Does the Gemoro say that we should have fewer children when times are tough?

Home Forums Decaffeinated Coffee Controversial Topics Does the Gemoro say that we should have fewer children when times are tough?

Viewing 35 posts - 1 through 35 (of 35 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #607638

    yichusdik
    Participant

    I came across an interesting passage in Taanis recently daf 11a. I have quoted it in translation at the bottom of this post.

    I know this is a bit controversial, and I am not taking a position one way or the other. But it seems to say that when times are bad, it isn’t appropriate to burden the family and the kehila with more mouths to feed. This leads to a number of questions, of course.

    How do we quantify bad times or famine?

    How do we know when it is over?

    If this does apply, would it apply before having any kids, or only after the minimum halachic obligation (a son or a son and a daughter, depending on the shitoh) is met?

    Would it be considered a horaas sho’oh that since we lost so many to the Shoah, and so many more to assimilation, that the obligation of the moment overrules Resh Lakish?

    Can we derive any guidelines from this that apply in less than famine but still difficult times (i.e. if a particular family or community is going through tremendous economic difficulty, even though the whole country is not in the same circumstances)?

    I am curious what the CR denizens have to say about this.

    #916948

    hershi
    Member

    The idea, even in the form of a question, expressed in the title of this thread is borderline chutz lmachne.

    #916949

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Absolutely. The qualifications are universal/countrywide though, and would not apply on an individual basis. Besides, it really has nothing to do with children per say vs. the act to create them.

    #916950

    yichusdik
    Participant

    Just to follow up – I’ve boruch hashem been zocheh to have more children than the “minimum”, I don’t in any way advocate against having more children, and yes, gavra, it means “refraining”, not “preventing”. I wasn’t suggesting that.

    I also believe that in any case we in this generation have a special responsibility to restore the neshamos in Klal Yisroel that were lost.

    Nonetheless I thought the psak from Resh Lakish was remarkable and wanted to hear what others thought.

    I disagree with Hershi that it is michutz lamachaneh, though. Is Resh Lakish no longer an acceptable source to quote? Is Yosef Hatzadik no longer an exemplar for Klal Yisroel (if this could even apply practically, which I am not convinced of)?

    The qoute itself is followed by the Tanna Kama saying it doesn’t apply to the childless. This answers one of my questions, but it also gives halachic credence to Resh Lakish’s advice by noting the exception.

    #916951

    artchill
    Participant

    “But it seems to say that when times are bad, it isn’t appropriate to burden the family and the kehila with more mouths to feed.”

    Your entire argument is debunked! You should have taken time to read Rashi!

    Rashi in Taanis says the reason is that one should have a part in the pain of the famine and since marital relations are pleasurable one should refrain from relations while others are suffering.

    Anyways, times of famine mean GLOBAL FAMINE, ala Ethiopia. It has nothing to do with welfare, food stamps, or fiscal cliff.

    #916952

    akuperma
    Participant

    Weird question. Unless you were in occupied Europe during World War II, there haven’t been “tough times” in modern times. Even in 1648 or the Crusades, the “tough times” only lasted a few weeks. Today the world is universally more peaceful, prosperous and healthy than anytime in human history – especially for Yidden, but also for goyim.

    If you run into frum Jews born between 1940 and 1945, you have your answer. Even in Mitsrayim people still had children – there’s an agada saying that we were saved in the zechus of the wives who didn’t let tought times bother them.

    #916953

    yichusdik
    Participant

    artchill, I read Rashi. It is an explanation, but it seems to be inconsistent with the Tanna Kama who is quoted next, who gives permission to the childless to have kids – and it has to do with #s, not with pleasure.

    Did someone mention welfare and food stamps? What thread are you replying to?

    And I wasn’t making an “argument” that needed to be debunked! I don’t have an agenda on this topic.

