CLICK on this WELCOME message

Welcome to Mohel in South Florida

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 ...

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Bris on Chol HaMoed or Hoshana Rabba

This is one of a series of blog posts on things that might be done differently at a bris taking place on a special day on the Jewish calendar. See all of the links at this dedicated page

The book "Otzar HaBris" (Yossele Weisberg) has a section of halakhot surrounding what is done differently on noted days of the Jewish calendar.

 With respect to a bris to be held on Chol HaMoed or Hoshana Rabba, he writes the following:

 1. For Chol HaMoed, the Mohel may cut his fingernails as per his bris milah needs (normally cutting fingernails is prohibited on Chol HaMoed).
2. For Hoshana Rabba, there is a custom to include the Pizmon of "Zchor Bris" after אנא אזן חין (which is the second piyut after the Hoshana circuits have been concluded)
3. The meal should be held earlier than later on account of the Yom Tov (holiday) that will begin in the evening.
 4. The bris should take place after Torah reading and before Hoshanos (unless the Hoshanos follow Hallel and take place before the Torah reading - AB)


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Bris on Sukkos (Sukkot)

This is one of a series of blog posts on things that might be done differently at a bris taking place on a special day on the Jewish calendar. See all of the links at this dedicated page

The book "Otzar HaBris" (Yossele Weisberg) has a section of halakhot surrounding what is done differently on noted days of the Jewish calendar.

 With respect to a bris to be held on Sukkos, he writes the following:

 1. The bris need not take place in the Sukkah
2. When we say the blessing on the wine, we give the wine to the baby. Alternatively, the person reciting the bracha should drink a small amount, less than a cheekful
3. The celebratory meal should be held in the Sukkah. If the Sukkah is not big enough, it may be expanded on Chol HaMoed (normally we don't add to the Sukkah, but this is an allowance for the sake of a mitzvah... this rule should probably in the "Chol HaMoed" section, but Rabbi Weisberg included it in the bris on the holiday section - AB)

 The last points he raises are less about a Bris on Sukkos and more about the baby born during the holiday (whose Bris will be after the holiday)
1. Some have the custom to give the baby the name of the "Ushpizin" of the day which he was born Day 1 = Avraham
Day 2 = Yitzchak
Day 3 = Yaakov
Day 4 = Moshe
Day 5 = Aharon
Day 6 = Yosef
Day 7 = David

2. Some have the custom to name a baby born on the holiday "Yom Tov"

 Next up, a bris on Chol HaMoed or Hoshana Rabba

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A Bris on Erev Sukkos

This is one of a series of blog posts on things that might be done differently at a bris taking place on a special day on the Jewish calendar. See all of the links at this dedicated page

The book "Otzar HaBris" (Yossele Weisberg) has a section of halakhot surrounding what is done differently on noted days of the Jewish calendar.

 With respect to a bris to be held on Erev Sukkos, he writes the following:
 1. Because of the need to prepare for the holiday, the celebratory meal (and of course the Bris) should be finished by midday.

 Next up, a bris on Sukkos

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Bris on Yom Kippur

This is one of a series of blog posts on things that might be done differently at a bris taking place on a special day on the Jewish calendar. See all of the links at this dedicated page

The book "Otzar HaBris" (Yossele Weisberg) has a section of halakhot surrounding what is done differently on noted days of the Jewish calendar.

With respect to a bris to be held on Yom Kippur, he writes the following:

