Why is the mitzvah of having children encouraged by the yetzer hara, by such a wicked instinct, and not by the yetzer hatov?
And the answer is that it’s not true. Procreation is influenced by a very big yetzer hatov. The yetzer of procreation is a very big yetzer hatov.
We’ll take an example. An automobile let’s say. An automobile can be for a person one of the biggest aids to Torah. Let’s say he lives in Queens and he has to go to yeshivah in Brooklyn and he’d have to travel by public transportation. It would take him an hour and a half. But now he goes by car and he gets there quickly. So, like the Chafetz Chaim said, why were all these inventions made? For the bnei yeshiva.
The Chafetz Chaim said this when boys used to cross the Atlantic to go to Mirrer Yeshivah. They had a hundred American boys in the Mirrer Yeshivah. So once an American boy, a Mirrer bochur, came to Radin. So somebody said to the Chafetz Chaim, “Ehr is fun America – he came from America to learn in the yeshiva.”
So the Chafetz Chaim said, “Why are you surprised? Americans are good business people. And Torah is the best business.”
Then he said, “That’s what the steamboats are for; that’s what the big ocean liners are for, for the purpose of bringing people across the ocean to learn Torah.” People think that steamboats are for other things and that incidentally one of the least uses is to transport yeshivah bachurim. No, that’s a mistake. It’s the opposite.
The Rambam says if you see a palace that’s been standing for five hundred years and in the palace the lords and ladies have been drinking and celebrating parties for five hundred years and you ask what’s the purpose of this palace so the answer is that it’s a complete waste. But if one day when it was raining a decent man passed by and he stood under the portico of the palace that projects out in the street, and he stood there for ten minutes to protect himself from the rain, that justifies the existence of the palace. A palace can stand for five hundred years and the goyim get shikur there for five hundred years and it pays – it’s worth it for those ten minutes for the decent man. The fact that it’s misused for five hundred years doesn’t change that.
Same thing with the automobile. It can be used for other things too besides bringing you to learn Torah. People drive cars to go to movies. People do many things with cars. But that’s not the purpose. It’s misusing the car. Just because so many people are misusing it doesn’t mean that’s the purpose.
Procreation is for the purpose of having children. The fact that it’s misused, that’s the fault of the misusers. All the instincts are great blessings. The instinct to procreate is a very great blessing. If not for the instinct of procreation, nobody would be in this hall tonight. Right? And the hall wouldn’t exist because the builders who built it wouldn’t be around. And therefore we thank Hakadosh Baruch Hu that there’s such an instinct. The fact that there are a lot of illegitimate children roaming the streets because of this instinct, whose fault is it?
And therefore don’t say that it’s such a wicked instinct. It’s such a good instinct. It’s a yetzer hatov that’s employed in this great task.
And why is it such a strong instinct? Because the purpose is so strong. It’s so important to have frum Jews around. And therefore Hakadosh Baruch Hu tells the world be fruitful and multiply. Because not only we need frum Jews but we need policemen and firemen too to take care of them.
TAPE # 216 (April 1978)