Circumcision is the Greatest Symbol of God’s Eternal Covenant with the Jewish People
זֹאת בְּרִיתִי אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁמְרוּ בֵּינִי וּבֵינֵיכֶם וּבֵין זַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ הִמּוֹל לָכֶם כָּל־זָכָר׃ Such shall be the covenant between Me and you and your offspring to follow which you shall keep: every male among you shall be circumcised.
זֹאת בְּרִיתִי אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁמְרוּ בֵּינִי וּבֵינֵיכֶם וּבֵין זַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ הִמּוֹל לָכֶם כָּל־זָכָר׃
Such shall be the covenant between Me and you and your offspring to follow which you shall keep: every male among you shall be circumcised.
One of the most meaningful moments for me personally was at the Brit Milah, the “Covenant of Circumcision” of my three sons. It is hard to describe the emotions that accompany bringing your eight-day year old into the Jewish people with the blessed ritual that has been passed down from father to son, since God commanded Abraham 3,500 years ago.
Just as the Land of Israel is a physical sign of the enduring and irrevocable covenant between God and the Jewish People, so is the physical act of circumcision. Since the times of Abraham, Jews have been giving their sons a “Brit Milah” a “Covenant of Circumcision” on the eighth day, which has become the most overt sign that we are committing the next generation to the faith community.
As such, it is not surprising that anti-Semites have come out and criticized and attacked the ritual. The Greeks were the first in history to take a public stance against circumcision and the Jews for doing it, claiming that the act was barbaric and that an uncircumcised body is healthier, and even more beautiful. This old attack on the Jewish People has continued throughout history until this very day.
Many countries in Europe continue to push for legislation outlawing circumcision in a transparent reflection of their own anti-Semitic sentiments. Denmark for example has considered legislation to ban circumcision. One lawmaker explained, “I don’t think cutting little boys should be legal in connection with an old, religious ritual.”
Despite what the critics claim, it has been demonstrated repeatedly by modern science that circumcision is medically beneficial. The American Academy of Pediatrics concluded their study on the topic that there is “much stronger evidence about protective medical benefits associated with circumcision” such as lower risks of infections, diseases and cancers.
The Jewish People have long displayed great commitment to this beloved rite of passage through thick and thin. Stories are told of Jews who risked their lives to circumcise babies born in hiding even in Concentration Camps during the Holocaust.
It is therefore a symbol of our enduring commitment to the eternal covenant that God made with Abraham, that today in Israel, where so many Jews are not particularly observant, that an incredible 98% of Israeli parents perform a circumcision on their sons. In this way, Brit Milah is the greatest symbol of the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish People.