Seems crazy to ask. But given the recent Democratic Party policy and certain new state laws, one could actually think so. Although, I would be remiss if I did not mention that certain states have recently passed “pro-life laws” and they certainly deserve much accolades. In recent weeks Kentucky and Georgia passed laws that protect unborn children from being terminated or killed. These states and their governments deserve much credit for standing up for what is right and just, amid a jungle of evil and lunacy.
We know that the Torah’s perspective on having children is of course positive. There is a mitzvah to procreate and a serious aveira to abort. The mitzvah of pru u’revu is to have a boy and a girl, and after that there is a mitzvah to have more children as well.
Therefore, it is perplexing why in this week’s parshah, Parshas Tazriya, when the Torah discusses the halachos of having a baby, the pasuk says that when a woman has a baby, she must bring two korbanos. She must bring a one-year-old sheep as a korban olah, and a young dove or a turtledove as a korban chatas. The pasuk continues that if she cannot afford to bring a sheep, she may bring two turtledoves or two young doves; one for the korban olah and one for the korban chatas.
The Gemara in Niddah 31b says that Rabi Shimon bar Yochai’s talmidim asked him the obvious question: why does a woman who has given birth have to bring a korban? He answered them that while she was in labor, she definitely swore that she would not return to be with her husband. Therefore, the Torah said she must bring a korban. Rashi explains that the korban is for making an oath that she did not intend to keep.
The Gemara quotes Rav Yosef who challenges Rabi Shimon bar Yochai’s solution. How can she bring a korban chatas for such an oath, which was taken deliberately? A korban chatas is only brought for averos performed accidentally. Additionally, the korban that one must bring for taking a false oath is a sheep, yet the pasuk says that a woman who births a baby must bring a bird for a korban chatas. This indicates that the korban chatas that she must bring is not for swearing falsely. With these questions the Gemara leaves the matter somewhat unresolved and moves on to another topic.
The Gemara in Nedarim 4b says that the korban chatas that a woman brings after she has a child is not brought for atonement purposes. The Ran (4a) explains that this conforms with Rabi Shimon bar Yochai’s opinion as well. This is because even Rabi Shimon bar Yochai agrees that the main reason why she brings this korban is not for atonement. He proves this from the fact that a woman who knows with absolute certainty that she did not recite an oath must bring the korban as well.
Additionally, the Gemara in Kerisus 26a says that even Rabi Shimon bar Yochai agrees that the korban chatas that a postpartum woman brings is not brought for atonement but rather to allow her to eat kodshim. Rashi there explains that the pain, which she experienced during labor, atoned for her sins. Thus, she is no longer required to bring a korban chatas.
Although Rabi Shimon bar Yochai’s solution was challenged it does seem from the Rishonim that we rule in accordance with his view (see also Ramban in this week’s parshah and the Chinuch in mitzvah 168). Perhaps the reason is not too clear to us why a woman must bring a korban after childbirth; perhaps this is another area that we still need more clarity on. What is clear is the Torah’s position on childbirth: and that is that we are commanded to procreate. It is important to strengthen our morals and principles as we dwell in a society that is increasingly growing insane. With each new day and week, we are presented with the newest immoral and absurd new idea that some radical wants to insist becomes the new norm. May we remain true to the Torah’s values and merit the coming of Mashiach, speedily, amen.