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Circumcision among Jews: Rite, Age, Ceremony

Circumcision - the removal of the male foreskin - is practiced in various parts of the world.

One of the oldest traditions associated with this procedure is with the Jewish people.

Circumcision of Jews in Circumcision - Do Modern Men Do It, Who Carries Circumcision, and Why Do Men Circumcise Men to Jews? Answers in our article.

Rite history

When the Jewish people began to practice circumcision, it is impossible to say for sure: the roots of this tradition are lost in the depths of centuries.

However, scientists argue that excision of the foreskin was popular among the inhabitants of Canaan (Edomites, Ammonites, and Moabites), Egyptians, and Phoenicians who lived in the Middle East in the 3rd millennium BC. e. Jews adopted the rite from them.

It is known that biblical prophet Ezekiel advocated a similar initiation of boys, saying: "Live in your blood!"

However, under the Phoenician Queen Jezebel, decrees were issued prohibiting circumcision, which made circumcision for some time a secret procedure.

The persecution of fans of circumcision continued in the II century. BC e. during the reign of Antiochus II Epiphanes, who sought to make the Jewish nation a part of Hellenic culture. Those who did excision of the foreskin to their sons were sentenced to death.

Ritualists were also persecuted during the time of Vespasian (after the destruction of Jerusalem) - it was precisely by the specific type of the penis that the national identity of the man was determined, and therefore the tax that he should have paid.

Jews who underwent the removal of the foreskin were in danger both during the reign of the ruler Adrian (117 A.D.) and under the Nazi regime.

Religious meaning

Why do circumcision to the Jews? What is the rite of circumcision? According to the bible the procedure for removing the foreskin was first done by the patriarch Abraham to himself and to all male relatives as a symbol of the agreement between the higher powers and the Jewish nation, according to which the Jews were to receive Canaan in full ownership.

The ancient Jewish book "Hinuh" states that a person is born with many physical and physical disabilities. Throughout his life, he should try to fix them. And since the foreskin is also considered an excess, that is, a drawback, it must be disposed of as soon as possible. That's why the Jews do circumcision.

It will become the first step to spiritual purification and inner integrity. Circumcision among Jews is necessary for liberation from material and base and direct communication with higher spheres, which has led to the appearance of a large number of prophets among the Jewish nation.

The advantages of circumcised Jews over uncircumcised.

Why do Jews circumcise? This rite gives certain advantages to representatives of the Jewish nation, both culturally and medically. The advantages of the procedure include:

  1. Respect in your environment. From ancient times, Jews who were not circumcised were treated slightly contemptuously as people who had renounced their God-chosenness. They were not even allowed to celebrate Easter and holiday sacrifices.
  2. Prevention oncological diseases of the penis and inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract.
  3. Significant reduction in the risk of contracting genitourinary infections: Jews suffer from them several times less, even with regular unprotected sex.
  4. A more aesthetic appearance of the male genital organ. Not all women like to see an ugly fold of skin above their heads.


What is the name of Jewish circumcision? “Brit Mila” is the exact name of the Jewish foreskin rite. In some translations, Brit Mila means "the word of the Covenant." However, the rabbis insist on a different translation. The word "brit" from Hebrew to Russian is translated as "union". That is, the union concluded between the Almighty (Creator) and the Jewish people.

The essence of the “agreement” according to some interpretations: the Creator promised Abraham that the sons of Israel would not disappear (not be destroyed) as long as the human race exists. It was this contract that was sealed by circumcision.

According to the Khinuh book, which is sacred for Jews, the Creator created man as imperfect not only in the spiritual plane, but also in the physical. A person can correct his shortcomings, and “excess flesh”, which does not perform almost any function, is “excess”, that is, a flaw. In the spiritual plane, a person has a tendency to excesses, that is, "sins." By eliminating the "deficiency", the foreskin, and making a Brit cute, a person becomes one step higher in spiritual and physical development.

“Union” is concluded by both parties to the contract. Man “sacrifices” a part of the body, and God gives him a certain holiness. Thus, the material, in this case, the foreskin, is transformed into the spiritual. And circumcision itself becomes a personal dedication to the Creator.

Why do Jews circumcise? Rabbi Shimon Ben-Elazar speaks of circumcision as an act of self-sacrifice. If we turn to historical sources, we can find such periods in the life of the Jewish people.

So, during the time of Antiochus IV, the rite of circumcision was banned. Disobedience was punishable by death. However, the Jewish people, in spite of the persecution, did not refuse to conduct British mil. Thus, committing an act of self-sacrifice in the name of the Creator and His commandments.

In the modern world, the most dangerous period for observing the rite of circumcision was the reign of Adolf Hitler. In Nazi Germany, the period 33-45 years of the twentieth century, the absence of the foreskin became a sentence. Even though circumcision could have been performed for medical reasons (phimosis), and the circumcised man did not belong to the Jews.

At all times, the Jews strictly adhered to the fulfillment of the commandment, often at great risk. And at some times, and condemning himself to death.

Is circumcision mandatory for Jews?

Are Jews circumcised in modern history? According to the Torah, any father must take care of the rite over his son, thus emphasizing his Jewish nationality and introducing him to the tradition and culture of his ancestors. If he refuses to do so, he is subject to trial.

