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Thursday, March 28, 2024

The יהי רצוןs that follow Torah Reading when Tachanun is Cancelled for a Bris or a Baal Bris

 Being a mohel and also a rabbi of a shul, it happens often enough that I am able to daven in shul in the morning when I have a bris later in the day. I’ve written about this here:

On Mondays and Thursdays, this presents us with a dilemma. While “everyone knows” that the presence of a Baal Bris cancels Tachanun, (see the last 4 paragraphs in the link to the left/above line), many also know that the יהי רצוןs recited as the Torah is being rolled up on Mondays and Thursday are also connected to the saying of Tachanun. The general rule is “when we don’t say Tachanun, we don’t say the יהי רצוןs” (See the Levush on Orach Chaim 429:2, and Ateres Zekenim also 429:2).

For many years now, whenever this circumstance happens – there is a mohel present (me) who has a Bris later in the day, but the Bris is not taking place here – I have announced “If the DAY cancels Tachanun, then the DAY cancels the יהי רצון. If an EVENT cancels Tachanun, then we still say the יהי רצוןs.”

Over the years I have gotten minimal backlash over this pronouncement, but a few people have asked me for the “Lomdus” behind it. I will admit there isn’t great “Lomdus” behind it, but as I feel there is merit to the argument, and a reasonable svara (thought process behind it), I now present it all here.

The main “events” which cancel Tachanun are either Bris-related, the presence of a חתן / groom (either on the day of his wedding, or during Sheva Brachos), or in the house of mourning. Anything else is tied to the calendar, and is therefore not our discussion. [See the פרי מגדים/משבצות זהב at the end of סימן קלא, after אות ט"ו. Where he begins ואבאר קצת, explaining certain general rules of Tachanun and when it is skipped on account of the calendar.]

The ShaKH in Yoreh Deah 265

Most of the discussions surrounding omitting Tachanun don’t really mention the יהי רצוןs. All the sources I have found that discuss the יהי רצוןs point to the ש"ך יו"ד רס"ה אות כד in the laws of Bris Milah. There, the Shulchan Arukh writes that when a Milah falls out on a fast day, we say וידוי וסליחות, but not והוא רחום ונפילת אפים, the latter two being the ways in which the longer (Monday/Thursday) and shorter (daily) versions of Tachanun are referenced in some Halakhic works.

The Shakh writes:

ש"ך יורה דעה סימן רסה

כד מתפללים סליחות כו'. כתוב במנהגים סי' קל"ז ואם יש מילה בין כסה לעשור אומר זכור ברית דמילה ואל תפר בהשכמה וצ"ל גם פזמון יה איום ואומר אבינו מלכנו ואין אומר והוא רחום ותחנון גם בצום גדליה במילה אבל אומר אא"א ולמנצח ע"כ ובמנהג עשרה בטבת סי' ל"ט כתב ואומר זכור ברית דמילה ופזמונו כדפרישית לעיל ע"כ וכתב בהגהות שם וכן בכל תענית צבור אבל למנצח אומר משום צערא דינוקא ואין אומר יהי רצון אחר קריאת התורה ואם היו ב' בתי כנסיות בעיר באותו שאין מלין אומרים תחנון והכי נהוג וכן אין אומרים פיוטים של מילה באותו בית הכנסת שאין מלין בו, מכתבי מהר"א ע"כ וכ"כ בתשו' ר"מ מינץ סי' מ"ג דאומרים למנצח משום צערא דינוקא וכן הוא במהרי"ל וכן נוהגים ודלא כהאבודרהם שכ' גם אין אומרים יענך ה' ביום צרה מפני שהוא יום שמחה לאבי הבן ולא יום צרה וכ"כ בכל בו וגם אין אומרים למנצח מפני שיום המילה יום שמחה הוא על קיום המצוה ע"כ ואין נוהגין כן במדינות אלו ונראה דמקומות מקומות יש וכ"כ ברוקח ס"ס ק"ח במגנצ"א אומרים יענך ביום המילה שיש בו ט' פסוקים כט' חדשי העיבור כדאיתא בשוחר טוב ובווירמייש"א אין אומרים יענך ע"כ: כתוב בהגהות מנהגים שמלין קודם עלינו לשבח וכן המנהג, עוד נהגו שלא לחלוץ התפילין עד אחר המילה משום שהתפילין הם אות והמילה ג"כ אות:

To summarize:

He quotes the Minhagim Siman 137 who talks about a Bris during the Ten Days of Repentance, noting what we do say (Selichos, and items related to Bris), while skipping והוא רחום ותחנון, but we do say למנצח, even on the Fast of Gedaliah and on every fast day, because it references a call for God to answer on a day of difficulty/distress – יענך ה' ביום צרה. But we don’t say the יהי רצון after the Torah reading. We also don’t say פיוטים של מילה in a shul where the Bris Milah is not taking place. [We’ll touch upon the implication of this comment below – AB] The day of the Bris is also a יום צרה for the baby (this idea is also noted by מהרי"ל). Abudraham and KolBo say to skip למנצח because the day of the bris is a day of joy for the baby’s father [שך rejects this latter opinion].

The comment noting a distinction between where the Bris is taking place v. otherwise is a good indicator that there may very well be a difference in practice between a minyan where the Bris is actually taking place v. a minyan which is attended by one of the Baalei Bris (whose presence, as noted above, cancels Tachanun) at which the יהי רצון might not actually be cancelled.


