Submission to the
Queensland Law Reform Commission
By Rabbi Philip Heilbrunn BA LLB
Chief Minister of The St Kilda Hebrew Congregation and
President of the Association Of Rabbis and Ministers of
Australia and New Zealand
March 1994/ Adar 5754



Brit Milah[2] (the covenant of circumcision) has occupied a unique, inestimably precious and  valuable place in Jewish law, lore and practise since the earliest of Biblical times. It is a practice that expresses the most fundamental and profound concepts in all of Jewish existence and continuity. Brit Milah is at the very core of Jewish belief, destiny and the very relationship with

G-d and the Jewish[3] people.


It is called the Covenant of Abraham in that Abraham was the founder of the faith, the one who partnered G-d in initiating the Covenant[4]. Indeed it was not until the sign of this covenant had been indelibly sealed into his flesh through Milah (circumcision) that he was blessed with a child from his primary wife, the Matriarch Sarah. This son, Isaac was circumcised at eight days in a spirit of great joy and hope as is described in Genesis.


The Biblical narrative is replete with references to Brit Milah and its special significance.


So essential is this precept that failure to observe it results in Karet lit. "cut off", the excision of the soul from the community of Israel by G-d.[5]  Rabbi Dr. J.B. Soloveitchik[6],  a foremost religious thinker, authority and intellect of our time in a masterful essay expressing the Jewish reaction to the Nazi Holocaust declares:

            " this devotion is the most basic foundation of Judaism......The act of circumcision (milah)   was the charge given to Abraham ....the father of Jewish fate...[also] performed by the        Israelites In Egypt prior to their...eating the paschal lamb, the symbol of redemption in Egypt.........it [circumcision] signifies the people's fate.....[it is] the sign incised in the very   physical being of the Jew.....a permanent sign between the G-d of the Hebrews and His        people, a sign that cannot be effaced".


Observance of Milah is inextricably bound up with the concept of redemption. When Moses, on his journey of return to Egypt to fulfil his Divine mission of liberating the Israelite slaves merely postponed the Brit Milah of his infant son for fear that the hazards of travelling will be a threat to his well being, he was afflicted with a fatal illness. Only immediate action by his wife, Zipporah, in performing the Milah upon the child averted the crisis. Later the preparations for the Exodus, G-d's redemptive act par excellence, clearly stipulate that "anyone who is uncircumcised may not eat of it" (the Paschal lamb). Such a person was thus denied participation in redemption at the original Exodus or at its commemoration on Passovers in the future.


Again, at the culmination stage of redemption, the entry into and taking possession of the land of Israel, the indispensability of the observance of the Covenant of Milah was again demonstrated. Great stress was placed on the fact that when the Israelites entered the Promised land those men who had not observed the precept of Milah were circumcised.  Entry into the land and its possession as the fulfilment by G-d of terms of the sacred Covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the patriarchs of Israel, is exclusively reserved for those who in whose flesh the sign of that Covenant has been indelibly sealed.


The Bible is also the source of the first assault on the practice of Milah. The Book of Kings[7] implies that Queen Jezebel placed a ban on brit Milah that was zealously opposed by Elijah the prophet.  His actions were considered  so heroic as to earn a special privilege for him; that he (his spirit) would be present and be welcomed at every Brit Milah performed for all time[8]. This custom has been faithfully retained to this day when at every Brit Milah a special chair (often exceedingly ornate and greatly prized) is set aside for Elijah. Before the Milah is performed,  the child  is ceremoniously placed on this chair to emphasise the significance, supreme holiness and the spirit of zealous self sacrifice with which this precept is associated.


Since  Elijah, the precept of Milah has been banned by the enemies of Israel many times as a means of attacking the very essence of their faith and ethos. Each time such onslaughts have been met by spirited and heroic resistance by those faithful to their beliefs frequently to the extent of martyrdom.[9] The Talmud states,

            "Every precept which they accepted with Joy e.g. circumcision....they still observe with joy"            and again further on, "Every precept for which Israel submitted to death at the time of the           royal decree e.g. enforced idol worship and outlawing of circumcision, is still firmly held in         their minds".[10] 


            "Rabbi Nathan said: 'And showing loving kindness to the thousandth generation to them who           love me and keep my commandments'.....this refers to Jews who.....risk their lives for the            commandments. 'For what are you being executed ? --Because I circumcised my son..."[11]


