The Significance Of Circumcision
Jun 07, · Like Jewish identity itself, circumcision carries a dual significance, both ethnic and religious. It is the Jewish male’s quintessential sign of ethnic . May 19, · G?d commanded the Jewish people (Leviticus ), “On the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.” The act of circumcision, marking the completion of the body, is a human act. This teaches us that our spiritual, emotional, moral and ethical perfection requires human effort. G?d cannot do it for us.
Brit milah [circumcision] is sometimes referred to as the covenant of Abraham, who circumcised himself in order to become a Jew. Yet he was not commanded to circumcise himself at that time and waited until he was much older — 99 years of age. Actually, there is no explicit commandment in the Torah requiring circumcision or immersion for proselytes. The Talmud—the Oral Law—is where the what is the purpose of circumcision in judaism and debates about initiation rites are found.
There was general, though by no means universal, agreement among the rabbis that male converts must undergo both circumcision and mikveh [immersion in a ritual bath]. Women only have to immerse. Despite the pain and risk that attended adult circumcision prior to the invention of anesthetics and antiseptic practice, adult men in every generation have submitted to circumcision in order to become Jews.
Today, Orthodox and Conservative Jews still require circumcision or hatafat dam brit [extracting a what does black mold look like in a bathroom of blood], its ritual reenactment. The Reform movement has accepted converts without milah or mikveh sincea decision based in part on the absence of biblical law and also upon minority positions in the Talmud that argued circumcision was not the sine qua non for conversion.
While the Reform and Reconstructionist movements do not require milah or mikveh, an increasing number of rabbis affiliated with both do make it a condition for their conversion candidates, so check with your rabbi. Given the historical and religious significance of brit milah, the idea that an uncircumcised man can be a Jew seems like a logical impossibility.
However, the case has been made that, like the uncircumcised Russian Jews who embraced their birthright after immigrating to the United States or Israel, uncircumcised converts may be seen as Jews in need of circumcision—but Jews nonetheless. For much of this century, nearly all American baby boys underwent circumcision as a health measure, a fact that made adult circumcision unnecessary for most male converts.
However, medical circumcision is not the same as brit milah. The removal of the foreskin is only one part of the ritual, which must be performed with the intention of entering a boy or man into the covenant of Israel. Thus, Jewish law requires that circumcised converts undergo a ritual reenactment called hatafat dam brit.
The ritual requires that a single drop of blood be taken from the site of the circumcision—more precisely, from the corona of skin that surrounds what are the best hangover cures head or glans how to use a tampon youtube the penis.
The person performing the hatafat dam brit applies an alcohol swab to the area and then pricks the skin either with a hypodermic needle or a sterile lancet. The blood is collected on a gauze pad, which may then be shown to three witnesses. The ritual is generally scheduled days or even hours before mikveh. The convert does not need to fully disrobe.
There is no cutting, no suturing, and no subsequent bleeding. The entire procedure takes only a few moments. Hatafat dam brit is generally performed by a mohela ritual circumciser.
Traditionally, one becomes a mohel by apprenticeship with an established practitioner, but since the s the Reform and Conservative movements have recruited, trained, and certified licensed physicians to serve as mohelim for the liberal Jewish community. Rabbis and mohelim tend to insist that hatafat dam brit is painless. Physicians who perform hatafat dam brit sometimes prescribe a numbing cream, which is applied to the area a few hours earlier.
Despite the minor physical and not-so-minor psychological discomfort the anticipation is always worse than the eventconverts invariably say that the importance of the ritual far outweighed any pain. There is no liturgy for the ritual of hatafat dam brit.
Some mohelim recite a blessing before drawing the drop of blood, but others do not. Afterward, the witnesses, mohel, rabbi, and convert may say the blessing over wine—a universal feature of all Jewish rituals. However, given the emotional and ritual importance of the moment, some rabbis and mohelim now include new as well as old blessings and even a brief ceremony. And yet, there have always been men willing to undergo brit milah in order to become full members of the Jewish community.
Of course, modern medicine greatly minimizes the danger and pain associated with circumcision, and since urologists and some general surgeons routinely perform circumcisions for medical reasons, the procedure itself is fairly easy to arrange. Only an experienced urologist or general surgeon should undertake an adult circumcision, and several of the mohelim certified by the Conservative and Reform movements are qualified in these fields.
