Tuesday, April 17, 2007

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Conceive and Give Birth

by Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel at Mystical Paths

This week we read two portions of the Torah. The first begins with a very strange concept. It says, “When a woman conceives and gives birth . . ..“ [i] We know there is a strict rule that the Torah does not use extra words, so why does it say, “conceives” here? Why didn’t it simply say, “When a woman gives birth?” Has it ever been that a woman could possibly give birth and not have conceived?

For many thousands of years this was a good question. But today, we see that women do give birth without having conceived. Women with fertility problems often have their egg placed into a vessel, mixed with their husbands’ sperm, and then after the embryo attains a certain stage of development, it is implanted into their wombs. These women will give birth without having conceived.

There are many surrogate mothers today who carry children that are not even from their own eggs at all but are from complete strangers and are merely implanted in them.

How many Torah scholars for thousands of years have vexed themselves over this sentence? And we today can assume that the Torah is making a distinction between the woman who conceived and then gave birth from the woman who gave birth without ever having conceived.

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.


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