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Do Bnei Keturah need a Bris upon conversion according to Rambam?


Rambam paskens (Mishneh Torah, Kings and Wars 10:7-8):

הַמִּילָה נִצְטַוָּה בָּהּ אַבְרָהָם וְזַרְעוֹ בִּלְבַד. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית יז, ט) "אַתָּה וְזַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ". יָצָא זַרְעוֹ שֶׁל יִשְׁמָעֵאל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית כא, יב) "כִּי בְיִצְחָק יִקָּרֵא לְךָ זָרַע". [...] אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁבְּנֵי קְטוּרָה שֶׁהֵם זַרְעוֹ שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם שֶׁבָּא אַחַר יִשְׁמָעֵאל וְיִצְחָק חַיָּבִין בְּמִילָה. וְהוֹאִיל וְנִתְעָרְבוּ הַיּוֹם בְּנֵי יִשְׁמָעֵאל בִּבְנֵי קְטוּרָה יִתְחַיְּבוּ הַכּל בְּמִילָה בַּשְּׁמִינִי.‏

Circumcision was commanded only to Avraham and his offspring, as it is written, "You and your offspring after you." The offspring of Yishmael are excluded, as it is written, "For through Yitzchak will your offspring be called." [...] Our Sages said that the children of Keturah, the offspring of Avraham who came after Yishmael and Yitzchak, are obligated in circumcision. Since nowadays the children of Yishmael and Keturah are mixed together, they are all obligated in circumcision on the eighth day.

According to this position, suppose a descendant of Keturah was circumcised properly, as he is supposed to, and later wished to convert to Judaism. Would he need a new circumcision (i.e. "drawing the blood of circumcision") as a part of his conversion, or can he rely on his previous circumcision, which was done in fulfillment of the mitzvah?

Muslims observe circumcision, albeit at thirteen years instead of eight days. Suppose a Muslim was previously circumcised, which according to Judaism he'd be obligated to do as a potential descendant of Keturah. If the answer to the first question is no, would a Muslim similarly be exempt, or since he is moving from a doubtful obligation to a definite one, he would be obligated in a second circumcision out of a doubt (but would undergo the circumcision without a blessing)?

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Could you explain more why doing circumcision as a mitzvah would exempt one from the requirement of circumcision for conversion? I don't really understand where you're coming from robev‭ 13 days ago

According to the Tzlach that the Rambam holds all non-Jews need circumcision as they may be benei-Ketura, then according to you no convert ever needs circumcision (unless they neglected their previous, unrelated obligation) robev‭ 13 days ago

@robev Re your first comment: Both circumcisions are entering into the covenant of Avraham Avinu; but they've already entered into that Bris! Or maybe there's a difference between the two Brissim. Re your second comment: They'd still need it out of a doubt; maybe they weren't previously Bnei Keturah and it'd be no different than cutting off a finger (as I attempted to explain in my final paragraph according to the simple reading of the Rambam). DonielF‭ 11 days ago

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Since the Bnei Keturah or the descendants of Yishmael did not accept the Torah at Sinai, they would have to convert completely if they wished to become Jewish. Even if they had had circumcision previously as a result of being descendants of Abraham, they would be no more than any other gentile who had had the surgical procedure.

One could consider that Vayeirah 17:21 explicitly says

But my covenant will I establish with Isaac whom Sarah will bear unto thee at this time next year.

This means that anyone who is not Jewish must join the covenant (which includes milah) at the time of conversion.

1 comment

They had Milah previously in fulfillment of a Mitzvah d'Oraisa in which they are obligated. You'd be right according to Rashi, but I'm asking according to Rambam. DonielF‭ 11 days ago

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