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Monday, May 29, 2023

Thanks for Bris Milah (7 of 8)

   I wrote an article for this book about Bris Milah, on the subject of 8 reasons for our having gratitude for this Mitzvah. This is the seventh part of this series of sharing this article here.

last time we concluded noting that "the act of circumcision also opens the heart to receive the Torah." 

But there is a contradiction, because other peoples who were of Avraham’s seed – the Bnei Eisav and the Bnei Yishmael – were also circumcised! If so, circumcision would open their hearts to receive the Torah as well! 

The answer is simple. Since both of those nations rejected the Torah, per the Midrash of their having been offered it but finding the rules against murder and thievery being unacceptable to them (Mechilta, Yisro, “D’bachodesh 5”; Sifrei V’zos Habrach 343, etc), their circumcision status was also diminished in that only the Milah of Bnei Yisrael fit into the category of being a “matanah tovah,” opening the door so that the gift of the Oral Torah is exclusively for Israel. [This is a topic R Luria goes into much greater length, beyond the scope of this essay.] 

Our thanks in Birkas Hamazon and in the recitation of Hodu at the bris is supported by the Talmud’s declaration (Megillah 16b) that when the Jewish people rejoiced with “Sasson” (joy) that Sasson = Milah!

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