Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Babies Are No Longer Considered A Blessing
Jewish Press ^ | March 8, 2006 | Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Posted on 03/09/2006 5:16:12 PM PST by SJackson

A funny thing happened to me the other day when my wife and I had, thank God, another baby (a boy). Many of my friends didn’t seem all that happy for me. Sure, they went through the motions of smiles and congratulations. But it was evident that many thought me insane. Why would a young man and his wife ruin their lives with eight children? Who could afford the day-school bills? Didn’t we want to live life a little, and not just be burdened with kids?

It got downright surreal when a European film company pressed me, while my wife was in labor, to finish shooting a segment that had an urgent deadline (I obviously told them they were insane). The next day I was mildly criticized by a Jewish organization I was scheduled to address – because I had to cancel my appearance when I realized the lecture would clash with the baby’s bris.

I don’t mind that the world doesn’t really love babies. I do mind that it pretends to. It’s time we got honest about our priorities. Most people get a new car every two or three years, but one or two babies through the life of a marriage is plenty. You can get drunk on an airplane, laugh hysterically with your mates, and still not really anger people. But if you dare bring a crying baby on board you will be given malicious looks, as if the little thing is a package that ticks.

If you walk your dog along the street, people will stop you to tell you how cute he is. But walking down the street with a baby? You might run into a cooing woman or two, but for the most part you’ll be utterly ignored.

Indeed, the contempt shown to parents who have many children is the last acceptable prejudice in our society. As a father of a large family, I find myself apologizing wherever I go, as if I’ve committed a crime. The frequent and loaded stares from scornful onlookers imply that the famine in Africa was caused by my selfish insistence on overpopulating the earth. Long ago my wife and I discovered that few hotels were prepared to accommodate so many children, even if we took three of four rooms – which is why we bought an RV for travel.

How strange to live in a world where loving children casts one in infamy. Having a family with many children implies a backwardness and primitivism that is deemed unbecoming in the developed countries of the West. Large families, it is thought, exist only among religious weirdoes or the teeming hovels of the Third World. Rich countries, by contrast, prefer to increase their standard of living rather than the number of the living.

Looking at Western birth rates for the year 2001, the United States averaged only 14.2 births for every thousand Americans, and the birthrate among white Americans is so low that the United States will soon lose its white majority. Indeed, one can go for days in Manhattan without encountering a single pregnant woman.

Hence the high birth rates of extremely poor African nations like Uganda, at 47.52 births per 1,000, or Niger with 50.68 births per 1,000, are deemed to be prime causes and indicators of their penury. The abundant fertility of these countries confirms the unspoken Western view of these country’s inhabitants as being just one step above savages. Contraception becomes a synonym for civilization.

A Christian mother of six once wrote to me: "I find it troubling to worry about getting pregnant again... because I don’t want to face the criticism of friends and family. Why do people not see children as a blessing?" A fair question that deserves a fair response.

Why is it that even many synagogues today are not children-friendly? Why are people impressed that Jay Leno owns twenty motorcycles but disgusted that some religious families choose to have ten children?

Let’s not finesse the response. We all know why. A world that has lost its innocence has trouble appreciating beings that are innocent. A world that has become selfish has soured to the idea of leading a life of selflessness. A world that has become grossly materialistic is turned off to the idea of more dependents who consume resources. And a world that mistakenly believes that freedom means a lack of responsibility is opposed to the idea of needy creatures who "tie you down."

The world can go fly a kite.

By just looking at my children I become more innocent. By loving them I become more noble. By spending more money on them than I spend on myself I find transcendence. And by being a father and liberating all of the love in my heart, my spirit soars free. I work hard to support a large family and I give up no pleasures in doing so because my children are my foremost pleasure.

I am often asked by women how they can tell whether the men they are dating are marriage material. I tell them, "See if he enjoys children." A man who loves children is playful. He will spend his life joking with his wife because he loves to see her laugh, and will flirt with her because he loves to see her smile.

There was a time when husbands and wives worked hard to ensure that they could afford the blessings of a large family. Today, the higher your earning bracket the fewer children you have. But then we always knew that many people turn money from a blessing into a curse.

