Yalkut Yosef (siman 79 in דין בשר האדם) discusses a minhag brought down by Mar'eh HaYeladim (מערכת ה' אות י) which says:

"it is a segulah for a woman to become pregnant [with a boy] if she takes from the foreskin of a baby [at a brit], dip it in honey, and swallow it".

Leaving aside the discussion of whether this is permissible or not (see the Yalkut Yosef, who struggles to find a side to be lenient, although there are technical reasons that few may say its allowed but certainly not desirable), does anyone know the original source for this minhag and the reasoning thereof?

  • related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/22632/759
    – Double AA
    Aug 31, 2016 at 14:09
  • 1
    The reasoning is to get pregnant, as you already noted. Are you asking how that works metaphysically?
    – Double AA
    Aug 31, 2016 at 14:10
  • I assume an original source will come with a reason. Why not eat a cow's foreskin or fish eggs or animal testes for the same segula... Given that mareh hayeladim is early 20th century I'm sure theres and earlier source, also that (as quoted in yalkut yosef) he doesn't give a specific reason
    – bondonk
    Aug 31, 2016 at 14:14
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    I assume it did not involve a double blind clinical trial in which women consumed either real or fake orlot which was then correlated to fertility.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 31, 2016 at 15:29
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    This practice sounds a bit gross. Regardless, isn't human non-kosher? How can one eat any part of a human.
    – DanF
    Sep 2, 2016 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


This custom is is at least ~600 years old, as it is mentioned in a responsum by R. Solomon ben Simon Duran.

Shu"t HaRashbash siman 518

מכל מקום יצא לנו לפי זה איסור למה שנהגו לבלוע ערלת הזכרים שחותכין בעת המילה כדי להוליד הזכרים אבל לדעת התוספות שרי דהא לא מחלפי בבשר בהמה טמאה ולא גרע מדם דגים שכנסו דאית ביה קשקשיון דשרי משום דאית ביה היכרא והכא נמי הכי ומה שכתבתי די לכל מה שנסתפק לך לפי דעתי

He does not mention a reason for this custom, and he asserts that it is forbidden (though permitted according to Tosafos).

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