A Bond for Eternity: Understanding the Bris Milah

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Thus, if the baby is born premature, weak, or ill in any way, or if he is diagnosed with a health condition such as jaundice or an eye infection, the circumcision is temporarily postponed. The circumcision is almost painless for the child. Ritual circumcision is performed using a finely honed blade of surgical steel, like a scalpel, and a non-constricting guard which is placed over the foreskin.

Parshat Vayeira: Brit Milah, the Eternal Covenant-פרשה וארא

The procedure involves the removal of a small piece of skin; no actual flesh or muscle is cut at all. A newborn will tend to cry as soon as his diaper is opened and he is uncovered. This may be due to a need to feel enclosed, or merely because he is feeling cold. Notice, also, that the infant stops crying shortly after the procedure has been completed, and then usually falls asleep.

The Laws of 'Brit Milah'

The man is more empowered against Satan and his demons. Acts —8;. Romans —;. Galatians —18; —6;. Colossians —15;. Messianic Jews Hebrews —19; — Please watch the following Holy Prophetic videos to obtain some vital information:. Walk in my presence and be pure-hearted. I will make nations of you, kings will descend from you.

Health of the Baby

We will settle among you and become one people with you. He was the most important member of his family. The land is large enough for them also. Let us marry their daughters and give them ours in marriage. So let us agree that they can live among us. I do not have many men; if they all band together against me and attack me, our whole family will be destroyed. The details are as follows:. Providing us mitzvahs to do is the ultimate act of generosity. If He had made a perfect world and beamed us down to enjoy it, He would effectively be rendering us parasites.

By leaving some things incomplete and instructing us to fill them in, He promotes us to a full partnership in His creative work. And what aspect of His creative work? That which fulfills its true inner purpose, His innermost desire. What is there that is real or significant about this creation? What makes it any more than a whimsical fantasy? Imagine you just made Pinocchio.

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Imagine you wanted Pinocchio to be your little boy. But imagine that Pinocchio has no free will, and even if he did, had everything laid out for him with no options in which to express that free will. At one hundred years of age, Abraham underwent circumcision. Our answer, however, solves the puzzle. If Abraham had performed the circumcision before being commanded, he would be doing it just like any other created being doing something nice.

Plunging yet deeper for the intrepid intellect, this is an inherent distinction between secondary and primary desires. Feeling intrepid? Hang in there. We also have intrinsic, primary desires rumbling beneath the surface of our consciousness—for example, the desire for territory, for love, for confirmation of our existence—whatever they are and however you wish to express them.

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  4. These desires surface in the form of secondary desires: to earn money, to look good, to compete—all the mad races of human beings upon this planet. Now take a look at how these two sorts of desires manifest. The secondary desires jump out immediately and spontaneously. The inner, primary desires, on the other hand, unfold gradually, sometimes after many years—in some cases, never achieving fruition. We run through our entire lives rarely, if ever, understanding why we do all the things we do. Why is it this way, that inner desires do not manifest spontaneously, but unfold? As soon as you can know of it and feel it and act upon it, it is already a movement away from the innermost core.

    Ironically, by this paradigm, the deepest expressions of the divine will are those acts which He did not expressly tell us to do, but which Jewish communities derived through study and celebration of His Torah. These are the most exquisite expression of desire closest to the core—that which cannot be commanded or told, sometimes not even alluded to in a nuance of the text, but sensed only by those who are immersed with their entire souls in His Torah with love.

    It seems more than slightly absurd to apply human psychology to the One who came up with their design to begin with. In truth, the idea applies to Him in its most absolute sense. You see, our innermost desires are innate: since we are human beings, we desire territory, love, etc.

    The Creator has no needs; He is entirely free in every respect to choose whatever He wishes to desire. Once He has so chosen, however, then certain needs spring into place. Since those needs are conceived by necessity, they are born into existence by necessity. But since the inner desires are chosen by His free will, they are manifest in our world through our free will. Through the commandment of circumcision we proclaim that it is not easy to be Jewish. One must pay with his very blood for being Jewish, as the verse which we recite in the course of the circumcision ceremony states: "Through your blood shall you live" Ezekiel The mighty task which Israel took upon itself is to reveal to a world full of darkness and heresy, that there is a Creator and Overseer; to inform the cruel and destructive nations that the true purpose of life is to pursue kindness and show benevolence, and to lead a life of purity and morality in a world of lies and hypocrisy.

    Accomplishing all of this is no easy task. It is a job which will not be concluded until the world is completely rectified — and the road is full of hardships and sacrifice. The act of removing the foreskin, which symbolizes the moral defect that attached itself to the world, involves blood and pain — but there is no other path.

