Monday, August 23, 2010

Is the Mohel a Doctor?

This has been coming up a lot lately.

I wear a lab coat at the brisses I do (as you can see under my tallis in the photo on the right), for a few reasons:

1. It looks official
2. It looks clean - can't argue with the whiteness of white (who said I can't be profound?)
3. The lab coat has deep pockets for me to put the things I need accessible at different times through my bris workings.

For people who don't know me, though, it makes them think I am a physician. Which I am not.

(This is a great trick done in doctors' offices, by the way. They have all the office staff wear scrubs even though many of the people behind the counters don't know beans about medicine).

I don't want to come off as a physician - so I am setting the record straight. But the question now becomes, am I less qualified to be a mohel if I am not a medical man?

The answer is that in a way, I am a medical man. Just not a physician.

Like any medical specialist, a mohel is a specialist in a particular field - only in this case it is the removal of foreskin and post-operative care of baby.

Any titles beyond mohel (rabbi, doctor, professor, ph.d., j.d., etc) are not what separates mohels in terms of level and expertise. In other words, a doctor mohel is not automatically more skilled as a mohel on account of his being an "M.D." much as a rabbi mohel is not automatically more skilled on account of his being a rabbi.

What makes a mohel "better" than others is his vast experience, knowledge, and expertise as a circumciser. The speed in which he operates, his ability to work under pressure, his ability to communicate with you, keep you informed, and to make you feel at ease.

As always, when on this subject, it is worth reading this article

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