This procedure is especially encouraged among radical representatives of Judaism and in Israel.where many emigrants do the removal of the foreskin even in adulthood.

However force the parents to do the operation the rabbi cannot: he only strongly advises against giving it up. In fact, according to the canons of religion, any baby born to a Jewish mother is an integral part of the nation, which does not need additional confirmation.


When do circumcision do boys for Jews? Brit Mila is usually carried out on the 8th day after the birth of the boy, as recorded in the Torah. The explanation lies in the interpretation by the rabbis of the meaning of certain numbers, the symbolism of which is hidden from the eyes of a simple layman.

In Judaism, there are three numbers associated with the material and spiritual. This is 6, 7, 8.

  • 6 is matter. According to the doctrine, there are six directions: top, bottom, north, east, west and south.
  • 7 is spirituality. The seven is a spiritual point from which all six directions proceed.
  • 8 is the transformation of matter into spirituality: the incomprehensibility of reality, infinite eternity. A sacrificial animal can be placed on the altar only for 8 days, thereby revealing one of the commandments. Since the deepest meaning of sacrifice is the degeneration of the material, "exaltation" of the spirit. Therefore, the symbolism of circumcision on the 8th day means the degeneration of matter into spirituality. It is after circumcision that the child is given a name, he becomes a full-fledged representative of the Jewish community. In addition to symbolic meaning, 8 days have a more mundane meaning. The child must grow stronger and survive the “Shabbat”, that is, the holy Sabbath for the Jews. In addition, the healing rate in infants is much higher, which, accordingly, reduces the likelihood of developing possible complications. If, in the first week after birth, the baby showed some health problems, then the Brit cute is postponed. The ceremony can be performed on the 8th day after recovery.

There is also some mystical meaning of the date of circumcision. Many ancient peoples adhered to this rite, however, they disappeared and only memories remained of them. While the Jewish people are striking in their “vitality”. This is a kind of proof of the strength of the contract between God and people.

The date when Jews are circumcised is assigned according to religion. In the modern world, circumcision can be performed much later, often already in adulthood. The procedure itself, in this case, is carried out by qualified surgeons in the presence of a rabbi.

When is it usually done?

At what age do Jews circumcise? Usually Jewish baby boys take part in Brit Milah on the eighth day after birth. There are several reasons for this:

  • By this time, the little one manages to get a little accustomed to a new world for him, so that the ceremony is somewhat easier.
  • During the week, relatives observe the newborn to make sure that he is in good health, allowing him to perform the ceremony.
  • In accordance with the Talmud, the baby’s mother during this period will get much stronger and will be able to fully participate in a joyful event.
  • The Jewish religion says that 8 days are just needed for the baby to survive his first Sabbath - Shabbat, feel its holiness and be prepared by divine grace for the procedure.

When circumcision is done if the boy is sick? The rite is postponed until complete healing, but on Shabbat it is no longer held. In other cases, the holy Jewish Sabbath is also a suitable day for excising the foreskin: although it is forbidden to shed blood in it, Brit mil is the exception.


Who does circumcision with the Jews? In ancient times, the Brit Mila rite was performed by the child’s father or any Jew or Jew (if you can’t find a man), but strictly according to the laws of Judaism. In later times and to this day, circumcision is carried out by a specially trained person, mohel (mohel). Often, the mohel attends medical courses so that the circumcision procedure is safe.

Brit Mila must be completed “before sunset”, that is, in the daytime. Most often in the morning. In ancient times, circumcision was carried out in the synagogue, which some communities still adhere to. Most circumcisions are carried out at home or in the hospital. In Israel, at maternity hospitals, there are specially designated rooms for the ceremony.

Two of the most important, at this moment, person, a mohel carrying out the circumcision, and a sandak holding the child in her arms at the time, participate in the ceremony.

At the very beginning of the ceremony, the boy is greeted while pronouncing “baruch ha-ba”. Mohel takes the child and puts him in the “Elijah’s chair”, and then on the pillow lying on the sandak’s lap. Sandak holds the legs of the baby, while the mohel carries out the removal of the foreskin. This part of the ritual is called "at a".

The next step is the “medicament” suction of the protruding blood. Previously, until about the middle of the 19th century, blood was removed by mouth. With the development of medicine and with the emergence of concepts about asepsis and antiseptics, blood suction after circumcision began to be carried out with a special tube or by tamponing the wound.

Then a dressing is performed, after which the father utters a blessing (Benediction). After this, the child is given to the father or guest of honor. Mohel blesses the wine and brings prayer to God. The guests pronounce Mazl Tov and then congratulate their parents. After, a prayer is said in honor of the boy, and for the first time his name is called. That is, the rite of circumcision is combined with the name. Then the child pours a few drops of sweet wine into his mouth.

After all the rituals, the celebration begins.

In Judaism, it is believed that a person who has not passed the Brit Mila rite cannot begin to study the Torah. He simply does not comprehend the basics of ancient teachings. An example would be the words of Akilas, the nephew of Emperor Andrian.

According to legend, Akilas converted to Judaism, passed the Brit mila and was allowed to study the Torah. The need for circumcision, he explained as follows: “not a single commander will receive a reward from the emperor without first proving allegiance to him, and sacrifice in his name. Without keeping the covenant, there is no way to comprehend the Torah. ”

To explain - this is possible in spite of the level of education or development, to understand the teaching is possible only with a kind of “blessing” of God, giving a part of himself and receiving a particle of the Creator.

