Beating the Enemy From Within

The Zohar (2:225) explains that just as we send one goat to its death to the Azazel to pacify the Satan, so too, the removal of the foreskin through Bris Milah does the same thing. What does this mean?

Eliyahu HaNavi

We find in Chazal that Pinchas HaKohen became Eliyahu Hanavi. In fact פינחס Pinchas, 208, is the same gematria as קץ חי (ketz chai), 208 who is Eliyahu (Yalkut Reuveni). After Pinchus stopped Zimri and Kosbi from sinning together by killing them, many Jews complained about the situation. They stated that Pinchas was a descendent of Yisro and Yosef and thus did not have a right to stand up against znus, adultery. In fact, it was precisely because of Pinchas’ background that he was able to take action. He came from evil tendency and roots but he was able to turn them around. This is why Eliyahu is made up of the two opposite names of Hashem, El (din- judgment) and Yahu (mercy). Pinchas took the din and turned it into rachamin (mercy). He had a Yud added to his name to represent Bris. This is why Pinchas, Eliyahu HaNavi, is at every Bris (Pirkei D’Rebbe Eliezer).

Mohel’s Job

The Zohar explains that the Mohel is meant to do the second phase of Milah called priah, flipping over the foreskin by use of his nail. The nail is the excess and negativity in the body. It is through this object which has a connection with evil that one does the most noble act.

Job in This World

The concept here is very deep. It relates to the purpose of the world and the way to fight evil. It is only when one has a connection to evil that he can fight it. Isaiah refers to this concept. The verse in Isaiah (49:17) states, “your destroyer and uprooter (of evil) will come directly from you yourself.” It is only when one has access and a connection to evil that he can act as the uprooter of evil.

It is for this same reason that King David who represents Moshiach came from Rus the Moabite specifically. This is why the Mohel performs a part of the Milah using the nail. The Milah can be used for perversion or for building the world in the most proactive and constructive manner. We teach the child to channel that energy and power for only good. This is what it means to give a portion to the Azazel. By performing a Bris, one is showing that the body can be elevated and uplifted.