Over­com­ing Infer­til­i­ty: A Guide for Jew­ish Couples

Richard V. Grazi, M.D.
  • Review
By – July 30, 2012

One of the most ele­gant aspects of Judaism is its time­less­ness. For sev­er­al mil­lenia any Jew faced with a halakhic dilem­ma could turn to the Tal­mud and get a rul­ing appro­pri­ate for the time in which he or she was liv­ing. If that was not enough, learned rab­binic schol­ars have issued respon­sa to help decide ques­tions not specif­i­cal­ly addressed in the Oral or Writ­ten Law. Long before there were ques­tions regard­ing auto­mo­biles, ele­va­tors and tele­phones, there were Tal­mu­dic answers wait­ing to be heard. 

Med­i­cine is per­haps the most evolved field of study since the time of the sages, and with it the need for con­tem­po­rary halakhic inter­pre­ta­tion. In the past 25 years, as med­ical tech­nol­o­gy to over­come infer­til­i­ty has advanced, the need for a Jew­ish per­spec­tive has marched alongside. 

To help infer­tile Jew­ish cou­ples, Grazi has pub­lished Over­com­ing Infer­til­i­ty, a com­pre­hen­sive vol­ume that seam­less­ly com­bines chap­ters on anato­my and phys­i­ol­o­gy with Mish­nah and Midrash. There are schol­ar­ly dis­cours­es on all med­ical and legal aspects of con­cep­tion and deliv­ery, and read­ers can eas­i­ly peruse those chap­ters that are most rel­e­vant to their par­tic­u­lar needs. The sci­en­tif­ic chap­ters are easy to under­stand, and the rab­binic chap­ters are enlight­en­ing and well-ref­er­enced; the book func­tions well for Tal­mu­dic schol­ars and laypeo­ple alike, and offers suc­cess­ful solu­tions for med­ical and halakhic obstet­ric controversies. 

It is the only source cou­ples will need to help them ful­fill the very first of the 613 com­mand­ments: Be fruit­ful and multiply.

Paul M. Arnold, MD, is pro­fes­sor of neu­ro­surgery and direc­tor of the Spinal Cord Injury Cen­ter at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas.

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