Question:

For a Year 11 Religion Assignment at school about Jewish rites of passage, I was wondering if you could answer a few questions about the Jewish ‘Brit Milah’

I understand you are busy answering other people’s questions, but if you are able to answer my questions, providing a primary source to my research it would be greatly appreciated. (A written response is preferred over website links, but the links will also be of assistance if that is all you are able to provide)

Could you please provide your name so I can reference your response

1   What contribution does this rite make to the sense of religious identity in the Jewish tradition?
(once a boy is circumcised what does this mean? How is he changed?)

2   If a child does not undergo the Brit Milah how does this hinder their acceptance in the Jewish community?

3   What is the basic procedure and main purpose of the Brit Milah, where does it occur?

4   Why and when is the Brit Milah undertaken?

5   What are the signs and symbols involved in this Group ritual? (how are they used, what is their religious significance)?

6   Who are the people involved? What is their role?

7   What is done in preparation?

8   How does the Brit Milah contribute to the Jewish sense of identity and expresses belief in the Jewish tradition?

If you could answer these Questions that would be a huge help
Thank-you

Answer:

1   Traditionally this commandment has been considered the ultimate sign of a Jew. In the Torah it is referred to as a covenant, a pact between the Jewish people and G-d, that declares our dedication and commitment to G-d and Judaism.

2   One who does not have a Bris is also an indication of one who does not keep the mitzvos [commandments] in general. As such he is accepted as a full fledged Jew albeit a secular, irreligious one.

3   The foreskin is removed in a simple surgical procedure [with a knife]. The main purpose is fulfilling one of the commandments of G-d, and again the basic understanding of the is commandment is a covenant between man and G-d.

4   If the baby is healthy, on the 8th day, as commanded by the Torah [Bible].

5   It is not really a “group ritual” rather one of the 613 commandments of the Torah given to the Jewish people at Sinai, along with it’s explanation and details in the Oral Law.

6   The commandment is on the father to circumcise his son. However the father usually appoints an agent to perform this for him as it requires expertise, and an expert circumciser is appointed. Generally extended family and friends attend this joyous occasion which is accompanied by a festive, all to celebrate bringing another person into the covenant of Abraham and declare him a faithful member of the Jewish nation.

7   The child is checked for any illness or weakness for which the Brit Milah would be postponed until the child is fully healthy.

8   see question 1.

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