An extraordinary statement by Rabbi Menachem Burstein, head of the Poa Institute (fertility according to Halacha), may start a change of awareness in ultra-Orthodox society.
In a conversation with Israel Hayom, ahead of a conference of the institute next week, Rabbi Borstein - one of Israel's leading medical-halachic experts - says that there is no problem using contraceptives to avoid pregnancy.
Even today, many in the ultra-orthodox and religious sectors believe that all sexual intercourse is for the purpose of fertility only, to have as many children as possible, and that one should not spill semen in vain.
But Burstein clarifies that among rabbis the understanding spread that the use of certain contraceptives should be encouraged.
"You can use it and not worry about it," he says.
"Women can rest, and not every intercourse brings pregnancy."
However, not every contraceptive method is permitted according to the Halacha, so one should ask a rabbi about this.
"It is important for the woman to rest - physically as well as mentally. Sometimes, pregnancy and childbirth will not be good for her and the rest of the household. Of course, every child is a blessing, but the couple must be ready for it and want it," he explains.
"Unfortunately, the data show that there has been a decrease in the birth rate in all sectors, so couples who are able to be blessed with children will be blessed. But those who are not - we need to understand them and help them.
"We saw many cases of couples who had no requests to talk, but they still wanted to please society because they felt social pressure - and experienced severe crises and even divorces."
The conference of the Poa Institute will stand for health according to Halacha. Doctors, nurses, midwives, counselors and more will take part in it, as part of a desire to merge medicine and Halacha.
The institute stated that they deal with the most effective contraceptives, both hormonally, so that they do not produce bleeding at the level of purity, and also in order to allow religious people who wish to do so to avoid getting pregnant without getting into a halachic problem.
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