Beit Midrash

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To dedicate this lesson
based on Ein Ayah, Shabbat 14:5

The Right Place for the Mila


Beit Din Eretz Hemda - Gazit

Kislev 7 5781
Gemara: How do we know that the mila is done on the sexual organ? It says here "orlato" (his foreskin – Vayikra 12:3), and it says later (regarding fruit in the tree’s first three years – ibid. 19:23) "orlato." Just like there it is a thing that gives fruit, so too here it is an organ that gives fruit. Maybe it is his heart, as it says "I will cut off the orla of your heart" (Devarim 10:16)? Maybe it is his ear, as it says: "Alas, it is the orla of their ear" (Yirmiyahu 6:10)? We learn from where it says orla in a complete way, not an incomplete way (i.e., not "orla of X").

Ein Ayah: It is an important, deep principle that the foundation of the spiritual sanctity must be connected to the material world. This is in line with the whole idea of the soul coming down to the world to do its work within a material body specifically. Along similar lines, the special spiritual attributes of Israel had to be connected specifically to the material side of Eretz Yisrael.

[Karna wanted to point out] the holy value of the brit (covenant) which was engraved in our flesh. Hashem ensured that our special character would remain for generations by connecting it to our physical flesh. It cannot be accomplished by doing a mila on something spiritual like the heart, even though it is so wonderfully connected to a person’s morality. It also does not help to do a mila of the ear, representing preparing a person to hear and accept lofty matters. These things can be significant only after there is a mila in the very material flesh in a manner that impacts upon all generations. When the orla is removed from flesh by doing the eternal brit, then it is also possible to remove extraneous things from the heart and ear. The mila is in the place that "produces fruit." That flesh is elevated by the "partial mila." That is why we learn the place of the mila from the place of orla fruit.
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