Essay on Bris Milah (Circumcision)

Essay on Bris Milah (Circumcision)

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The Covenant of Circumcision
     And G-d said unto Avroham: “And as for you, you shall keep My
     covenant, you, and your seed after you throughout their generations.
     This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and
     your seed after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And
     you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a
     token of a covenant between Me and you. And he that is eight days old
     shall be circumcised among you, every male throughout your
     generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any
     foreigner, that is not of your seed...and My covenant shall be in your
     flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male who is
     not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off
     from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
                                             --Genesis 17:9-14
     Within the Jewish community, the topic of bris milah, ritual
circumcision, has never been more controversial. Many liberal Jews are now
rethinking its function in Jewish life, some even choosing not to perform it on
their sons. They argue that circumcision is no longer of value now that the
spread of infection can be halted by good hygiene and modern medicine.
Some fear that the removal of the healthy part of an organ is a purely
arbitrary act which may cause permanent psychological and physical
damage. It is true that circumcision alone is neither medically necessary nor
emotionally beneficial. Still, the bris milah is an essential ceremony
intended to formally usher the Jewish male into a covenant with G-d.      
     Although the removal of the foreskin has been practiced by Jews since
Avroham, the actual ceremony as it is today ...

... middle of paper ...

..., Lisa Braver.Circumcision: A Jewish Inquiry. Midstream magazine. 5 Nov.
     2001. <
Robinson, George. Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to the Beliefes, Customs, and
     Rituals. Ch. 3. New York: Pocket Books, 2000.
Schapiro, Rabbi Moshe. What is Circumcision? Aish HaTorah. 15 Oct. 2001.
Scheinbaum, Rabbi A. Leib. Peninim On The Torah. Cleveland, Ohio: Kisvei
     Publications, 2000.
Simmons, Rabbi Shraga. Bris Milah: Beautiful or Barbaric? Aish HaTorah. 15 Oct.
     2001. <$.asp>.
Weissman, Rabbi Moshe. The Little Midrash Says: The Book of Beraishis. Brooklyn,
     New York: Bnay Yaakov Publications, 1986.
Weissman, Rabbi Moshe. The Little Midrash Says: The Book of Sh’mos. Brooklyn,
     New York: Bnay Yaakov Publications, 1987.

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