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Part II: Yoreh De'ah


A father is commanded to circumcise his sons (260:1). If he does not do it the court must have it done; if they do not, the boy himself must have it done when he becomes an adult (261:1).

A healthy boy is circumcised on the eighth day, counting the day of his birth as the first day (262:1,3). The day begins at nightfall and the birth is regarded as taking place when the head comes out; see 262:4-7. The circumcision is not valid if it was done earlier or was not done in the daytime; see 262:1. A sick boy is not circumcised until he gets well; see 262:2 and 263:1. If two boys in a family die as a result of circumcision, other boys born into that family must not be circumcised until they grow up; see 263:2-3. If a boy was born without a foreskin or was circumcised invalidly, a drop of blood must be taken from him (see 262: 1;263:4;264:1). If a boy dies before being circumcised it is done when he is buried; see 263:5 and 353:6.

The circumciser must be an observant Jew and should preferably be an adult male; see 264:1. Circumcision may be done with any non-fragile cutting instrument, but an iron knife is preferable (264:2). Circumcision consists of cutting the foreskin, peeling it back and causing the cut to bleed (264:3-4). After circumcision the glans should not appear to be covered; see 264:5-6.

The circumciser first recites the blessing "...Who commanded us about circumcision" and the father immediately recites the blessing "...Who commanded us to bring him into the covenant of our father Abraham"; see 265:1-2,5. On special classes of children see 265:3-4; on other details of the ceremony see 265:1,6-12.

Circumcision is performed even if it involves removal of signs of leprosy (266:1). Circumcision on the eighth day is performed even on a Sabbath or holiday (see 266:2-9,14; on special classes of children see 10-13). On circumcision on a fast day see 265:4,13.

Shulchan Aruch, Copyright (c) 2000 ProjectGenesis, Inc.



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