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Saturday, May 14, 2011

What Is Done With the Foreskin?

There are so many misunderstandings about this one. For example, take a look at this link, where the author writes of all kinds of superstitions (segulahs in Hebrew), and includes an extremely odd idea related to a foreskin and its powers of helping a woman become pregnant.

I honestly think it is a mistake or a misunderstanding. No matter how you look at it - it is just plain wrong.

I suppose there are some mohels who discard the foreskin with the bandages and refuse created in the process of the bris (packagings, diapers).

But, in simple terms, most of us bury it at our first opportunity.

There is even a custom to get the ball rolling on the burial process by having a dirt-filled dish at the bris so the foreskin can be immediately deposited in the dirt once removed. Those who go so far to prepare the dirt bowl nowadays are usually either Hassidic or so-called "ultra-orthodox." It is by no means a law, it is only a custom.

If you think about it, burying the foreskin makes a lot of sense. Our regard for the human body once its function of housing the soul is complete is to treat it with respect and to return it to the earth "from whence it came." Once the foreskin's function - to serve as the vehicle to allow the completion of the Jewish male (see the midrash quoted in the 3rd and 4th paragraph here) - is completed, it too returns to the earth from whence it came.


  1. Query came to my INBOX: Doesn't the foreskin have to be buried in a Jewish cemetery?

    ANSWER: No. It decomposes very quickly and does not need to be buried in a cemetery.

  2. Is there a specific prayer that's recommended when burrying the foreskin?


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