Question of the Week:
I want to fulfil G-d's commandment to go forth and multiply. In fact, I want to have as many children as possible. However, my wife and I are struggling just to support ourselves. If we have lots of children in our current financial state we will be on welfare. I do believe G-d will provide so I can have lots of children, but this doesn't seem to be happening and I am getting impatient. Should we simply have a big family and hope for divine assistance so we can afford to live in a Jewish neighbourhood and keep up with the standard of living? Or should we wait until we might be more financially ahead?
I feel for you in your quandary. There is no greater gift than children, but we do have to be responsible. So let's think it through rationally.
You talk of having a big family. But that usually doesn't happen all at once. Unless your wife gives birth to sextuplets, it will be a while before you become a big family. So why not take one child at a time? I am sure you have room for one more. And then please G-d you will find room for another.
Every soul that comes into this world brings blessings with them. While until now G-d was only looking after you and your wife, when you have a child, G-d has three people to look after, with three separate accounts to deposit into. Apart from the government's baby bonus, there is a divine baby bonus. But that only comes after the child is born, not before.
The truth is, you can't predict what your financial position will be two years from now, or two days from now.
Imagine you win the lottery tomorrow and become a millionaire. Problem solved? Well, say you have ten children based on your new wealth. And then you lose it, as most lottery winners eventually do. What now? Do you give up your kids for adoption because you can't afford them any more? Finances are fickle. You can't base your life choices on money.
There is no question that being a parent can be expensive. But we all have to make careful choices about where our money goes. There is no mitzvah to keep up with the extravagances that others deem an appropriate standard of living. If you have a decent home and food to eat, you can do without many of the so-called necessities that are in fact luxuries. Ask yourself, in years from now, what will you regret more - the European holiday you never went on, or the child that you never had?
I know a religious man in his eighties who is blessed with countless grandchildren and great grandchildren. He happens to come from the same town in Europe as a well-known billionaire. When they meet, the billionaire always tells him, "I'm jealous of you. You are really the rich man, your shares will never drop."
Don't ask if you can afford to have a child. Ask if you can afford not to.