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The Circumcision Debate

This 4,000 year old tradition symbolizes the Jewish people's covenant.

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Visitor Comments: 11

(11) prm, December 3, 2010 3:32 PM

The end of all traditions encounter resistance

This is a difficult issue for many people. I feel the bottom line is you have to do what you feel is best. My personal opinion is that there is little in the way of a concrete argument for having the procedure done. There have been conflicting studies about the health benefits and the bottom line is that not being circumcised is perfectly safe as long as you practice proper hygiene. As far as the concept of a covenant is concerned. Exactly who is making the covenant when you circumcise an 8 day old baby? Certainly the infant is not involved in this covenant. I also find it interesting that those who argue that it is not painful for the baby are quick to point out how you shouldn't leave it to be done later because of how painful it is. Are people equating the lack of a memory of event with a lack of pain? Personally, I don't think it is the pain of the operation that is a significant reason for not having a circumcision. More valid reasons are subjecting the child to a risk (albeit a small one) unecessarily and removing a part of the child's body. No one knows what you are taking away from a person by removing this. The bottom line for me was that by choosing not to have the child circumcised you have left all options open. If the child chooses later in life to have the procedure, is that not a greater sign of a covenant? More like what Abraham did? All new ideas encounter great resistance at first, but typically in hindsight the choice looks not all that difficult.

(10) A. Smith, November 14, 2010 4:27 PM


Yes, this is what I have been wanting to hear. Thank you Rabbi!

(9) Annie, September 6, 2010 8:55 PM


(a) It's a God-given tradition-don't break it after 4000 years. (b) it looks much nicer. (c) according to a DON'T want to have it done when you're older !

(8) BubbieBrown, September 2, 2010 6:35 PM

Even the goyim circumcize

I just finished a lecture on Cancers of the Reperoductive system and pointed out the correlation between cancer risks and male circumcicision. Africa has asked Israeli doctors to teach themtechnique to prevent spread of HIV

(7) Andy, September 2, 2010 6:19 PM

For a Gentile it's not important like eating kosher,but for a Jew it's a must

It's debatable if the pain inflicted on the infant is worth it from a physical point of view and there are valid reasons gentiles decide no. I suspect if it was clearly better for all than it would be a Noachide law. Even a secular Jew who disregards most mitzvoth should be told that the child's brief experience with pain is worth it to avoid possible greater pain later should he decide to accept the covenant. Of course if one chooses to be circumcised later I suppose the reward for the mitzvah is great[greater effort greater reward] but not for the parent. In addition the message a child receives growing up as a Jew but uncircumcized is one that encourages assimilation which will make it even more likley that he'll assimilate and his descendents will not be Jews. The parents may not care but it's up to us to educate them so that they make an informed decision. In short doing it now makes sense to me and I hope to others whatever there degree of observance

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