(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org

Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 21:30:28 -0500 (EST)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Seven Sons

I recently cited a Mail-Jewish explanation of the folklore saying that
>  >  Whoever raises 7 children get a share in the next world<  <   (I suggested
that (s)he gets a share because they are continuously involved in charity
since there is no Biblical obligation to raise children after 6.

Rabbi Teitz responds: <  <  Does the saying say 7 children or 7 sons?  Also,
doesit say anywhere that ..children, or bearing 7 children (sons)?If
someone could produce a source, which is what was requested, we could
better answer these questions.>  >

This was also discussed in Mail-Jewish. Apparently this (often quoted)
statement is not a Gmarrah but sort of folklore. I of course had the option
of not defending it (by saying it is folklore). My personal belief about
agaddah is that the proper way of understanding it is not to analyze with
scrutiny the text (as we do in legal matters) but rather to see deep
powerful principles that support the ideas (Like charity giving you a share
in the next world). Therefore it is not important to me whether the source
is Talmudic or Folklorish. (For a not-understood agaddah (unlike a
not-understood halacha) has no value)

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
RHendel @ mcs drexel edu