1. The bris takes place after the Torah reading, before Ashrei.
2. Some say it takes place after Ashrei but before the Torah is returned to the Ark
3. If the bris must take place in a different room, the Torah is returned to the Ark, and then the bris takes place before the Chazzan for Mussaf begins his introductory prayer. (If this prayer is skipped for some reason, the bris takes place before Kaddish, though some pesukim should be said before Kaddish)
4. During the Selichos section of Shacharis, the pizmon "Zchor Bris" should be said
5. A husband and wife may be kvatter on Yom Kippur (this is included because of the prohibition on YK related to the spousal relationship - of course there is no concern at a public ceremony on the holiest day of the year)
6. Some say the blessings over the bris omit the blessing on the wine.
7. Some say we include the blessing on the wine, but give some of the wine to the baby
8. If the baby's mother is not fasting (which is uncommon, but is possible) and she is present at the bris, she may be given the wine to drink
9. Some leave over the wine from the bris and use it for Havdalah
10. The mohel may not put any liquid in his mouth, so if he does metzitzah without a barrier, he must wipe his mouth without using any liquid. Any liquid he puts on the baby must be applied with the hand only. (Using a tube for metzitzah would avoid this issue. There are those who are of the opinion that metzitzah should not be done at all on YK - AB.)
11. There is a custom to give the baby the name "Rachamim" (mercy) if his bris is on Yom Kippur.

Next up, a bris on Erev Sukkos

Monday, August 3, 2020

COVID and the Bris

It was not by design that I took a break from regularly posting here (I've written most of what I've wanted to write about Bris Milah, but new topics came up often enough to keep things interesting here - though I've been more active on Facebook). Life has taken its own turns for all of us during this pandemic, so blogging about Bris Milah took a back burner.

While certainly some people "family plan," no one "pandemic planned." So babies are being born, and brisses still need to take place. I suppose some people are holding off their son's bris until such time as they are more comfortable bringing a mohel in to their homes, but I have been as busy as I normally am, during the summer, so it's hard to say for sure.

Honestly, anyone who is pushing off their son's bris is certainly not calling me to tell me about it. 😇

The GOOD NEWS: (btw, there isn't any bad news)

* The major change I have made during this time period is to wear a mask. (Social distancing when possible - it is impossible to circumcise at a distance away)
* The sterility brought to every bris was already top notch
* Every baby I have serviced has done magnificently well during this time period
* Every set of parents I have encountered has been most grateful for the service they received
* Every set of parents appreciated the attention they were given

All of us know that communication with a mask on is far less than ideal. We prefer to see and read faces. We like to see smiles. We like our natural ways of communicating. 

But desperate times call for adjustments, even as the Jewish people continue to demonstrate their faith in God through circumcising their sons in a religious ceremony, under the oddest of conditions.

People are home. There is no one else present beyond the immediate family and the mohel, and all other relatives or friends who are participating are on an online forum such as Zoom.

These are the times we live in.

May we merit to see a return to normalcy soon.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Bris During Sefiras Ha'Omer

This is one of a series of blog posts on things that might be done differently at a bris taking place on a special day on the Jewish calendar. See all of the links at this dedicated page

The book "Otzar HaBris" (Yossele Weisberg) has a section of halakhot surrounding what is done differently on noted days of the Jewish calendar.

With respect to a bris to be held during Sefiras Ha'Omer, he writes the following: (Vol I 285-286)

1. The baby's father, the Mohel and the Sandak may all have their hair cut (and shave, etc) in honor of the bris. But not rhe kvatter. (though some allow the kvatter to groom in this manner)
2. That haircut can even take place the day BEFORE the bris. If the bris will take place on Shabbos, that haircut may even take place on the Thursday before the bris (though some only allowed Friday, with the extreme of their allowance being limited to Friday morning as well, and not having to only use the latter half of Friday as the permitted time)
3. For a Sunday bris, there is a debate as to whether one should wait until Sunday (or Saturday night), while an opinion allows for a Friday haircut.
4. It is very customary to recite "Av Harachamim" during Sefirat Ha'Omer, so the Shabbos bris during Sefirat Ha'Omer should not cancel the recitation of "Av haRachamim."(The Vilna Gaon was of the view to cancel Av HaRachamim if there is a bris on Shabbos during Sefirah)
5. The celebratory meal should be held without dancing. (This is common practice throughout the year. I have been to very few brisses that had dancing - though many in the Sefardic community tend to have music at the bris. most often in DJ form.)

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Bris in Quarantine

It's now been over a month since many of us have gone into full scale social-distancing and limited quarantines. I am sure many of us have seen that weddings are still taking place, albeit significantly scaled down, and usually in a backyard.

