Pidyon Kaparot Now

Why is a heter for contraception necessary

Question:

Hi,

I have heard many times that in order for a woman to use a contraceptive pill, a heter is required from a moreh horaah. I understand the need with regard to halachically questionable forms of contraception, but I don’t understand why this is necessary in the instance of using a pill. If someone knows on his own that based on his situation (for example he has already a boy and a girl and more than one or two of each) that it would be difficult to have another child, why can’t the decision be made without a rav?

Thank you,

 

Answer:

Hello,

Thank you for your question.

Even if a person has a boy and a girl, there is still the concept of לערב אל תנח ידיך, meaning that a person should continue having children as long as they can. If they feel that doing so will be detrimental to either themselves or their children, they are in effect seeking a “heter”, meaning that although they have the obligation to have more children, they feel that their case is a case of an “exception”. A Rav should be consulted to determine if from both an objective and a halachic viewpoint this is indeed a case that warrants a heter. The Rav will usually agree with the couple, as both the Rav and the couple are on the same side and have the same objective- the good of the couple and their family. But consulting a Rav is still necessary.

I hope this clarifies things

Have a g’mar chasima tova

 

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2 Comments

  1. I highly disagree with this answer. As in every area of Halacha, everyone will use their own shikul hadaas given their own unique circumstances. On the assumption the couple know the halachas and potential problems involved in contraception it’s their own private decision. I consulted a gadol bTorah who was maskim with this. Contraception is no different to any other area of Torah. I don’t bring my esrog to my Rav if I’m holding in the halachas of esrog. Likewise, I don’t need to ask my Rav for “reshus” to use contraception if I know the halachas of contraception and believe it is needed or not needed. If anyone, the best person to consult in such a scenario would be a persons personal psychologist.

    1. If you learned the halachos of daled minim well, and you did שימוש for at least a few years, than you yourself are a moreh hora’ah in daled minim. Obviously, since you are a moreh hora’ah, you do not need to ask a different moreh hora’ah if your daled minim are kosher, since a moreh hora’ah is allowed to pasken for themselves. Similarly, if the husband learned and did שימוש in the halachos of contraception, and the Rav that he did שימוש by says that he is what is called הגיע להוראה, then of course you are right. As you imply, a Rav is allowed to pasken for themselves. Assumingly, the person who asked the question is not a moreh hora’ah. Therefore they should consult with a Rav.
      You write “As in every area of Halacha, everyone will use their own shikul hadaas given their own unique circumstances”. The derech that the גדולי הוראה passed on to us differs from this. They made it clear that our own shikul hada’as is tainted, as is known that דעת תורה הפך מדעת בעלי בתים. The only shikul hada’as that we can use is the shikul hada’as attained from doing shimush. Only then can we add our “two cents” and our own נטיה in halacha.
      You write “On the assumption the couple know the halachas and potential problems involved in contraception it’s their own private decision”. Unfortunately, this is definitely not the accepted approach. Daas Torah is vital in making this decision. “Their own private decision” is definitely not the Torah approach. In addition, most couples are not familiar with the halachos involved, so it is not fair to “assume” that the husband is a moreh hora’ah!
      Regarding your asking “reshus” to use contraception, you are right- you do not need a Rav’s “permission” to use contraception. You also do not need a Rav’s permission to use a specific lulav or esrog. However, if you did not learn the halachos of daled minim, you would be best asking a Rav and not making a wild guess using your own “shikul hada’as” as to what constitutes a kosher lulav and esrog. The same applies to our topic.
      Have a g’mar chasima tova

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