By Michael Gold

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Extra resources for And Hannah Wept: Infertility, Adoption, and the Jewish Couple

Sample text

Similarly, a Shunammite woman was very kind to Elisha. Yet she was childless, and her husband was old. Elisha promised her a child, a promise that did come true. Later Elisha brought the child back to life after he died (2 Kings 4:8ff). In all these cases, God is the one who gives or with­ holds the ability to bear children. The Talmud teaches, “Rabbi Yohanan said, three keys are in the hands of the Holy One, blessed be He, and those are not given to any­ one else. ”35 In the Psalms, we praise God, saying, “He sets the childless woman among her household as a happy mother of children.

4 Even today, there is an overwhelming need for Jewish couples to have children. Rabbis of all three move­ 28 And Hannah Wept This Library PDF version is for the use on an institutional computer only. com << Chapter >> 5 6 Home | TOC | Index ments have spoken out forcefully on the need for more Jewish children. Birth control is permissible for a woman, as long as the basic commandment of procreation has been or will be fulfilled. Most birth control techniques used by men raise serious problems in Jewish law.

Modern scholars have written that there was a popu­ lar belief that adopting the handmaiden’s child would be a cure for infertility. In fact, this worked for both Rachel and The Jewish View of Infertility 33 This Library PDF version is for the use on an institutional computer only. com << Chapter >> Home | TOC | Index Leah. ” In fact, the whole procedure did not work out well for Sarah. Because she was barren, her es­ teem was lowered in the eyes of Hagar. Ultimately, she treated Hagar harshly and forced both Hagar and Ishmael out of her household and into the wilderness.

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