The positive commandment of circumcision is found in the first Book of the
This act is referred to as a Covenant with G-d. He instructs Abraham to
circumcise himself and his children and to continue the practice down
through the generations. As a matter of fact, the Talmud characterizes
Abraham as the first convert 2,
since he was the first person to be instructed by G-d to circumcise
This commandment is the only one that is literally sealed in the flesh and
is therefore unique. It serves as a constant reminder to each Jew that he
is a descendant of Abraham and a servant of the Al-Mighty.
The Jewish Nation has observed this commandment since its inception, some
3500 years ago. Jews adhered to it at the cost of martyrdom in times of
Each Jewish’ father is obligated to arrange to have his sons circumcised
when they are eight days old. It is traditional to celebrate this first
milestone with a party attended by friends and family. Ritual circumcision
is not merely a surgical procedure, but, rather, is a highly significant
The sole valid reason for postponing a circumcision (after the eighth day
of the child’s life) is the child’s health. Maimonides reiterated the
Talmudic ruling: circumcising a sick child is forbidden. We never risk a
child’s life, since it is impossible to rectify the loss of human life 4.
The fact that circumcision is performed on the sexual organ is
significant. This organ is representative of the body’s urges and this
procedure indicates that we must control and sublimate these urges and
conform them to the Will of G-d.
The guidelines for the practice of circumcision are derived from the
Bible, Talmud, and Jewish Law. The technique used is unique and has been
approved and recommended as being based on sound surgical principles by
many physicians. A ”Mohel” (the Hebrew word for the person who
performs ritual circumcision is a master surgeon in his particular area of
expertise. The process itself takes less than 30 seconds during which the
”Mohel” first recites a Hebrew blessing, then amputates the foreskin
with a sterilized scalpel, quickly splits the mucous with (disinfected)
thumbnails, applies suction, and completes the procedure by bandaging the
wound. The essential procedures of the ritual circumcision are 1) the
removal of the prepuce and 2) the splitting and peeling back of the mucus
surface, thus exposing the glands penis.
Jewish religious law opposes the use of a clamp that causes complete
homeostasis, since part of the Jewish ritual is the ”Dam Bris” (blood
of the Covenant), which is considered a vital part of the procedure. In
addition, the required method is one that minimizes the child’s pain, an
essential element under Jewish law.
Certain children (hemophilic) may not be circumcised, as stated in the
and in the Codes of Religious Law compiled by Maimonides and Karo. There
are a number of medical criteria used to diagnose jaundice as an ailment
that requires a delay of the circumcision.
This ritual has been found to provide a number of unexpected benefits, as
in the case of many commandments found in the Bible. Circumcision has been
found to inhibit the development of penile and cervical cancer and acts as
a method of prophylaxis by facilitating personal hygiene.
All in all, there is no doubt as to the safety, efficacy, and reliability
of ritual circumcision.