This has been the case not only in ancient times or during the Middle Ages, but to this very day. Incidents of heroism, self sacrifice and faith in the face of the cruellest adversity are recorded of parents who would not neglect Milah even in the Nazi death camps. [12]  I am also aware that the grandfather of one of my Rabbinical colleagues was murdered by the authorities in Stalinist  Russia merely because he acted as a Mohel (circumcisor).[13]  It is with a grievous sense of bitterness that Jews of the former Soviet Union and around the world look upon their uncircumcised state as the shameful symbol of their oppression under that godless tyranny and it is one of the first adjustments they undertake on reaching freedom.


Since time immemorial the circumcised penis has been the distinguishing mark of the Jew and has been used to single him out for persecution, violence and acts of great cruelty culminating in the searches and hunts for Jews by the Nazis during the Holocaust in order to round them up for extermination. Despite their suffering, I know of no movement or even incidents where observant Jews considered that it was time to relinquish this sacred and precious precept as a means of lightening their "burden".


Jewish literature abounds with statements extolling this precept.

The Mishna in Nedarim[14] and the Talmudic discussion thereon is an excellent example:

            "Rabbi Ishmael said, great is [the precept of ] Milah, since 13 Covenants were made thereon[15]

            Rabbi Jose said, Milah is a great precept , for it overrides the [severity of] the Sabbath[16]

            Rabbi Joshua Ben Korcha said, Great is [ the precept of ] Milah for neglecting which Moses did not have     [his punishment] suspended for even an hour

            Rabbi Nehemiah,.....it supersedes the laws of leprosy

            Rabbi [Judah the Prince] said, Great is Milah, for notwithstanding all the precepts which      Abraham fulfilled  he was not designated "perfect" [or whole] until he performed Milah on himself, as it is written: "Walk before Me and be perfect"[17]

            Great is Milah, since but for that the Holy One , Blessed is He , would not have created the             Universe, as it is written, "But for My Covenant by day and night, I would not have   appointed the ordinances of Heaven and Earth"[18]

            Great is Milah, for it counterbalances [outweighs] all other precepts put together  as it is     written: "Behold the blood of the Covenant which the Lord has made with you concerning all    these words"[19] 

            [where   "all these words" refers to all the other precepts of the Bible and the " Covenant" refers to Milah]


The Midrash[20] adduces statements such as:


            "Great is Milah, for a child does not enter in the reckoning of the generations unless he is    circumcised"

            "Even if they have no righteous deeds to their credit , the Almighty will redeem the Jewish people in the merit of Milah[21]

The Talmud[22] adduces the following expose':

            "And as [King] David entered the bath .... he exclaimed: "Woe is me that I stand naked was set at ease. And when he came out he sang a hymn of praise ......on the Eighth; a Psalm of David[23] that is concerning Milah which was given eighth"[24] 


There also exists a vast literature of a mystical nature that  expounds on the intrinsic and cosmic significance of Milah. The great philosopher, Spinoza (who was eventually excommunicated for his heretical views) considered that Milah alone was sufficient to ensure the survival of the Jewish people for all time.


The centrality of the precept is summed up in the great Codex of Jewish Law, the Shulchan Aruch which declares, "This commandment is greater than all other commandments"[25]


That Milah is carried out on the reproductive organ is considered to be of great significance in determining the attitude to the birth, rearing and the value of children in accordance with the Sacred Covenant. The organ also serves as the source of sexual enjoyment. This  is a powerful factor in cementing a healthy marital relationship and the wholesome home environment so essential for the rearing of children providing the stability necessary to guide them in the Covenant's way. The marital relationship is termed Kiddushin, a term that is the same as Holiness. Judaism considers marriage as a Sanctified relationship. The raising of children faithful to Judaism fulfils a basic religious precept and its principal purpose. The marital  relationship and its sexual component are conceived of as integral to this Sanctity and the special role and circumstances of male sexuality flow directly from the concept of Milah.[26]


One has only to observe, experience or merely be aware of the vast literature, ritual, highly developed, extensive and picturesque set of time honoured  customs and traditions to realise the fundamental role of Brit Milah in Jewish life. Over 3,500 years, even prior to the giving of the Commandments at Sinai, Milah has been consistently and almost universally observed throughout all sections of the Jewish people in all the lands of their dispersion and under all circumstances. At every meal in the Grace that follows we express our gratitude to G-d for the "Your Covenant which You have sealed in our flesh". Milah is an integral organic part of Judaism that can in no way be separated from it.



