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

Thursday, June 27, 2024

A few Random Items With One Common Theme

The Importance of Bedside Manner

 Thank God, I had several brisses this week, and along with them had a few unique experiences, beyond dealing directly with the parents and the baby - which is of course run-of-the-mill (though always a different dynamic).

1. First Story

At one bris, a couple who had their son circumcised a few months ago on a Shabbos (with a different mohel) asked me about something the mohel had done on Friday. He used a Probe to separate the foreskin from the glans, somewhere between 16-20 hours before the bris. They wanted to know if this is normal. (a few things emerge from this: a. it is (in my opinion) unnecessarily uncomfortable to the baby, b. it causes swelling, c. it might cause the baby to bleed)

While there may be different feelings about this, I'll tell you how I answered.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Post October 7

 Since that Holocaust-like day, when over 1200 Jews were slaughtered in a single day, there has been a sense that every Jew born since that day should serve as a replacement for someone whose life was snuffed out.

Until now, all the babies born were conceived before that fateful day, but soon the babies born will have been conceived after that time. 

Some of the names I have been introduced to in these new babies clearly were chosen to reflect the situation - one baby was named Ami Yisrael - and others have been named in a manner that suggests a deep connection to the experience of the Jewish people. 

It is always a privilege to be the mohel, and even moreso to see how deeply Jewish people living in Florida identify with Jews across the globe. 

Earlier on, everyone wanted to do something to acknowledge the plight of the hostages and to memorialize the dead. Sadly, much of that hasn't continued (most likely because being a distance away prevents us from seeing it as part of our life every day), even though we are still aware of many hostages being held and the reality of war which brings a continued rising count of fallen soldiers.

May we see better times soon. And may we all merit to perpetuate the memory of those lost as the Jewish people emerge from this challenging time with a more secure future outlined in the land. 

Thursday, March 28, 2024

The יהי רצוןs that follow Torah Reading when Tachanun is Cancelled for a Bris or a Baal Bris

 Being a mohel and also a rabbi of a shul, it happens often enough that I am able to daven in shul in the morning when I have a bris later in the day. I’ve written about this here:

On Mondays and Thursdays, this presents us with a dilemma. While “everyone knows” that the presence of a Baal Bris cancels Tachanun, (see the last 4 paragraphs in the link to the left/above line), many also know that the יהי רצוןs recited as the Torah is being rolled up on Mondays and Thursday are also connected to the saying of Tachanun. The general rule is “when we don’t say Tachanun, we don’t say the יהי רצוןs” (See the Levush on Orach Chaim 429:2, and Ateres Zekenim also 429:2).

For many years now, whenever this circumstance happens – there is a mohel present (me) who has a Bris later in the day, but the Bris is not taking place here – I have announced “If the DAY cancels Tachanun, then the DAY cancels the יהי רצון. If an EVENT cancels Tachanun, then we still say the יהי רצוןs.”

Over the years I have gotten minimal backlash over this pronouncement, but a few people have asked me for the “Lomdus” behind it. I will admit there isn’t great “Lomdus” behind it, but as I feel there is merit to the argument, and a reasonable svara (thought process behind it), I now present it all here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Abudirham (or Abudraham) on Cleanliness

In the Shulchan Arukh, there is a description of a Bris ceremony that includes the recitation of the blessing that follows the circumcision (the Mohel's blessing is right before the incision, and the father's blessing is at the moment of the incision), and the Rama adds an insight from Abudirham.

שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות מילה סימן רסה

ואומר: בא"י אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדש <ה> ידיד (ד) מבטן וכו'. ו ט] ונוהגין שכשמגיע י] לבדמיך חיי, נותן מהיין באצבעו <ו> בפי התינוק. (וכשהמוהל מברך ברכה זו, רוחץ תחלה ידיו ופיו, כדי שיברך בנקיות) (אבודרהם). 

When the Mohel recites that blessing, he should first wash his hands and mouth in order to recite a blessing in cleanliness.

This assumes that the mohel practices in a manner that does not utilize this hygiene enhancing medical supply item and this hygiene enhancing device.

Those of us who use them never have a concern as our hands and mouths are clean.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Purim and a Bris

 Purim is a little over a week away.

Click here for a brief summary of what might be different on Purim.

An interesting question can be raised regarding a Purim Bris. 

Since the Bris is a mitzvah which is typically accompanied by its own Seudas Mitzvah, AND there is a Rabbinic Mitzvah to have a special meal on Purim, can the meals be combined? Do there need to be 2 separate meals?

In a simple sense, the halakha recommends that the Purim Seudah be in the afternoon, presumably so that all the other obligations of the day are over - one has already given Matanos L'Evyonim, one has delivered Mishloach Manos, one has heard the Megillah... now a person can relax, drink a little extra (slightly more than usual), and if necessary fall asleep. However, the Seudah MAY take place in the morning, if that is one's preference.

A bris celebration often takes place in the morning, due to the attempt to fulfill the concept of זריזין מקדימין למצוות - those who are punctilious rush to do mitzvos as early as possible. 

While I am sure it happens all the time, I only recall one time that I had a bris on Purim. The family chose to have the bris in the afternoon, at Mincha, and invited their guests to a co-Purim-and-Bris celebratory meal.

Could they have had a normal bris meal and later had Purim Seudah with their normal "family crowd?"

Absolutely. While one is only obligated to have one Purim Seudah, it does not mean someone is not allowed to have two celebratory meals on Purim day. 

Mazal tov! Enjoy! And it is wonderful to have added Simcha!!!

Thursday, February 8, 2024


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:

I've addressed it before in two places: 


And here:

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 here's a note to PARENTS for how to explain the bris to curious children who are only a few years older than the baby

Another note to PARENTS for how to care for the baby after the bris - sometimes for several months

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 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!