Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dare to Bear

The Annual Belly Inflation-Deflation Cycle Steadily Increased Our GDP

Hasidim raise large families. When I say large, I mean really large. Not every family makes it to the teens, but twelve-fifteen siblings don’t raise an eyebrow.

Some say they take revenge in Hitler by bringing about the proliferation of the species he wanted extinct. Others feel obliged to supply the objects to fill the transplanted shtetl that the Nazis have destructed. How sweet a vengeance is it having to struggle to feed a dozen mouths while Nazi descendents enjoy a welfare state? And isn’t it a little cruel to impose the burden of rebuilding a nation on frail feminine shoulders?

Some would rather enjoy the higher standard of living and the close-familial relationship that generally comes with reduced sizes, but believe that Halacha, the Jewish religious law, bans any type of birth control, so they let nature weigh in on their family planning decisions.

The mainstream mindset, however, is that children are a blessing and there is no such thing as too much of a blessing. Not that fanatic machismo denies women their rights and forces them into relentless child bearing. Napoleon Bonaparte said that women are nothing but machines for producing children. But the Hasidic men do not follow this belief. Quite the contrary; Hasidic men in general are not as frantic about high output as are their wives. It’s the women who through indoctrination by their teachers or through peer pressure come to glorify the role of maternity as the highest ideal. As the Chief correctly pointed out, this subject consumes the full CPU of the minds in the industry. When Hasidic ladies gossip that Jean Doe is, there is no need to ask what. Likewise, everybody knows what she missed, why she is so desperate, or for what they are still waiting.

A friend of mine told me that before he learned not to argue with his parents, he tried to convince them on the virtues of smaller families. His mother got defensive, “Look around on the children; which of these precious diamonds should not have been born?”

“Me”, he replied.
posted by Renaissance at 8:44 PM on Jul 28, 2008

The Chief said...
Your cartoon... the icing on the cake!

July 28, 2008 9:30 PM

velvel chusid said...
Boy you can write cartoons too! I thinks I recognize the man with this wide Biberhit, he doesn't have children incidentally.

You left out the main reason having lots of kids is hastening the redemption. The Talmud in Sanhedrin 98, "The son of David will not come until the souls of the body will end"

I guess with every additional child the other prophesy in the same Gemora get's fulfilled , "The son of David will not come until a penny in the pocket will end".

July 29, 2008 10:29 AM

Renaissance said...
He had children, but they passed. Here is another reason why having many is important; just to have in stock.
Hastening the redemption! How could I forget? Guf is not translated as body, but it’s more like the hanger for the souls before they land.
Both prophesies are intertwined. Velvele, I should kiss you on your forehead!

July 29, 2008 10:46 AM

Pragmatician said...
I don't know if they should be, but I often pity kids who come from large families, especially when they have to share their toys with their own, older, nephews!

July 29, 2008 11:04 AM

Freethinking Upstart said...
IIRC, The Gra wanted to nullify the takana of rabeynu gershom to reinstate polygamy. He felt that the only way to hurry the messiah's coming was to make babies.

July 30, 2008 3:53 PM

Renaissance said...
“I often pity kids who come from large families”
Save your pity; they grow up just fine.
“Especially when they have to share their toys…”
I thought you were going to say share parental attention.

“The GRA wanted to nullify the takana of rabeynu gershom and reinstate polygamy.”
You honestly believe that? Who stopped him?

July 30, 2008 9:54 PM

Freethinking Upstart said...


Apparently its in Ma'aseh Rav Hashalem pg. 276.

I never saw it inside but I've heard it from some serious Granicks in the old city.

July 31, 2008 5:04 PM

Freethinking Upstart said...
Just a follow up. You need the signatures of 100 prominent Rabbis to get the herem of Rabbi Gershom annulled and that was the Gra's rub.

August 1, 2008 12:08 AM

shlomohamelech said...
Well, I thought that you are going to explain Hasidism, but instead all we got is the same old stuff. You are describing a phenomenon which has nothing to do with Hasidism. Non Hasidic Jews also have large families to the same degree. It may be argued that proportionally to the entire Jewish population, Hasidic families are larger, however, this may not be true. The mere deciding factor in all of this is the level of observance. I would argue that those who want to be very frum usually have large families therefore the deciding factor is the level of frumkeit. We can argue about this forever, but as long as there won't be any real statistical analysis no one can prove anything.

Now, back to your post, I am Chasidish and I don't know where you got your facts from. I have never heard any talk on the subject of large v. small families in my family, community or even with my friends. To say that there is any deliberate calculated reason or plan with regards to large families is simply not true. In of itself, large families are not a cause but rather a symptom of the way of thinking and the way of life. Therefore, I will state my complaint again: you have not talked about Hasidism but rather got stuck on some talking point pro or against Hasidim.

August 6, 2008 1:44 PM

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