One of the rabbis believes that the foreskin covers the glans penis, and the heart is covered by a shell. There is a connection between them. After circumcision and removal of the flesh, the heart opens, and therefore the spirit. All this allows us to understand the meaning of ancient teachings.

Can an adult man do it?

How old can you do circumcision? Traditions of the Jewish people provide for the possibility of carrying out the ceremony in adult men. This symbolizes their transition to Judaism, their desire to fully abide by the canons of faith and live in accordance with the customs of Israel.

This circumcision is called giyur and now it is performed only in a hospital under anesthesia by qualified surgeons. Also, a giyur is done if the mother of the child died before his birth, 2 children after Brit Mila.

How is the circumcision of the Jews?

According to custom, circumcision must be done in the synagogue, immediately after the morning prayer.

Ancient sources say that this ceremony can be entrusted to any Jewish man (and even the fair sex in the absence of men), but modern Jews prefer to entrust this to a specialist with good medical training - moel.

If there is none, they turn to a surgeon in a regular hospital, but the rabbi must be present during the operation.

How do Jews circumcise? When circumcision, the simplest tools are used: most often the blade is carefully sharpened on both sides. This is because the moelle, excited by the cries of the baby, may take the instrument on the wrong side. The procedure is performed as follows:

  1. Moel separates the foreskin from the penis with a sharpened razor, doing this around the entire organ.
  2. Then he tears the mucous membrane of the foreskin from the inside to prevent the narrowing of its opening due to the appearance of scars, and removes blood through a specific tube (it was previously sucked by mouth).
  3. At the end of circumcision, the penis is abundantly sprinkled with finely crushed powder of rotten wood or spores of the plant lycopodia.
  4. The head of the penis is left exposed.

During the ceremony, no sutures are applied or painkillers are used. If the bleeding is too profuse, sometimes a tight dressing is used.

The Jewish circumcision festival is held as follows: after completion of the operation to excise the foreskin, everyone around him congratulates the boy’s father and mother, exclaiming “Mazl tov!” and wishing the baby to join the Torah, good deeds and successfully marry.

A newborn is considered to have entered into the union of the ancestor of Abraham and receives a traditional Jewish name.

The father of the baby during the final stage of circumcision must pronounce Benediction - a special prayer that begins with the words “Baruch Atta”, which means “blessed are you”, and asks for Jehovah's blessings for his offspring.

Then the boy is handed over to his father or an honored guest, and the moelle raises a glass of wine and says a prayer of thanks, blessing the wine and God who gave the chosen Jewish people a covenant.

The ceremony ends with the performance of solemn hymns and a festive meal with old Jewish dishes.

Circumcision among Jews, photo:

And here is the holiday of Jewish circumcision, photo:

Circumcision in Judaism is an extremely important rite that allows representatives of this people to stand out among their co-religionists and at the same time effectively take care of intimate hygiene. This is a summary answer to the question - why do Jews circumcise men. However, the ceremony is carried out exclusively at the request of the family.

What is this procedure

Circumcision (scientifically called circumcision) is an integral part of religions such as Judaism and Islam. This operation is performed on boys aged 8 days. However, there are cases when at this time, for medical reasons, it is impossible to conduct surgery in boys, and then they perform it already in adulthood.

Why do circumcision to the Jews on the 8th day, and not after birth? There are a considerable number of reasons why this age was chosen:

  • firstly, by this time the owner will be so strong that it will be possible to judge with great accuracy the state of his health and determine the possibility of an operation without harming him,
  • secondly, during this period, the mother of the child will fully recover after childbirth and will be able to participate in the fateful procedure for the boy and the whole family,
  • Jewish law requires that the boy must live one Saturday day before the circumcision operation. And the Jews are very sensitive to the laws and traditions of their people.

If the operation on the eighth day is not possible due to illness (a rash, fever or other signs of diseases that significantly affect the body have appeared), it is postponed and carried out seven days after the illness recedes from the child. However, according to the laws of Jewish society, if the mother of the child after circumcision lost her two sons or her sisters had a similar situation, then circulation is not performed in boys at such a young age.

Why is 13 years old? This age was not chosen by chance - it is upon its achievement that full responsibility for all their actions comes, and they are obliged to start living according to the laws of the Jews. If in infancy the boy has not undergone circumcision, then upon reaching the age of thirteen, he must do the circumcision on his own or take the help of a special person - mokhel.

How is circumcision performed?

For the operation, the Jews have a specially trained person called the "mohel". A prerequisite for him - you must be a full Jew and be circumcised. Jewish laws impose the obligation on fathers of boys to carry out these procedures, and there is a belief that if the father refuses to circumcise the child, he is punished by a decrease in his life span. However, if the boy’s father for some reason cannot fulfill the responsibility assigned to him and circumcise the child on his own, then family members or close relatives who know how to do this are involved in the case.

By tradition, this procedure takes place in the synagogue after morning prayers. But the rules do not prohibit circumcision at home, but it is necessary to ensure the presence of about ten people aged 13 years and older and they must belong to the same family.
According to Jewish tradition, circumcision is a holiday for the child and all members of his family, and the operation should be carried out only by the hands of the mohair or the head of the family with his own hands. To perform the operation, a traditional set of tools is used: a knife of a special shape and a sharpened blade.

