Saturday, January 15, 2011

To Cut or not To Cut

I thought I would be able to look at It, and take some pictures, but I was wrong. When the crucial moment arrived, I went out cowardly leaving behind some 'blood thirsty" people . What's the matter with you? I asked myself in anger, you had such a strategic position , close to the "victim" and the "butcher" and you blew it. Psh!

I'm referring ,of course ,to the circumcision of a newly born male baby. The place - a superb hall shaped as a hut, overlooking a magic garden surrounded by citrus groves. It's a place for happy events (weddings, birthdays, various joyous occasions ) held during all seasons of the year. Background or live music, and a good, rich variety of food accompany each such event.

'hut' structure

food preparing

According to the jewish law, circumcision is obligatory. It is performed on the eight day after birth in a ceremony called 'Brith Milah' ( Covenant of Circumcision) by a 'mohel' , a Sabbath observant jew who's specially trained in this procedure. Usually the 'mohel' is a rabbi, sometimes a doctor, and sometimes both.

The father of the baby ( a relative of mine) was a pitiful sight: nervous, anxious, looking all the time at the instruments on the table near the baby's bed, probably fearing the worst. I also got scared just by glancing at all the circumcision devices on that table: scissors, clamp, scalpel, tweezers, bandages, knife, gauze, anaestethic lotion etc... and all my thoughts were to the poor tiny baby, lying quietly without knowing what is in store for him.

baby before surgical procedure

'circumcision' stuff

The Grandfather ( the father of the baby's father) was given the honor of being ' sandak', the person holding the baby after the surgery, while the blessings were recited. After the religious rituals the baby was passed on to family members and guests to hold and cherish him.

all's well that ends well


  1. I think I would have 'bottled' it too. At least he won't remember it though. By the way my blog has moved, good old Blogger wouldn't let me back in to my old roost.

  2. Oh...I don't think I could watch!

  3. Yes, hard to see!
    I wish you a great Sunday!

  4. I'm with you here, DUTA. I get it, but the poor, unsuspecting baby boy. I honestly couldn't be anywhere nearby.

  5. I'm having enough trouble thinking about taking Buddy in to get neutered next week and he's a Labrador Retriever! I know circumcision isn't anywhere near as radical but still........

  6. St. Jude,

    Hi! Glad you've resumed blogging.
    The baby behaved perfectly , at least from what I saw before and after the surgical procedure.

    Jennifer D,

    I believe you; few people can watch this. The baby's mother too couldn't stay and watch the circumcision.

    The Bug,

    I suppose you mean by this word - pain and displeasure. It's understandable.


    Yes, one must have a tough heart to watch this sort of thing.


    Even the mother of the baby couldn't take it; she returned to the "scene of crime" only after the procedure was over.

    Rocket Man,

    Good Luck with Buddy's neutering! May he have a speedy recovery and go on being loyal and protective of home and family!

  7. How interesting Duta. We all have so many beliefs and customs. Circumcision is done here also on newborns in the hospital if the parents want the procedure done. Not something I could watch. I have to get caught up on my reading it has been a busy couple of weeks.
    until next time... nel

  8. I have never see this, the baby looks so
    sweet and unaware of what is coming. Glad
    it's over. Mozel tov to the parents..

  9. That's a hard one. I'm glad that when they circumcise here in America, the nurse takes your baby away to the doctor. As a mother, your instincts are to protect your baby and seeing them immediately hurt would've just torn me up inside.

    I'm with you look away and then comfort!

  10. I would have had trouble watching too, Duta. Most interesting to understand the process though, even though I felt squeamish while reading your words!

  11. I never saw a circumcision, but I am curious to see one.

  12. Nel,

    Here too, there are people who prefer having the Brith Milah in the hospital. It gives parents more peace of mind.

    La Petite Gallery,

    Mazel Tov, indeed! Good Luck to both baby and parents! Thank you.

    Lisa Petrarca,

    A lot of people see this procedure as a barbaric custom. Yet, this custom has been practiced for centuries and is still going on.


    It's indeed interesting to learn and understand about the process, even though one feels "squeamish" while reading about it.

    Vert Ange,
    I'm sure you are. After all, if I recall your profile, you're a medical student.

  13. Being a curious Kitty, your description kept my attention. Puppy's was done in the hospital before he came home. The baby's photo shows a sweet precious boy. Peace

  14. It's a custom here in America, too--and one that parents struggle with. It's good to know it ended well.

  15. I would have walked away, too, Duta! My son had his done in the hospital after he was born, and as I was still resting in my bed. And that was perfectly fine with me!
    But this is a very interesting tradition, as it's such an intimate, personal matter - I suppose this is why it remains a bonding family tradition.

  16. Lady Di Tn,

    I believe the best place to have it done is at the hospital as in your son's case. The baby ,as you can see it in the photo, is indeed a sweet , quiet boy.

