Old Enough For What?

October 12, 2018 at 12:01 AM , , ,
“….And at the age of eight days, every male among you shall be circumcised, throughout your generations….” (Bereishit 17:12)

ובן שמונת ימים ימול לכם כל זכר לדורותיכם  – בראשית יז, יב

In a covenant, the two parties commit to remain devoted to each other unconditionally, even if eventual discoveries or circumstances might be cause for them to lose favor in each other’s eyes. Yet, human beings are inherently limited and therefore undergo constant changes, such that there is no way to guarantee that even a covenant will truly last forever. The covenant of Milah is unique in that when a Jew is circumcised, G-d enters into a covenant with him that is truly eternal; as the Eternal G-d says of the Bris Milah “My covenant shall be in your flesh as an everlasting covenant (17:12).”

This explains why the Bris Milah is performed on an eight day old infant, though the baby is too young to participate on his own and contribute toward entering this covenant. One needs time to prepare and be ready   only for things that require his input. The Bris Milah, however, though the act of circumcision is done by man, but it is G-d Himself who then enters the circumcised into an eternal covenant with Him.

The eternal covenant of Milah transcends any human effort whatsoever; it is G-d who brings the circumcised into this treaty. Therefore, there is no need to wait for the child to mature enough to consciously participate in the Bris. On the contrary, when the first opportunity arrives at eight days, (when a baby is strong enough to endure a Bris,) why wait?

—Likutei Sichos vol. 25, pp. 86-88


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