Let's say a non-Jewish male has had his genitalia removed through some accident or medical procedure (e.g. for the purpose of gender transition).

If that person later decides to convert. How is bris milah performed? Does he need it at all?

In the case of convert has already had a milah done prior, we perform Hatafas Dam Bris, wherein the Rabbi draws blood from the milah. However, in this case, there is no genitalia present from which to draw blood. How is this case to be dealt with?

Does the fact that the genitalia are no longer there distinguish this case from the question of a convert who can't have a circumcision for medical reasons?

Does it make a difference whether the removal was accidental or volitional?

  • Commenting as I lack access to sources to post a full answer. I recall seeing somewhere in the Mechaber that an amputee can convert without milah or hatafat dam. I also saw after cursory research that Tzitz Eliezer had a hypothesis that we go after the individual's current anatomy which sounds to me like a minority opinion. Commented May 3, 2017 at 13:11
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    @ShmuelBrown yeah the Tzitz in 11:78 says We don't go by DNA Commented May 3, 2017 at 13:14
  • Is that accepted by other contemporary poskim or is it a minority opinion? Commented May 3, 2017 at 13:20
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    @ShmuelBrown from what I have heard, almost uninamously rejected. Though there is a Magen Avraham (589:2) that says that an androgynous switches genders from one month to the next (i.e. Gender can be fluid) Or the Rav Chaim Palagi writes that a married woman who miraculously becomes male doesn't need a divorce, as she is a man. Commented May 3, 2017 at 13:21
  • Followup question: can they eat a Pascal lamb? In other words, can they do things that uncircumcised men can't do? Is the issue there that one has and uncircumcised penis, or is it that he has never been circumcised?
    – Baby Seal
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


The Shulchan Arukh (YD 268:1) rules (like the Tur, quoting a Gaon; see too Tosfot Yevamot 46b) that a male whose genitals have been removed ("Nikhrat haGid") doesn't need Milah or Hatafat Dam Berit, and can just go to the Mikva directly (like a woman). The Arukh haShulchan there explains this is because there is nothing to circumcise, and the Gra notes that this case of impossibility is different from regular case of one who dips in the Mikva without first being circumcised, where we rule like the Chakhamim (Yevamot 46a) that the conversion is invalid. None of the commentators on the Shulchan Arukh that I can find dispute this ruling (though the Bach thinks some earlier authorities who we don't rule like may have).

(No distinction is mentioned in any of these sources regarding how he attained that status, and the given reason appears to apply to all cases. The Bach there explicitly rejects the line of reasoning that this case is different from that of a woman since he could have had a Milah before losing his genitals, instead ruling that we just look at his situation now that he wants to become a Jew. In other words, we don't worry about the past.)


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