If one is married to a non-jew and one begets a son, why is it that when the mother is jewish (but in some cases don't live a Jewish livestyle) can get her son circumcised, but when only the father is Jewish (and is keeping a Jewish livestyle in accordance with the Torah) and want to get his son circumcised it's much more difficult to realise this because the Mother isn't jewish.

Doesn't HaShem teach one should get his son circumcised?

(I used circumcision but maybe this implies to more of the commandments).

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    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/52892
    – msh210
    Oct 17, 2016 at 17:32
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    I think that the son who is born from a Jewish man and a gentile woman is not his son according to the Torah.
    – kouty
    Oct 17, 2016 at 18:17
  • Possible duplicate of "Am I Jewish​​​?" Oct 19, 2016 at 3:00
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    Only a Jew is commanded to get circumcized. The child of a nonJewish woman is not jewish Oct 19, 2016 at 3:04
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    @sabbahillel The question here is not whether the son is Jewish. The question is why the Jewish father is not obligated to have his son circumcised when the mother is not Jewish. This is therefore not a duplicate, IMO.
    – Isaac Moses
    Oct 19, 2016 at 17:50

2 Answers 2


Yebamot 23a:

א"ר יוחנן משום ר' שמעון בן יוחי אמר קרא (דברים ז) כי יסיר את בנך מאחרי בנך מישראלית קרוי בנך ואין בנך הבא מן <העובדת כוכבים> {הגויה} קרוי בנך אלא בנה אמר רבינא ש"מ בן בתך הבא מן <העובד כוכבים> {הגוי} קרוי בנך

The son of a Jewish man from a non-Jewish woman is not called his son. He does not give him Mila, because this mitsva applies only to his son following Torah definition.

But the son of "your daughter from a non-Jewish man is called your son," so we need to circmcise him.

  • Spot on. Fixed up the grammar for you.
    – DonielF
    Oct 20, 2016 at 16:02

The primary commandment applies to the person who is being circumcised. The commandment is that any Jewish male must be circumcised at eight days old. The responsibility of the father is to ensure that the commandment is carried out. If the father cannot do so, then the responsibility moves to other Jewish members of the family.

For example Rambam Milah Chapter 1:1

Circumcision is a positive mitzvah [whose lack of fulfillment] is punishable by karet, as [Genesis 17:14] states: "And an uncircumcised male who does not circumcise his foreskin - this soul will be cut off from his people."

A father is commanded to circumcise his son, and a master, his slaves. This applies both to those who are born in his home and to those purchased by him. If the father or the master transgressed and did not circumcise them, he negated the fulfillment of a positive commandment. He is not, however, punished by karet, for karet is incurred only by the uncircumcised person himself. The court is obligated to circumcise that son or slave at the proper time and should not leave an uncircumcised male among the Jewish people or their slaves.

You ask

Doesn't HaShem teach one should get his son circumcised?

The basic answer is not exactly. As the Rambam says, Hashem commands that one should arrange for his son who is required to be circumcised to get a bris milah. If he fails it falls to the rest of the family or the court.

Halachically, the child of a non-Jewish mother is not related to the (Jewish) father and no such responsibility exists.

If the child is not Jewish, then he is not required to carry out any of the 613 commandments that are not also part of the Sheva Mitzvos Bnai Noach (7 commandment categories non-Jews are subject to). As a result, there is no responsibility for anyone to arrange for a (meaningless) "ceremony". It is only a surgical procedure as with any other non-Jew. If, when the child grows up, he decides to convert, then he would be required to undergo circumcision.

An analogy would be that a non-Jew does not have to eat kosher food and would not be considered as having fulfilled the mitzvah even if he does. Nor would it be a violation of anything if he eats non-kosher food.

  • Good answer, but maybe try and include sources. I remember learning in gemoro about the obligation of a bris being passed onto beis din, and afterwards to the child himself (gemoro about mitzvos Haben al ha'av, where it says the father needs to teach his son a trade, how to swim etc). If you can find this, or try and find another source, that'll back you up that it's not the father's mitzvah (in a sense)
    – user613
    Oct 19, 2016 at 21:28
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    @user613 I added the citation from the Rambam Oct 19, 2016 at 21:38

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