Reaching our potential

In the Torah there are two mentions of the commandment of pru urvu, be fruitful and multiply. The second mention of the commandment is in order to teach not to avoid having children. The Ramban says that the Torah is trying to compare the avoidance of having children with actually murdering. Murder is known in Judaism and among the nations as being a serious, capital crime. But avoiding having children is not considered criminal in secular law. The fact is, however, that social commentators say that the most serious threat to the Jewish nation right now is people not getting married and/or not having children. In Jewish law, when an army enters a city and kills the enemy, they are not allowed to kill the trees. This is because the trees were not doing anything against their G-d given nature and destiny. So too it is a natural thing for people to marry and be fruitful and multiply. - Heard from Rabbi Lerman at his daughter Yaffa's Sheva Brachos 10/21/98

A Talmid (student) of R. Yochanan heard a story of angels building blocks of precious stone to be used in the Temple. The student said that the story was an allegory, not to be taken literally. Then the student went out on a trip on a merchant ship, and actually saw a vision of these angels building the stones. When the student came back, he ran to his Rabbi and excitedly told him that it was really true. Rabbi Yochanan was angry, and said "where did you learn to have such visions?" Rabbi Yochanan got so angry that he turned the student to ashes with his eyes. The point of this story is that a student must acknowledge that his wisdom and understanding come from the traditions of Moses and our forefathers and is passed to him by his Rabbis. His own perception can very easily be twisted, but those teachings that have been handed down for generations are clear and straight. In the English language the letter I is spelled with a capital I while he, she, and other pronouns are spelled without a capital. The Jew's letter I should be small like the others, and together, two i's should form a u. Two people form a whole, and it is inherently important for them to take the traditions and teachings of their parents and teachers literally and embody those teachings in their life. - Heard from Rabbi Selznick at his son Yitzchak's sheva brachos 10/21/98

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