Number of children

Question: We have two boys and two girls. I want to continue to enlarge the family, but my wife does not. What is Ha-Rav's advice?
Answer: After you have a boy and girl, one should continue to have children, as it says: "In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand" (Kohelet 11:6 and Yevamot 62b). But we are not told how many children to have. The guiding principle is to have the most children possible based on one's ability – one's physical ability, one's emotional ability, and one's financial ability. One's ability is a personal decision. You cannot force your wife to have more children if she is somehow unable. This reminds me of the words of the Mesech Chochma on the mitzvah of "Be fruitful and multiply" (Bereshit 9:7). As is known, women are not obligated in this mitzvah. This is a wonder – how can a man have children alone? The Mesech Chochma explains that women are not obligated in this mitzvah because pregnancy can be quite difficult, childbirth is difficult, and taking care of a baby all of the time is difficult. The Torah does not force someone to do something which may sometimes be beyond his ability. But if Hashem does not command women to have children, how will children come into the world? Because Hashem implanted within women a desire for children, as we see with Rachel: "Give me children or I will die" (Bereshit 30a). Therefore, a woman has children because of her desire to do so. There is a balance between the desire and the difficulties, and a woman navigates between them. This appears in the Torah, not when Hashem commands Adam: "Be fruitful and multiply" (Bereshit 1:28), but after the flood when he commands Noach: "Be fruitful and multiply." The first command was issued before the curse "You shall bear children in pain" (Bereshit 3:16) and there was therefore no reason to be lenient. But now there is the difficulty of the curse. I therefore recommend that you not pressure your wife. Let her decide on her own whether or not she is able.