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Welcome to mohelinsouthflorida.com -  the most comprehensive and up to date mohel blog on the internet . My name is Avi Billet, and I am so ...

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Appreciation

It's hard to explain how much of a privilege it is to serve as a Mohel.

For most Jews, there is no question about whether we will circumcise our child. The questions are usually more along the line of where and what time, as the date is usually chosen based on the baby's arrival... on the 8th day of his life (unless there is a medical reason to delay).

The other question, for the non-mohel-father (the mohel father will circumcise his own son) is "who will we have to help us fulfill this mitzvah?" While none of these are guarantees of the direction parents will go, most people who have a relative who is a mohel will typically go to that relative. People who have a friend who is a mohel might go that route as well. Sometimes a set of grandparents will be fond of a particular mohel and they'll do the hiring (and often carrying the financial load) for all of their grandsons. 

Some communities have a mohel who has a monopoly on the community (so to speak), and "everyone uses him." In those cases, the question is never "who will help us...?" but rather "is he available?"

Some people don't live in that one-mohel-for-all kind of community, and will therefore ask their friends things like, "Who was your mohel? Were you happy with the experience?" That will often go the longest way in helping people decide what is best for them and their baby.

And thus it is an absolute privilege to be considered for this important role - at a vulnerable time in your family's story, for an intimate insider's view into your family's dynamic, to play a special role in your fulfillment of this special mitzvah.

Many people tell me afterwards how much they appreciated the role I played, whether the bris was a more explanatory one, or more of a straightforward ceremony type. I try to match the "service provided" with the read on the family that I get, and thankfully, for the most part, it's usually an excellent match, me with each unique family.

All I'm saying is "As much as you appreciate it, I appreciate the trust and the opportunity to help and guide your family through this mitzvah, while giving your son the best care I can, and hopefully producing the best results I can."

As always, thank you for your entrusting your son to my care.

I know that when all is over, he will be fine and in the right hands... YOUR hands... and this day will not even be a memory for him. 

Hopefully for you, you'll remember the results more than the process, and will look back at the bris as a memorable and special day in all of your lives. 


Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Naming the Baby Before the Bris? A Mi Sheberach for naming...

This question comes up every now and then - can the baby be named before the Bris?

The answer is YES, but the circumstances for why you'd want to do that are far less than ideal.

Before I get into this here, just to note that this is a popular question in Israeli websites:

Din.org

https://www.yeshiva.org.il/ask/18311

https://www.medethics.org.il/article/r0041236a/

https://www.hidush.co.il/hidush.asp?id=10895

https://ask-dh.org/2021/07/21/14892/f


I've addressed it before in two places: 

Here: http://www.mohelinsouthflorida.com/2015/06/when-there-is-no-bris.html

And here: http://www.mohelinsouthflorida.com/2019/12/naming-baby-when-his-bris-is-to-be.html

The main goal here is put on the Internet a suitable Mi Sheberach for this situation in which the child is named and a prayer is offered that his Bris should take place at the right time for him (which may be after a tragic illness, or may be when he has a corrective surgery for an anatomical abnormality that developed in utero, for which six months need to pass until he can safely undergo general anesthesia and have that important procedure). So here it is: (First I embedded the text in the blog, then I put an image that it may be easier to download and print)


ליולדת זכר וקריאת השם:

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב משֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן דָּוִד וּשְׁלֹמֹה הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת הָאִשָּׁה הַיּוֹלֶדֶת (פב"פ) וְאֶת בְּנָהּ הַנּוֹלָד לָהּ בְּמַזָּל טוֹב, וְיִקָּרֵא שְׁמוֹ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל (פב"פ), בַּעֲבוּר שֶׁבַּעְלָהּ יִתֵּן לִצְדָקָה בַּעֲדָהּ, בִּשְׂכַר זֶה יִזְכּוּ אָבִיו וְאִמוֹ לְגַדְּלוֹ לְתוֹרָה וּלְחֻפָּה וּלְמַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים וּלְהַכְנִיסוֹ בִּבְרִיתוֹ שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ בְּעִתּוֹ וּבִזְמַנּוֹ הַנָכוֹן לוֹ. וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן:





Sunday, December 24, 2023

Letters to Family

 Here is a compilation of the letters I've written for specific circumstances and for specific people who either need a little assistance or a gentle reminder of what we are doing when it comes to preparing for a bris.

