Monday, November 2, 2009

When The Mohel's Wife Gives Birth to a Boy

My wife gave birth to a little boy on Shabbos morning! Really!

We are so excited and so blessed.

When our oldest was born, a girl, people asked me if I was disappointed. Of course I wasn't disappointed. (In the fifty percent chance of the child being a boy, I was excited about the prospect of a bris until the doctor said "It's a girl," and she was (and is) beautiful, healthy, and the joy of our lives.) Becoming a father is one of the most altering moments in a man's life. Any remaining ego in one's marriage disappears as your life becomes one of complete focus on doing everything for the sake of the child.

At the same time, I called my mohel teacher, Rabbi Sasson, to tell him my wife gave birth to a girl and he said, ".תמיד זה כחה. למוהלים נולדות בנות" - "It's always that way. Mohels always have daughters."

Two Things Everyone is Saying

1. Everyone's a comedian. "I can recommend a good mohel." "Who's going to be doing the bris?" "Have you called the mohel yet?" "We had a great experience with so-and-so. You might want to call him." "I guess we all know who the mohel is!"

Do people make such a fuss over the identity of the mohel before their other friends' brisses?

2. Many people ask: "Will you be doing the bris yourself?" I don't know what the source of this question is... unless people are thinking that doctors don't operate on their kids or immediate family.

To answer the question - Yes. I will be doing the bris.

The Ideal Mitzvah of Bris

The reason I will be doing the bris is because that is the ideal mitzvah. Every father is supposed to do the bris himself.
(Genesis 17:10-12: It's worth reading the whole chapter) But since most fathers are not trained to do it, it is much safer to have a mohel do it.

In this case, since the father is a mohel, the father will do the bris.

The first baby to be circumcised in the Jewish tradition was Yitzchak, who was circumcised by his father Abraham on the eighth day of his life. (See chapter 21, verse 4)

In an ironic twist, our son was born on the day we read the Torah portion describing the origin of the covenant - the Bris Milah (Genesis 17), and his bris will, please God, take place on the morning when we read the Torah portion describing the birth and bris of Yitzchak.

Pretty cool, no?

A number of years ago, my wife wrote an article about being the mohel's wife, and her impressions of anticipating the birth of our first child.

Now we will joyfully bring our son through this reaffirmation of our commitment to the covenant, as we continue to celebrate his arrival and the joy he brings to us, our family, our friends, our community, and the collective nation of Israel.

3 comments:

  1. Wow! Amazing story - congratulations to you. "Are you going to be the mohel?" ha.

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  2. If the father is supposed to do it, how come most don't? Or how come no one teaches them how?

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  3. Joseph, many fathers don't know how to be fathers until their babies are born. Then they kind of figure it out (though there are parenting manuals!). But circumcision does require training, and most people are less likely to put in the time to train in order to "maybe" do a bris in case the child they're expecting turns out to be a boy (I know - sonograms can tell, but not everyone wants to know). So they hire a mohel to take care of the obligation for them.
    There are some fathers who might ask to make the actual incision once everything is set up. Depending on the case, I may or may not entertain the idea - that's for a different discussion.

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