    I was wondering who was going to wander in with a straw man to take down. You win the sweepstakes.

    akuperma, I tend to agree with you, and aderaba, I found it hard to understand that there were many families (among them many of my ancestors) who had documented more than 10-15 kids even in the depths of the crusades and other persecutions, which were in some cases accompanied by famine and exile. Obviously they didn’t hold that this applied, but I was asking precisely that.

    Why not? It isn’t just a random thought by R. Lakish. The TK endorsed it with the detailed exception.

    #916954

    shmendrick
    Member

    Tosafos in Taanis asks how Yocheved could have been born while Jacob and his clan were moving from Israel to Egypt if it was a time of famine (assuming that she was conceived during the famine) as per the Midrash that states Yocheved was born at that time? Tosafos answer that this rule was only a stringency kept by super righteous people like Joseph.

    Shulchan Aruch (O.C 240 & 574) paskens that one should refrain from engaging in marital relations during a famine, as such it is not merely a midas chassidus. The Rema adds that “this applies to OTHER TROUBLES which are comparable to a famine” (240, 12).

    A famine need not be “globally” as was suggested, however, a recession is not comparable to a famine.

    #916955

    anon1m0us
    Participant

    shmendrick, I agree with you!

    I told my tution comittee that they are my “tzara” which obligated me from refraining to having more children!

    #916956

    hershi
    Member

    Yichusdik: You disagree with Rashi so you simply write Rashi off as being “inconsistent”?!?! That is simply mind-boggling.

    #916957

    The gemara means you should refrain from the PLEASURE of marital relations as a way of SHARING THE PAIN of the community at large. The beraisa states that the mitzva of having children overrides this concern.

    It is clear from Rashi, as well as the context of the gemara, that the OP misunderstood this gemara. (It is also clear from tosafos, who limits this restriction to middas chassidus, that this is not a practical concern of having too many mouths to feed.)

    I have NEVER heard this gemara construed to have anything to do with too many mouths to feed.

    I never post on this site, but I am afraid the gemara is being misunderstood.

    #916959

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    the beginning: Yup, but the OP probably has an axe to grind.

    #916960

    NJ_Mom
    Member

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a whole brood (as much as I would have liked to) because of tuition.

    #916961

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Tuition committees understand that it takes more money to raise a large family.

    #916962

    Doswin
    Member

    DY: Chareidi tuition committees understand. Do MO schools also understand? I always hear MO complaining about tuition, even though they have smaller families than Chareidim, while Chareidim (with generally much larger families than MO) I don’t hear complaining nearly as much. (Of course everyone complains about it.)

    #916963

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Do MO schools also understand?

    I can’t generalize, but based on one story I know, you’re right. Someone I know, who has a large family and sends his kids to MO schools, is making aliyah because he can’t afford tuition, although he has a large income. The tuition in MO schools, from what I’m told, is higher than in chareidi schools, and they (at least in this case) don’t easily give breaks.

    #916964

    anon1m0us
    Participant

    Doswin: I don’t know how you define MO or Chareidi since it seems everyone on this site has their own definition. However, I can attest that a main stream yeshiva (where the boys head to “Yeshivish” places) do NOT take children into a major consideration. Yes, they will give you $500 off, but from a price tag of 15K, 500 hardly makes a dent. When I complained, they said the same way we pay credit cards, we need to pay Yeshiva. This yeshiva is also definitly not MO since they required people go to the Asifa and sign contracts against the use of internet 🙂

    I think the chassdish yeshivous take families more into considerationthan mainstream or litvish yeshivous.

    #916965

    yichusdik
    Participant

    I don’t have an axe to grind. I asked a question. And I don’t know why the mods didn’t publish my last response. There was nothing troublesome in it. The Rashi explains RL, but it doesn’t explain the TK.

    Thank you to those of you who weighed in without assuming the question was loaded. I appreciate your responses.

    I guess there are those here who are always on the “lookout” for a question that may be a bit different. Always watching, they are. Even when there is nothing to see.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    #916966

    thinkingclearly
    Participant

    This is a question one discusses with a rov, not irresponsibly on a blog forum.

