Our Torah contains 613 commandments, mitzvot. There are 248 positive ones that we must “do,” and 365 negative ones that we must be careful “not to do.” These 613 are the key mitzvot, from
which thousands of other mitzvot branch off. When we learn our holy Torah and delve into its mitzvot, we consequently become more accustomed with them and capable of fulfilling them properly. The first mitzvah is mentioned in this parashah, as the Torah states (Bereshit 1:28), “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the world.” It is written at the beginning of the Torah because of its primary importance for the continuation of our nation. What are the requirements of this mitzvah? It is incumbent upon a man to marry a woman, and to bear a boy and a girl (this is the minimum requirement). The Rambam (Hilchot Ishut 15:16) writes that even after having achieved this, there is still a rabbinical mitzvah to continue having more children. The reason for this is that bringing a soul down to this world is tantamount to building an entire world. Moreover, we do not know which children G-d is waiting to award us with. There are some very special neshamot waiting to be born, and we may merit being the emissaries to bring them into this world. What are the reasons for this mitzvah? The main reason for the Torah commanding us to be fruitful is because G-d created the world Delving Within 13 The 613 Mitzvot to be perpetuated. Thus, by busying ourselves in populating the world, we are fulfilling G-d’s Will in Creation. There is an additional reason, though, as follows: When G-d created this world, it was for the neshamot, souls, to be able to descend to this world to earn their reward. The souls would eventually return to Heaven corrected, complete and able to reap eternal reward. After all these neshamot have achieved their ultimate perfection, Mashiach, who we have long-awaited, will come. Hence, every child that is born hastensthe arrival of Mashiach.This mitzvah is essential to the continuation of the world, as it will enable more people to practise the mitzvot as well. The learning of Torah and performance of its mitzvot was given to man and not to angels. Without the reproduction of man the world would revert to emptiness and void, as there would be no one to practice Torah and mitzvot. Our Sages tell us that one may not sell a sefer Torah, except in two urgent circumstances. One is when it is required to ensure the continued learning of Torah, as without its study, the mitzvot cannot be fulfilled and the world cannot exist. The second is when it is required so that one will be able to get married. Without marriage, there can be no continuity, and the purpose of the world will not be fulfilled; hence, this justifies even selling a sefer Torah. One of the six cardinal questions that we will be asked on our “Day of Reckoning” is if we made efforts to get married and have children. Interestingly, this question refers not only to our doing so, but also, to helping others do so. There are so many people out there who lack the connections or the knowhow to go about it, and desperately need someone to empathize and help them out. Let us act responsibly and make a list all of the “singles” we know, and try to help find suitable shidduchim, partners in marriage for them, thereby ensuring the continuation of the world.