- Bris Mila
- Rabbi Reuven Mann (Paraphrased by a student)
- The question regarding circumcision is why
this performance is the 'bris' - the treaty - made by God between Him
- Abraham was the one who God selected as the
forefather of the new nation. There was nothing peculiar about Abraham
over the rest of mankind, other than his attachment to a life based in
reality, in discovering God, and his enjoyment and preoccupation in
the study of reality.
- Circumcision was the mark selected by God to
render Abraham, and all man, perfected. What is this perfection of
circumcision? I believe it is very basic: As the organ commanded in
circumcision is one which affords man the ultimate in physical
enjoyment, and as God desires that man immerse himself in the world of
the metaphysical, i.e., knowledge, God therefore commanded
circumcision to weaken man's attachment to the physical.
- Maimonides says that man is created physically
perfect. When man is circumcised, he enjoys that pleasure less, as
does his partner. His reduction in physical enjoyment sets the stage
for man's diminution in lusts, freeing up his energies to reattach to
the real good in life - that being wisdom. Circumcision designates man
for the true life.
- Circumcision is an essential 'state', not only
an action. We see this from the sons of Jacob. When in Sh'chem, the
brothers referred to those uncircumcised people as
"cherpah", disgraceful. That is, anyone who cleaves to the
life of the physical desires by going uncircumcised is disgraceful in
light of God's desire for mankind.
- During the first Passover in Egypt, the Jews
were commanded to perform circumcision. This perfection was required
prior to the Exodus in order that the Jews in Egypt be saved by God.
Without adherence to a life where Torah study and knowledge is
supreme, and the physical is recognized only as a secondary means to
Torah acquisition, man absorbs himself in physical lusts and desires,
completely contrary to the philosophy outlined by the Torah. The Jews
in Egypt would not merit salvation into a life of wisdom if they
remained submerged in the Egyptian life of physical desires.
Circumcision therefore was a requirement, timed precisely at the time
of salvation, prior to receiving the gift of the Torah.