The Jewish Eye
Bris Milah, Did Hashem Create Us Perfectly?
The Mitzva to circumcise newborn boys only starts on the 8th day. Why? The Maharal MiPrague in Tiferes Yisroel (Perek 2) answers that Turnusrufus HaRasha asked Rabbi Akiva "are Hashem's original creations better or is the work of mankind is better." Understanding what Turnusrufus was getting at Rabbi Akiva answered that mankind's' is better.
Hashem created a purely physical world. This world is incomplete and it is mankind's' job to complete it by adding the missing piece to the puzzle; spirituality. It starts with the human body. It may be physically complete but it still lacks spirituality until people perform the mitzva of Bris Milah.
Why on the 8th day? The number 7 represents the physical world that was created by Hashem in seven days. Beyond that it is the job of man to add the spiritual dimension. The number is 8 is beyond the seven days of creation and represents the next realm, the completion of the world by adding spirituality. Therefore we perform the mitzva of Milah on the 8th day.
Shalom Bayis for Birds!
After a women gives birth she brings a Korban of lamb and a single bird either a pigeon or a dove. The Baal Haturim points out that when one has an obligation to bring birds as an offering, the Torah always mentions doves before pigeons. If so, he asks, why does the Torah here mention the dove last?
His answer is incredible. He says that this is the only time that a single bird is offered. Every other Korban of birds consists of a pair of birds, either a pair of doves or a pair of pigeons. By writing dove last, the Torah is teaching us that a single dove should only be brought as a last resort, if a pigeon can't be found. He explains that when a dove loses its mate, it goes into mourning and doesn't take another partner. Therefore we must try to avoid causing the dove this pain and if at all possible and bring a pigeon.
Why is Milah on the 8th day?
At the beginning of Parshas Tazria, the Torah says, after a woman gave birth to a male son,she is Tamai for seven days. Then, following immersion in a Mikveh, she returns to a state of Taharah. On the eighth day, male sons are circumcised. The Gemorrah [Niddah 31b] provides a very interesting reason for performing the milah on the eighth day.
During the seven days of Tumah, following the birth of the son, relations between husband and wife are prohibited. In early generations, prior to rabbinic prohibitions which exist today concerning a Niddah, husband and wife were allowed to be together and have relations by the eighth day.
The Talmud explains, the reason we wait until the eighth day for the bris milah ,is that prior to this time, the happiness of the husband and wife would be limited by the prohibition against intimately sharing their joy together. Therefore the Torah established that milah be 'delayed' until the eighth day, so that everyone will be able to fully participate in the joyous occasion.
The Torah is expressing tremendous sensitivity for people's feelings. This Passuk says, essentially milah should really be performed sooner. The Torah has us wait until the eighth day, to make sure that everyone present at the Simcha will be able to be totally BiSimcha.
Back to top
A Different Kind of News
Questions or Comments? Send an email to:
Copyright © The Jewish Eye 2008 All Rights Reserved