Monday, November 9, 2015

Intergenerational Simchas

I have been a mohel for about 16 years. Several years ago I stopped counting the number of brisses I've presided over as it doesn't really matter any more. People often jokingly ask "Have you done this before?" but it's usually because they assume a mohel is more middle-aged or older (I'll get there eventually, IY"H), or they're being generously kind in guessing my age particularly after hearing I've been on the job that long.

But, as is plainly clear, the oldest child who has been circumcised by me is 16, and is certainly not yet a father. And considering how many times I've heard of a mohel circumcising the son of someone he circumcised so many years ago, I look forward to the days when I'm called to play that role.

And yet, I've had some interesting stories which are nonetheless related to playing such a role. Here are three of them.

Story #1. A father who was raised in a Reform Jewish household told me he realized he had been circumcised when he was two days old and his bris was not "kosher." He asked me to perform Hatafat Dam on him (see second half of this post). His wife was pregnant at the time, and he thought - just in case it's a boy - it would be a good idea to have his own bris "kosherized" before he'd be bringing his son into the mark of the Covenant. Sure enough, we took care of him, and 4 months later he actually circumcised his own son (with my assistance) in a moment I will never forget. Especially considering his sharing with me his backstory, which was briefly mentioned here. So I guess maybe I have presided over the brisses for a father and a son!

Story #2. I did a bris for a couple that are contemporaries of mine (I actually went to pre school with the wife/mother!). Some time later I got a call from his father, who was in his fifties, who was in a second marriage and had a new son! In this way I did the bris of a (half)brother of someone for whom I had done his son's bris.

Story #3. This isn't a bris story as much as it is an interesting story. I recently got a phone call from the father of a baby whose bris was over a year ago, asking "Do you do weddings as well?" Yes... who is getting married? "We are!" I had no idea they weren't married when I did the bris. Somehow it didn't come up. Anyway, I recently performed the wedding for this couple, certainly making for the most unique intergenerational simcha I have ever presided over.

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