Naturally, babies are still being born, and each Jewish boy still needs to have his bris!

While in the past people have contacted me in advance of the birth asking if I'll be around in a few months, now the only questions I'm getting are, "Have you been infected?" "Who are you hanging around?" "Are you sick?" and "Will you do the bris wearing a mask?"

Thank God, I have not been sick at all. I'm mostly hanging around my family. And I will happily do the bris with a mask (the mask does prevent metzitzah in most forms - which has certainly demonstrated that metzitzah is less a requirement and more of a custom).

To be perfectly honest, I've done many brisses with the kinds of crowds I'm seeing these days. Sometimes people live far from Jewish friends, or they simply want to keep things very private. So the territory of working with just the parents and baby present is not new for me. 

What is new is having a lot of people participating through a screen on ZOOM or Facebook.

And I am loving it - for the baby, for the parents, and yes - for me too.

Why? Mainly because I think the best place to have a bris is at home. The baby doesn't have to go anywhere, he can nap afterwards in his bassinet / crib (not in a carseat), and his parents can give him full, undivided attention (as they are often unable to do when they're hosting a bris). 

Yes, of course they're saving money on renting a space, on all the food (or catering), and much of the heartache (not that this is a bad thing) that naturally comes from throwing a party. But there's a certain blessing that comes with sharing the simcha online, and then shutting off the screen and just being with most immediate family, new parents, baby, and baby's older siblings (if the baby is not the first child).

They also don't have to think about kibbudim, but I did read Rav Herschel Schachter's thought on participating in a bris via Zoom: http://www.torahweb.org/torah/docs/rsch/RavSchachter-Corona-17-April-05-2020.pdf in which he wrote "If a grandfather is participating in the bris milah of his grandson via Zoom, it is permissible for him to name the baby. However, he should not recite the bracha of “asher kidash yedid m’beten” via Zoom."

That is fascinating!

I personally enjoy not having to rush from room to room, not having to worry about forgetting something in one place, to track down the pillows and kiddush cups that may have been left in one room, and most importantly, being able to give the baby full attention in the presence of his parents. Additionally, since there aren't distractions, we can all focus when discussing the baby's "post bris care."

This is the first part of the letter I am sending to parents these days:
******
Dear Parents
              Mazal Tov, and congratulations on the birth of your new son! 

               I am very excited to join you at this very special time, and honored to serve in the role as mohel for the coming bris. I look forward to doing all I can to help make this event meaningful and special to you, and to giving your son the best care possible.  
                Because of the current social distancing protocols, this bris is going to be different from others you've experienced, but hopefully, for your immediate family, it will be most memorable. 

                You don't need to think about all the kibbudim and people you will be honoring. But you will have the chance to relax immediately after you turn off the Zoom (or whatever platform you use to connect with relatives and friends) immediately after the bris is over. In the brisses I've done during this time period, I've found this to be an unexpected blessing for some parents. When all this is over, your family and friends will meet your son in person and watch him grow. In the immediate minutes and hours after the bris, he'll be with the people he needs most. The two of you!

               This link will provide you with links to most of the information you need. Some of it is less relevant in the very private affair we'll be conducting. I gave you the basic information any way, though I imagine we'll play much by ear based on the realities we'll have that day.
******

As always, it is my honor to be brought into a family's inner most circle at this time. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

A Bris on Yom Tov

This is one of a series of blog posts on things that might be done differently at a bris taking place on a special day on the Jewish calendar. See all of the links at this dedicated page

The book "Otzar HaBris" (Yossele Weisberg) has a section of halakhot surrounding what is done differently on noted days of the Jewish calendar.