A Jewish surgeon who is not a mohel can perform brit milah by saying the blessing before he does the surgery. If the only available surgeon is a non-Jew, a mohel or indeed any Jew may say the blessing. Finally, a medical circumcision can be performed and then followed, at a later date, by hatafat dam brit. Adult circumcision is performed as what are some evidence of evolution surgery.
The procedure takes about 30 minutes, and patients are sent home as soon as the anesthesia wears off. Most men return to work the day after circumcision, with a prescription for a mild analgesic to alleviate postoperative pain. Dissolvable sutures are used so there are no stitches to remove; however, the urologist will want to check on the healing process after about two weeks. Swelling and discoloration persist for a week or two, and intercourse is prohibited for three to four weeks.
Complications are rare, minor, and easily treated. Whereas the Orthodox and Conservative movements require circumcision or, for those already circumcised, the ritual extraction of a drop of blood for a conversion to be valid, the Reform movement gives more latitude to individual rabbis. The latest official Reform position is that rabbis should educate converts about these traditional rituals, but have the choice to either counsel the conversion candidate to undergo the ceremonies this being the preferred option or to allow the candidate to choose whether or not how to talk to a drug addict in denial do so.
In order not to close the door upon proselytes, however advanced in years. Join Our Newsletter Empower your Jewish discovery, daily. Sign Up. Discover More. This man or woman performs Judaism's oldest religious rite. Conversion Denominational Differences On Conversion Differences between the movements grow out of more basic disagreements in philosophy and belief.
Oct 10, · While numerous explanations for the ritual have been suggested by different sages throughout the generations, circumcision is a chok, a law that is performed as God’s decree, and according to traditional Judaism, no further explanation is needed. Aug 25, · The major Jewish ceremony associated with the birth of a boy is circumcision (brit milah, or bris), which usually takes place when the infant is eight days old (though it may be postponed for medical reasons). 'Be fruitful and multiply': Judaism and childbearing Why Hebrew has so many words for 'penis' Why I circumcised my own son.
Candlelighting, Readings: Shabbat candles: p. Torah reading: Lev. Nor do many contemporary Jews yearn for their return, for what meaning could the ancient purity rituals offer Jews trying to understand the world in modern terms? By contrast, the commandment for Jewish males to undergo ritual circumcision, [Leviticus ], which also appears in Tazria, continues to be a key to Jewish identity, a subject that continues to ignite controversy today.
Like Jewish identity itself, circumcision carries a dual significance, both ethnic and religious. Though only a small percentage of Jews today consider themselves believers in any traditional sense, nearly every Jewish male undergoes circumcision. Indeed, circumcision is the most popular custom observed among our people. As the hallmark of national identity, it was the most visible difference between Jews and their Greek counterparts in the second century B. The ethnic significance of circumcision helps explain a mysterious incident in the life of Moses that is described in Exodus Chapter 4.
He was psychologically unable to make the fateful existential choice between throwing his lot in with a nation of slaves or living an easy but purposeless life tending sheep in Midian. Because he lacked the commitment to his people and his higher destiny, God sought to kill him until his wife, Tzipora, hurriedly circumcised their son. Don't miss our top stories. Get The Jewish Week in your inbox. Yet the Bible is more concerned with the theological meaning of circumcision than its ethnic significance.
First commanded to Abraham, circumcision in the Bible does not constitute the brit covenant itself, but is the most permanent ot sign of someone who undertakes to live in covenant with God. Hence, according to rabbinic tradition, the Jews in Egypt had to circumcise themselves before performing the first paschal sacrifice, and according to the Book of Joshua, 40 years later the next generation of Jews circumcised themselves before they entered the Promised Land.
What is this Jewish brit, the covenant of which circumcision is only a sign? There is a famous fictional dialogue in the Talmud between the Roman official Tarnus Rufus and Rabbi Akiva concerning circumcision. Commandments are about improving ourselves, raising ourselves from mere biological objects to moral beings, about moving from facts to values, and about constantly striving for spiritual perfection.
Judaism knows no noble savage. On the contrary, Jewish nobility is found only in the elevated being who has overcome the brute conditions of nature.
On a national level, it means the transformation of an ethnic collection into a holy people. Individually or nationally, this transformation does not come cheap. It requires effort and sacrifice — the blood that transforms a medical procedure into a covenantal event.
Though the rituals are relegated to antiquity, their underlying spiritual message seems eternal. The Jewish Week is always here for you. We need your support now. Your contribution will help us bring you vital news and frequent updates about the impact of COVID