The Circumcision Debate

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

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For more information about circumcision, read these related articles:
Bris Milah Beautiful or Barbaric?
Circum-Decision


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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

Ahh!

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

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

DO IT NOW !

(a) It's a God-given tradition-don't break it after 4000 years. (b) it looks much nicer. (c) according to a friend....you 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

(6) Anonymous, August 31, 2010 10:50 PM

There can be feelings about this later

I have recently met a young Jewish guy whose parents did not circumcise him when he was a baby. They probably thought it was not medically necessary and did not want to hurt him in any way. He is now grown up and is very uncomfortable about this. I think it also makes him feel different from other Jews. Please parents, don't do this to your child. Now, if this young guy wants to get circumcised, it will be a very painful operation.

(5) Frank Adam, August 31, 2010 6:15 PM

Civil rights to religion as well!!!

Those Jews who hesitate in this matter are already anti-clerical to some degree but just out of the consent and the freedoms aspect if the lad gets religion it is cruel to leave him to adult circumcision. It needs checking but when you do not have the vocabulary you apparently do not remember. Nevertheless I did not enjoy being landed on by a tribe of in-laws there for the simcha while still new to marriage; and the whole neolithic tribalism process is disturbing when one has just heaved a massive sigh of relief that the baby has arrived healthy and without problems.

(4) Anonymous, August 31, 2010 1:45 PM

there's nothing to think about

any G_d fearing jew wouldn't thing twice.

(3) Alex, August 31, 2010 1:28 PM

why do we care?

Why should we care about medical circumcision? It is in no way a brit and people who get it do not fulfill the mitsva of brit milah. Worse yet, I suspect there are unaffiliated Jews out there, who feel that circumcision is important and would have gotten a mohel to do it, but instead go with the "safer" one in the hospital. With that in mind, we should hope for a quick end to medical circumcision because that will increase the number of Jews who give their sons a real brit!

(2) Doron, August 31, 2010 10:47 AM

Circumcision, Forbidden by Conquerors of the Jewish People

This is an age old debate; however, we can see the truth from the ways that human civilizations throughout the ages have tried to exert their dominance and power over Jews and the Jewish People. From the Greeks and Romans, to the Catholics and Nazis, circumcision has always been a sign that the Jews represent the conscience of the world. Now, we are faced with the, far removed from reality, left-leaning (more righteous than thou) majority that wields its influence over politics, social activism, health care, the media, and more. This is a new battle ground for the Jewish People, a war on each and every Jew’s inner self. It is time to take a stand, or forever lose the battle (for your children too). The Jewish People will survive—it is just that some will wake up some day and realize that they had an amazing chance to ‘really’ live and they blew it… Just for the record, I am a convert (twice over) and I have been circumcised 3 times. It is WAY worth it!

(1) smb, August 31, 2010 4:13 AM

There's medical benefits to circumcision. A person with a forskin kept on is prone is infections and other thngs. They are better off without foreskin. People claim it tramatizes. But so does shots and we don't stop that. And children remember shots more than being circumsized when they were a baby. We need to remember where these laws came from. These laws are Not from man but from Hashem. And we should trust that Hashem has our best interest in mind. Hence the medical benefit besides the spiritual benefit of joining the convenant of between G-d and the Jewish people

 

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