The foreskin of the penis is cut in a circle with a sharp blade, then the blood is sucked out by mouth or removed using a tube. It is important that the furrow and the penis head itself are not closed.

During the operation, Jews remove part of the skin of the penis, which makes the head of the penis always open. If the Borozna (the so-called area that is the border of the head and the main body of the penis) is called or the head of the penis is at least partially covered by the foreskin, then in this case circumcision is unfulfilled and the Jew cannot consider himself circumcised.

During the operation, it is forbidden to use painkillers and sutures. In extremely rare situations, with a strong, continuous flow of blood, a tight bandage is applied to the damaged area, which helps to stop bleeding.

After completing the procedure, the penis is sprinkled with powder made from rotten wood by grinding it. The procedure is considered completed, and then the boy is traditionally called a Hebrew name and proceed to congratulate the child's parents.

What is removed during surgery

Circumcision is aimed at removing the foreskin of the penis. The foreskin is part of the penis, the purpose of which is to protect the head of the penis and mucous membrane of the urinary canal. It is the protection of the penis from external influences.

In addition, it represents the supply of skin necessary for the penis to increase in a state of excitement. It is in this part of the penis that many receptors are concentrated, which are highly sensitive to touch.

It is by getting rid of the foreskin that the sensitivity of the penis decreases, which is why there is an increase in the duration of sexual intercourse.

Also in this part of the penis are receptors that respond to temperature changes, due to which, when cooled, the foreskin completely covers the head of the penis, protecting it from negative effects.
Why do circumcision and does it have positive sides? The main reason for circumcision lies in the religious aspect, and purely medical considerations do not play any role here. After all, with the help of circumcision, Jews touch the ancient covenants between God and all the Jewish people.

If you look at this process from the point of view of medicine, you can get quite conflicting information.
Some believe that this operation does not have any positive effect on health, but only causes some physical and sometimes psychological discomfort afterwards. However, proponents of circumcision argue about the high importance of the procedure and the positive impact it has in terms of preventing various diseases.

They insist on the widespread dissemination of this procedure, explaining this by the high therapeutic effect of circumcision on further health.

Health effects

There is a very popular opinion about the preventive effect of circumcision in a number of cases:

  1. Circumcision significantly reduces the risk of possible infections and inflammation of the urinary tract. The fact is that often in boys an insufficiently wide opening of the foreskin can form. Quite often, this is the cause of the fusion of the head and foreskin, which is why many diseases develop. Because of this, inflammatory processes in the head or severe itching often occur. But children under three years of age suffer from this solely for physiological reasons, and the operation is not required at all - as it grows older, it goes away.
  2. Older children may experience certain problems with urination associated with incomplete alignment of the holes of the urea and foreskin, and this can lead to delays in urination, etc.
  3. Circumcision as a prevention of skin diseases. According to studies, circumcised men have almost three times less risk of contracting skin diseases than uncircumcised men.

    The risk of developing cancer is significantly reduced. According to statistics, cancer of the head of the penis is much more common in Jews who have not undergone circumcision.

Negative sides

The main argument used against the circumcision procedure is causing severe pain shock during surgery. After all, during its conduct anesthesia is not applied, and only relatively recently began to use local drugs.

Circumcision also leads to some difficulties with hygiene - in children the head is cleaned independently, but due to the removal of the foreskin, the genitals require more thorough care.

There is a considerable risk of bacteria accumulating in the folds that can cause serious problems, because before the foreskin served as a defense against them.

Various complications are manifested, manifested in the form of varicose veins or blood clots.

Also, an incorrect procedure can lead to pain experienced during intercourse, and bleeding can often open.

Despite the centuries-old tradition, and among the Jews today there are opponents of circumcision. Many believe that this should be a personal decision of each person, and vote for the procedure already in adulthood.

Dermatovenerologist, urologist. It specializes in the treatment of cystitis, prostatitis, phoniculitis, orchitis, syphilis and other diseases of the urinary and male reproductive systems.

Why is the procedure performed

In many cultures, the circumcision ritual is associated with initiation - the transition of a child from childhood to adolescence. Like many other rituals (painful tattoos, scarring, piercings in some tribes) - circumcision should become a symbol of growing up. Thus, there are several reasons for the existence of the rite:

  • Initiation. As a result, circumcision becomes a symbolic initiation into full members of society.
  • Religious (practiced mainly among Jews and Muslims), denotes the dedication of a child to God.
  • National, as a symbol of belonging to any nation (Jewish Brit-Mila).

It is possible to say that circumcision was originally created to regulate prohibited sexual practices and excessive sexual activity, as well as to prevent diseases and simplify hygiene procedures. Today, there are disputes about the legality and appropriateness of this procedure. For medical purposes, circumcision is performed to eliminate the anatomical features and deficiencies that prevent a person from leading a normal, healthy life.

Origin of tradition

There is no consensus among researchers about how the rite of circumcision appeared. But such actions are found in the culture of many nations and are most often associated with communion with God or growing up. For some peoples, this was a substitute for sacrifices, a tribute to the gods.

