The life of a human being versus mixed-up values
Recently, we have encountered again and again headlines announcing that a woman gave birth after years of barrenness. The news expresses surprise that women at an old age managed to become pregnant and have a healthy, normal baby. Indeed, modern medicine has worked wonders in this regard, and doctors invest huge efforts to give these parents the happiness of embracing a son or daughter who are the fruit of their wombs.
These efforts supposedly reflect the special attitude that we have to creating new life, and the sanctity of life. Therefore no effort is too exaggerated and no price is too expensive when it comes to bringing another child into the world and giving life to another human being. Huge resources of both mind and money are invested in this great challenge, irrespective of the feasibility and benefits.
This reality is surprising in light of another contemporary phenomenon which is also performed by doctors — abortions. Every year tens of thousands of healthy and sound fetuses in Israel are killed. (no exact numbers, because many abortions are done illegally). The reason for most abortions is flabbergasting: the mothers simply do not want the child.
They are called an 'undesirable child'. And you ask yourself: What's going on here? On the one hand, they make a huge effort to bring another child into the world, and on the other, they flippantly destroy the lives of tens of thousands of fetuses? It’s either one of the two: Either these efforts are being made because of the sanctity of human life, in which case its incomprehensible why they are snuffing out the thread of life of so many human fetuses; or if material considerations determine whether a fetus should live or not, maybe we should prefer road construction and setting up factories rather than investing billions in fertility treatments? Indeed, this shows how confused are the prevailing values in contemporary society. On one hand, the public absorbed traditional Jewish values, and on the other hand, the destruction of morality and adoption of evil has entered our precincts, bringing us a life full of contradictions.
Two exemplary characters are engraved in the golden book of the Jewish people — Shifra and Puah. These two amazing women courageously opposed Pharaoh's decree, risked their lives, and helped Jewish children live. Even today, we have shining contemporary examples of these two women, such as the Efrat organization and dozens of volunteers who set out daily to the 'Committee to Terminate Pregnancy' (do you pick up the technical name, devoid of any emotion?!).
These women initiate a conversation with the women who approach the committees and manage to convince many of them to change their mind and allow their child to be born into the world. Indeed, it turns out that in many cases, all that was needed to differentiate between life and death was a proper explanation. This activity explains the fact that, despite the mass immigration from the former Soviet Union, (where abortions were a widespread social phenomenon) recent years has seen a steady decline in the number of abortions.
These advocacy and persuasion activities have had an effort, and slowly it has been penetrating the parents’ consciousness that fetuses are independent human beings, with a right to life of their own, and killing them is murder of a human fetus. At the same time, we are witnessing an increase — slow but sure — in the average number of children per family.
If our archenemy Arafat once spoke that the Arabs’ secret weapon is the Palestinian womb, Jews, too, are beginning to understand that we can survive and exist only if we are a big and strong nation, and we fulfill the divine command to be “fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” We are also beginning to understand that another child and another child means happiness and more happiness!
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