Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mitzvat "Be fruitful and multiply"


"Be fruitful and multiply", this is the first Mitzvah G - d ever gave to humankind. To humankind and not only to Adam and Eve (Chava) in Gan Eden (Paradise). However, this Mitzvah applies to men only !

Rabbi Daniel Frish (former Toldot Aharon Chassid, later he became a member of the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak) explains his understanding of "Be fruitful and multiply" in his book "Kedusha veZniut - Holiness and Modesty" (a modesty code for Chassidut Toldot Aharon). According to his understanding, however, not only Jews received this commandment but also all the other nations (see "Kedusha veZniut", Chapter 1). Even the animal kingdom has to fulfill this "Mitzvah".

The Talmud Tractate Yevamot 62 teaches us what our Sages actually consider as fulfilling the Mitzvah "Be fruitful and multiply"; meaning, how many children should a man have in order to fulfill the Mitzvah in the best way ?

Talmud Yevamot also teaches us about the Machloket (discourse) between the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel. Two famous Rabbis who hardly ever agreed on each others opinions. I once read somewhere that in the times of Meshiach, we actually will go according to the stricter viewpoints of Shammai. Until then, we go according to the more moderate Hillel.

Shammai said that a man only fulfills the Mitzvah when he has two sons and two daughters. According to Hillel a man must have at least one daughter and one son.

Shammai based his opinion on Adam and Eve who had two sons and, as the Midrash and other sources tell us, three daughters. When Cain got killed, Seth (Shet) took over the role of the second son.

The question is whether this Mitzvah also applies to a convert to Judaism ?
Reish Lakish has his doubts (in Yevamot 62) because a male convert who has children from his non - Jewish past has a problem, as the children are not considered Jewish and thus he cannot fulfilled the Mitzvah.


  1. I own most of R' Frisch's seforim and they are excellent in making very difficult subjects more understandable. Did you note that on the title page of this sefer "kedusha v'tznius" it states that this sefer is for married men (in privacy) and not for the unmarried. Just a note as I see this is the second article in which you've referenced this sefer - enough said.

  2. B"H

    Yes, I saw the sentence. It also says that the book tells a man how he shoudl behave at home and the behaviour in relationships (marriages). However, I always thought that also the Toldot Aharon girls read the book (or parts of the book) shortly before their marriage.

    I have just arrived at the second chapter and although Rabbi Frish sometimes sounds rather extreme, he has got his points and makes it easy to understand. He also gave, in the first chapter, the source in Talmud Yevamot 62 where it says that no Ben David is coming before all Neshamot G - d created have come into this world.

    I may be mistaken but I think that Rabbi Daniel Frish also wrote a few commentaries on the ZOHAR.

  3. a few commentaries???????
    he wrote the full pirush matok midevash to all the zohar, tikunei zohar, zohar chadash...........................

  4. B"H

    Yes, I know and I did not intend to undermine his knowledge.:-)