Saturday, August 27, 2011
A Good Line
In the moment before the baby's father places the baby on the sandak's lap, it is my job to remind the father that the mitzvah to do the bris is actually his mitzvah, and that he is merely appointing me to serve as his "shaliach" (messenger or agent, in Hebrew) to do the bris on his behalf. The formula is more or less "I, John Doe, appoint you, Avi Billet, to do the bris on my son."
As a mohel, I am trained to do this. As a person not trained to circumcise, the father usually complies and appoints me to do the bris. Occasionally, the father will ask me to set everything up so he can do the incision. This is the ideal way for an untrained person to do the bris, so I try to accommodate when I think it will work out fine.
Anyway, at today's bris - where the father is a friend of mine from way back - I said to him, "I am reminding you that the mitzvah of the bris is your mitzvah. So you have to appoint me to be your shaliach to fulfill the mitzvah."
He said, "I do."
"I didn't ask if you want to marry me," I responded. "Just appoint me to serve as your agent to help you fulfill the mitzvah."
Then we walked through the formula as above. It was a great setup and comeback, and the people close by enjoyed our bantering.
May we have many opportunities to laugh together.