Why doesn't a convert dip in the mikveh and then wait eight days until he gets his circumcision? The gemara (Yevamot 97b) says ger shnitgayeir kekatan shenolad dami (A convert is like a newly-born baby). So - ostensibly - he should dip in the mikveh, and after eight days he should have his bris, right?

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    I guess the question essentially is: Is the 8th day a din in physical age (which anyone older than 8 days qualifies for) or is it a din in birth + 8 days in which case he would have to dip, then wait 8 days. – Mbrevda Dec 30 '11 at 8:02
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    @Mbrevda Not necessarily. Consider a child converted at 2 days old. He gets circumcised immediately despite being "underage". – Double AA Dec 30 '11 at 13:36
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    How can a 2 day old convert? – Mbrevda Dec 30 '11 at 13:49
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    @Mbrevda adopt non-Jewish child, conversion is contingent on the child accepting it at coming of age – yitznewton Dec 30 '11 at 15:04
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    The convert also doesn't wait 13 years before becoming liable for mitzvot... – Monica Cellio Jan 22 '13 at 18:49

Actually the order for a convert is: first have circumcision, then wait for that to heal, then immerse in the mikvah. The immersion is what finalizes the conversion.

The law of "a convert upon conversion is like a newborn" is limited to certain laws, primarily that Torah law regards the convert as no longer related to their prior relatives.

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  • I think it also applies to the convert being free of sin. But I could be mistaken. – Seth J Dec 30 '11 at 18:50
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    @SethJ: see judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/6429/…. – Alex Dec 30 '11 at 20:12
  • @Shalom, I never understood why circumcision takes place before tevilah in the mikveh. There is a mitzvah to circumcise, not to be passively circumcised. If someone converts and is already circumcised when he immerses, he is mevatel his mitzvah of Milah. – Adam Mosheh Jan 9 '12 at 3:16
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    @AdamMosheh: probably because that's the same order in which the Jewish people underwent these steps (and that's the paradigm for all future gerim): circumcision just before they left Egypt, immersion before the giving of the Torah. – Alex Jun 19 '12 at 19:15
  • Would the case of an eved Canaani who jumps into a mikvah with the intent to convert, rather than for the purpose of slavery? Non-Jewish slaves were circumcised immediately after becoming slaves (although there are opinions they could put off circumcision for a year). But according to Rambam, a slave could jump into the mikvah, before it was clear that the purpose of tevilah was for slavery, and if intention was to convert, the conversion was valid and he was deemed to have acquired his freedom, as well. Does this case have any bearing on an answer? – Bruce James Nov 19 '14 at 14:17

I can only answer from personal experience. Since I had been circucised as a baby, when I converted I only needed a ceremonial bris -- a slight cut to draw some blood -- and then I went directly to the mikvah. It was explained to me that the bris, being a Biblical commandment, comes first. The mikvah is learned from the Oral Torah, and therefore comes after the bris.

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    Isn't the question why the order isn't the other way around? (Not my downvote) – Double AA Jan 22 '13 at 18:43
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    @DoubleAA: See my edit. – Bruce James Jan 22 '13 at 19:00

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