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Saturday, August 14, 2010

When Baby is "Born" Through C-Section

The Torah says that when a woman gives birth to a male baby, he is to be circumcised on the eighth day of his life. (Leviticus 12:2-3)

What happens when the birth is not really a "birth"?

Consider this: In "Macbeth," Macduff was able to kill Macbeth, who was unable to be harmed by anyone of woman born, because Macduff was "from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd" — born via a Caesarean section.

A similar thought process occurs in some cases when a child is brought into this world through this abdominal surgical procedure.

According to Torah law (halakha), a surgical procedure, or any process that draws blood, may not take place on Shabbos, unless it is for the sake of saving someone's life. The exception to this is bris milah, because the Torah says "ON THE EIGHTH Day..." Therefore the eighth day will supersede the laws of Shabbos.

However, if the baby was not born through the birth canal, as Macduff was not "of woman born" neither is this baby considered to have been "born" in the manner that would allow the bris to take place on Shabbos or on a holiday, were the baby's eighth day to fall on one of these holy days.

In the most commonplace example related to this discussion, a baby born via c-section on Saturday will not have his bris take place eight days later on the following Saturday, but on the Sunday following - his ninth day.

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