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Ask the Aish Rabbi a Question

Recent Questions:

Living Together

My boyfriend just got a new job and will be moving to my city. He says that it’s time we start living together. The idea seems to have advantages – shared expenses, and we can spend more time together. But I’m wondering if there is a downside to this as well?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Living together is a bad idea. It is a convenient way for a man to have all the “benefits” with none of the responsibilities. Then when he gets tired of you, he will move on. I've seen it dozens of times, with women who come crying to me because they have been hurt in this way. (For this and many other reasons, Judaism frowns on this arrangement.)

Even in the event you do get married, studies show that couples who lived together before marriage were more likely to get divorced early in their marriage than couples who did not live together. There is a simple reason for this. When a man and woman live together, they approach their relationship very differently than they would as a married couple. Finances, household chores, social lives, major decisions, minor decisions, resolving conflicts, give and take, and expectations about the future are all executed by two individuals who lack a basic long-term commitment.

When they get married, what usually happens is that their expectations change. The rules are now different, only the couple is now set in a previous mode of relating, and cannot handle the transition. It’s a prescription for disaster.

I recommend the book, "The Case for Marriage," which has a chapter discussing this phenomenon.

Kiruv Drive

Is there a possibility to invite someone to our home for Shabbat dinner, if they are not Shabbat observant and will probably drive home after the meal?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach addressed your situation. He writes that one is permitted to invite someone who lives at a distance, as long as you offer him a place to sleep so that he will not have to desecrate Shabbos. Even if he does not take you up on the offer, and you suspect that he won't, that is okay because you have done your part to facilitate his Shabbat observance. ("Minchas Shlomo" 4:10:1)

Further, Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch explains that since you have their spiritual good in mind, this is not placing "stumbling block in front of the blind." (Teshuvos V'hanhagos 1:358)

Some rabbis go even further and say that you can let them drive if you estimate that this particular Shabbat experience will have a significant effect on their moving along in Torah commitment.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, however, was more stringent in these cases. ("Igrot Moshe" O.C. 1:99)

The bottom line is that every situation is different, and you should consult with your own rabbi for guidance.

In Vitro Fertilization

I’ve been married for three years and have yet to get pregnant. I’m getting on in age and don’t want motherhood to pass me by. We are considering IVF but thought it may be circumventing God's will.

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

I commend you for consulting with a rabbi before moving forward.

IVF is not a problem of circumventing God's will, because it was God Himself who gave mankind the wisdom and tools to develop IVF in the first place.

Many contemporary Sages allow IVF under certain circumstances, such as when other options have been exhausted. But there are Jewish legal issues involved with IVF which can be problematic, and therefore it must be conducted under strict rabbinic supervision of the process.

(See Rabbi Nebenzahl – Assia 34, Tishrei 5743; Rabbi Ovadia Yosef – Yabia Omer EH 8:21; Rabbi E. Waldenberg – Tzitz Eliezer 15:45; Nishmat Avraham – Vol 3, p. 15)

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