Editor’s note: this is a repost from last year.
Moses continues his sermon in Parsha Eikev reminding us all on the importance of honoring our covenant with Hashem. To emphasis this he promises blessings, warns of curses, and tells us to circumcise our hearts.
The human heart is an extremely fragile yet efficient organ so how can anyone survive cutting a piece off? This is not a command for a physical invasive procedure but a spiritual and personality act. One of the major pro-circumcision arguments for men is it leaves that area cleaner and thus less susceptible to disease. Real talk, as a dude I don’t want to smell or get sick down there, just saying. Circumcision of the heart follows the same principle in this case cleanliness and health is a just and orderly society made up of people who are not stiff necked and hard to get along with.
Eikev could not have come at a better time this year.
If you live in the United States you know exactly what I’m talking about. Several weeks ago, a portion of the majority felt the need to protest what they claim is a suppression of their freedom of speech and religious belief in regards to sexuality. I’m not going to go too deep into why I think everything played out the way it did but I will say this as someone of a different faith their protest really turned me off to their religion. On one hand like them I fall into the majority of peoples sexual orientation but as a Jew I do not fall into the religious majority. Simple put I’m a Jewish dude who has never made out with another dude.
We as Jews face the same problem. This past year stories of the Ultra-Orthodox protesting modernity and spitting on secular women have sprinkled themselves throughout the media. As hard as it is to deal with those views and actions internally the damage to Judaism externally is much much worse. Circumcising your heart is just that — cutting away the stench of filth that will make others think less of the people you represent.
Moses tells us in Eikev to circumcise our hearts because the uncircumcised individual will forever stand on the shores of the Jordon yearning for the Promised Land just out of reach, but the circumcised heart of a people will receive Hashem’s promises of peace and happiness.
Jeremiah@punktorah.org Twitter: @circlepitbimah