Ekev by Rabbi Patrick Beaulier

“Circumcise … the foreskin of your heart,” G-d says in Devarim 10:16. But how the heck do you hack off the skin around your heart? And by the way, the heart doesn’t have a foreskin!

Here’s what I gather: circumcision is a mitzvah because Abraham did it, and so should we, right? On the other hand, a circumcision isn’t a child’s choice. It’s something that happens to you without your consent. I suspect if babies could talk, they wouldn’t be too keen on elective surgery.

Also, it’s unfair that men have the opportunity to perform mitzvot that women can’t. And what about transgender people or people with ambiguous genitals? Aren’t we all children of the same G-d, fair and equal? How can G-d put us in a position where one person’s ability to glorify Him/Her is above others? Seems lame to me.

Circumcising the heart resolves that issue. It tells us, metaphorically, to remove the junk that surrounds out hearts, that keeps the good stuff from coming in. Regardless of who we are, and what we have going on “down stairs”, we can equally take part in the mitzvah of circumcision by putting G-d first and peeling away the layers of our own ego that keep us from being truly made in the image of the Lord.

Rabbi Patrick Beaulier is a religious, but non-traditional, spiritual seeker and facilitator. Here you will find a little about him, his approach to Judaism, speaking engagements and services.

He is the rabbi for Bonay Kodesh, an independent (Reform/Reconstructionist in practice) Jewish community born south of the James River but serving all of Richmond, VA. He is a member of the Richmond Rabbinical Association.

He was ordained by RSI, a progressive rabbinical program in Manhattan, founded by the late Rabbi Joseph Gelberman. Additionally, he is a Prepare Enrich certified premarital and relationship coach as well as a Psychological First Aid provider, and has recently completed a certificate in Spirituality, Health and Healing through Clayton State University as well as mandated reporter training in Georgia and Virginia.

He has had the pleasure of writing/editing several books including Ahavah Rabbah, PunkTorah: The First Anthology and the New Kosher Vegan Cookbook, as well as countless articles for blogs such as PunkTorah and My Jewish Learning.

He has been featured in three books, The New Reform Judaism: Challenges and Reflections, Contemporary American Judaism: Transformation and Renewal, Oy Oy Oy Gevalt!: Jews and Punk, as well as the Times of Israel, the Atlanta Jewish Times, and several other Jewish newspapers, magazines and blogs.


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