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The Calculus to Multiply
“The children (Esav and Yaakov) agitated within her (Rivka), and she said, ‘If so, why am I thus?’…” (25:22)
King Chizkiahu refused to procreate because, through prophetic insight, he saw evil people amongst his offspring.
Yishayahu the Prophet criticized him, telling him he had no business entering into the calculations of Heaven: “What the Torah requires from you, that is what you do.” (Talmud Bavli, Berachot 11a)Therefore, if it not for a direct command from G-d, “Be fruitful and multiply,” Chizkyahu’s reckoning was correct. If you know that amongst your progeny there will be evil offspring, better not to have any at all.However, this only applies to the male of the species. Women have no Torah commandment to procreate.“If so, why am I thus?” With this we can understand Rivka’s question.
Rashi tells us that whenever Rivka passed by the doors of a house of idol worship she felt her unborn fetus struggle to emerge. She knew that her child was destined to be an idol worshipper. “Why am I thus? Why should I labor to give birth to a child who will be evil; I am not Yitzchak. I am a woman, and I have no obligation to reproduce.”
Source: Rabbi Yitzchak Zev Soloveichik