Why do Jews circumcise?

+79 votes
asked Mar 1, 2015 in Culture & Society by Scott (450 points)
A friend of mine asks the other day why we, a Jew, have a circumcision. I only knew it as a religious practice. I never ever thought how it seems incredibly wrong to other people. If God give birth to us with the foreskin, why do the Jews remove them then?

2 Answers

+22 votes
answered Mar 9, 2015 by Ivana (1,090 points)
So why do Jews circumcise. I found people always ask about this. The philosophy behind the idea is that God born the people to be circumcised is pretty fascinating. The world was created to be imperfect and the mission of the people is to perfect it. Something is only complete if it lacks nothing, and has nothing that is unneeded. To complete the form of man, the “redundant organ” would need to be removed. God provide the resources and humans make use of them to create something more. God created the wheat and grapes; humans turn them into bread and wine. It is a grand mission of improving the world we live in. Circumcision symbolised this physically. Aside from serving as a common bodily sign to members of the faith, a portion of the circumcised organ resembles a heart, a connection of the thoughts and life-giving muscles itself. People are born uncircumcised, and it is up to them to complete the job. Learning from that metaphor, we could always do better as people, we have been given so many tools to work with, and its all up to us to refine them.
+5 votes
answered Mar 2, 2015 by jasmine (620 points)
Jews circumcise because it’s a religious ritual. In accordance to the Jewish law, male children are obligated to be ritually circumcised as one of a commandment from God, and would only be postponed or repealed if it will endanger the child’s life or health. This circumcision ceremony, formally known as ‘brit milah’, is performed by a ‘mohel’ on the eighth day of a male infant’s life. The basis for circumcision can be found in the bible, on Genesis 17, 10-14, where it says “This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised”, an oddly specific command from God. Interestingly, the ones that practice Judaism do not believe that non-Jews are obligated to do the same. The circumcision symbolised the ties between God and Abraham and of course between God and the Jews, an entry into the Jewish community to the infant. It’s a tradition that is central to the identity of Judaism.
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