Jews on Circumcision
|Rabbi Performing Circumcision|
Everyone seems to think that the Jewish people had 100% circumcision and that they somehow invented the practice of circumcision. They also seem to think that circumcision was commanded by God Jehovah to be done. Neither statement could be further from the truth. Not only did the ancient Hebrews not practice circumcision, nor come up with circumcision, but there is a huge debate surrounding the passage where God tells Abraham to be circumcised and to have his sons circumcised.cite Let’s consider this for one second, God who created males would demand that males mutilate their genitals by surgical procedure as a means to correct his own invention? That doesn’t seem likely. In fact this debate about the story of Abraham’s circumcision is an actual debate because people question the authenticity of the actual scroll this was on, due to the fact that the scroll was “found” 1,000 years after the death of Abraham and 400 years after the death of Moses.cite Moreover, it was NOT a widespread practice among Jews.cite Scholars feel that the Jews copied ancient Syria and were a political statement, nothing to do with holy nor being commanded by God.cite
Noone knows how this political movement made its way into cannon in the Old Testament. Until, it is later revealed that it pervaded and became widespread due to the same factors that led to European use of MGM [ male genital mutilation ], i.e. women who have sex with uncircumcised men will enjoy it more than with men who are circumcised, or MGM leads to far less, 400%, sexual pleasure in men who are circumcised.cite
citeSince circumcision is considered a sacred ritual in various religions, Sami Aldeeb Abu-Sahlieh’s works have a special significance because he discusses it in terms of religious arguments. One of his most important works is To Mutilate in the Name of Jehovah or Allah: Legitimization of Male and Female Circumcision (1994); and his book: Male and Female Circumcision among Jews, Christians and Muslims: Religious Debate (khitaan al-zukuur wal-inaath ‘and yahud, wal-masihiyyin wal-muslimin: al gadal al din) (Aldeeb Abu-Sahlieh, 2000). In this book, the author reviewed the various opinions of theologians in the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam starting from early days of Judaism till the present decade. The author said that the three religions always interacted and impacted each other. The discourse of circumcision progressed from one Holy Book to the other. In the Old Testament, it was obligatory; in Christianity, it was not considered a sacred procedure; and in Islam, it was not mentioned at all in Quran because Islam stressed the concept of divine perfection of creation. Abu-Sahlieh elaborately reviewed the discourse on circumcision in the three sacred books, Prophetic tradition, and the writings of men of wisdom, theologians, and men of Fiqh, all of whom depended on what is stated in Ch. 17 of the Book of Genesis in which Jehovah ordered Abraham to be circumcised and to do the same procedure on his sons. Jehovah promised them the sacred land because they are God’s chosen people. Moreover, they are identified by circumcision. The researcher considered this procedure as a political convention which is carried out by means of surgery, and described it as “Politicization of a Surgical Operation.” Sanctification of male circumcision transfers Jehovah from a divine creator to a simple shepherd who needs a physical sign to identify his people out of all the other human beings; like a shepherd identifying his herd. Other scholars explained that the circumcision of the male child on the 8th day is to purify him from birth pollution. Contact between the child and his mother’s body and after-birth are both considered polluting. In fact, there are laws in Judaism that admit the hazards of infant male circumcision. Therefore, some rabbis exempt some Jews from this procedure, on condition that the child has 2 brothers or a maternal male cousin who died during circumcision. Abu-Sahlieh explained that the Old Testament was gathered together and documented in the 9th century B.C., that is approximately after 4 centuries of Moses’ death and 10 centuries of Abraham’s death. Therefore, it included various other traditions from the different cultures over this period,. That is why some scholars of Judaism doubt the historical origin of the events that took place in the Old Testament. Abu-Sahlieh said that circumcision goes back further than the Old Testament because historical documents were found that proved that circumcision was a procedure carried out in Ancient Syria in the 28th century B.C. and in Ancient Egypt in the 23rd century B.C. In the latter, it was not carried out on all Egyptians but only on the priests. This is proved by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who forbid this procedure on everyone in the 2nd century A.D,, but he exempted the Egyptian priests.
