An answer here states:

The mitzva of Pru Urvu covers only marrying someone believed to be fertile.

And one here:

"The mitzva per se of pru urvu means: "marry someone who is able to bear children, to the best of your knowledge, and go about normal married life."

I had thought that p'ru urvu simply meant having children - -a boy and a girl, or something like that. But apparently it actually [only] means getting married to somebody with childbearing potential.

  1. Does doing so fulfill the actual mitzvah of p'ru urvu? That is, if one marries someone presumably capable of having children, and then does not/can not have children, has one still fulfilled the mitzvah of p'ru urvu? (I know that a remarriage is no longer halachically required. But do we consider that he did fulfill p'ru urvu, or that he "couldn't"?)

    1b. If yes to the above: How long does he have to remain married to the woman (and/or live with her) during her presumed-fertile years in order to be yotzei the mitzvah? ("Until she has children" would be a very unsatisfying answer.)

  2. If one does not marry a woman presumed to be fertile, but has [a boy and a girl] anyway--i.e., with one's presumed-infertile wife, through relations with a non-Jewish woman or non-wife, or through sperm donation--has one fulfilled p'ru urvu? Would these four cases differ?

  3. In light of all the considerations above, is there a "cutoff" for p'ru urvu, insofar as it may become increasingly difficult with age to attract, marry, and get along with a younger woman -- and as communities have various standards about acceptable age difference?

Related: If a woman cannot have children, can she marry?


  • 1
    This seems closable as Too Broad.
    – Double AA
    Sep 28, 2017 at 0:59
  • 1
    @DoubleAA I don't think so. I could remove #3 if you like. But I really think it all fits together rather neatly.
    – SAH
    Sep 28, 2017 at 1:00
  • 2
    It seems like you could greatly improve the question by simply asking whether there is a mitsvah of "pru urvu" and what the parameters of the mitsvah are. Once you know the definition of the mitsvah, your question ought to be answered. If it inst, you can always ask a new question about some detail.
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 28, 2017 at 1:55
  • 1
    @mevaqesh I used to try to broaden my questions like that; over time I realized that I was never getting the answers that I actually sought.
    – SAH
    Sep 28, 2017 at 3:13
  • 1
    The Mitzvah is to have at least two children, at least one of whom is a boy (we pasken like Beis Hillel). But there’s only so much in his control - he can be intimate with his wife, but he can’t control what gender she gives birth to. The Mitzvah is to do whatever is in his control - but ultimately it’s up to Hashem whether he’s successful.
    – DonielF
    Jul 29, 2018 at 16:55


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