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Welcome to -  the most comprehensive and up to date mohel blog on the internet . My name is Avi Billet, and I am so ...

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Defining Terms: Ba'al Bris

Defining Terms Series


There are 3 people who are defined as a Ba'al Bris - the "master of the covenant" - on the day of the Bris Milah.  They are: The baby's father, the Sandak, and the Mohel

Here are a few interesting sources related to these ideas: 
The first is the Darchei Moshe on the Tur (Rabbi Moshe Isserlis), who quotes the Or Zarua that "[the ather] should seek out a good Jew to be the Baal Bris, in order that Eliyahu will come and sit next to him" - clearly in this case the "Ba'al Bris" is the Sandak, who holds the baby during the bris and has a chair designated for Eliyahu set up right next to him.  He continues, "And he should also seek out a Mohel who is a good Jew. The Mordechai writes... in the name of Muhr"m that in assigning the Mitzvah to the mohel and the Baal Bris, ideally he should not reneg, but if he does, it is a [valid] reneg.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Defining Terms: Milah and Mohel

Defining Terms Series


In light of the previous post, in which we learned what "Bris" means, this one should be really easy.

Milah (מילה) in our context refers to circumcision

This is why the operator is called a Mohel (מוהל), as in "one who does Milah (one who circumcises)."

(In a different context, the word מילה literally means a "word," as in "don't say another מילה?" "Will you let me get a מילה in response?!")

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Defining Terms: Bris

Defining Terms Series


 Bris - ברית - means covenant or agreement. 

When we say we are "going to a Bris" we are speaking in American-ish, but we are not using the term correctly.

Whether we mean to say we are going to a circumcision (which is technically true), what we really mean is that "we are going to a Bris Milah Ceremony, a ceremony in which the Covenant made over Circumcision will be reenacted and reaffirmed."

Of course no one wants to say that, so we just say we are "going to a Bris."

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Defining Terms - Kisei Shel Eliyahu

Defining Terms Series


One element of the Bris ceremony includes the baby being placed on a chair that is designated as the Kisei Shel Eliyahu.

The term simply translates to "The Chair of Elijah" and is our way of giving homage to one of the staunchest defenders of the concept of the Covenant (Bris) in the Bible, Elijah the Prophet, a.k.a. Eliyahu HaNavi.

I am often asked whether this is a "respectable honor" to give to someone.