- Seder - Not for the Uncircumcised
- Moshe Ben-Chaim
- Reader: Something troubling came up in a recent discussion.
It was suggested that a "proper" Seder must not have
non-Jews present. Is there really such a prohibition? If so, where
does it come from, and how prevalent is this practice?
- Mesora: A Seder must not have
one uncircumcised present eating of the paschal Lamb, as is stated in
our Torah, (Exod. 12:48) "Kol arale lo yochal bo", "any
uncircumcised may not eat of it." The first, Egyptian Seder was
the act where those adhering to God's laws were saved by the
fulfillment of that command.
- 80% of Jews in Egypt perished in the plague of darkness. But why
were the 20% saved? It was because they were not steeped in idolatry.
They demonstrated this by sacrificing the very animal worshiped by the
Egyptians. In order for God to give His Torah 50 days later on Sinai,
the Jews back then had to demonstrate their acceptance of the true
God, otherwise, their acceptance would be worthless, thinking God was
in fact the Egyptian deity. Sacrificing the lamb demonstrated their
belief that the lamb was nothing, and that the true God , Who
commanded them in this sacrifice, must be followed. By following this
command, they attested to God's existence. One only follows the
command if they truly feel the commander is real, and must be
- God's Torah lifestyle places wisdom as the ultimate goal.
Circumcision is a minimalization of the attachment to the physical.
Maimonides teaches that both a man and woman have less enjoyment in
the sexual act when the man is circumcised. He says that one object of
circumcision is to limit intercourse so that intercourse is moderate.
God created the organ sufficiently and for procreation, the foreskin
is removed so that it helps perfect man's moral shortcomings and
counteracts "excessive" lusts. Excessive lusts were the
practices of the idolatrous nations. The woman doesn't know she is
having less enjoyment unless she been with an
uncircumcised man. The man doesn't know he is having less enjoyment
either, unless he has been uncircumcised as an adult.
- So two conditions must be met; 1)Acceptance of the One true God -
expressed via destruction of the Egyptian God, and 2) Following God's
lifestyle of adherence to wisdom and minimalization from lusts,
demonstrated via circumcision.