The rite of circumcision is found in many nations. These are the aborigines of Australia, various tribes of Africa, Muslim peoples, Jews and other peoples.

When did the rite arise?

Even Geradot in his "History" described this rite found among the Ethiopians, Syrians and Egyptians. He mentions that they all borrowed the ritual from the Egyptians. The first evidences of the circumcision rite date back to the 3rd millennium BC and are Egyptian drawings describing the process. It is noteworthy that the figure depicts extremely primitive knives related to the Stone Age. This suggests that the ritual arose much earlier than it was attested. The ceremony was carried out both for boys and for girls (pharaonic circumcision).

Attitude in culture

From historical sources it is known that in developed ancient Rome, circumcised men were disdained, since the circumcision ritual was a relic of barbarism and was preserved only among wild tribes. However, this did not prevent the tradition from penetrating the homes of the Roman nobility and taking root there.

During the Spanish Inquisition, circumcision was common among Catholic monks.

In the 20th century, in Nazi Germany, the absence of foreskin among men became life-threatening, since on this basis Jews were exposed, not figuring out whether the procedure was performed for religious reasons or according to the doctor’s testimony.

Circumcision is not considered a mandatory procedure in Islam these days. Islamic scholars have also issued a law prohibiting women from having surgery.

Despite this, male and female circumcision continues to be popular. According to some reports, more than 50% of all men are circumcised.

Judaism Circumcision Ritual

According to Jewish scriptures, Brit Mila became a symbol of the contract between God and the Israeli people. No one can say with certainty why this particular procedure became mandatory for the Jews, but some researchers believe that it migrated from antiquity. This is an integral part of the transition to Judaism, and even adult men who want to convert to this faith must go through the rite of circumcision. In ancient times, both slaves and foreign guests who wished to attend religious holidays were subject to circumcision.

According to Jewish rites, newborn boys are circumcised on the eighth day of their life. Eight days were not chosen by chance. Firstly, this time is enough for the newborn to grow stronger for the procedure, and his mother regains consciousness after giving birth and was able to become a participant in the solemn initiation of the child to God. Eight days are also given so that the infant can survive the holy Sabbath, and through this he was ready to partake in holiness. From the point of view of modern medicine, this approach is fully justified, since a week is really enough for the child to be ready for surgery.

Jewish Circumcision

Circumcision is performed in the afternoon, usually done in the early morning to demonstrate to God his desire to fulfill the commandment immediately. Traditionally, circumcision is performed in the synagogue, but today the ceremony is performed at home. Previously, any family member (even a woman) could perform the ritual, but nowadays it is entrusted to a specially trained person with medical training (he is called "mohel"). At home, circumcision takes place in the presence of ten adult male relatives representing the community. Also, the ceremony is allowed to be performed by surgeons in hospitals in the presence of a rabbi.

Initially, a sandak played a large role in the circumcision process - a man holding a child in his arms during the procedure. In Christianity, his role is closest to that of the godfather. In the middle of the 20th century, another concept appeared - quater. So they began to call a man bringing a baby to the ceremony. The quater (usually the spouse of the quater) passed him a baby from his mother, taking away from the female part of the synagogue.

“As he entered into the union, so let him enter the Torah, marriage and good deeds”

- Jewish wishes after the rite

After the ceremony, the baby is given a name, and the family congratulates the new member of the community and his happy parents.

What does circumcision mean for Muslims?

Removal of the foreskin is part of communion with Islam, a repetition of the path of the prophet Muhammad. According to Islamic theologians, this procedure is not mandatory, but recommended and desirable for a Muslim.

There is no exact age for the procedure in Islam. Circumcision is recommended before adolescence, and preferably as early as possible. The timing of the rite among different peoples professing Islam varies. Turks hold a ceremony over boys aged 8-13 years, Arabs living in cities - at the 5th year of a child's life, Arabs from villages - later, at 12-14 years. Theologians recommend the 7th day of the life of the baby as the most desirable for the ceremony.

Circumcision in the Ancient World

Circumcision has long been practiced by many nations. Thus, circumcision existed among the Phoenicians, among the Egyptian priests, and also among the peoples of Canaan: Ammonites, Edomites, and Moabites. Its existence among the Babylonians and Assyrians was not proved, among the Philistines there was no circumcision. The practice of circumcision of the foreskin among Middle Eastern peoples has been witnessed since the 3rd millennium BC. uh ..

In the picture representing the scene of this rite among the ancient Egyptians, the image of the knife resembles the shape of knives of the stone period. This partly indicates that the beginning of this custom is lost in ancient times. Initially, this rite was associated with the ritual of initiation, the transition to adulthood, which gave, among other things, the right to marry.

How is the procedure performed in women

What is the rite of circumcision in boys, imagine almost everything. But very little is said about female circumcision.

The operation involves the removal of the labia majora, labia minora, clitoral hood or clitoris. Sometimes involves the removal of the genitals completely. Due to the prevalence in Egypt, such operations are called "Pharaoh's circumcision."

Female circumcision is usually practiced in Islamic and African countries, where, due to an official ban by the authorities, it is carried out underground. Despite the fact that female circumcision is much more dangerous and difficult than male circumcision, often operations are performed by people without a medical education.

Such a procedure is very dangerous and entails the risk of infection, problems with the genitourinary system and even infertility.