With respect to a bris to be held on Yom Tov, he writes the following: (Vol II 145-154)

1.  A bris taking place on the 8th day ("on time") pushes aside Yom Tov, just as it pushes aside Shabbos. (It is not delayed to avoid doing the bris on the holiday). However, an already pushed off bris (not "on time" any more) will not take place on Yom Tov
2. A boy born during "Bein HaShmashot" (after sunset but before nightfall), such that his 8th day "might be" Yom Tov will have his bris take place the day after the holiday. (We don't push aside the holiday for a sa'fek/doubt)
3. Any doubt which is cast over whether a bris should take place on Shabbos applies to Yom Tov as well.
4. The mohel may not travel outside of the T'chum (halakhic boundary of the city) in order to do a bris. If there is a doubt as to what is considered the T'chum, the mohel may walk to the bris.
5. A person who has never circumcised before should not do his first circumcision on Shabbos or Yom Tov. If there is no one else to do it, he may do it on Yom Tov (but not on Shabbos). (If there is no one else to do it, it might be a good idea to wait until after the holiday - AB)
6. Even according to those who allow a woman to circumcised for the Bris, they feel she should not do the bris on Yom Tov (a weekday is OK).
7. If a mohel is asked to leave his family to be somewhere else for the holiday so that he can conduct the bris there, some say he is obligated to go so that the mitzvah take place at the right time. Others say he is certainly not obligated to undo his own mitzvah if simchas Yom Tov for someone else's bris milah responsibility. (This might be a slightly different conversation in Israel, where there is one day of Yom Tov, versus in the Diaspora, where holidays are 2 days. My personal practice for holidays is to tell people "you have the responsibility to find someone. If you do not find someone, I can be available the day after the holiday." On occasion I go for Shabbos for a Shabbos bris. A Yom Tov bris is a much bigger commitment which I am unable to make at this stage of my life. - AB)
8. For Rosh Hashana, if there will not be a minyan, and he will not hear Shofar, there is a debate as to whether the mohel is obligated to go.
9. Compensation for the bris is "payment" for travel, and for any care given to the baby after the holiday.
10. Whatever is prohibited to do on Shabbos is prohibited to do on Yom Tov when it comes to the bris, unless the melacha in question is permitted on account of it being related to food preparation.
11. The baby can be brought to the bris. The bris instruments (knife, etc) may be brought to the bris. However, all of the supplies for the bris become muktzeh once the bris is over.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Bris on Erev Pesach

This is one of a series of blog posts on things that might be done differently at a bris taking place on a special day on the Jewish calendar. See all of the links at this dedicated page

The book "Otzar HaBris" (Yossele Weisberg) has a section of halakhot surrounding what is done differently on noted days of the Jewish calendar.

 With respect to a bris to be held on Erev Pesach, he writes the following:
1. It is best to have the bris before the time for burning Chametz (even on Shabbos)
2. If a Chametz meal is held, there should be minimal Chametz at the meal to prevent Chametz ownership and usage from being extended into the day
3. Everyone, even first borns, may participate in the celebratory Mitzvah meal, even if the bris was delayed
4. However, (pursuant to #3), a bris should not be specifically delayed to Erev Pesach to allow for firstborns to eat.
5. After the time for getting rid of Chametz has passed, a celebratory meal may no longer be held on Erev Pesach.
6. For those who eat "rich matzah" (such as egg matzah) on Erev Pesach, a meal may be held until the 10th halakhic hour of the day.

Next up, Bris on Yom Tov

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Bris in the month of Nissan

This is one of a series of blog posts on things that might be done differently at a bris taking place on a special day on the Jewish calendar. See all of the links at this dedicated page

The book "Otzar HaBris" (Yossele Weisberg) has a section of halakhot surrounding what is done differently on noted days of the Jewish calendar.

 With respect to a bris during the first half of the month of Nissan, he shares the following insight, which is similar to what he shared regarding Chanukah:

 Some have the custom to name the child for the prince who brought his offerings on that day:
1st day of Nissan - Nachshon
2nd day of Nissan - Netanel
3rd day of Nissan - Eliav
4th day of Nissan - Elitzur
5th day of Nissan - Shlumiel *
6th day of Nissan - Elyasaf
7th day of Nissan - Elishama
8th day of Nissan - Gamliel
9th day of Nissan - Avidan
10th day of Nissan - Achiezer
11th day of Nissan - Pagiel
12th day of Nissan - Achira

Next up, a bris on Erev Pesach

 * for other reasons, I would not recommend giving the name Shlumiel