Before he died, the Lubavitcher Rebbe launched a campaign asking parents to have one more child than they originally planned. It is a campaign that a dwindling Jewish community should revive as it continues to disappear.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: antifamily; antinatalism; babies; baby; babymakinfactory; blessing; boteach; child; children; demographics; family; fruit; goodfruit; kid; kids; life; moralabsolutes; parenthood; parents; populationcontrol; pregnancy; rabbi; sanctity; shmuleyboteach; zpg
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 121-129 next last

1 posted on 03/09/2006 5:16:13 PM PST by SJackson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
If you'd like to be on or off this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
Articles on Israel can also be found by clicking the keyword or topic Israel.

---------------------------

2 posted on 03/09/2006 5:18:06 PM PST by SJackson (There is but one language which can be held to these people, and this is terror, William Eaton)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

People always ask me why I have 5 children and I tell them I'm lucky!!


3 posted on 03/09/2006 5:19:44 PM PST by tbird5
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tbird5
People always ask me why I have 5 children and I tell them I'm lucky!

I would usually reply the we wanted six but had to stop at four because of medical reasons :-)

Regards

alfa6 ;>}

4 posted on 03/09/2006 5:23:20 PM PST by alfa6
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

I agree with most of the writer's conclusions. What he describes makes it even easier for people to rationalize abortion. For a society that says "for the children" it sure is a bunch a hooey!


5 posted on 03/09/2006 5:26:16 PM PST by yodi VA (Remember, no matter where you go; there you are.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tbird5

I think only pretty cold cynical people think babies are not a blessing. What are people living for?


6 posted on 03/09/2006 5:27:33 PM PST by cajungirl (no)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SJackson
Interesting article, especially so coming from a Jewish perspective. I've heard that Israelis aren't reproducing to their replacement value and that Jewish immigration is slowing. It would appear that this might be Israel's greatest longterm security threat. The previously-Christian Europeans seems destined to a similar fate.
7 posted on 03/09/2006 5:28:54 PM PST by Ronaldus Magnus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

I've had this tagline for a while!


8 posted on 03/09/2006 5:29:30 PM PST by wouldntbprudent (If you can: Contribute more (babies) to the next generation of God-fearing American Patriots!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

very nice article


9 posted on 03/09/2006 5:29:54 PM PST by mcar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yodi VA

I think the public is nervous about large families because the tax payer has to foot the bill in many cases. Free health care, education, food stamps, day care, etc. I have 5 children yet it does take alot of money and time to raise them right. It seems those that can have many children don't and those that shouldn't have many children do.


10 posted on 03/09/2006 5:32:49 PM PST by tbird5
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: SJackson
Well, I'm kind of licking some wounds (not from here), fools rush in where angels fear to tread sort of thing, actually got told the most horrible thing and name yet on the net, that'll fix me - not) so won't write at length about this subject. Suffice it to say our local talk radio had a 1/2 hour guest from a talk show in Oregon who said our country is getting overpopulated and we need to have none or one child, talked about China, India.

So I just *had* to call. I held my tongue about his being from liberal la la land on the left coast, but said my theme was two words, immigration and incongruous. We are supposed to tell our grandchildren not to have more than one child while our doors are wide open to the world. I don't think so. I got a little more in, told the host to let me go where I wanted to go with it, then he could go where he wanted to (he always does anyway). Basically he says people have those huge luxury homes I happened to mention because they could afford them. And he went on to elaborate that they are going to zip up the border with Mexico blah blah. Uh huh.

One lady called in after me and agreed with me and got even more vocal than I wanted to because I didn't want to come across as rascist. I just want a better future and shot for people who were already here.

Then a third lady called with her talking points written down. I couldn't understand her tiny voice very well, but one of the points was a moratorium on immigration, *all* of it.

So that's that. I hope they talk about it some more tomorrow.

11 posted on 03/09/2006 5:33:29 PM PST by Aliska
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

If it hadn't been for my three kids I might very well have ended up a bum. Having to live for someone else does wonders for your own life.


12 posted on 03/09/2006 5:35:16 PM PST by Mr Ramsbotham (Bend over and think of England.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

Mankind has always been its worst enemy.


