OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that if one makes a Neder not to derive
pleasure from Arelim (uncircumcised people), he is permitted to derive
pleasure from an Arel who is Jewish, while he is prohibited to derive
pleasure from *any* Nochri -- even from a circumcised Nochri. Since the
meaning of a Neder is determined by the way most people speak, and the word
"Arelim" is colloquially used to refer to all Nochrim (regardless of whether
they are circumcised or not) and not to Jews, it is clear that the person
who makes such a Neder wants to prohibit himself from deriving pleasure only
What is his status, though, with regard to a Jew who intentionally refuses
to have a Milah? Is the Mishnah teaching that all Jews are automatically
considered circumcised, even if they intentionally refuse to have a Milah,
or is it referring only to Jews who want to have a Milah but are unable to
do Milah for reasons beyond their control (such as for reasons of health)?
(a) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Nedarim 9:21), the CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN and ME'IRI (in
the name of TOSFOS; see also TOSFOS in Avodah Zarah 27a, DH Ika) maintain
that even a Jew who intentionally refuses to be circumcised is also not
deemed an Arel. They seem to derive this from the words of the Mishnah that
says that the term Arel refers only to a Nochri.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (YD 217:41) states that one who makes a Neder
not to have pleasure from "Arelim" is permitted to have pleasure from Jewish
Arelim. The Shulchan Aruch also rules (217:42) that one who makes a Neder
not to have pleasure from "Mulim" is prohibited from having pleasure from
Jews who are uncircumcised. This seems to be in accordance with the view of
the Rambam who does not differentiate between intentional or non-intentional
(b) The RITVA is of the opinion that only one who cannot be circumcised for
reasons beyond his control (that is, his brothers died from Milah) is not
considered an Arel. If, however, a Jew intentionally refuses to have a
Milah, he *is* considered an Arel. The NIMUKEI YOSEF and ME'IRI explain that
the term "Arel" refers to anyone who takes no interest in the Mitzvah of
Milah and does not support it; therefore, anyone who intentionally does not
have a Milah is deemed an Arel.
The MISHNAH LA'MELECH (Hilchos Nedarim 10:7) points out that the wording of
the Mefaresh in our Gemara implies that one who intentionally is not
circumcised is not considered an Arel, but he is not considered a "Mahul"
(circumcised person) either.
REBBI AKIVA EIGER (on the Shulchan Aruch) cites the BEIS YOSEF who writes
that a Jew who intentionally does not have a Milah is considered an Arel.
According to the PRI CHADASH, though, one is considered an Arel only if he
refuses to have a Milah out of a malicious desire to "anger" Hashem.
The RASHASH in Avodah Zarah (27a) remains with a question as to why the
Shulchan Aruch in Hilchos Nedarim implies that all Jews are considered to be
Mulim, clearly contradicting what he wrote in the Beis Yosef as cited by
Rebbi Akiva Eiger. Moreover, in Hilchos Milah the Shulchan Aruch writes that
only a Jew who is an Arel against his will is still considered a Mahul (and
therefore he is permitted to be a Mohel, as implied by the Gemara in Avodah
Zarah), which seems to contradict his words in Hilchos Nedarim where he
implies that any uncircumcised Jew is not considered a Mahul.