relatives will not come to quarrel with the judges over the inheritance.

14 יד

In what way do you think children bring peace to the home? _____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

15 טו

היתה אשתו מעוברת ואומר יהי רצון שתלד אשתי זכר הרי זו תפלת שוא

The mishna states: And one who cries out over the past in an attempt to change that which has already occurred, it is a vain prayer. For example, one whose wife was pregnant and he says: May it be God’s will that my wife will give birth to a male child, it is a vain prayer.

16 טז

Why is it a vain prayer to request a specific gender baby? _____________________________________________________________________

17 יז

כדתניא שלשה ימים הראשונים יבקש אדם רחמים שלא יסריח משלשה ועד ארבעים יבקש רחמים שיהא זכר מארבעים יום ועד שלשה חדשים יבקש רחמים שלא יהא סנדל משלשה חדשים ועד ששה יבקש רחמים שלא יהא נפל מששה ועד תשעה יבקש רחמים שיצא בשלום

As it was taught in a baraita: During the first three days after intercourse, one should pray that the seed not putrefy, that it will fertilize the egg and develop into a fetus. From the third day until the fortieth, one should pray that it will be male. From the fortieth day until three months, one should pray that it will not be deformed, in the shape of a flat fish, as when the fetus does not develop it assumes a shape somewhat similar to a flat sandal fish. From the third month until the sixth, one should pray that it will not be stillborn. And from the sixth month until the ninth, one should pray that it will be emerge safely. Therefore, during the first forty days from conception, one may still pray to affect the gender of the fetus.

18 יח

What are the 5 stages of prenatal prayer? _____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

19 יט

(א) וַיֹּסִ֙פוּ֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת הָרַ֖ע בְּעֵינֵ֣י ה' וַיִּתְּנֵ֧ם ה' בְּיַד־פְּלִשְׁתִּ֖ים אַרְבָּעִ֥ים שָׁנָֽה׃ (פ) (ב) וַיְהִי֩ אִ֨ישׁ אֶחָ֧ד מִצָּרְעָ֛ה מִמִּשְׁפַּ֥חַת הַדָּנִ֖י וּשְׁמ֣וֹ מָנ֑וֹחַ וְאִשְׁתּ֥וֹ עֲקָרָ֖ה וְלֹ֥א יָלָֽדָה׃ (ג) וַיֵּרָ֥א מַלְאַךְ־ה' אֶל־הָאִשָּׁ֑ה וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלֶ֗יהָ הִנֵּה־נָ֤א אַתְּ־עֲקָרָה֙ וְלֹ֣א יָלַ֔דְתְּ וְהָרִ֖ית וְיָלַ֥דְתְּ בֵּֽן׃ (ד) וְעַתָּה֙ הִשָּׁ֣מְרִי נָ֔א וְאַל־תִּשְׁתִּ֖י יַ֣יִן וְשֵׁכָ֑ר וְאַל־תֹּאכְלִ֖י כָּל־טָמֵֽא׃

(1) The Israelites again did what was offensive to the LORD, and the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. (2) There was a certain man from Zorah, of the stock of Dan, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren and had borne no children. (3) An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “You are barren and have borne no children; but you shall conceive and bear a son. (4) Now be careful not to drink wine or other intoxicant, or to eat anything unclean.

20 כ

Why is it so vital to be careful to consume specific entities prior to the birth? ______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

21 כא

The Real "Planned Parenthood". Explain the effect we have on our children prior to their birth. _____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

22 כב

Amniocentesis:

This excerpt has been taken from Aish.com

A Jewish perspective on issues related to screening for Tay-Sachs disease.


Tay-Sachs disease is a particularly tragic, inherited illness. A baby is born healthy, with no indications of an abnormality. Sadly, at approximately six months of age, the formerly cheerful baby gradually loses its previously gained milestones and undergoes physical and mental deterioration. The baby loses muscle tone and stops smiling, crawling, and turning over, losing its ability to grasp or reach out. Eventually, the child becomes blind, paralyzed, and unaware of the surrounding world. Death almost always occurs by age five.

