Sunday, September 1, 2013

3 Day Yom Tov Mohel Blues

This year, Rosh Hashana falls on Thursday and Friday, leading into Saturday, which creates what is called in observant circles a "Three Day Yom Tov."

It also means that anyone who gave birth naturally this past Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, who is looking for a bris to take place on time will need to get a mohel who either lives within walking distance, or who is willing to come for the 3-day period - because an observant mohel is not driving over these three days.

Of course this is not normally a concern. A mohel with a car comes and goes at his schedule during the week. And even a typical Shabbos-bris is only 1 day. But here we are talking about 3 days - 72 hours!

While in a Metropolitan area a walking-distance mohel should be fairly easy to find, in some places, this is not the case.

And finding someone willing to come for the 3-day yom tov is extremely hard. Any mohel with younger children living at home will most likely not be able to come.  And anyone with significant holiday plans will most likely not be able to make it either. In my case, I serve as a rabbi in a synagogue on Rosh Hashana and am therefore unavailable.

Who might come? A single (unmarried) mohel. Or an empty-nest mohel. The latter case may come with or without his wife.

In either case, aside from needing to arrange a place for the mohel to stay, and a seat in shul (though I am sure most shuls would be accommodating), it needs to be understood that the mohel is giving up his yom tov, in whatever way it was planned, for YOU the parents.

Now, some mohels might say, "I am not available. If you can't find anyone, I will do it Sunday." It is OK for the mohel to do this.

But the parents have a responsibility to have the bris take place on the 8th day of the baby's life. Which is probably why I got a call today from Michigan, and I was contacted a month ago by someone from Tampa who was concerned about a possible Rosh Hashana bris (and wouldn't you know it, she confirmed for me today that her fears turned out true!), and I heard from someone in Maryland about another RH bris. And I am sure there will be many brisses around the world over the 3 day yom tov.

Hopefully the parents and the mohel can come to an agreement. The mohel should come "b'simcha," and the parents should be sensitive and offer a generous compensation for the mohel putting himself out in a significant way.

Mazal Tov to all!

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