Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wild Opinion Piece

Haaretz published an opinion piece that is so wild, it is indicative of where some elements of the Jewish world are headed. (Reproduced below in case it gets lost behind a paywall.)

  A few false assumptions at the end (the suggested paradox), and then of course, this line:
 Here are the facts: there is no Jewish death penalty. We do not put out eyes or cut off hands. There are no rabbinic executioners, or people who amputate limbs for violations of Jewish law. All that are left are the mohalim – those who are specially trained to perform circumcisions." 
 We never put out eyes or cut off hands in all of our history (an eye for an eye was always interpreted to be a monetary punishment). And the Talmud flatly rejects death penalties, for all cases except murder, and even winces at the suggestion that we have such a right in murder cases.

But there is no evidence anywhere prior to the advent of Reform Jewry (which today has Berit Milah Boards and hundreds of certified mohels) as well as post-modern liberal (read emotional and not intellectual or religious) "Jewish" thinking which supported such a notion that Bris Milah is to be rejected. The Talmud unabashedly praised Bris Milah assigning it numerous Covenants, blessings and rewards, as well as saying that when the Jewish people sacrificed for it (as we have for millenia), it was maintained in our ranks.

  The Covenant has always reigned supreme.

The Special Role of Mohel

Of the last few brisses I have performed, a number of them have been for people I have known for a very long time. Of the fathers: A friend from college (15 years), a former camper of mine (18 years (though I know the mother's family for almost 30 years)), family friends (I know the father since he was 6 - for over 20 years).

Being brought into the family circle when I'm already in the family circle is super special. Not too many people know their mohel personally. And the truth is, it it probably awkward for people to make the phone call out of the blue to a person who is in this line of work.

But as my college friend remarked at his son's bris - when he first found out I was a mohel (I already was when we were in college), all he could think was (long before he was married, and long before any child was on the way) "You are never going near my child." And now, all he could think was, "I wouldn't want anyone else to serve as my son's mohel."

It is ALWAYS an honor to serve. I try to get to know everyone in the time I spend with every family. Some families are very straightforward. Some families have an infectious sense of humor. Some like to hear as much information as I can provide. Some have very few questions and are very trusting. Some are more nervous. Some are chilled out.

Having a very long history with people brings the relationship to a whole new level. And thank God for social media, I maintain contact with people now in ways that was more difficult before.

But it is such an honor, every time I meet people with their son(s) and they introduce the boy with a smile and say, "He was your mohel. Do you remember him?" I usually do, the boy usually does not. Knowing that I was able to help the father with his "shlichut" (agency) to help him fulfill his mitzvah, and that it is something which is forever remembered and appreciated, is a gift that is hard to top.

Thank you for the privilege!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

And.... We're back!

Summer is over, and we have returned to Florida.

I look forward to further servicing your bris needs... I look forward to being in touch and working with your family through this special time in your lives.

A.B.