Friday, June 17, 2011

The First Mitzvah of the Torah

The first Mitzvah of the Torah and the first blessing given by God to Adam and Eve, is the commandment to (marry and) have children. Bereshit 1: 28 says: "And God blessed them [Adam and Eve] and God said to them, reproduce and multiply".

The Rabbis of the Mishna, discussed the Mitvza of having children is considered fulfilled.

Bet-Shamai said that the Mitzvah is fulfilled by having at least two boys: same as Adam and Eve, who at the beginning brought two boys to the world: Cain and Abel.

Bet-Hillel, however, says that the Mitzvah is not considered fulfilled until one has at least a boy and a girl. Because this is how God created human civilization: with one man and one woman. The matter was settled like Bet-Hillel.

There is an additional reason for this opinion: if you read carefully the words of the Torah, a husband and a wife must first "reproduce" themselves, in other words, have a replica of themselves (a man and a woman) leaving in this world the same number and kind of lives that one day will be taken away.

One more thing: although the Mitzvah is fulfilled by having one boy and one girl, the rabbis explained that it is a great merit to have as many children as one can. They deduced this guidance from the second word of God's commandment: "reproduce and multiply"."Reproduce" means bringing to the world a replica of yourselves. "Multiply" means "bring into this world more souls than yourselves".

Of course, this Mitzvah does not depend exclusively on our good will: its uniqueness consists that to fulfill this Mitzvah the spouses need to be granted God's blessing, as the Pasuk says: the blessing of having children.