How does female and male circumcision relate?

If we compare female circumcision with male circumcision, then operations performed on women can be compared with the removal of part of the penis or even complete removal of the organ. Therefore, this procedure is prohibited by the UN. Despite the fact that Muslims most often turn to circumcision, Islamic theologians urge parishioners to abandon it and even recognize it as sinful.

Circumcision in Tanakh

Circumcision is one of the few commandments in the Pentateuch prescribed before the Sinai revelation.

This is My covenant, which you must keep between Me and between you and between your descendants after you during their generations: may the whole male sex be circumcised with you, circumcise your foreskin: and this will be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. Eight days from birth, may every male infant be circumcised in your birth, lt, ...gt, and My covenant will be on your body an everlasting covenant. The uncircumcised man, who does not circumcise his foreskin on the eighth day, will destroy that soul from his people, for he has broken My covenant.

To this day, his son Ishmael (Ishmael), from whom, according to the Bible, the Arabs (and to whose spiritual descendants the Muslims refer), were 13 years old. Isaac later born, from whom the Jews came, was circumcised, as prescribed by the Torah, on the eighth day of life. These terms of circumcision (8th day and 13 years) are observed in Judaism and Islam until now.

Unlike other ancient peoples who practiced circumcision, circumcision of Jewish children should not be performed during the period of puberty, but immediately after birth, on the eighth day. Unlike the Egyptians, it is not the inheritance of only the upper classes, circumcision is necessary for the whole people, not excluding also slaves.

In ancient times, circumcision was called to serve as an external sign of Israel, distinguishing it from the uncircumcised (arelim, from the eagle - `foreskin`) pagans, personified by the Philistines in this regard, and also remind the Jews of the promises made in God's Testament (regarding posterity, land ownership), and the responsibilities that this covenant placed on Israel. Only circumcised men could participate in the Easter sacrifice (Exodus 12:44, 48).

At that time, the Lord said to Jesus: Make sharp knives for yourself and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time. And Jesus made sharp knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel in a place called: The Circumcision Hill. This is the reason why Jesus circumcised the sons of Israel, all the people who came out of Egypt, male, all capable of war died in the wilderness on the way, after leaving Egypt, all the people who came out were circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness on the way , after leaving Egypt, was not circumcised, lt, ...gt, When all the people were circumcised, he remained in his place in the camp until he recovered.

Nevertheless, in the kingdom of Israel (Northern), the rite of circumcision may not have been temporarily observed under the influence of Queen Isebel; the words of Elijah about “the sons of Israel who left the covenant” are often interpreted (I Ts. 19:10, 14). In “written prophets” the expression “uncircumcised” had a metaphorical meaning - a soul deaf to the truth (Jeh. 44: 1, 9, etc., Jer. 6:10).

In the Hellenistic period, circumcision was often not performed (Jub. 15: 33–34), and Jewish youths who wished to participate naked in games in Greek gymnasiums even went for a painful operation (epispasm) to eliminate traces of perfect circumcision.

At the same time, biblical prophets repeatedly emphasize the insufficiency of circumcision of the flesh and call for spiritual circumcision, “circumcision of the heart”: “circumcise yourself for the Lord, and remove the foreskin from your heart” (Jer. 4: 4). Metaphorically circumcision personifies the sinfulness and depravity of man. Thus, “spiritual circumcision” is necessary for a person who neglects the covenant of the Lord and needs God's forgiveness.

The commandment of circumcision is considered so important that lawmakers believed that earth and heaven exist only for the blood of the covenant (Shab. 137b). According to legend, Abraham circumcised on the tenth day of the month of Tishri, that is, in Yom Kippur, when God forgives the sins of His people.

It is traditionally believed that Abraham himself did this operation with the help of the Most High. There is also an opinion that Abraham was operated by Shem (Shem), the son of Noah (Noah).

Doctors Attitude

Speaking about circumcision, we mean circumcision in men. The attitude to male circumcision among doctors is ambiguous. Some see in this procedure a cruel relic of barbarian times, others insist on its usefulness given. Scientific research does not fully confirm any of the points of view, showing that in each case the result of this operation may be individual.

Arguments for and against male circumcision

We can distinguish the following theses that are heard in disputes on this issue:

  • Scientifically proven that circumcision reduces the risk of contracting AIDS because the absence of foreskin prevents the virus from lingering on the human body for a long time. But a similar method as a means of prevention is appropriate only in poor countries with a low standard of living, medicine and hygiene (for example, in some African countries).
  • Circumcision reduces the sensitivity of the glans penis, which solves the problem of premature ejaculation, but in some cases there are complaints of an almost complete loss of sensitivity.
  • Male circumcision is not medically dangerous, but there is a risk of serious health problems if it is not performed correctly.
  • Circumcision helps to maintain hygiene (especially if there are medical indications for removal of the foreskin), but in infancy, the flesh helps to protect the genitals from germs.
  • According to the study, circumcision really helps to prevent cancer of the foreskin (according to some reports, this also protects the partner from cervical cancer), but the percentage of this disease is so small that only 900 can prevent the disease.
  • Circumcision is best done in infancy, but in this case, the operation is contrary to ethical standards, since the child cannot control his body himself and decide whether he needs it.