The underlying defect in Tay-Sachs disease is a lack of an enzyme called hexosaminidase A, an enzyme that is necessary for breaking down specific fatty substances (ganglioside GM2) in brain and nerve cells. These fatty substances build up and gradually destroy brain and nerve cells, until the entire central nervous system stops working. While there are rare cases of later onset Tay-Sachs disease1 (which may be less severe), the infantile type of Tay-Sachs is by far the most common.

Is there a Torah obligation to seek genetic screening for Tay-Sachs? If genetic screening is permitted or required, when should people be tested? To whom shall we reveal the results? Should we inform employers, insurers, and relatives? What are the ramifications of testing positive for an abnormal gene? Are there different ramifications of testing positive before versus after marriage?

In this article, we will use the gene for Tay-Sachs, found in high prevalence in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, as a representative example of the issues arising when testing for a recessively inherited disease.

A LESSON IN GENETICS

A gene vs. a disease
In order to understand the Jewish approach to genetic screening, background information is required. We must first make a clear distinction between a gene and a disease. One may carry a gene for a disease without manifesting any ill effects. One's genotype, or genetic makeup, is merely a description of a person's genes. If one expresses the trait coded for by the lethal gene, we say that his phenotype, or physical nature, is positive for the disease.

Modes of inheritance
Diseases may be inherited in several ways, the two simplest mechanisms being autosomal recessive and autosomal dominant. The cells of human beings carry two copies of the gene for each trait, however the copies may not be identical. One requires two genes for a recessive trait to be manifested, while one requires only one gene for a dominant trait to be manifested. For instance, one may carry a single gene for blue eyes and another for brown eyes, yet one's eye color will be brown, since brown eye color is a dominant trait. One would require two blue eye genes to actually have blue eyes.

Why do kids get Tay-Sachs and adults get breast cancer?

Offspring could develop the disease only if both parents are carriers and both passed it on to their child -- a one in four chance per pregnancy.

Recessively inherited diseases, such as Tay-Sachs, tend to affect children.2 In such a recessively inherited disease, those with two defective genes would die as children, while people carrying one copy of the gene would be phenotypically normal, but risk passing the gene on to their offspring. Practically speaking, this means that for any lethal genetic disease that manifests exclusively before reproductive age, there must be many unaffected adults carrying the gene for the deadly disease in question. The only way (barring mutation) that the offspring of a carrier could develop the disease would be if their spouse also carried the defective gene and both passed it on to their child, a one in four chance per pregnancy.

This is both a blessing and a curse. Since carriers are healthy, there is no simple way to remove the gene from the gene pool. 3 We would have to bar all carriers from having children, a prospect which is both unethical and cruel. On the other hand, we could easily prevent the birth of babies with recessively inherited diseases (such as Tay-Sachs and cystic fibrosis) by preventing carriers from marrying.4

For any dominantly inherited trait or disease, only one copy of the gene for that trait is required, such as in the case of brown eyes mentioned above. Any child who inherits even one copy of the defective gene for a disease such as Huntington Disease (a lethal neurological disease) will almost certainly develop the disease, although the age of onset may be between two years and over 80 years. All lethal dominantly inherited diseases must have adult onsets or there would be no one to pass on the disease to the next generation. These diseases would also be virtually impossible to eradicate, since mutations are fairly common and we would have to forbid people who are currently healthy (but are likely to develop the disease) or already manifesting the disease, to marry. Some forms of breast and ovarian cancer demonstrate dominant inheritance.

Why screening for recessively inherited diseases is less traumatic
The Jewish community has had a lot of experience dealing with screening for recessively inherited diseases through Tay-Sachs testing programs for over 30 years. Because one is only testing for a gene, but not for a disease itself, there is a definite psychological benefit. There is no direct threat to the health of the person being tested. The carrier remains healthy following the discovery of the carrier state -- only potential offspring are affected. Additionally, knowledge of the carrier state empowers one to act to prevent the birth of children with a tragic disease. Therefore, the person being tested can retain their self-image of normal health.

