Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Divorce, infertility, and green goo in the Talmud

LAST WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: Only the Wife Knows If the Husband’s ‘Semen Shoots Like an Arrow’ And other problems of divorce, infertility, and urination, in this week’s Talmud study.
Last week, we read that it is a mitzvah to produce children, in accordance with God’s instruction to Adam and Eve, “be fruitful and multiply.” The rabbis debated how many children a Jew had to produce to fulfill the commandment, with some saying a boy and a girl was enough, while others said two boys were needed. (Notably, no one was content with two girls, presumably because a daughter did not continue a family’s line and property.) But is it only men who .are commanded to have children, or are women equally obligated? This was a subject of disagreement in this week’s Daf Yomi reading. In Yevamot 65b, the mishna reads: “A man is commanded with regard to the mitzvah to be fruitful and multiply, but not a woman. Rabbi Yochanan ben Beroka says that a woman is also commanded.”

Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.