First, there's the note for the husband who might be a little overwhelmed with what's been going on. Yes, you are the baby's dad, but you are also a husband to a special lady. Remember that!

Then there's the note for the mom, who may be having a tough time post the arrival of baby. Especially with the thought of the bris. This one's for you!

Some grandparents totally "get" their role and know how to put everyone at ease and to make everyone comfortable. Some grandparents need this reminder, which includes the disclaimer that if you are the grandparent described in the previous sentence, you can skip it.

Here are instructions for the  dad  - not as much a letter as much as some final thoughts before the bris.

And for the unique circumstance where there is no bris, there is a suggested way to let family know there can be a celebration without a bris, because the bris will have to be taken care of in a different way at the right time. You can see all of that here

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Mohel In South Florida is Still Here!

Life sometimes gets in the way of posting things here. 

As some people expect to see new content to know that this page and service is still being provided in South Florida (and beyond!) here is an update for all well-wishers and new parents, from the end of December 2023.

The last few brisses I have presided over, essentially since after October 7, have all included homage to Israel. The Jewish community - no matter level of observance or affiliation - is feeling the pain of what our brothers and sisters in Israel are going through. 

Whether it is an additional prayer, or perhaps a child being named for a soldier who fell in battle, or for some other victim who left no child and no legacy, people are finding creative and meaningful ways to fulfill the verse of אם אשכחך ירושלים, if I forget thee O Jerusalem...

So many people are connected within 1 to 2 degrees of separation either to victims of 10/7 or to soldiers who are on the front lines.

Through it all, babies are still being born, Baruch Hashem, and the boys need their Bris Milah.

This mohel is still providing bris services, and I look forward to doing so, with God's help, for many more years. Go here to the welcome page.

As to how much I'll be blogging... that we shall see.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Summer Time - Again! Making rounds...

It's summer time in Florida and I am happy to report that babies are being born!

It is always a little busier here at mohelinsouthflorida.com during the summer. During this summer I've been to local places, such as Boca Raton and Hollywood, and I've also been to Jupiter, Melbourne, and heading this week to Ocala!

At a bris this morning, one set of guests was a family for whom I did their son's bris several months ago. His parents told me they were so pleased with their experience, especially since through their various moves, I was the third mohel they had hired - this had been their third son - so through benefit of comparison they appreciated our time together the most.

While the confidence boost is most appreciated, it is a testament to the effort I make to help people be comfortable with the whole experience, and hopefully make it positively memorable despite the inevitable difficult day it is for the baby (I shouldn't say "day." It's really a small window of time within one day. Babies move on very quickly from the experience!)

Looking forward to continuing to service your family's bris needs, with God's help, for many years!

Monday, June 12, 2023

Thanks for Bris Milah (8 of 8)

I wrote an article for this book about Bris Milah, on the subject of 8 reasons for our having gratitude for this Mitzvah. This is the eighth and last part of this series of sharing this article here.


This leads to our final reason for giving thanks for the Bris: R Luria adds that when a person leaves prison he must give thanks. After emerging from the womb, a form of solitary confinement, thanks must be recited. As we wait until the bris to celebrate the baby’s arrival, the bris is the proper time to say “Hodu” in the presence of the community and its elders. This reason is a little circular, as we are only expressing thanks after emerging from the womb post the Milah, but since the Milah holds off our trigger for giving thanks, the thanks is still partly due to the Milah. 

 How appropriate it is that we have eight reasons for being thankful for the fundamental Mitzvah of Bris Milah, the defining covenant of our relationship with the Almighty, both in the Bris Milah ceremony, and in that regular opportunity afforded to us through Birkas Hamazon.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Thanks for Bris Milah (7 of 8)

   I wrote an article for this book about Bris Milah, on the subject of 8 reasons for our having gratitude for this Mitzvah. This is the seventh part of this series of sharing this article here.


last time we concluded noting that "the act of circumcision also opens the heart to receive the Torah." 