13 posted on 03/09/2006 5:35:33 PM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tbird5
People always ask me why I have 5 children and I tell them I'm lucky!!

Or, you can say that you like to hide the remote control from the other half! :o)

14 posted on 03/09/2006 5:36:18 PM PST by kstewskis (Disclaimer: Not responsible for driveling random postings during the Lenten Season...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SJackson
But if you dare bring a crying baby on board you will be given malicious looks, as if the little thing is a package that ticks.

Um, I paid a lot of money to be on that plane, I'm usually exhausted after working hard all week, and I am absolutely trapped in that sardine can with the elbows of the person next to me right in my ribs. Under those circumstances, I can get no relief from the crying baby, arguably one of the most annoying sounds on God's green earth (I'm sure by his design so that you can't ignore the helpless little things). You have NO complaint here sir.

I blame everything bad in our modern world on socialism (and I'm mostly right). Want to know why no one thinks babies are really a blessing any more? Because socialist policies in our country have made it so expensive to have children.

15 posted on 03/09/2006 5:38:16 PM PST by Hardastarboard (HEY - Billy Joe! You ARE an American Idiot!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson
There appears to be more than babies of concern in this article. The fact that there are 50 live births/1000 African people, but only 14 live births/1000 WHITE people is alarming to him.

So... some babies are more valuable than others?

But the dominant culture in this country doesn't really accomodate babies, children, old people, ugly people, poor people, sick people, disabled people... the ideal couple is 20-30-something, tall, beautiful, 6-figure salary, and free... (no kids, no ailing or elderly parents). It's a very material, consumer-oriented economy. We were even told to go shopping, go to Disneyland in response to the attacks on this country.. sacrifice? That's unAmerican! more credit cards! more debt! Live within your means... hell that's letting the terrorist win...

Oh...my mistake... live within your means..pay your bills..well by god, you ARE a terrorist...

http://www.shns.com/shns/g_index2.cfm?action=detail&pk=RAISEALARM-02-28-06

So, no surprise that many children are an affront to this culture.

However, I probably am one of those people who wince when a bably is screaming in a confined space. Their screaming is designed by nature to be hard to ignore.

16 posted on 03/09/2006 5:45:09 PM PST by ziggygrey
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tbird5
People talk about getting "fixed" when what they are doing is getting broken.

I've a large family and have heard the litany of crude comments from complete strangers who have never spent a dime supporting me or my children yet they must express an opinion.

Now I'm older and bolder and when asked by inquisitors,

"have you figured out what's causing that?" (pregnancy) my reply is
"yes and I guess I'm better at it and more efficient than most other people"
17 posted on 03/09/2006 5:47:30 PM PST by Deepest South
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

I had a baby at 41 and I had so many people telling me how crazy I was. My older children are now 26, 23,and 19. I had not planned this child and I think she is a gift from God. Now at 6 she is the joy of our lives. As far as apologizing for having your children I wouldnt. If you can afford them and give each the care he/she needs then I dont think its anyones business. I do resent the people who just have children to collect more welfare and really have no time or love for these children but you seem to have a it all together. I can relate to peoples stares and comments as years ago when I was pregnant with my 2rd son , had my other 2 children, my friend's twin babies in a double stroller in a store and the comments and rude stares were unreal. I just smiled and laughed but inside I was thinking people really are RUDE.


18 posted on 03/09/2006 5:52:18 PM PST by pandoraou812 (dilligaf)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

I was belittled at a wedding. Not only did this lady ridicule me she had her group of friends laughing at me. I was pregnant with a baby on my hip. She thought I only had two. I was so hurt and embarrassed.

I had a friend who was at the store with her 5 children and some man yelled at her, 'how dare you have all those children to take up MY oxygen!' I'm serious. He said that to her.


19 posted on 03/09/2006 5:54:50 PM PST by imskylark
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yodi VA

children are our future. without them, there is NO future. We will breed ourselves out of existance.


20 posted on 03/09/2006 5:56:03 PM PST by television is just wrong (Our sympathies are misguided with illegal aliens...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 121-129 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson