Monday, January 26, 2015

IN THE WORDS OF A RITUAL CIRCUMCISER



"But the mohel (circumciser) with whom I had worked countless times suddenly handed me the knife. He pointed to my squirming son, whose hands and legs were tied to the board. The foreskin had been pulled up over the glans of the penis and was now protruding through a narrow slit of the small, stainless steel clamp. . . . 'It's the greatest honor a father can have,' he added. . . . There is no greater primal anger than that caused by seeing another male in carnal contact with your wife, in this case the physical intimacy of mother and son. And there is no greater primal envy than that caused by looking down at the person who was brought into the world specifically to be your survivor. . . . The breast provides, but the knife protects. It channels the father's natural anger and jealousy into one controlled cut. He takes off one small part in order to preserve -- and love -- the whole. . . . No father should be denied this experience, even vicariously, of inflicting upon his child a ritualized blow so intense as to make him both shake and recoil . . ."


Birth Rite by Joshua J. Hammerman
THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, March 13, 1994.
http://www.cirp.org/pages/cultural/hammerman/