what is the normal practice involved with circumcision?

Now your post says Judaism. Usually babies are circumcised by a Moyle and it is called a bris. I have attended a circumcision in a Jewish home. It is an entry into the Covenant just like old Abraham septin he was older.:slight_smile:

In order to be Jewish however you must be born of a Jewish woman. So a Jewish father and a gentile mother may have a baby that undergoes a bris however that child would have to convert to belong to the Covenant.

Circumcision is an important rite in the Jewish lifecycle. It usually occurs 8 days after birth unless some circumstances do not permit this, such as if the baby is too ill to undergo the procedure. At this time the baby’s Hebrew name is also revealed.

The procedure itself is done in the synagogue but also at home according to a special ceremony. The cutting and the actual circumcision is done by a medically-trained man called the mohel who can be a rabbi also. These are licenced by the Beth Din or religious council.

The ceremony goes something like this:

  • The baby is brought to the father by a kvatter. This is an honour to be asked and often the role is done by a man without children, the idea being that the blessing of the ceremony will allow him to see children of his own.

  • The baby is given to the father who in turn presents him to the mohel.

  • The mohel performs the circumcision. He then cleans the wounds with wine before the baby is redressed and given back to the parents. The baby’s Hebrew name is revealed and the baby is welcomed into the Jewish people. In today’s ceremonies, standard medical equipment the same as found in hospitals is used to minimize infection.

  • After the ceremony there is a celebratory meal (seudat mitzvah) with special blessings for the parents, the child and for God. People are typically not invited to come, as an absence from attending would be seen as a spiritual excommunication from God, but instead are told the location and time of the meal and then they can choose to come or not.

does anyone know whether or not the practice of sucking the wound ever performed?

Generally the practice of the mohel swilling wine around the mouth before sucking the wound is really only common in the strictest Orthodox or Ultra-Orthodox communities. This practice has largely died out due to reservations about the propriety of an adult doing it to a small child, but also because of the number of documented cases of infection and even some diseases such as herpes being passed onto the child.

Some more modern versions of the practice see the use of suction pumps to clean the wound before three small drops are taken from the suction cup and then scattered either onto the floor or onto a napkin.

what is the over all purpose to it?

If you’re referring to the overall circumcision, it is a direct sign of obedience to God through Torah that all Jewish males are circumcised, as Abraham did at the age of 99, along with all the male members of his household.

As to the sucking of the wound, it serves a decently practical purpose in that alcohol in the wine serves as a disinfectant, and in ancient times was one of the few disinfectants available.

The squeezing of the blood from the wound is also a rabbinic rule. It was believed that doing so would prevent infection and protect the child’s health.

I taught in an ultra orthodox Jewish school for 12 years. When the principal (a rabbi) and his wife had their 10th son, the bris was in the school’s gym. All of the teachers and students watched. Interesting!!

You know quite a bit. Did you grow up in the Jewish faith?

well the bris can really be done anywhere, and only the father and mohel even need to be there. Although it’s completely a family choice as to where the ceremony occurs and who is asked to come.

As to your question, I lived for 10 years in a Jewish area of my city, and so picked up information as I went along, as well as actually attending a bris and other ceremonies such as a bar mitzvah and wedding some time ago.

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