    #916967

    dullradiance
    Participant

    The following is based on a discussion with my Rov when the price of wheat rose almost doubled in 2006 between April and October.

    “famine” is defined as when the cost of wheat rises more than 50%. In the gemara’s times, the price of wheat was fixed so such a price rise is an indication of significant shortage. In our time and our place (both USA and E”Y) the price of wheat is not fixed and of course the value of our currency is not fixed so the concept of such a rise doesn’t exist.

    Furthermore, I am pretty sure he said the restriction does not apply to “onaah” rights as outlined in the kesubah.

    Finally, in our time B”H there is no shortage. It isnt like there isn’t wheat. Wheat can be purchased. The prices of wheat are manipulated. For example, Russia signs a treaty with the USA and our wheat is cheaper that Argentinian wheat so Russia buys from the USA and the USA prices go up. There is no shortage – the USA consumer just pays more and the USA companies sell the USA Argentian wheat.

    #916968

    Just to clarify:

    The answer to the OP’s question is emphatically NO! The OP misunderstood the gemara.

    There are those who refrain from having children for financial reasons, and I am not offering an opinion on that issue, which is a personal decision that each family must make, in consultation with their Rav. However, it is important that CR readers realize that that is NOT what is being discussed by the gemara in Taanis 11a.

    Yichusdik, please take the time to read my first post, where I explained the correct pshat in the gemara, based on the context, rashi and tosafos, and is the way everyone understands the statements of Raish Lakish and the Tanna Kamma. I am not your “watchman” in any language, but I was concerned when I saw the gemara being misunderstood.

    #916969

    yichusdik
    Participant

    For the umpteenth time, I wasn’t asking a shailah, I wasn’t seeking to prove a point about family size ( I come from a large one b’h and have a number of kids ba’h), This isn’t another MO-Chareidi issue. I sought to understand a gemoro.

    The circumstances in which RL would advocate refraining and thus not having kids are, as many pointed out, extremely rare and not comparable to current circumstances. It therefore seems clear that the answer to one of my questions is no, we can not draw parallels to circumstances that are not as severe.

    And Beginning, I looked at several dafim before and after the quote. I am not convinced of your context explanation, nor does a Rashi about understandably abstaining from pleasure explain an exception about the obligation to have kids. And when people like Hershi and artchill set up straw men to tear down, I do wonder about who watches the watchmen.

    #916970

    Ben Levi
    Participant

    If I undertand the OP correctly he is asking how can the reason that Reish Lakish prohibits Marital Relations be because of “Nosah B’ol im chaveiro” if the Tanna Kamma quite clearly permits it based on the number of children?

    If thats the question the snasewer is really quite simple.

    The question is whether or not the obligation of Pru U’revu which is a mitzvas aseh overrides the qobligation of taking part in the pain of the tzibur.

    Now If I recall correctly all the commentaries agree that the Gemora in question is discussing the obligation of “noseh b’ol im chaveiro” I do not recall a single source that states the arguement is over whether or not one can burden the “tzibur” with another mouth to feed.

    There of course are several indications that cannot be “pshat” One would be that if I recall correctly the Gemora after that centers around a lenthy discussion over how far the obligation of Noseh B”ol goes.

    Another point would be that when it comes to “education” the gemora in Meseches BEitzah says quite clearly that the money to provide ones son with a Talmudic Education is derived from HEaven and is not part of the ordinary allotment so it would be difficult to understand how the a trouble with parnossa would be a basis not to have children.

    #916971

    shmendrick
    Member

    If the money to provide ones son with a Talmudic Education is derived from Heaven and is not part of the ordinary allotment, why do the Yeshivas base tuition on a person’s income?

    A person’s income which is allotted from Heaven has nothing to do with the SEPARATE amount he is granted for tuition. By basing tuition rates on income, it is going against this Gemarah!

    #916972

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    If the money to provide ones son with a Talmudic Education is derived from Heaven and is not part of the ordinary allotment, why do the Yeshivas base tuition on a person’s income?

