Moses Maimonides

From IntactWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Moses Maimonides, Jewish Philosopher

Mosheh ben Maimon (משה בן מימון), called Moses Maimonides (pron.: /maɪˈmɒnɪdiːz/ my-mon-i-deez) and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn (Arabic: موسى بن ميمون‎), or RaMBaM (רמב"ם – Hebrew acronym for "Rabbi Mosheh Ben Maimon"), was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the most prolific and followed Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages. He was born in Córdoba, Almoravid Empire (present-day Spain) on Passover Eve, 1135, and died in Egypt (or Tiberias) on 20th Tevet, December 12, 1204.[5] He was a rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Morocco and Egypt. [1]

Maimonides and circumcision

Moses Maimonides states that the purpose of circumcision is to weaken the male organ, without preventing the functions necessary to reproduction, but reducing pleasure and desire. Sages at the time had recognized that the foreskin heightened sexual pleasure. Maimonides reasoned that the bleeding and loss of protective covering rendered the penis weakened and in so doing had the effect of reducing a man's lustful thoughts and making sex less pleasurable. He also warned that it is "hard for a woman with whom an uncircumcised man has had sexual intercourse to separate from him."

The Guide for the Perplexed

As regards circumcision, I think that one of its objects is to limit sexual intercourse, and to weaken the organ of generation as far as possible, and thus cause man to be moderate. Some people believe that circumcision is to remove a defect in man's formation; but every one can easily reply: How can products of nature be deficient so as to require external completion, especially as the use of the fore-skin to that organ is evident. This commandment has not been enjoined as a complement to a deficient physical creation, but as a means for perfecting man's moral shortcomings. The bodily injury caused to that organ is exactly that which is desired; it does not interrupt any vital function, nor does it destroy the power of generation. Circumcision simply counteracts excessive lust; for there is no doubt that circumcision weakens the power of sexual excitement, and sometimes lessens the natural enjoyment: the organ necessarily becomes weak when it loses blood and is deprived of its covering from the beginning. Our Sages (Beresh. Rabba, c. 80) say distinctly: It is hard for a woman, with whom an uncircumcised had sexual intercourse, to separate from him. This is, as I believe, the best reason for the commandment concerning circumcision.

The Guide for the Perplexed, Part III, Chapter 49. Moses Maimonides


Circumcision should be performed as early as possible for three reasons:

  1. The child might not submit to it if given the chance
  2. The child will not be afraid of the pain as a grown up person would
  3. The parents are not so attached to the son and his personality yet
The Guide for the Perplexed

This law can only be kept and perpetuated in its perfection, if circumcision is performed when the child is very young, and this for three good reasons. First, if the operation were postponed till the boy had grown up, he would perhaps not submit to it. Secondly, the young child has not much pain, because the skin is tender, and the imagination weak; for grown-up persons are in dread and fear of things which they imagine as coming, some time before these actually occur. Thirdly, when a child is very young, the parents do not think much of him; because the image of the child, that leads the parents to love him, has not yet taken a firm root in their minds. That image becomes stronger by the continual sight; it grows with the development of the child, and later on the image begins again to decrease and to vanish. The parents' love for a new-born child is not so great as it is when the child is one year old; and when one year old, it is less loved by them than when six years old. The feeling and love of the father for the child would have led him to neglect the law if he were allowed to wait two or three years, whilst shortly after birth the image is very weak in the mind of the parent, especially of the father who is responsible for the execution of this commandment. The circumcision must take place on the eighth day (Lev. xii. 3), because all living beings are after birth, within the first seven days, very weak and exceedingly tender, as if they were still in the womb of their mother; not until the eighth day can they be counted among those that enjoy the light of the world. That this is also the case with beasts may be inferred from the words of Scripture: "Seven days shall it be under the dam" (Lev. xxii. 27), as if it had no vitality before the end of that period. In the same manner man is circumcised after the completion of seven days. The period has been fixed, and has not been left to everybody's judgment.

The Guide for the Perplexed, Part III, Chapter 49. Moses Maimonides


The Guide for the Perplexed

The lesson is based on the principle of "righteous statutes and judgments" (Deut. iv. 8); we must keep in everything the golden mean; we must not be excessive in love, but must not suppress it entirely; for the Law commands, "Be fruitful, and multiply" (Gen. i. 22). The organ is weakened by circumcision, but not destroyed by the operation. The natural faculty is left in full force, but is guarded against excess.

The Guide for the Perplexed, Part III, Chapter 49. Moses Maimonides


References

Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Navigation
Tools