Talmud: Exemption from ritual circumcision due to death of previous sons

The Talmud of Babylonia (translated by Jacob Neusner), 1992.

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Jewish teaching allows parents to be exempt from the duty of ritual circumcision of the fourth son born after three previous sons have died from circumcision. The source of that authority is presented here in an extractfrom the Talmud

Shabbat 134A: p. 47.
V.1 J. And said Abbayye, "mother told me, 'If an infant is too red, so the blood is not yet absorbed in him, we wait until the blood is absorbed, then we circumcised him. If he is green so he is deficient in blood, we wait until he is full blooded and then circumcise him.'"

K. For it has been taught on Tannaite authority:

L. Said R. Nathan, "I once went to the coastal towns, and a woman came before me, who had circumcised her first son and he died, so, too, the second and the third. They brought him before me, and I saw that he was ruddy. I said to her, 'Wait for him until the blood is absorbed.' So she waited until the blood was absorbed and then circumcised him and he survived, and they called him 'Nathan the Babylonian' in my honor."

M. "There was another time that I went to Cappadocia, and a woman came before me, who had circumcised her first son and he died, so, too, the second and the third. They brought him before me, and I saw that green. I examined him, and I didn't see enough blood for circumcision, and I said to her, 'Wait for him until he gets his full blood. So she waited until the blood was absorbed and then circumcised him and he survived, and they called him 'Nathan the Babylonian' in my honor" [T. Shab. 15:8E].

The Talmud of Babylonia: An American Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner. Number 275. Volume II.E: Shabbat Chapters 18-24. Program in Judaic Studies Brown University. Atlanta: Scholars Press. 1993.


Yebamot 64B: p. 150.
III.3. G. "If a woman was married to a first husband who died, to a second who died, to a third she should not be wed," the words of Rabbi.

H. Raban Simeon b. Gamaliel says, "To a third she may be married, but to a fourth she should not be married. [If she produces males and they were circumcised and died, if the first was circumcised and died, the second and he died, the third may be circumcised, but the fourth should not be circumcised]" [T. Shab. 15:8A-C].

The Talmud of Babylonia: An American Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner. Number 251. Volume XIII.B: Tractate Yebamot, Chapters 4-6. Program in Judaic Studies Brown University. Atlanta: Scholars Press. 1992.


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