It is the father's obligation to have Milah performed for his son.[27] 


If the father neglects to do his duty, the obligation to arrange for his infant son's Milah devolves on the Bet Din (Ecclesiastical, Court). If this is not done, the obligation devolves upon the son himself when he reaches an age where he is capable of arranging for the procedure.


The Mohel (circumciser) should be a G-d fearing Jew specially trained and highly skilled in the techniques and laws of Milah as well as the principles of asepsis and hygiene.


The Milah must take place on the eighth day after birth even if it is the Sabbath, but only if the child is completely well and healthy. If there is any doubt, however trifling about the child's fitness to undergo Milah, it must be postponed until after the child is declared to be completely well. The health of the child is primary and must be assessed by a skilled physician whose advice the Mohel is bound to heed. Much of the religious literature throughout the ages has concerned itself with the subject of the infant's health and his fitness to be circumcised. The range of possible illnesses is extremely wide ranging and comprehensive and reveals a very highly developed concern and sensitivity for the welfare of the child. In all cases any doubt is resolved in favour of postponement and reference to medical expertise.


The Mohel must perform three procedures during Milah

Each stage is considered an integral part of the Milah[28]


a/         Milah

            Removing the prepuce with a circumcising knife, scalpel or similar instrument

            The prepuce is usually grasped between the thumb and forefinger of the Mohel

             and  a magen or lyre shaped metal shield (not a clamp) is usually slid over it to protect the corona.

            (Most other methods of circumcision such as the "Bell" method, and the    use of   clamps similar to a pair of pliers do not accord with the requirements of Milah.)


b/         Priah

            The removal of the mucosal membrane over the Corona of the penis


c/         Metzizah

            Drawing off the excess blood orally or by means of a glass tube (into which a wad of cotton wool has been inserted) by very gentle suction.[29]


            The wound is then carefully and suitably bandaged,  appropriate care having been taken that it will not adhere to the wound.


            Following the completion of the procedure the baby is named and prayers are recited for his health and a blessed  meritorious life.[30] 


The attitude of the Judaism as expressed by Rabbinical authority throughout the ages is to demand the highest possible standards from a Mohel. He is warned to master the art of Milah. For instance:


            "The Mohel must study the laws of Milah and especially the practical aspects, so that no    accident should occur.......Is there a murder greater than one who comes to circumcise Jewish children without knowing his left from his right, and as a result of his ignorance , the child is       endangered ? How could one dare  to engage in this art of divine service without sufficient preparation."[31]


            Anecdotally speaking, I cannot recall any complications resulting from any Brit Milah I have attended over nearly 25 years as a Rabbi  of several very busy congregations.

Every Mohel that I have observed has scrubbed up and disinfected himself extensively and has taken great pains to ensure that all his instruments have been thoroughly sterilised and has taken care that the Milah is performed in a suitably sterile environment.


            Again, from a personal non medical perspective my observations are that the actual cut and the procedures of Milah itself do not occasion any obvious pain experienced by the infant. What I have seen is, that if there is any crying, it usually occurs before the procedure when the baby is undressed and handled or when the area around the genitals is disinfected with a cold liquid or swab.




Queensland Law Reform Commission



Page 5, Reference to Rabbi John Levi

His view of Milah (circumcision) as a "Ceremony" understates the importance of this practice.

Milah is one of the most fundamental precepts or commandments possessed by Jews in our time and goes to the core of Jewish belief and understanding of their destiny and purpose as a people.


The mere Jewishness of the circumciser is not in itself sufficient as a qualification. The person's objective expertise and clear commitment to Jewish values and observance serve as a guarantee that the procedure will be performed in a professional manner and in accordance with Jewish law.


The reading of the appropriate religious service while of great importance, [and one would hardly expect that an observant Mohel would not be versed in it] is not an essential part of his role and may  be read by anyone who is present (except for the necessary blessing prior to the actual cut).


Page 6, Hosken's remarks

The positive and Sacred construction placed on the sexual organs and their role in Jewish life is completely at variance with Hosken's views of the origins of circumcision in the ancient world.

