|Traditions||Top 10 Values of Judaism|
|Moses Maimonides||Other Facts|
Judaism is a fluid religion that has been subject to change as it meets challenges and reaches new and better understandings. This is shown with the advent of non-traditional ceremonies, like Bat Mitzvah, and other significant changes to advance the roles of females including the ordination of women rabbis, chazzans and shamases.
Jews say that circumcision is tradition. The following are also "traditions" and they are among the actions punishable by death according to the Torah:
Obviously, we no longer apply capitol punishment for committing the above mentioned acts because we are no longer a primitive society and we have come to believe in human rights. Other practices sanctioned by the Torah that we no longer do because we are educated and enlightened are:
A rabbi stated to me the top ten values of Judaism. Circumcision violates nine out of the ten.
|Hebrew Phrase||English Translation||Why Circumcision violates this value|
|V'ahavta l'rayaha kamokha||Love of others||If you love your baby, you don't torture and mutilate his genitals.|
|Tzedakah||Justice/responsibility||It is not just or responsible to strap a baby down and mutilate his sex organs.|
|Gemilut hasadim||Kindness/compassion||It is not kind or compassionate to strap a baby down and mutilate his sex organs.|
|Talmud torah||Love of learning||It's time we learn to stop mutilating babies. It's a no-brainer.|
|Hakhnasat orhim||Welcoming guests/strangers||It is not welcoming to strap a newborn baby down and mutilate his sex organs.|
|Shalom bayit||Peace/harmony in home/family||It does not ensure/ help peace and harmony when you strap a baby down and torture him. He will never trust you again and he will remember.|
|Tikkun olam||Perfecting the world||We'd be more perfect if we stopped torturing and mutilating little boy's sex organs. God made us perfect. It is blasphemy to think we know better.|
|Pikuah nefesh||Sanctity of life||Babies have died during circumcision, therefore it violates the sanctity of life.|
|Hemirat lashon||Sanctity of language|
|Anava||Modesty/humility||It is not modest to strap a baby down naked in front of people.|
Moses Maimonides, the famed medieval Jewish rabbi, physician and philosopher, recoginized the real reason circumcision is performed and wrote about it in his book, THE GUIDE TO THE PERPLEXED, translated by Shlomo Pines. (University of Chicago, 1963)
Similarly with regard to circumcision, one of the reasons for it is, in my opinion, the wish to bring about a decrease in sexual intercourse and a weakening of the organ in question, so that this activity be diminished and the organ be in as quiet a state as possible. It has been thought that circumcision perfects what is defective congenitally. This gave the possibility to everyone to raise an objection and to say: How can natural things be defective so that they need to be perfected from outside, all the more because we know how useful the foreskin is for that member? In fact this commandment has not been prescribed with a view to perfecting what is defective congenitally, but to perfecting what is defective morally.
The bodily pain caused to that member is the real purpose of circumcision. None of the activities necessary for the preservation of the individual is harmed thereby, nor is procreation rendered impossible, but violent concupiscence and lust that goes beyond what is needed are diminished. The fact that circumcision weakens the faculty of sexual excitement and sometimes perhaps diminishes the pleasure is indubitable. For if at birth this member has been made to bleed and has had its covering taken away from it, it must indubitably be weakened. The Sages, may their memory be blessed, have explicitly stated: It is hard for a woman with whom an uncircumcised man has had sexual intercourse to separate from him. In my opinion this is the strongest of the reasons for circumcision.
This class of commandments also includes the prohibition against mutilating the sexual organs of all the males of animals, which is based on the principle of righteous statutes and judgments, I mean the principle of keeping the mean in all matters; sexual intercourse should neither be excessively indulged, as we have mentioned, nor wholly abolished. Did He not command and say: Be fruitful and multiply? Accordingly this organ is weakened by means of circumcision, but not extirpated through excision. What is natural is left according to nature, but measures are taken against excess. He that is wounded in the stones or hath his privy member cut off is forbidden to marry a woman of Israel, for such cohabitation would be perverted and aimless. Such a marriage would likewise be a stumbling block for the woman and for him who seeks her out. This is very clear.
Any medical procedure that involves even the possibility of risk to life is halachically forbidden. Judaism affirms the sanctity of human life, embracing the idea that every life is of infinite value. Halakah also tells us that since danger to life takes precedence over all else, medically hazardous procedures are strictly forbidden. The halacha (jewish law) recognizes the potential for harm that circumcision can bring, and so it stipulates that if a mother has 'lost' a child to circumcision , she is not obligated to circumcise future sons... this can be extrapolated to our shared humanity..enough mothers and children have suffered from this procedure..enough sons have been lost..let love and healing take precedence over fear and cutting
It is a violation of Torah commandments to physically assault or harm another person (Exodus 21:18-27). Yet that is exactly what circumcision is! Thus, it is against the most fundamental concept of Jewish law.
Additionally, some Jews object to pain relief by a physician. As if two to four needles in his penis - even if they are filled with pain killing drugs - isn't considered torturous enough to accomplish this amputation for his parents' psychological benefit. Are we now to assume that only topical anesthesia is acceptable? Do mohels have such deep-seated psychological issues over their own circumcisions that the only way it can be done to satisfy them is if the baby writhes in pain? Isn't it bad enough that he's having the most sensitive part of his genitals cut off against his will and at his parents' whim? Must he be made to suffer the maximum agony to accomplish this domineering goal?
We must embrace the notion of Bris Shalom, in which the genital mutilation part of the ceremony is omitted.
Some Jews are afraid to look at circumcision for what it is because they think that if youre against circumcision, youre anti-semitic. That is a ridiculous notion. Jews are not defined by our practices. In fact, the only requirement for Judaism is that you are born of a Jewish mother. Jews are taught to pursue education and question everything. We have questioned many practices in the Torah. Due to our enlightment and education, we no longer practice some of them.
For people who use the anti-semitism argument, the analogy I like to use is, if 90% of all black people smoke and youre against smoking, youre not anti-black, youre anti-smoking. Its the practice, not the people.
Jews are smart. We are 1/3 of 1% of the population, yet we hold 33% of the Nobel prizes. This means that we are smart enough to understand that sexually mutilating our boys genitals is NOT acceptable.
CIRCUMCISION: THEN AND NOW
By: James E. Peron, Ed.D.
Questioning Circumcision, A Jewish
By: Ronald Goldman, Ph.D.
Covenant of Blood
By: Lawrence A Hoffman