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Additional info for And Hannah Wept: Infertility, Adoption, and the Jewish Couple

Sample text

This is the first time the Bible mentions the institu­ tion of levirate marriage, in which the brother of the de­ ceased man has an obligation to marry the widow and have children. The children are called by the name of the first husband. Even after his death, it was unthinkable that a man should be without seed. Here is another biblical ex­ ample of one person having a child and that child being raised in the name of someone else. Onan should have ful­ filled his responsibility to raise children in his brother’s name.

The Torah teaches, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a fitting helper for him’ ” (Gen. 2:18). “Hence a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, so that they become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). To Jews, human fulfillment is found in marriage, irrespective of children. The Talmud and Midrash are full of aphorisms on the joy of married life and the incompleteness of bach­ elorhood. ”19 Companionship takes an equal place with procreation as the purpose of Jewish marriage.

Humans are qualitatively different from animals. The Torah says, “And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He cre­ ated them” (Gen. 1:27). Humans, unlike animals, were cre­ ated in the image of God. They have intelligence and the ability to make moral choices. One difference between humans and animals is in the area of reproduction. Only a man and a woman can choose the circumstances under which they will reproduce; only humans are free to have sexual relations or avoid them.

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