Milah is traced back to Abraham who lived long before the descent of the Israelites into Egypt.


Although Milah as a commandment is paramount, I am not certain that failure to carry it out  represents an absolute bar to marriage within the Jewish faith. However, socially it may serve to stigmatise the individual and a potential wife or her family is likely to regard it as abhorrent. It means that there is a fundamental precept that the man has yet to fulfil and that he should be encouraged to do so.

There exists not the slightest reference in all the Jewish literature of which I am aware of the concept of female excision among Jews. This fact counters most of what Hoskins has to say in the passage quoted in regard to Jewish practice when considered as a faith with its origins in the Middle East.


Page 7, Western Cultures

Whatever the medical, cosmetic or therapeutic value of circumcision is considered to be makes no difference whatsoever to the Jewish precept of Milah. Milah is performed for purely religious reasons. We do so in the confidence that the law of G-d is good and beneficial and that our Creator would not expose us, nor our children to harmful practices ; " The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul...... The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart........."[32]

The statistics on penile or ovarian cancer that often characterise discussion on the topic of Circumcision and the Jewish laws of Family Purity are encouraging as they usually tend to reinforce the beneficial nature of observing these precepts and practices. Again, these positive "by products" are not surprising, but have little influence on whether these laws are observed by Jews or not.


Page 10, Current Practice

Whatever the statistics of circumcision of males are within Australian Society as a whole, I have little doubt that virtually every Jewish Male child born in Australia is circumcised. It is a precept which is "religiously" or perhaps customarily fulfilled by even those Jews whose links with Jewish life are tenuous.


It would be fairly rare for Jewish circumcisions carried out in the traditional manner to be recorded in the Medicare statistics. This emanates from the fact that as a religious precept, circumcisers are loath to charge a fee for their services. Often where parents wish to offer some form of payment or even a gift, they would be encouraged by the circumciser or Mohel to make a contribution to a worthy Charity.


Page 11, Jewish Ritual Circumcision

I would assert that circumcision or Milah has been practised  by Jews for closer to 3,500 years and not 2000 as mentioned.


Page 12

I have never observed Metzizah being performed in the  manner described here, nor do I know of this practice from any literature I have ever encountered.

Metzizah involves a gentle single suction of the wound, either orally, or more usually these days through a glass tube with a wad of cotton wool inserted to avoid any contact.


Page 13, The Legality of Circumcision

In consonance with the established legal position, Milah is carried out as the initial obligation of the father.

If the father did not attend to his obligation, the responsibility eventually redounds upon the boy himself, and then presumably at his own behest.


"The best interests of the child"

This requirement when viewed from a Jewish perspective may or may not turn out to be adverse.

An argument could (and I believe should) be constructed along the lines that for a Jew to function as a full member of the Jewish community, being uncircumcised could be a serious disadvantage in very many respects.



When he is born, relatives and friends within the social circle of the child and his parents would expect to participate in his Brit Milah. The failure of the family to do so may invite criticism, they may be stigmatised and in severe cases ostracised.

As the child grows up and attends kindergarten and later school, his uncircumcised penis may be a cause for singling him out.

Most crucial of all is that being uncircumcised may exclude or severely limit his opportunities of marrying within the faith, a value that is very strongly encouraged within the Jewish community.



Any Jewish child having the benefit of even an elementary Jewish education would be aware of the precept of Milah. This teaching would contradict his uncircumcised state and expose him to psychological disturbance or harm. From a spiritual viewpoint he is "cut off " from his people and has no share in their relationship with their G-d or with their destiny and mission....


It could further be argued that living in a multicultural society as we do, where social policy is strongly directed at encouraging groups to retain their cultural, religious and social cohesion, and traditions due respect aught to be shown to practises which are and ever have been fundamental to the survival of that group. In other words, even if in the wider society there appears to be little reason for boys to be circumcised, being Jewish or Muslim (or of any other group which can demonstrate an essential or important adherence to the practise) should be sufficient to establish the child's "best interests".


The argument on page 30 that Psychological and Sociological factors in countries where circumcision is the dominant practice apply less in Australia may be countered by the reasoning stated above. Whereas in the broader society of Australia most boys are now uncircumcised, with the boy's own Jewish reference group the position is quite the opposite and there is almost universal circumcision.

