Mindy Newell: Making The Cut
Mindy went to her grandson’s bris today. Meyer Manuel, known in Hebrew as Avraham, is named for all three grandfathers. He had his first taste of wine, too, suckling on a cloth dipped in Manischevitz. It’s supposed to “quiet the baby,” which means lead him into a drunken stupor, so that the pain of the circumcision will be dulled. It didn’t help.
Meyer Manual cried, and Alix wept, as did most everyone else; the only ones not crying were Jeff, who did look shaky but stayed strong, looked shaky but he managed okay. The only ones who didn’t cry were the moyel (the artist performing the procedure) and Grandma me – the moyel because, well, that’s his job – and also he was wonderful, attentive to Alix and Jeff and incredibly caring to Meyer Manuel – and as for me, well, I think because I’ve seen so many circs (as we say in the biz) in my other life as an OR nurse that I knew what to expect, and also, I needed to be strong and calm for everyone else, meaning I had my professional face on.
Brit Milah: (Hebrew) “Covenant of circumcision.” Commonly referred to by its Yiddish term, the Bris, it is the Jewish religious ritual in which the male infant is circumcised at eight days old.
Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised.
Like so many Jewish commandments, the brit milah is commonly perceived to be a hygienic measure, so think about this. The early Israelites were primarily desert dwellers. Now, all you men out there, think about getting some sand between the foreskin and the head of the penis.
Pretty smart, those Children of Abraham.
Also very intriguing – although the Torah does not specify a reason for the choice of the eighth day for performing the brit milah, medical research has discovered that an infant’s blood clotting mechanism stabilizes on the eighth day after birth.
Now how did they know that? Trial and error? (I hate to think of all those newborn baby boys bleeding out before their parents got it right.) Or was it “Ancient Aliens?” Did some advance civilization, mistaken for gods and angels by the Hebrews, instruct them on the rite of circumcision?
The translation of the words sung during the opening of Battlestar Galactica is something like this, from the Sanskrit:
We meditate upon the divine light
of spiritual consciousness
May it awaken
our intuitional awareness.
Did Ronald D. Moore actually connect with the cosmic consciousness when he rebooted Battlestar Galactica? Were the three angels who visited Abraham actually Admiral Adama, his son Major Lee Adama, and Gaius Baltar?
Are any superheroes circumcised?
Certainly Gim Allon, aka Colossal Boy of the Legion of Super-Heroes would be, as it has been established that he is Jewish. As would Marc Spector (Moon Knight), Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver), Reuben Flagg (American Flagg!), and Irwin Schwab (Ambush Bug).
As would be Max Eisenhardt, aka Magneto. And Ben Grimm, the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing. And Ray Palmer, also known as the Atom.
Well, some people think he’s Jewish.
TUESDAY MORNING: Emily S. Whitten, Esq.
TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis, PhD