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Circumcision

Interpreting Circumcision as Purification

The Torah declares that circumcision will be a sign of the covenant, but is silent about the significance of the act itself. Some Jewish interpreters filled in this gap by connecting circumcision to the language of טומאה  and טהרה, but is this purification physical or spiritual?

Dr.

David Bernat

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Circumcision: Interpreting the Foreskin as a Defect

Genesis 17 states that circumcision will be a sign of the covenant, but is silent about the significance of the act itself. Some Jewish interpreters filled this gap by constructing orlah, possession of a foreskin, as a physical defect or disability, and circumcision as an act of healing or perfection. 

Dr.

David Bernat

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Joshua Circumcises Israel in Response to Egypt's Scorn

Before circumcision was a mitzvah, it was a cultural marker: Thus Joshua introduces circumcision to Israel at Gilgal (Joshua 5:2-9), Jacob’s sons insist that the Shechemites circumcise before Shechem marries their sister (Genesis 34), and the Israelites scorn the Philistines for being uncircumcised (Judges 14:3).

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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A Murderous Bridegroom

Dr.

Serge Frolov

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Abraham as the Great (Un)Circumciser

A Surprising Midrashic Portrait of Abraham

Dr.

Malka Zeiger Simkovich

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Baby Naming: Biblical Rites and Mother's Rights

Dr. Hacham

Isaac S. D. Sassoon

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Contesting the Identification of Elijah the Immortal as Pinchas the Zealot

Conflicting traditions come to a head in an exchange between two cantors and a congregant in a 13th century Egyptian synagogue.[1]

Dr.

Moshe Lavee

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