In Melbourne close to 80% of children attend a Jewish Kindergarten or day school. Others attend Jewish Youth Movements and after school Hebrew classes. Clearly the Jewish community is a very significant reference group for its adherents.

In Queensland, I understand that the community, though small, has succeeded admirably in recent times in establishing its own kindergarten and day school. Youth movements are encouraged. Youth and adults participate extensively in Jewish sport on a state and national basis. In general Queensland Jews form an integral and essential part of the Austalasian Jewish community.

Some accommodation of Jews with life in the wider society may occur. However, if one considers that Jews have lived and maintained their distinctive identity in virtually every country on the globe at some time during their 2000 year exile, including over 200 years of growth within Australia, then the concept of Jewish "blending" is not one which would significantly affect the number of circumcisions being performed in Queensland or Australia.



Interference with the legality of Milah amounts to an attack on the freedom of religion of Jews (as well as Moslems and possibly other religious groups) in Queensland. As such it infringes the Constitution. Such a threat runs contrary to the basic ethos of Australian society and its values of 'live and let live' and sense of 'fair go'. Milah is a fundamental Jewish value and precept. It is and has ever been universally observed by Jews since the founding of Judaism in the Time of Abraham.


Critical discussion of the subject of circumcision is often couched in sophisticated "neutral" legal and scientific terms canvassing topics such as childrens' rights and parental obligations etc. However, there is little doubt that the Jewish community would perceive this as a veiled anti Semitic attack by various groups who, for their own dubious or nefarious motives, wish to discomfit the Jewish community and cause them anxiety.


Already for several years I have, from time to time, had to reassure young mothers of infant sons who have been psychologically  pressured or even harassed by zealous nurses ardently espousing the anti circumcision cause.

Thankfully, in most of these cases their doctors have supported my efforts. This pressure is often applied in a very insensitive manner. It occurs at a time when the mother is extremely vulnerable, usually on her own in a nursing home, away from the support of her husband or family. Many mothers suffer from post partum depression at a time that coincides with preparations for the Milah. The possibility of adding the threat of illegality to this delicate situation is of great concern.


There is absolutely no doubt that, as has occurred throughout Jewish history in such circumstances, the vast majority of Jews will remain faithful to the precepts they hold sacred. If Milah is proscribed in Queensland, Jewish families will travel elsewhere to fulfil their religious obligation. Others might be driven "underground" to have their sons circumcised illegally in spite of the regulations. This would be most regrettable development with potentially unfortunate consequences for the people involved.

Proscribing Milah would introduce a feeling of sadness, distress and resentment into the Jewish community. Jews have always lived in Queensland as law abiding citizens, proud of the state which is their home. They have enjoyed peace, acceptance, security and harmony for more than a century. The exemplary relationship of cordiality and trust with the wider society to which they have

contributed in a positive and constructive manner, far beyond their numerical proportion of the general population, will unhappily be  impaired.


A reaffirmation of the right to observe Milah in the dignified and traditional manner it has always been practised will do much to reinforce all that is good and positive and has always characterised the way of life enjoyed by Jews fortunate enough to live in Queensland.


ADDENDUM to the submission of Rabbi P. Heilbrunn, Melbourne

            The overriding importance of Milah as an essential factor in Jewish life in Australia can be seen from the fact that many Jewish Congregations enshrined its fulfilment as an essential condition of membership

For instance:

The Laws of the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation Inc. state:

"Law 4.1

(a)        Any male person of the Jewish faith who has attained the age of 18 years and is not married contrary to the laws of Orthodox Judaism and has not neglected to carry out the mitzvah of Brit Milah in his family[33] and who is desirous of     becoming a member shall apply in writing to the Executive Director on a prescribed form..."


The standard application form for membership of the Congregation issued by the Executive Director requires male applicants to formally confirm the following pursuant to the requirements of the Constitution


"I certify that I am of the Jewish faith, that I have attained the age of 18, that I am not married  contrary to the laws of  Orthodox Judaism, and that I have not neglected to carry out the Abrahamic Covenant in my family."


The Constitution was redrafted and adopted by a General Meeting of the Congregation when it was incorporated few years ago. Nevertheless it is noteworthy that the requirement for males to be circumcised as a qualification for membership was directly transferred from the original Constitution adopted when the Congregation was formed in 1871. This was done as a matter of course without any contention since it was regarded as a natural, reasonable and indeed important qualification for membership.