The Jews used circumcision politically over the years. It was a procedure that was carried out on a relative basis and not done on everyone. Historians state that this procedure was not obligatory to Jews except after their return from exile in the 6th century B.C. A group of Jews made an agreement with surrounding nations in the 2nd century B.C. They stopped observing circumcision, and hid the signs of the procedure by pulling down the skin of the penis to cover its head. They could do so because in ancient times circumcision did not include a complete amputation of the prepuce, as is the case now. It was the outer layer that was cut only. The anti-circumcision trend appeared again in the 2nd century A.D. The rabbis, though, created a new way of circumcision by amputating the two layers of the prepuce as a counter reaction to the mentioned trend. Moreover, in 1842, a group of German Jews questioned the obligatory imposition of circumcision; but they retreated under pressure of conservative Jewish clergy. In 1869, Jews who had emigrated to the United States started to discuss the exemption from circumcision of men who converted to Judaism as adults. The exemption was authorized in 1892 because it was said that in the Old Testament, when Abraham was ordered to undergo this procedure, it was not an obligation to all Jews throughout history, and also because of the fact that Jews are identified by their maternal ancestors, regardless of whether they are circumcised or not. Thus, a circumcised Jew cannot be considered a Jew if his mother is from another religion. These modernists also viewed that circumcision did not comply with other Old Testament instructions that forbid harming the body. Modern Jewish feminists noticed the patriarchal political nature of male circumcision. Abu-Sahlieh quotes some of them. One of them is Miriam Pollack, who refutes that circumcision has a religious significance. She says that it has a political background in general and is specially significant to gender.
“Circumcision is based on men’s domination of women. By this procedure, the child is separated from his mother who does not have any authority on him any longer. This harms the child, for at this stage he needs his mother most and she cannot defend him, in spite of the fact that they are attached to one another at this early age. The knife that is pointed to the child is in fact pointed to the heart and soul of the mother. Circumcision is actually an injury to the mother; it is humiliating to her since it implies that ‘Your authority over males is limited; moreover, this child belongs to the male community.’ In this manner, the relationship between man and woman is disturbed and similarly the relationship between mother and child. The child’s separation from the mother is a preparation for his separation from her when he is recruited by the army.” (Aldeeb Abu-Sahlieh, 2000)
Seham Abd el Salam
Everyone simply assumes that the Jews invented and practiced circumcision, neither point is fact in history. As shown above, the ancient Jews were not the ones that proscribed MGM, it was the far later German Jews that started the practice and to the “full extent”, i.e. full circumcision of the prepuce, and for non-sacred reasons to boot, i.e. to curb sexual drive in both women in men. When the very scrolls that are supposedly in Torah are in question, then one clearly sees the foundation of the barbaric practice crumbles. The premise over the past century is that “it’s in the bible”. So if we then turn a careful eye to the very passage where it was written and find it was written not by God, but by man for political reasons, then we see the entire argument fails.
|Circumcision Was in Egypt Before Hebrews|
Also, as shown above, the procedure that was practiced in ancient times is nowhere near as intrusive as it is today, i.e. the very rim of the prepuce being cut, versus the full prepuce being removed in today’s procedures. The ancient Jews understood the procedure to be symbolic, not an actual surgical procedure, ergo they did something symbolic and not a fully invasive surgical removal which could lead to tremendous complications, to the point of losing one’s life or being horribly disfigured. Furthermore, there are countless passages in the same Old Testament, predating the story of the Abraham circumcision that commands all Jews to never harm the body, in fact it is in no less than 3 of the 10 commandments.
Milah: Symbolic Circumcision of Covenant
The original Biblical circumcision of Abraham’s time was a relatively minor ritual circumcision procedure in which only the redundant end of the foreskin extending beyond the tip of the glans was removed. This was called “Milah”. It is from this term that the Jewish Religious Covenant circumcision ritual Bris Milah or Brith Milah got its name.
Following “Milah”, a penis so circumcised would still contain a considerable portion of the foreskin and the penis would have continued to go through its natural development since most of the foreskin would have remained intact. Protection of the glans would still have occurred. The foreskin would not be stripped back off the glans and would naturally separate from the glans gradually as the child matures, much as it would had the child not been circumcised. The sensitive frenulum would not have been disturbed or moved, and the foreskin remaining would continue to cover and protect a substantial portion of the glans, especially when flaccid, and the glans would appear as uncircumcised. There would be minimal loss of sensitivity or intended protection.
