Tradition & Innovation

A Mother’s Prayer at Her Son's Circumcision

By Ruth F. Brin, z”l

To carry a child in this threatening world takes faith,
to give birth to a child in this frightening world takes
To raise a child to be a Jew takes courage.

Today I celebrate the gift of life
which can be accepted only with faith, love and courage,

Today I remember Sarah, who watched Abraham
when he took her only son Isaac to be sacrificed,
and I remember the covenant of Abraham.

Today I remember the wife of Noah, the mother of three
who though she has no name in our Torah, witnessed
the suffering of her sisters, the destruction of her
brothers, and I remember the covenant of Noah.

I remember that the Talmud says: one who take a
   single life
destroys the whole world.
And I say: therefore, she who gives birth creates a whole
and she feels a little of the divine joy of Elohim
creating the earth and every living thing.

Today I give my son to enter the covenant of Abraham
because I have found the courage to raise him as a Jew.
In this same ceremony I pledge myself to the Covenant
of Noah, to work for a world which will nurture life and not
destroy it.
All Jewish children should enter the covenant of Abraham,
as a boy does symbolically when he is circumcised;
Girls and boys alike need to learn Torah and commit
to the Jewish people.

All Jews must enter the covenant of Noah,
as a young woman does when she learns she is mature
   enough to
conceive and give birth;
Both women and men must promise to protect and nurture
all living things.

We will gather our people together to work for a world
we will not destroy with fire or nuclear winter
or atomic missiles;
Today we must work together for a world that is safe
for my baby and all babies everywhere.

A mother learns at her baby’s circumcision that she suffers
the pain of her child, so recently parted from her.
If all men and women learn to feel the suffering of others,
life can be preserved on this planet.

Faith and love and courage can prevail over threats and
and violence.

Nations will study peace and people will learn to love
one another.

Despite our pain, we will work for a world of peace,
In trembling, we will raise our children as Jews,
In fear, we will insist on celebrating life,
on embracing the covenant of Noah and the covenant
of Abraham,
we and our children, and, God helping us, our children’s


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