    A person’s income which is allotted from Heaven has nothing to do with the SEPARATE amount he is granted for tuition. By basing tuition rates on income, it is going against this Gemarah!

    You’re right. In fact, the yeshivos should charge $100,000 per student per year. This way, the rabbeim and teachers will certainly be paid the salary they deserve and the financial security of our yeshivos will be secured. And since the chesbon for Talmid Torah is not taken from the yearly allotment provided by HKBH, parents should have no reason to complain at all when asked to pay this amount.

    The Wolf

    #916973

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Wolf,

    You’re hired as executive director. 🙂

    #916974

    Ben Levi
    Participant

    Sorry Shmendrick

    As you often point out you have a trained and well honed Gemarokup, as such you should be able to understand the “chiluk”

    The Gemora in Beitzah is giving a havtach to an individual, that individual should understand that he need not worry about his expenses on account of the money spent “L’Talmud Torah”.

    However the Yeshivos are the ones charging the money they must charge the person according to what they see.

    It so happens there is a “minhag” by some that they do not “bargain” over schar limud and the mekor for this minhag is the aforementioned Gemorah.

    A slight point however is that when a portion of the “Schar Limud” goes towards secular education, one must understand that presumably the Havtacha is not for that portion of the tuition.

    #916975

    WIY
    Member

    Shmendrick

    You have once again proven that you are a shmendrick by not attributing your cut and paste about the Tosafos in Taanis to the source you cut and pasted it from in this case Rabbi Fink. You are an even bigger shmendrick for purposely going against the mishnah in Avos which says that Kol Ha’Omer Davar BeSheim omro Meivi Ge’ulah La’Olam by cutting out the words ” The Torah Temimah quotes” Tosafos in Taanis….

    Is it so hard to say that you cut and pasted something? Nobody is fooled that you know all this stuff. Its safe to assume that anything Torah or intelligent ever posted by you on this site is a cut and paste from others hard work.

    #916976

    anon1m0us
    Participant

    Wolf: I agree, the tuition should be based on what HKBH provides me to pay for tuition. Since this is a separate chesbon from my regular income, one can assume it is also a separate expense; thus, the money left over from my regular expenses we can assume is meant for Tuition. This being the case, tuition should not be more than a few hundred dollars a month since that is all that HKBH allotted for tuition.

    In addition, we should not pay 100k for Rabbayim since their parnassa comes from HKBH and they should not rely on mankind to subsidize what HKBH provides.

    #916977

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    anon1m0us,

    🙂

    The Wolf

    #916978

    147
    Participant

    Read a Chinese Gemoro, and let me know if the Chinese Government derived their laws from the Gemoro? If so:- from which Messechto & which Daf? or if Yerushlami:- Which Perek & which Halocho?

    #916979

    shmendrick
    Member

    WIY – of course I plagiarized a Tosfos in Taanis (cited by the OP) and a Mechaber and Ramo (in Orach Chaim).

    I am announcing that if ever in the future I mention a possuk from chumesh of chazal, it is mamash copied and not my own original works.

    I am embarrassed that you chapped me and I am modeh!

    #916980

    WIY
    Member

    shmendrick

    Please mention where you get things from in the future. Its basic mentschlichkeit.

    #916981

    I don’t know, it seems pretty clear to me that we live in a time of unprecedented famine, based on the tzedaka letters I get and tznius speeches I hear. I hope that in addition to sending letters to America promising to daven for forty days and nights at the kever of R’ Elazar b. Durdaya in the zchus of Americans with Iphones, the tzedaka organizations in Yerushalayim are spreading the lesson of the gemara in Taanis.

    #916982

    147
    Participant

    I hope the tzedaka organizations in Yerushalayim are spreading the lesson of the gemara in Taanis.

    Considering that Israel’s population has just surpassed 8 Million as reported today by YWN, it is hardly likely that anyone is preaching any population reduction nor birth control.

Viewing 35 posts - 1 through 35 (of 35 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.