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Childless Couples

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 19/1/2020

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Childless Couples

The Gemara[1] tells us that one of the questions a person will be asked is עסקת בפריה ורביה, did you engage in procreation. While for many this doesn’t take much work, for others it does. Some people spend years visiting doctors, trying different treatments and the like so that they can have children. This is why the term עסקת is used. That is, to be actively involved and engaged in it. When one makes an effort in this area, he can answer this question in the affirmative.


עסקת בפריה ורביה can also apply if a person helps others in this area. So the organizations and the like that help people have children also can answer this question with a resounding yes. The Maharsha[2] writes that the question of עסקת בפריה ורביה is whether one facilitated procreation meaning did he help those less fortunate, such as orphans, find mates and get married.


Concerning couples that don’t have children in this world, let us cite the words of the Maharam Galanti: Relations done for the sake of Hashem are not wasted (זוגים לשם שמים אינם לבטלה) rather they give birth to children in Gan Eden. In עולם הבא, the parents will meet these children.[3]

Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] Shabbos 31a.

[2] Shabbos 31a, s.v. ואמר עסקת. 

[3] See the Chida in Pesach Einayim, Sota, chapter 1.

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