I have a question about circumcision, looking at some verses I found a view occasions where circumcision is mentioned:

At first there is the Brit "the convenant of circumcision" when HaShem commands Avraham to circumcise himself, his offspring and all the males of his household (Bereshit 17:10-14 & 23-27).

After this there is the situation (Bereshit 34) around the death of Dinah and the circumcision of the sons of Shechem.

And there is also the circumcision at the Pesach (Shemot 12:44) of the Eved (servant), and the Ger (12:48) that stays in the midst or dwells among the Israelites.

The circumcision at the age of right days old (like the command given to Avraham - Vayikra 12:3)

The circumcision of the heart (Devarim 10:16, 30:6, Yer 4:4).

And then the circumcision of all who had not been circumcised on the way in the desert leaving Egypt (Yehoshua 5).

The circumcision of a eight day old is called Brit Milah, but in the case of the eved, the ger, heart or older Jewish males (babies, boys, man that aren't circumcised) what is it called?

I want to know if there is a difference in meaning between these circumcisions or if they are all the same, because the circumstances and contexts seem to indicate different situations it made me wonder..

  • All those involving people are brit milah. The one involving the heart is a metaphorical issue connecting the idea with brit milah. Feb 2, 2017 at 15:51
  • You missed at least one, near the start of Exodus, performed by Zipporah.
    – msh210
    Feb 12, 2017 at 6:21
  • It sounds like you are asking about the distinction between the circumcision from Avraham, which is milah only and is still practiced by some descendants of Yishmael, that of the Jewish people from Sinai, which is milah, priah and metzitzah and the 'circumcision of the heart' mentioned in Prophets in regard to what will happen during the days of Moshiach. What type of circumcision is performed with an 'Eved Canaani' or a 'Ger Toshav' would require investigation. My instinct would lean toward the type of circumcision practiced by Avraham, which is milah only. Feb 20, 2017 at 14:38
  • @YaacovDeane Don't forget the sprinkling of cumin on the wound, which along with Metzitza, is so important that we fire a Mohel who doesn't do it, as our Sages explained in the Talmud Shabbat 133b.
    – Double AA
    Feb 20, 2017 at 19:42

1 Answer 1


The circumcision of a baby, a ger, eved, or even an adult who had been unable to have one as an infant (as happened to many people in the Soviet Union) are all brit milah. That is, they are milah (circumcision) for the purpose of "joining" Bnai Yisrael. The reference to circumcision of the heart is a metaphor and connects the physical operation to a spiritual one of removing the obstruction that prevents one from being part of Hashem's people. As Rashi says Devorim 10"16

the foreskin of your heart: Heb. עָרְלַת לְבַבְכֶם, the blockage and covering of your heart.

  • Do you have a source that says the Eved Cana'ani has the same type of circumcision as a Jew? An Eved Yisroel would fit your answer, but what about the non-Jewish servant? I'm not disputing the idea. I would just be interested in seeing a source that says clearly we perform the same mitzvah on them as we do with Jews. Feb 20, 2017 at 20:07
  • @YaacovDeane I do not have an explicit reference. However, the implication is that since an eved kna'ani does not have to have a second bris milah when freed and is allowed to eat from the korban Pesach, then his bris milah is the same as a regular ger. We see this in Mishna Chagigah 1:1 Feb 20, 2017 at 20:59

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