New Evidence For the Medical Benefits of Circumcision


We don’t practice milah any more than we avoid a BLT because of a fear of contracting trichinosis. (This despite what the Rambam writes in the third chelek of the Moreh. See R Samson Raphael Hirsch’s critique in The Nineteen Letters.) Yet we are all part of the battle to ensure that circumcision will not be banned anywhere. We should equip ourselves with the weapons effective in countering those intent on doing just that. This includes a study published in The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, and summarized in an article in today’s USA Today.

Europeans continue to convince themselves that circumcision confers no benefits – neither medical nor social/cultural/psychosocial – and therefore should be banned as a form of parental abuse of children. Self-termed “intactivists” in the US rail at the horror of it all.

Meanwhile, as the rate of circumcision of newborns declines, there is now data measuring the medical costs to society as the benefits of circumcision are denied to more and more children.

It is not clear whether the blindness of those who insist that it has been proven that there are no medical benefits in circumcision (one of the pillars of the Cologne Germany decision) is related to the syphilis they’ve contracted, as a result of not having the protective benefit of circumcision in curtailing STD’s

[Hat tip to Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Los Angeles]

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3 years 24 days ago

Personally, I am glad when goyim stop doing circumcision, since it is supposed to be our bris with Hashem. In fact, Yishmael had a zchus in Eretz Yisroel because of the Bris. Zohar.

G-d can make it easy or hard for us to do mitzvos regardless of what the goyim think about themselves doing bris milah.

Pinchas Giller
3 years 24 days ago

1. Tsk tsk, no syphilis jokes in Ellul.

2.I think the removal of circumcision from European standard practice was a cost-cutting measure for their socialized medical systems. Multiply the cost of the procedure by all the male births in a country and the cost is considerable.

3. Any mohel will tell you that the foreskin adheres to the atara at about five months and milah becomes a surgical procedure; not impossible, of course, but much messier. If you’re going to circumcise, time is of the essence. Routine infant circumcision for the baby boomers probably prevented many more STD’s than would have been warranted due to the change in sexual mores at the time.

4. The spontaneous recurrence of anti-semitism in every social and political venue is almost mystical to me and a reminder of the certitude of Jewish theology. Amalek is a morphing shape shifter, always recrudescent.

Charles Hall
3 years 27 days ago

An additional benefit to universal circumcision of baby boys, which was the custom in the US for most of the 20th century: It makes it easier to convert to Judaism!

E. Fink
3 years 1 month ago

The medical benefits mentioned are extremely minimal, especially in modern countries.

Further, the resistance to circumcision is not universal. It is against circumcising a baby without consent. The (minor) medical benefits are all sexual. One can reap those benefits as long as they circumcise before adulthood.

[YA – Not true. The benefits include lessened incidence of urinary tract infection, lesser risk of penile cancer – and cervical cancer in future partners. All this compliments of the just-released report of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which concluded that the benefits outweigh the risks.

As far as deferring the procedure past infancy: in the immortal words of Bill Cosby, “Right!!!!!!!” Opponents want milah banned until a candidate can make his own choice, which means the age of legal majority. How many 18 year olds do you think are going to opt for going under the knife?]

Mr. Cohen
3 years 1 month ago

“…the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, was indeed circumcised by a mohel,
the late Dr. Snowman, who was a medical man as well.

It is an old royal family tradition that they be circumcised…
probably from a tradition that dates at least from the time of Queen Victoria…
the new generation of royalty is uncircumcised.”

SOURCE: Jewish Answers To Medical Ethics Questions (page 102)
by Nison E. Shulman, 1998, Jason Aronson Publishers ISBN 0-7657-6016-9.