But there is a contradiction, because other peoples who were of Avraham’s seed – the Bnei Eisav and the Bnei Yishmael – were also circumcised! If so, circumcision would open their hearts to receive the Torah as well! 

The answer is simple. Since both of those nations rejected the Torah, per the Midrash of their having been offered it but finding the rules against murder and thievery being unacceptable to them (Mechilta, Yisro, “D’bachodesh 5”; Sifrei V’zos Habrach 343, etc), their circumcision status was also diminished in that only the Milah of Bnei Yisrael fit into the category of being a “matanah tovah,” opening the door so that the gift of the Oral Torah is exclusively for Israel. [This is a topic R Luria goes into much greater length, beyond the scope of this essay.] 

Our thanks in Birkas Hamazon and in the recitation of Hodu at the bris is supported by the Talmud’s declaration (Megillah 16b) that when the Jewish people rejoiced with “Sasson” (joy) that Sasson = Milah!

Monday, May 15, 2023

Thanks For Bris Milah (6 of 8)

  I wrote an article for this book about Bris Milah, on the subject of 8 reasons for our having gratitude for this Mitzvah. This is the sixth part of this series of sharing this article here.


We saw in part 5 that the circumcision is what makes us worthy of redemption and receiving the land of Israel

This is connected to a sixth reason to be grateful – for the act of circumcision is viewed by the Rabbis as a matanah tovah, a great gift from the Almighty, which by itself indicates a greater gratitude for the Covenant and the Circumcision than the simple fact of our having circumcised the flesh, because of what the great gift accompanies. 

Commenting on Rashi (Shemos 3:12) in which God told Moshe the people were worthy of being redeemed from Egypt because “I have a wonderful gift” for them – which Sifsei Chakhamim defines as being the Torah She’baal Peh, R’ Luria pins their worthiness to receive this gift on being circumcised, because the act of circumcision also opens the heart to receive the Torah.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Thanks For Bris Milah (5 of 8)

 I wrote an article for this book about Bris Milah, on the subject of 8 reasons for our having gratitude for this Mitzvah. This is the fifth part of this series of sharing this article here.

 A fifth reason to be thankful is for being His servants, as if branded like a slave for his master (Maharal Parshas Bo, Ch 12). Maharal reminds us that servitude only exists when there are people who serve. Pesach, which is only available as an “Avodah” to males who are circumcised, is a singular form of “service.” But Pesach alone doesn’t a servitude make. Milah is the key which demonstrates our being servants of the Almighty. It is how we fulfill being His servants (per Vayikra 25:55), and not servants of servants (Kiddushin 22b), that makes us worthy of redemption and of receiving the land – two of the promises associated with this Covenant.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Thanks for Bris Milah (4 of 8)

 I wrote an article for this book about Bris Milah, on the subject of 8 reasons for our having gratitude for this Mitzvah. This is the fourth part of this series of sharing this article here.



A fourth reason to be grateful for circumcision is where Bris lies in the totem pole in comparison to the Torah itself. In order to fulfill our Birkas Hamazon obligation, we need to mention “Bris and Torah” in the bracha over the land (Brachos 49a). Rashi (Brachos 48b, see also Or Zarua I:199 (Laws of Meals), Levush OC 187:2) says that Bris Milah is mentioned specifically in that blessing because it was through that Covenant that Avraham was promised the land (see also Mishnah Brurah 187:7). 

 There are at least three explanations given for why bris is mentioned first: A. 13 covenants were made at the Bris Milah (see Nedarim 31b), while there were only 3 covenants made at the giving of the Torah (Brachos 48b, see also Rashi there). B. the Bris predated the giving of the Torah by several hundred years. (Levush) C. As noted in a number of Midrashim (see Midrash Aggada Bereshis 47:29, Rabati Lekh Lekha p. 75 17:19), Bris (spelled out in Hebrew) has a numerical value of 612 + the act itself equals 613, equating it with all of the Torah, which has 613 commandments.