This type circumcision continued throughout the ages and during the time of Christ. The circumcision of Christ would have been this type circumcision as referred to in the bible. Indeed, biblical reference to circumcision is strictly this form of circumcision. It continued into the New Testament. It has been argued that Michelangelo’s David should show David as Circumcised. Interestingly, Michelangelo presented David precisely as he should have appeared following an infant “Milah” circumcision. His glans is essentially covered with only the tip of the glans showing.
Changes to the Ritual Circumcision Procedure:
No other feature was added to the religious ritual until about 140 AD when a second step to the ritual circumcision procedure was introduced.
Periah: The laying bare of the glans
After performing “milah”, the cutting back of the end of the infant’s foreskin, a second step, periah was then performed. Periah consists of tearing and stripping back the remaining inner mucosal lining of the foreskin from the glans and then, by use of a sharp finger nail or implement, removing all of the inner mucosal tissue, including the excising and removal of the frenulum from the underside of the glans. The objective was to insure that no part of the remaining penile skin would rest against the glans corona. If any shreds of the mucosal foreskin tissue remained, or rejoined to the underside of the glans, the child was to be re-circumcised.
This is a much more radical form of circumcision. It was dictated by man, and is not the biblical commanded circumcision rite. [Italics mine] Its introduction has a bizarre history. The rabbinate sought to put an end to the practice of youths desiring to appear uncircumcised by stretching the remainding foreskin for social economic benefits and for sports competitions. By introducing the painful and debilitating “Periah” they would obliterate the foreskin completely such that proper circumcised Jew could not disguise “the seal of the covenant”. From this point in Jewish history, the male’s glans is directly affected by the circumcision procedure, and the denuded glans and traumatized infant will heal with considerable nerve damage and loss of sensitivity. Again, it is important to note that this is not the Covenant circumcision of Abraham defined in the Bible. [Italics mine]
Metzitzeh: (Mezzizza/Mizizah) The sucking of blood from the wound
During the Talmudic period (500-625 A.D.), a third step was added to the Orthodox circumcision ritual. It was not universally adopted by all Jewish groups, but became a practice of the more Orthodox groups. This third step was called “Metzitzah”. During “Metzitzah”, the mohel takes the now badly bleeding penis into his mouth and sucks the blood from the wounded pant. This was most probably adopted to collapse the major blood vessels to stem bleeding and to extract any induced bacteria from the wound and blood system. In effect, it often introduced infection, such as tuberculosis and venereal diseases, with very serious and tragic consequence, as reported throughout history. More modern day mohels use a glass tube placed over the infant’s penis for suction of the blood when performing metzitzah. In many Jewish ritual circumcisions this step of Metzitzah has been eliminated.
The introduction of Routine Infant Circumcision:
Routine Infant Circumcision was introduced during the late 1800’s and throughout the 1900’s on the pretext that it offered health and hygiene benefits, would stop the habit of masturbation, and proffered an endless list of presumed cures for a variety of ailments and diseases. As mother’s opted to use physicians to give birth in hospitals or clinics, rather than using a midwife for home birth, the practice of routine circumcision of male infants blossomed and became nearly universal.
As one would expect, many of those experienced in the procedure were Jewish physicians and mohels. They taught new physicians to perform the surgical procedure as was practiced by Jewish ritual circumcision procedures. This meant that most infants underwent a fairly radical complete form of circumcision. What was performed was the Jewish “Milah” followed by “Periah”, with most if not all of the foreskin being removed and the frenulum either severely damaged or completely removed. This remains the routine infant circumcision procedure to this day. Many males throughout these past decades have suffered the lasting physical, psychological, and sexual dysfunctional consequences of routine circumcision, which they did not choose.
James E. Peron, Ed.D.
Finally the authenticity of the passage of Abraham’s circumcision is questioned because it was found so much later than other such scrolls. All scholars agree on the date the scrolls were found and the debate is over if it was even something that actually happened, versus a passage describing traditions other people had.
MGM: Mail Genital Mutilation what you’re up against:
- As it stands now circumcision in just America alone is a $300 million a year industry. There is no way in hell you will ever be able to get people to stop propagating circumcision as something: healthy; proper; nicer.
- Securlar circumcision is pointless altogether.
- No doctor would ever seriously tell you that circumcision is medically necessary for anything, unless it is in some extremely rare case, i.e. 1 in a million. However an obstetrician can make $1,500 weekly alone in performing circumcisions.
- Yearly 150,000 baby boys die from circumcision alone.
- Two million circumcisions are performed yearly in America.