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Ask the Aish Rabbi a Question

Recent Questions:

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)

Fasting – Recovering from Heart Attack

I had a heart attack 7 weeks ago. I have thankfully recovered but am still somewhat weakened. Should I fast on the upcoming Shiva Asar b’Tammuz?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

If your doctor says it is not safe for you to fast, you certainly shouldn’t. (Unlike on Yom Kippur, you do not need an expert medical evaluation to excuse you from fasting.) If your doctor doesn’t feel there is a particular concern, then you should try to fast. But if you have any discomfort, you should stop.

In general for minor fasts, a healthy person should not be lenient just because of the discomfort of fasting, even if he feels quite weak on account of it. But if the person feels unwell and certainly dehydrated, he should not fast. Since you have a preexisting condition, you can eat at the first sign of weakness.

Note that even people who must eat on a fast day should not indulge, but should only eat simple foods to preserve their health.

We wish you a speedy recovery!

(Sources: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 550:1, Mishna Berurah 5, Kovetz Mi’Bet Levi” (R. Vozner) XIII pg. 17 [12].)

Child Attending Parent’s Second Marriage

My parents are divorced and my father is remarrying in the near future. It will be a very small ceremony, and I was told that the children of the first marriage should not attend. Is that true?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

There is no source I am familiar with which states children may not attend the second marriage of one of their parents. It is, however, a widespread custom. Perhaps the reason is out of respect for the memory or feelings of the other parent. Regardless, many who do follow this practice only absent themselves from the wedding ceremony itself. They do attend the meal.