And Hannah Wept: Infertility, Adoption, and the Jewish by Michael Gold

By Michael Gold

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

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Rachel’s emotional statement can be understood by anybody who has faced infertility. What is surprising is Jacob’s unsympathetic response. Rather than loving his wife and trying to empathize, he answered cru­ elly. The Torah says, “Jacob was incensed at Rachel, and said, ‘Can I take the place of God, who has denied you the 36 And Hannah Wept This Library PDF version is for the use on an institutional computer only. ’ ” (Gen. 30:2). How different is Jacob’s reaction from Hannah’s husband, Elkanah.

In the Bible, infertility is due to God; in these talmudic stories, there is a direct physi­ ological cause. The understanding of physiology is primi­ tive, but the idea is a vital one. Seeking a medical cure is thus a legitimate Jewish path. A more relevant story for modern couples about in­ fertility involves the son of Rabbi Yehudah Ha-Nasi, the redactor of the Mishnah. It is found in a discussion on the laws of onah, the right of a Jewish wife to regular sexual relations with her husband. The issue is a husband who goes away to study for a long time.

Com << Chapter >> Home | TOC | Index because “it is not good that man should be alone . . ” . . Companionship, and the love and goodwill necessary for that relationship, is presented as the first and primary purpose of marriage. 20 Because companionship is one basic purpose of Jew­ ish marriage, Judaism has always recommended marriage as the ideal, even for Jews who cannot have children. Even if one aspect of marriage (procreation) could not be ful­ filled, the other aspect (companionship) still could be.

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