    JoLynne Lyon,

    Circumcision is a highly emotive issue which generates debate for and against. Ultimately, it's the parents' decision that matters, and this decision should be respected.


    That was indeed perfect. You didn't have to be present at the procedure.
    And yes, you're right, it is "a bonding family tradition".

  17. I realise the need for the Judaism commandment, and without going into too much detail about what I do for a job, it seems that the circumcision stuff photo is more theatre entertainment than operating theatre..... I want the building I work in to look like that !

  18. J on tour@jayzspaze,

    Well you seem to know better.
    If you're referring to the 'hut' building, then it is indeed very spacious and with grand windows. I wish I've put some more pictures of it in the post.

    Sue(Someone's Mom),

    I can imagine that. This is for people with strong hearts, and you're sensitive and delicate.

  19. I did watch when my son was circumcised by a surgeon ( in the hospital). It is also a tradition here rather a culture and a must for all males. But no ceremony.
    He is such a cute baby.
    Thank you for sharing Duta.
    Have a great week ahead.

  20. He is a cute little boy, and he won't remember the pain. I don't think I could watch, either!

  21. Yes I do remember the worry about my son, a long time ago. Fortunately it is over fast.

  22. Even after all the 'critter' stuff I have to help with here on the Ponderosa, I would have to close my eyes and hold my ears! What a beautiful bundle of love the little fella is.

    Sorry I've been absent. I was in Texas with my fam for my Dad's memorial service.

    God bless ya sweet Duta and have a marvelous day!!!!

  23. Regina,

    That's interesting to learn that circumcision is a tradition in many cultures, including yours, Regina.


    The little one probably didn't feel anything as the place was locally anaesthesized. Hours afterwards, he probably felt some discomfort.

    Stuff could be always be worse,

    It brings back memories, doesn't it? I suppose your son is ok, no harm done.


    'little fella' - I like this expression. You, Ponderosa chick, always use such warm words!
    Hope the memorial went smoothly.

  24. DUTA:

    As a Christian,I have read on circumcision in the Bible and many of my Islam friends follow this process. Scientifically I hear that the removal of the foreskin is a healthy procedure but Jews and Islams have a religious connotation -- 'The chosen one of God' tag to the circumcised.

    I am sure the practice is healthy for the cute baby. I wish him and his family the best in everything.

    Joy always,

    P. S: The surgical instruments sure looked scary :(

  25. To be in attendance at one of these, not on my bucket list. The baby boy is so adorable!

  26. Even the tradiotion is important or parents oppinion or even it's a healthy practice I'm not agree with it.
    Time is changing as well as traditions.

  27. Susan Deborah,

    Those in favor of the procedure claim it prevents diseases - and that's a strong point one cannot ignore. On the other hand...well, it's rather cruel to perform surgery on such a tiny baby.
    Thanks for your kind wishes.


    That's a new expression for me : " not on my bucket list". Thanks.
    The baby is indeed adorable!


    So, for you there's no dilemma about it. You're against circumcision. That's legitime. Everyone os entitled to an opinion.

  28. I couldn't have watched either Duta. I didn't even like watching when my children were given immunizations. I think I cried more than they did! But how interesting to read this and learn more about other cultures and rituals.

  29. Mazal Tov!
    May He who blessed our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses and Aaron, David and Solomon, bless this tender infant.
    Just as he has entered into the Covenant, so may he enter into Torah, marriage and good deeds.

  30. Alicia,

    I'm glad you find it an interesting read.
    I'm sure you couldn't watch even your daughter's puppet Chorizo being given a shot.


    Good to hear from you!
    Thank you for your very warm wishes and blessings!

  31. At a Bris, it is customary to set a chair for the prophet Elijah. This suggests to me that Elijah reacts the way I do to circumcision: "I need to sit down."

  32. TallTchr,

    You seem to know quite a lot about jewish customs. I like that, and I like your humour.

  33. We were recently at the bris of a neighbor's grandson, and it was a lovely day.

    During the ceremony I was able to see the anxiety on the faces of the parents and grandparents, but I was standing too far back to see the actual circumcision. And that is probably a good thing! Because I would have winced out loud.

  34. Lynda Lehman,

    Hi Lynda,
    'Anxious' indeed .The guests eat, talk, and laugh, but the parents and grandparents look worried and eager to be after it.

  35. Dutta,
    This is such educational post. So interesting to learn about the details of this celebration, the components of family and spirituality. My son would have thanked me and his father if we had done this as a newborn. He underwent circumcision at age 5, and it was uncomfortable for him after the surgery, as the next day he has some swelling. It took a few days to heal.


  36. Hold my hand: a social worker's blog,

    I'm glad you find this post educational and interesting.
    Sorry your son had to undergo circumcision at the age of 5 and feel uncomfortable.