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Pirya U’Reviah — Boy and Girl

Where is the source that to be mekayem Pirya Vrivya one must have at least one boy and one girl? Does that mean that all the many families I know that have all boys or girls have not fulfilled their mitzvah?


The source of the requirement to beget a son and a daughter is the ruling of Beis Hillel in the Mishnah (Yevamos 62a), according to which one does not fulfill the mitzvah without at least one son and one daughter. This is the opinion that is ruled by Rambam (chap. 15 of Ishus) and all poskim (see Shulchan Aruch, Even Ha’ezer 1), and yes, families that have all boys or all girls have not fulfilled the mitzvah. However, even somebody who doesn’t have a boy and a girl can fulfill the mitzvah by virtue of his grandchildren (Rambam, Ishus 15:5).

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  1. If it is not feasible for the parents to have anymore children and they have not had yet a boy and a girl( meaning they either had only boys or only girls)….can they rely on fact that one of their grandchildren will prob be a girl/boy that will make up for their lack of boy or girl in their immediate family?

    1. If parents can no longer have children, then they have no choice but to rely on their children to have boys/girls and make up the numbers (so to speak) for themselves. However, as long as they are able to have their own children, they may not rely on their children, but must try to have at least a boy and a girl themselves.

  2. when i say “can no longer have”…im asking financially its not feasible for them to have anymore children, as they have too many expenses to pay for their current children? is that a valid reason to stop trying…?

    1. Sefer Chassidim writes that it is forbidden to desist from having children on account of financial considerations (519-520). However, some write that one may delay the fulfillment of the mitzvah due to lack of resources (see Binyan Ariel, Yoreh Deah), but this applies only to delaying (for example, for a student), and not to entirely failing to fulfill the mitzvah. As Sefer Chassidim writes, “One borrows from Hashem, and He pays back.”

  3. Every time a child is brought into the world it is as if the parents had built an entire world for each one.

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