Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's All About the Baby

There is a time and place for everything, including a person's ego. More importantly, there is a time and place for the ego to be put in check. And that person is a mohel, and the time and place is when he is performing a bris.

It is such a tremendous privilege for a mohel to be invited to perform this sacred mitzvah. In a different post, we'll explore the ways the Talmud and Rabbinic texts speak of the greatness of this mitzvah.

But the day of the bris is about 3 people. The baby, and his parents.

A mohel is a hired gun. He is brought in because he has a skill the father (who is the one actually commanded to perform the circumcision) does not have, so he is there to represent the father in fulfillment of his obligation. He is brought in, first and foremost, to give the baby the best possible care.

He should treat the parents properly as well. He should talk to them on their level. He should open the door to answer their questions. He should get a sense of their needs and wants for the bris experience to be the best it can be for their baby, and for their family and friends who participate.

Does the mohel play an important role? Absolutely. But is his role in any way about what he gets out of it? Absolutely not.

Like everything else, this is a service industry. If the mohel does a nice job, takes good care of the baby, and leaves a good impression, I guarantee the family will recommend him to their friends and he will be called again to work again.

But when he makes the event about "his" performance, and "his" stagemanship, and "his" speech, he is going in the wrong direction.

Don't get me wrong - some people may want this in a mohel. That is your choice as parents. But the mohel should be a little more humble and a little less egotistical and self-centered.

After all, when it comes to the bris, the baby is the man of the hour.

No one else.

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