This requirement emphasises the overriding value ascribed to Milah.

It also illustrates a disadvantage that failure to carry it out conscientiously may occasion i.e. it might represent a bar to joining a Jewish congregation


[1] The term "Precept"  is used  for the Hebrew word  "MITZVAH" which literally means "commandment" i.e. one of  G-d's commandments, such as for instance,  the "Ten Commandments"

[2]Those familiar with the exact nature and significance of this precept are reluctant to use  the term "circumcision" as a synonym for  . This reluctance stems from the fact that the procedure  is carried out for spiritual purposes and to fulfil the command of G-d, whereas "circumcision" is considered to signify a medical, hygienic, cosmetic or other aim

[3] The terms "Israelite"  and "Jew" are used interchangeably.   They identify those who were the heirs of the faith and  Covenant of Abraham and all its implications and ramifications, Strictly used, however,   "Israelite " is appropriate to the period before the  destruction of the  First Temple  ( more particularly the  exile of the  Ten  "Lost " Tribes of the Northern Kingdom)."Jew" refers to the later exile of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin of the Southern Kingdom.  Since the ten tribes  disappeared , only the descendants of the Kingdom of Judah remained and hence are called Jews and their faith Judaism.

[4] Genesis 17, 11-12  and Leviticus  Chap. 12, 3.

[5] ibid. 21, 4.

[6] Quoted from :"Kol Dodi  Dofek: It is the Voice  of  My Beloved  that Knocketh",  in "Theological and Halakhic Reflections on the Holocaust" ed. Bernhard H. Rosenberg and Fred Heuman Ktav Publishing House , New York, NY 1992 page 95.

[7]  I Kings 19,14

[8] An alternative tradition is that Elijah accused the Israelites of neglecting the Covenant of Milah  by asserting, " ..... the Children of Israel have  forsaken Your Covenant (Kings I 19, 10 and 14). He is thus invited to every Brit Milah to  bear witness and see how faithfully the Jewish people have clung to this precious precept  at all times and even in great adversity.

[9] See Maccabees1, 48 and II Maccabees 6, 10. which refers to the prohibition of Circumcision during the rule of Antiochus Epiphanes. Also during the Hadrianic persecutions in Palestine circumcision was outlawed. See  Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 130a

[10] See Bab. Talmud Shabbat 130a . The decrees referred to occurred under Roman domination  during the oppressive rule of Hadrian and Caligula.  See also  H. Graetz "History of the Jews" vol. II  pages 422,424 425,"A decree was issued in Judea which inflicted the severest punishments on all those who permitted themselves to be circumcised....      Since sinful Rome  has  inflicted severe laws on us......prohibited the act of circumcision, we really aught not to marry,........not to have children. But then the race of Abraham would die out.......Why should you be condemned .....by fire of by the sword ? Because we....permitted our children to be circumcised." 

[11] From the Mechilta D'Rabbi Yishmael, mas. "bachodesh",Ch. 10.

[12] See Eliach, Yaffa; "Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust", Vintage Books, New York (Oxford University Press, New York) 1982  records  an incident related by Rabbi Israel Spira where  a mother  in the Janowska concentration camp  in dramatic  circumstances  confronted a German Officer demanding he give her a knife. Fervently reciting the blessing to  G-d  "who has sanctified us by Thy commandments and  commanded us to  perform the  Milah (circumcision)". ....and circumcised her son, looking up to the Heavens she declared, "G-d of the Universe , You have given me a healthy child. I am returning to you a wholesome Kosher Jew."

[13] Related to me in person by Rabbi  F. Levin of Melbourne concerning his grandfather.

[14] Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Nedarim  folio 31b onwards

[15] In the passage relating G-d's command to Abraham to circumcise himself the word "covenant" appears 13 times. Genesis 17.

[16] i.e. it may be performed on the Sabbath, even though drawing of blood is prohibited  on the Sabbath for any other purpose  eg. slaughtering an animal for food

[17]Genesis 17, 1

[18] Jeremiah 33, 25.

[19] Exodus 24, 8.

[20] Homiletic explanatory statements on Scripture by Rabbis of the pre and post Talmudic period

[21] Aggadat Bereshit 17 [ Legends of Genesis 17]

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