Cutoff value

According to Jewish tradition, circumcision (Heb. ברית מילה, Brit Mila) is a symbol of the covenant (agreement) between God and the people of Israel.

Hygiene considerations are often cited as justification for circumcision, which were put forward by Philo of Alexandria and have since been invariably confirmed by medicine. But this is hardly the reason. More logical explanation that gives p. Shimon Ben-Elazar in the Talmudic Shabbat. He says: "The commandment for which the Jews made a sacrifice for themselves was preserved forever." And as an example, he cites the commandment "Brit Mila."

The Prophet Ezekiel (Yehezkel) said: “Live in your blood!” (Ezek.16: 6).

Circumcision and persecution of Jews

Jews repeatedly opposed government decrees prohibiting the fulfillment of this commandment.

The first persecution of Jews due to circumcision arose in the II century BC. e. In order to Hellenize the Jewish people, Antiochus IV Epiphanes forbade circumcision, and those who performed this operation on their children were punished by death. The reason for this was given by the Hellenistic Jews. Imitating the Greeks in public games, Jewish youths, contrary to traditional bashfulness, spoke naked on the lists and, to avoid ridicule, they artificially tried to mask the traces of a religious operation, undergoing for this a very painful counter-operation known as "epispasmus" (Greek .

Under certain circumstances, Jews in the diaspora also sometimes resorted to counter-operations. After the destruction of Jerusalem, Vespasian established that the former file in two drams, which the Jews contributed to the Jerusalem Temple, now entered the treasury of the temple of Jupiter of Capitol in Rome. Jews perceived this tax as blasphemy and in every possible way concealed their Judaism in order to avoid paying it.

With the victory of the Hasmoneans and the expansion of the borders of the kingdom of Judah, Johanan Girkan forced the defeated Edomites (see Edom) to undergo circumcision (Ancient 13: 257 ff., 318).

Lawmakers of the time disagreed on whether proselytes should circumcise (Jev. 46a).

A second ban on circumcision was imposed by the emperor Hadrian, which served as one of the reasons for the Bar Kochba rebellion. After the defeat of the uprising (in 117 AD), circumcision was prohibited under pain of the death penalty.

From the works of Strabo, Tacitus, Juvenal, Horace and others, it is clear that in the ancient world circumcision was considered a barbaric act and many with contempt and ridicule spoke of circumcision and ridiculed circumcised men as being lascivious and depraved. However, in spite of everything, this rite gradually began to penetrate into all layers of Roman society, not excluding the imperial houses.

Attitude to women

With regard to the rite of female circumcision, the opinion is completely different. The operation for women is much more painful and bloody than for men, despite the fact that there is practically no evidence of a positive effect. The meaning of the procedure most often boils down to making a woman more submissive and humble, since such an operation makes it impossible to enjoy sexual intercourse, and in some cases makes it painful. If the operation is performed incorrectly, there is a high risk of infection or painful urination and menstruation in the future. Therefore, female circumcision is now widely prohibited as a dangerous and crippling procedure.

Middle Ages

Marranas in Spain put themselves at great risk by circumcising their sons. Mothers artificially caused inflammation of the urinary canal in newborns in order to perform circumcision surgery under this pretext. Some marranas themselves circumcised themselves, for example, Diogo Pirish (see Shlomo Molkho).

There were also monasteries in which monks descended from marranes circumcised their brethren. There were more frequent cases when marranes from Spain and Portugal went to the Jewish communities of other countries to undergo a circumcision ceremony, therefore, the Marranes who returned to Spain were examined by the Inquisition surgeon.

New time

The persecution of Jews during the Nazi regime once again made the issue of restoring the foreskin urgent. Its absence became life-threatening, regardless of whether circumcision was performed for religious reasons or in connection with phimosis in childhood.

In the Soviet Union, circumcision was never expressly prohibited by law, but in the 1920–50s. Mohels were often judged on various counts, and the parents of the circumcised child were fired from work. In Israel, many repatriates from the former USSR who have not undergone circumcision voluntarily perform this ceremony, the operation can be performed under anesthesia by surgeons in the presence of a rabbi.

Latest time

The story does not stop: on June 26, 2012, a district court in Cologne (Germany) ruled that circumcision of boys - even for religious reasons - was tantamount to inflicting grievous bodily harm. This decision was sharply criticized by the Jewish and Muslim communities of Germany.

Despite the fact that circumcision is rarely performed among non-Jewish (and non-Muslim) populations in Europe, in the United States it is very common.

Since the middle of the 19th century. Circumcision in the United States (and partly in the UK) has come to be seen as an important medical and hygienic operation, without a direct connection with the Biblical commandment.

In Britain, until 1948, almost a third of infants underwent this operation. However, in 1948, the National Health Service decided that circumcision has no medical indications, and therefore will not be paid from the budget, and the number of circumcisions has fallen sharply. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at the moment in Britain, only 9% of men have been circumcised.

In contrast, circumcision in the United States has become almost a cultural norm; the vast majority of newborn boys have been circumcised. However, since the 1970s, the percentage of circumcisions began to decline.

Currently, about 75% of the male US population has been circumcised. Today, about 55% of newborn boys do circumcision in the United States. Moreover, the statistics are very different from state to state - from 80% of newborns who have been circumcised in the states of Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kentucky, to 20% on the west coast of the United States.

