What About Your Bris?

Vezos Habrachah

Moshe Rabbeinu bestowed many blessings upon his beloved people, prior to his ultimate departure. Each tribe a Brochoh appropriate to it’s strengths. In blessing his own tribe of Levi, one of the attributes Moshe chose to single out, is the fact they kept the covenant. Rashi explains that this refers to the covenant of circumcision, Bris Milah:

For the Yisraelim who were born in the desert did not circumcise their sons, whereas the Levi’im were circumcised, and circumcised their sons.

The reason the rest of the nation did not circumcise their sons was in consideration of their nomadic living conditions. The lack of wind in the desert presented an element of danger, and thus out of caution they refrained from circumcising their sons. The Levites on the other hand chose to ignore this risk and enter the covenant.

Question

In contrasting the Levites with the Israelites why does Rashi say that the “Levites” were circumcised? In actual fact both the Levites and Israelites themselves were circumcised, the difference lay only in their offspring; the Levites circumcised their sons whereas the Israelites abstained.

Answer

Let us answer by introducing another query. What merit does a person have by the fact he is circumcised, his Milah took place when he was but an infant incapable of resisting. Answers the Marsham (1835 -1911), in Techiles Mordechai fathers act mercifully towards their sons and try to protect them from pain, equal to and sometimes greater than, the protection they offer themselves. The fact the father tries to bring his children into the Bris, either by performing the circumcision himself or arranging his son’s Bris Milah, the adult now affirms his own commitment to the Bris.

This then is what Rashi is saying “the Levites were circumcised, and circumcised their sons” meaning the Levites were circumcised i.e. they confirmed their entry into the covenant, because they circumcised their sons.

This is true of other ideas, morals, and chinuch which we chose to impart to our children. We ply kids with gifts to encourage them to learn Torah and many times this has the desired effect, however this is an immature dedication to such a priceless but when they bribe their offspring to learn Torah they demonstrate how much value they place in Limmud Torah. In a similar vein on Simchas Torah when we encourage our children to dance with the Torah, and impart the of the day, it bears witness to our own bond with the Torah.

Lesson

Nothing brings a notion home, as when passing it on to your home.

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