Does Jewish Law or Tradition Offer Any Guidance on Contraception?

Moment, March-April 2014 | Go to article overview

Does Jewish Law or Tradition Offer Any Guidance on Contraception?


INDEPENDENT

Judaism does not restrict a woman in regard to her choices concerning pregnancy She has a choice to bear children or not to bear children (Tahmid Bav'li, Yevamot 65b; Mahar'sbal in Yam Sbel Sblomo 1:8). The injunction to "Be fruitful and multiply," the ancient rabbis ruled, does not apply to women, because the Torah does not ask someone to do something that might endanger his or her life and health. On the other hand, a man who has not yet brought children into the world (ideally at least one of each gender) may not use contraception unless the woman he is with faces some sort of danger to her life or health. Coitus interruptus in the course of lovemaking, however, is permitted if its intent is incidental and not deliberately intended to prevent pregnancy (Tasefot Ri'd on Yevatmot). There are enough classical halachic opinions regarding allowable methods of contraception to cover most contemporary methods, but BBCC & CR is no space to elucidate them here, best to consult your rabbi.

Rabbi Gershon Winkler

Walking Stick Foundation

Thousand Oaks, CA

HUMANIST

Secular Jews are not influenced by traditional edicts to "IK fruitful and multiply" or "not to spill one's seed." How ever, we do recognize that there are benefits to contraception, including female health, family planning and disease prevention. In the end, I Humanistic Judaism takes the position that individuals will make their own decisions as to which birth control methods, if any, they wish to use. This is not a privilege but a right that needs to be protected.

We are living in an age that the ancient rabbis or even our great-great-grandparents could not have imagined. Premarital sex is commonplace today, it not encouraged, as part of building a relationship with a caring partner. Promiscuity is equally prevalent. "Friends with benefits" is a phenomenon of our time. Even the idea of marriage for love and as a sexually exclusive monogamous relationship is relatively modern.

Perhaps it would lie easier to live in a less complicated rime. But the clock can't be wound lack. And so we need to face all these modem and often complicated choices with as much wisdom and caution as possible. Which, in many instances, includes the wise-use--and easy availability--of contraception. Rabbi Peter H. Schweitzer The City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism New York. NY

RENEWAL

When it comes to methods of both contraception and assisted fertility, bioethics sources with bin Judaism are copious. The consensus as with abortion, is that the physical and mental health of the mother comes first. A society or corporation that restricts access to medic-ally safe abortion or contraception is one in which Jews are not free to practice their religion.

In a free society, the decision of whether, or when, to have children is a matter of individual conscience. Jewish law and tradition take into account the stress upon partners and existing children when excess family size or timing might impair the development or well-being of the parents or existing children. (See Ray Moses Trani, Kiryat Sefer on Yad, Is-surei Bi'ab, 21; "Contraception within Can-temporary Orthodoxy," by Gedalia Meyer and Henoch Messner and Integral Halachah: Transcending and Including, by Rabbis Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Daniel Siegel.)

Across the spectrum of Jewish practice, the accepted and/or endorsed circumstances for and types of contraception and fertility assistance vary greatly and are-considered on a situation-by-situation basis. While the trauma of infertility and the intention to "beautiful and multiply" are honored throughout the Torah and Jewish history itself there is no explicit prohibition against contraception within Tbrah. Methods that prevent conception rather than "spilling seed" are preferred by some, so IL'Ds and the pill are most often pre-scribed where this is a consideration. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Does Jewish Law or Tradition Offer Any Guidance on Contraception?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.