The article, “Birth Control, Jewish Law Collide At Stern” (Feb. 20), is generally fair and well written, but it contains some major misrepresentations that should be corrected.
Most notably, the article cites an undergraduate student at Stern College [saying] that “the idea that sex is not just for procreation is inherently a feminist idea.” If that is the case, the rabbis in the Talmud and the codifiers of Jewish law were all feminists. The student who brought this statement about procreation into the world would have benefited from a study of the classic book by the former president of Yeshiva University (who was also the head of its affiliated rabbinical school), Rabbi Norman Lamm, “Hedge of Roses” (p. 25, 1966 edition): “… sexual comradeship is an intrinsic good, beyond the demands of procreation.” In the Bible’s first account of the creation of man, in which he is presented as essentially a natural creature, he is immediately commanded to be fruitful and multiply and rule over all the rest of nature — the instinctive urges of sex and power (Gen. 1:26-28). However, in the second and more detailed account, where the moral nature of man is elaborated, there is no mention of propagation.
Others, in The Jewish Week article, who imply that Jewish views on birth control somehow defer to the anti-Jewish views of modern feminism, do not necessarily need birth control; they need to control what comes out of their mouths and computers, since even the article itself concedes that, according to some liberal rabbis who consider themselves to be Orthodox, the basis for allowing birth control is basically limited to women with severe mental health issues — to which some extend to rationalize the inclusion of economic difficulties — but not feminism.