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Child-Bearing After the Resurrection

Our sages are divided on whether or not the mitzvah of “be fruitful and multiply” will still be in place after the resurrection of the dead. One opinion states that the mitzvah is to “fill the world and conquer it.” Thus, once the world is fully populated there no longer is any need for this mitzvah. Once all the dead are resurrected the world will be filled and the mitzvah is complete.

In the Tractate of Brachot it is written that Rabbi Hamenuna was asked to sing at the wedding of his son, Ravina, and he said, “Woe to us that we will die, woe to us that we will die.” In the work “Divrei Yetziv” it is explained that the mitzvah of marriage applies only as long as people are dying and need to repopulate the world. Once people are no longer dying, there will be no need to procreate.

However, there is another opinion that states there is no relationship between death and the mitzvah of procreating. The proof for this is the fact that Adam was given this mitzvah before he sinned with the Tree of Knowledge, when death entered the world. If the mitzvah was given before death existed, then even after the resurrection the mitzvah will remain in place.

It is important to note that this view does not contradict a well-known statement of our sages that Moshiach will come only after the treasury of souls in heaven has been emptied and all have descended to earth. According to the Baalei Tosephot, it is possible that in the future there will be a new treasury of souls to be born after the resurrection.

Our sages also say that “In the world to come there will be no eating and drinking and no procreation… but the righteous will sit with crowns on their heads and bask in the radiance of the Shechinah.” According to Maimonides, however, these words refer to souls in Eden, as souls without bodies, not to the time after the resurrection. There are many opinions that disagree with Maimonides’ view and hold that after the resurrection the mitzvah of “be fruitful and multiply” will cease.

References: Talmud Bavli Brachot 17a, 31a. Avodah Zarah 5a, see Tosephot “EIn ben David.” Midrash Shachar Tov Tehillim 146:4. Rambam, Hilchot Teshuvah, 8:2. Igeret Techiat Hameisim ch. 4. She’eilot U’teshuvot Chatam Sofer vol. 7, ch. 34. She’eilot U’teshuvot Divrei Yetziv Yoreh Deah ch. 110. Igrot Kodesh vol. 2, p. 76, see note 23.

 

 


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