    For the only other alternative would be to compromise and to become demoralized in the impurity of the cruel and destructive nations, hence losing our special value and national identity. From every page in the history of the Jewish people, from the destruction of the Temple until the Holocaust, we learn that our mission is a difficult one involving genuine self-sacrifice. This is our destiny and responsibility.

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    This agreement is equivalent to the testimony of a hundred witnesses regarding the true feeling of each Jew regarding Jewish faith and the Torah. Incidentally, there are a number of other central commandments regarding which there is wide general acceptance among Jews. In fact, if one takes into consideration the entire Torah and its commandments, one finds that there is no clear line dividing "religious" and "secular" Jews.

    In practice, there are many non-observant Jews who fulfill many Torah commandments with great love, while there are those who are termed "religious," who, in fact, fail to perform many of the commandments. Yet, despite the great importance of this commandment, one must be aware of the fact that a Jew is one whose mother is Jewish; and even if he is not circumcised and he does not appear to be Jewish, if his mother is Jewish, he too is Jewish.

    It is important for us to remember this fact, for, lately, many uncircumcised Jews have been immigrating to Israel, and there are some who mistakenly claim that any Jew who has not been circumcised is like a non-Jew, and must convert in order to join the Jewish people.

    Baby Naming and Brit Milah

    The fact of the matter is that whoever was born to a Jewish mother, or converted to Judaism according to Jewish law, is Jewish. Judaism begins from the soul, from the fact that the Almighty chose us from among all the nations and infused us with a soul capable of giving expression to the Divine values of the Torah in the world. All of this is true regarding one who was born to a Jewish mother.

    A non-Jew, though, who desires to join the Jewish people through conversion, and thus establish a new Halakhic fact — i. Our Sages teach that the ultimate source of the soul a non-Jew who takes upon himself to convert to Judaism, is in fact Jewish; yet, in order to get to this source, the convert must accept upon himself to fulfill all of the commandments.

    In other words, one who was born Jewish possesses a Jewish soul, and even if he does not observe the commandments, his spiritual nature does not change; but, regarding a convert, only the foundation of his soul is Jewish, and, therefore, only by formally accepting upon himself the commandments can a Jewish soul reside within him. True, these matters cannot be proven scientifically, but I believe that a broad and all-encompassing examination of the history of the Jewish people and of those converts who did not earnestly accept upon themselves the Torah commandments can help us understand these profound ideas.

    When it comes to the rest of the nations of the world there is agreement among rabbinic arbiters that they should not be circumcised, for circumcision is a commandment incumbent upon the children of Abraham alone. The source of this obligation lies in the verse, "And you must keep my covenant "brit" ; you and your seed after you for all generations" Genesis Ishmael is not considered the seed of Abraham, for it is written elsewhere Genesis : "It is through Isaac that you will gain posterity.

    The offspring of Keturah, though, had not yet been born at the time when that verse was stated to Abraham. Therefore, even though they are not Jews — for they are not progeny of the Patriarchs Isaac and Jacob — they are none the less obligated to perform circumcision as the seed of Abraham. Rambam also rules that, because the offspring of Keturah have in the meantime become intermixed with the offspring of Ishmael, and Keturah constitutes the majority, all of them are bound by this commandment Hilkhot Melakhim Our Sages even teach Zohar vol. Only after this were the Israelites able to conquer the land.

    In addition, our Sages foresaw long ago that the Ishmaelites would gain control of the Holy Land for an extended period of time, while the land was barren and desolate. The reason for this is that the Ishmaelites practice circumcision, and our Sages said they will therefore succeed in delaying the return of Israel to its land. Therefore the Land of Israel will remain barren and desolate while in their possession, and in the end, the Land of Israel will become the possession of the People of Israel.

    If man is born naturally with a foreskin, is it not best to simply leave things as they are? And if the foreskin is so abhorrent that God himself desires that we remove it, why did He create it to begin with? The truth of the matter is that this question was already asked ages ago by the Rabbis of the Midrash see Midrash Tanchuma, Tazriah 5 : Turnus Rufus, the wicked Roman general once challenged Rabbi Akiva, asking him: "If the Almighty God so desires circumcision, why does the newborn not enter the world already circumcised?

    In other words, certainly God can provide for the poor, but He created the world with deficiency so that man is granted the privilege of taking part in the perfection of creation. The same is true regarding the foreskin. This is why the Creator left part of the creation incomplete — in order that we complete the work. The foreskin, which is skin that the body has no need for, represents indulgence rather than necessity, the fleeting appetite which leaves only a bad taste in its wake.

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    It is the opposite of true love, which constitutes the foundation of life. Removing the foreskin initiates a process of individual refinement, and with the beginning of this process a covenant is forged between the newborn child and the eternal nation. The Jewish nation is forever being refined and made pure, and together with it, the entire universe.

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