Circumcision participants

Although circumcision can be performed by any Jew (and, in the absence of men, a woman as well), he is usually assigned to a specially trained person, a doctor who has medical training, or to a general surgeon who circumcises in a hospital in the presence of a rabbi.

In addition to mohel, one more person will certainly participate in Brit Mila - a sandak, which holds the child on his lap, holding his legs. This role is considered very honorable. Sandak began to participate in the rite of Briton Mila, apparently, in the most ancient times. In the midrash there is a mention that King David often received this honor.

The word "sandak" itself originated in the Talmudic period and originates from the Greek "syndicos", which initially meant a lawyer, and later - even a plenipotentiary representative. In the Middle Ages, the Germans called the assistant priest at baptism “year-vater” (godfather). The Jews who lived in Germany and spoke German gradually began to call the Jewish sandaks “Gefater”, which later turned into a “Quater”.

The quater takes the child from the hands of the quater, who brings him from the female part of the synagogue, where he was with his mother. Usually a couple is assigned as a quater.

Circumcision procedure

In the Middle Ages, the ceremony was often held in the synagogue; this tradition is still preserved in some communities. However, in most communities, the circumcision ceremony is performed in a hospital or at home, and in Israel there are special facilities for circumcision rituals at maternity wards.

after a circular incision with a special scalpel, removes cut skin.This part of the operation is called pria, the next is metsica: the mohel sucks out the protruding blood. Until the middle of the XVIII century. blood was aspirated by mouth, then in many communities, with the approval of the rabbinical courts, metsica was produced using a tampon or through a tube containing an absorbent tampon. The final part of the operation is dressing.

The child’s father utters Benediction, after which the boy is handed over to the father or the guest of honor, and the mohel, raising a glass of wine, pronounces a blessing on wine and a blessing to God who made a covenant with his people. Then the mohel reads a prayer for the health of the child, announcing his name when the newborn was introduced to the union of the forefather Abraham.

At the end of the circumcision procedure, everyone proclaims “Mazal Tov!”, Congratulates the parents and says: “As he entered into the union, so that he will go to the Torah, marriage and good deeds.”

In the first Christian communities, including Jerusalem, circumcision was first extended to all men without exception (as evidenced by the dispute that erupted at the meeting of the apostles), until the apostle Paul ensured that circumcision was not performed on converts from the Gentiles.

With the spread of Christianity, circumcision has become one of the distinguishing signs between the two religions.

Circumcision and medicine

Philo of Alexandria was the first Jew to argue for the hygiene of circumcision. Although medical research suggests that in many respects circumcision does have a beneficial effect on health (some doctors recommend circumcision for all male babies), medical considerations in Judaism did not serve as the main or additional reason for circumcision as a religious rite. B. Spinoza argued that the practice of circumcision alone is enough to ensure the survival of the Jewish people.

Opponents of circumcision

In 1843, the Frankfurt leaders of reformism in Judaism began to convince their adherents to abandon the rite of circumcision (the discussion lasted about 20 years) and put forward the following five arguments:

  1. circumcision was prescribed to Abraham, but not to Moses, and circumcision is not exclusively a Jewish attribute, since it is also practiced by the descendants of Ismail (now Muslims),
  2. circumcision is only mentioned once in the Mosaic laws and is not repeated in the book of Deuteronomy,
  3. Moses did not circumcise his son,
  4. the generation born during wilderness wanderings were not circumcised,
  5. in Judaism there is no initiation of girls.

Orthodox rabbis, defending circumcision, answered all five reasons for reformism, and L. Zuntz wrote a booklet on circumcision (Frankfurt, 1844). Today, the vast majority of reformist rabbis do not mind circumcision.

Arguments for and against male circumcision

If we compare female circumcision with male circumcision, then operations performed on women can be compared with the removal of part of the penis or even complete removal of the organ. Therefore, this procedure is prohibited by the UN. Despite the fact that Muslims most often turn to circumcision, Islamic theologians urge parishioners to abandon it and even recognize it as sinful.

We can distinguish the following theses that are heard in disputes on this issue:

  • Scientifically proven that circumcision reduces the risk of contracting AIDS because the absence of foreskin prevents the virus from lingering on the human body for a long time. But a similar method as a means of prevention is appropriate only in poor countries with a low standard of living, medicine and hygiene (for example, in some African countries).
  • Circumcision reduces the sensitivity of the glans penis, which solves the problem of premature ejaculation, but in some cases there are complaints of an almost complete loss of sensitivity.
  • Male circumcision is not medically dangerous, but there is a risk of serious health problems if it is not performed correctly.
  • Circumcision helps to maintain hygiene (especially if there are medical indications for removal of the foreskin), but in infancy, the flesh helps to protect the genitals from germs.
  • According to the study, circumcision really helps to prevent cancer of the foreskin (according to some reports, this also protects the partner from cervical cancer), but the percentage of this disease is so small that only 900 can prevent the disease.
  • Circumcision is best done in infancy, but in this case, the operation is contrary to ethical standards, since the child cannot control his body himself and decide whether he needs it.

Watch the video: Circumcision - Indications, Controversies, Complications & More. Dr. Jennifer Singer - UCLA Urology (February 2020).

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