The traditional Jewish community has been very receptive to Tay-Sachs testing. Jews have used the knowledge gained from testing to significantly decrease the incidence of Tay-Sachs births, with segments of the Orthodox community virtually eradicating Tay-Sachs births by an ingenious method of preventing carriers from marrying (which I will describe later in this article). Widespread testing has also been strongly encouraged by all segments of the Jewish community. Nevertheless, many issues arise even in testing for a recessively transmitted disease.

Is there a moral obligation to screen and if so, when?
While the Torah obligates us to guard our health,5 it does not necessarily follow that testing ourselves for recessive genetic traits (that do not directly affect our health) is included in the mitzvah. Nevertheless, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein favored Tay-Sachs testing and considered the possibility that testing might be a moral obligation.6 He states that while one may usually ignore a small risk that society finds acceptable (See: Taking a Risk),7 not being tested for Tay-Sachs is like closing one's eyes to an obvious danger. He also points out the severe emotional repercussions of not testing if a Tay-Sachs child is born.

Yet, Rabbi Feinstein feared that testing teenagers could hurt the self-image of those testing positive and lead to discrimination against them when seeking a spouse. He recognized that despite assurances from the medical community that carrying the Tay-Sachs trait presents no health issues for the individual or his offspring (so long as both spouses are not carriers), many people will shun marrying into a family with a genetic defect. Therefore, Rabbi Feinstein insisted on safeguards to protect confidentiality, advising testing of youngsters on an individual basis (and not mass screening), and only when he/she is prepared to start dating.

Dor Yeshorim
Rabbi Feinstein's approach is the approach of Dor Yeshorim, an organization that functions in the traditional Jewish community where formal introductions precede first dates. Dor Yeshorim carries the conclusions of Rabbi Feinstein to their logical conclusion. Being a carrier for Tay-Sachs does not impact on the health of the individual being tested and only affects potential offspring. Therefore, so long as marriage between carriers is prevented, there is no reason for anyone to be informed of the test results, including the prospective spouse and even the person himself!

Dor Yeshorim tests people for a variety of recessively inherited diseases,8 most notably Tay-Sachs, only informing matchmakers whether a prospective match presents a problem of genetic incompatibility.9Neither of the young people is told of their carrier status, but any potentially disastrous matches are averted. This anonymity is crucial in preventing Tay-Sachs status from causing emotional pain before marriage. It avoids initial emotional attachment between carriers by preventing their meeting, and prevents catastrophe after marriage (if two carriers marry). Dor Yeshorim has prevented many genetically incompatible matches before the couples ever met!10

23 כג

According To Reb Moshe Feinstien, Zt"l, would the parents be permitted to abort the baby if the fetus has the disease? ____________________________________________________________________

24 כד

Rabbi Eliezer Yehudah Waldenberg allows abortion following amniocentesis during the first trimester if the fetus is determined to have Tay Sachs disease. "If there is a strong suspicion that the fetus will be born physically deformed and suffer greatly, one can allow abortion prior to forty days of conception and perhaps even up to three months of the pregnancy before the fetus, begins to move" (1). Waldenberg also allows termination of pregnancy far Tay Sachs disease up to the seventh month of pregnancy because the defect, the anguish, the shame, the physical and mental pain and suffering of the parents are inestimable. (2).

  1. Waldenberg KY. Responsa Tzitz Eliezer, Vol. 9 #51 :3; Jerusalem, 1967.

  2. Waldenberg KY. Responsa Tzitz Eliezer, Vol. 13 #102; Jerusalem, 1978.

25 כה

Explain the Tzitz Eliezer, Rabbi Waldenbergs lenient view on Amniocentesis. _____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

26 כו

Ayin Hara:

How it works _____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

Gender Reveal vs keeping it a secret

Child in Breach-Checking the Mezuzot