Friday, November 7, 2008

Lech Lecha

In this week's Torah Portion, Lech Lecha, G-d commands Abraham to circumcise himself and all the males in his house. G-d then commands that every Jewish male be circumcised when he is eight days old.

What is the significance of this commandment? The commentator Radak gives an amazing answer. G-d commands us to circumcise ourselves because a person's animalistic lustful urges emanate from the penis. By circumcising this organ, we demostrate that we are subjugating our animalistic urges to G-d's will. In doing so, we make our penis into a holy object. Indeed, we will see in a few weeks that the circumcised penis is so holy that a person can take an oath by it (just as a person would take an oath by a Bible in secular court).

Thus, Judaism does not believe in suppressing sexuality, but rather in channeling it to holy pursuits. For heterosexuals, this means getting married and reproducing. What does it mean for us? There is no one right answer, but I would suggest it means eschewing the promiscuity of "gay culture" and establishing a monogomous, loving relationship.

May we all figure out -- in our own way -- how to infuse holiness into our sexuality and into every other aspect of our lives.

Shabbat Shalom!


the mol said...

I'm glad that I am not a gentleman who has been commanded to circumcise himself. Ouch.

Tzviah said...

That's really beautiful, Justin. It's nice to have sources (or at least ideas that come from sources) to back up what I instinctively feel to be true.

Victor said...

LOL, it does sound like our people did not wonder far from the rest of penis-worshiping tribes of antiquity. (I hold Judaism in high esteem, but not as a religion, more as a civilization.)