The Piskei Teshuvos, in the laws of Gelilah (rolling up the Torah) quotes the Mishneh Berurah (כב) [and the same comment appears in the Magen Avraham (י) ] that saying the יהי רצוןs without waiting for the גולל (person rolling and closing the Torah) to finish Gelilah is an OK practice, because since the יהי רצוןs are only a custom anyway, and he doesn’t need to “hear it” anyway – go right ahead and say them before he is done closing the Torah. Compare this to the Haftarah said on Shabbos and Festivals, when halakha says to wait for the person to finish closing the Torah before beginning the Haftarah.

He goes on to note that the יהי רצוןs on Monday and Thursday is an Ashkenazic custom based on the Siddur of R’ Amram (Gaon). But Sefardim, based on Abudraham and KolBo, would say the יהי רצוןs on Shabbos Mevorchim (the Shabbos before Rosh Chodesh) just before Birkat HaChodesh – the prayer blessing the new month that is upon us. The Machzor Vitri says to say the יהי רצוןs after the Torah reading of Mincha on Shabbos.

He goes on to note that the Levush, Magen Avraham and Mishneh Berurah (on Siman 429) connect the יהי רצוןs to the recitation of תחנון, even when there is a Bris. [He doesn’t make clear whether he is referring to whether the Bris is taking place at that minyan v. if only a Baal Bris is present, thus canceling Tachanun, leaving our question in that latter circumstance remaining unclear. ]

מ"ב סקכ"ב: אבל בשני וחמישי שאומרים יה"ר אחר הקריאה אין צריך להמתין על הגולל, דאינו אלא מנהג. ומקורו הראשון בסידור רבי עמרם גאון לאומרו בשני וחמישי, וכן נוהגים האשכנזים. אבל מנהג הספרדים עפ"י האבודרהם וכלבו לאמרו בשבת מברכין אחרי קריאת ההפטרה קודם ברכת החודש, ובמחזור ויטרי מובא לאמרו בכל שבת לאחר קריה"ת דמנחה.

וכתב הלבוש והמג"א ומשנ"ב ושאר אחרונים (בסי' תכ"ט סעי' ב') שבימים שאין אומרים תחנון אין אומרים יהי רצון, והוא הדין ביום20 מילה וכשיש21 חתן בביה"כ.

והנה אף על פי שהוא22 מילתא דתמיהה, שהרי כבר הזכרנו שבסידורי הראשונים כתוב לאמרו דווקא בשבת, מ"מ כך מקובל המנהג בכל קהילות האשכנזים ואין לשנות, ומ"מ ביום23 הילולת צדיקים אפילו לאלו הנוהגים לא לומר תחנון יש להם לומר היהי רצון.

In the footnotes, he references the שך quoted above, who makes a quick passing reference to the יהי רצוןs, who, again, may at best be distinguishing between whether the Bris Milah is taking place there or elsewhere. He also references the סדור יעב"ץ, which we will get to shortly, who says to SAY the יהי רצוןs on the day of a Bris Milah because the יהי רצוןs include a בקשה גם לחיי הנימול – a request/prayer  the wellbeing of the child.

Back in the main text (as noted above in the Hebrew), the Piskei Teshuvos goes on to say that if you skip Tachanun on account of the yarzeit of a great Tzaddik, you still say the יהי רצוןs – and he quotes טעמי המנהגים אות קל (see below), as he also mentions the story of the great rabbi of Galina, the Son in Law of R Meir of Premishlan, who skipped Tachanun for his father-in-law’s yahrzeit, but said the יהי רצוןs.

R YC Sonnenfeld

Another minimal discussion of this appears in the הנהגות ופסקים of R Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld of Jerusalem. A case is recorded there in which Tachanun was said, and then shortly after that (and before the Torah reading had ended) R Sonnenfeld, who was a mohel, was alerted of a bris he’d be needed for later that day. They said the יהי רצוןs. The first sentence below is the psak, the second is the footnote on that psak.

א. בימי שני וחמישי לאחר שאמרו תחנון ונודע לאחד מן המתפללים שיתכבד לשמש כמוהל או סנדק באותו יום, צריך לומר גם את ה"יהי רצון" שלאחר קריאת התורה כדי שלא יהי' חצי דבר1.

1. כן שמענו שהי' מעשה שנודע לרבינו באמצע התפילה על ברית מילה שיתכבד בו באותו יום לשמש כמוהל וכבר אמרו תחנון, שהורה לומר גם את ה"יהי רצון".

 Perhaps this demonstrates that Tachanun and the יהי רצוןs are connected, and since they said Tachanun, they had to say the יהי רצוןs. On the other hand, this could also suggest that the awareness of the presence of a mohel who will do a bris later in the day does not cancel the יהי רצוןs.

B’er Avraham of R Avraham ben Shmuel Bachrach 

In this Sefer, there is a 2-page discussion of the יהי רצוןs. Noting the connection between the יהי רצוןs and Tachanun, and how they are sometimes omitted even when למנצח is recited, we turn to footnote 90.

He brings a groom as an example of a time when Tachanun is not recited, but they forget later that he is there and ואומרים בטעות יהי רצון. They mistakenly say the יהי רצוןs. He then quotes R Yaakov Emden (see below, in Taamei HaMinhagim) who says that when there is a bris on Monday or Thursday, we say the יהי רצוןs even though we skipped Tachanun.

He quotes the בית הלוי, a commentary of ר דב לוי קימל on the נועם מגדים who distinguishes between when we don’t say Tachanun מדינא – because the law says so (what I call “the day” cancelling Tachanun) – when we also don’t say the יהי רצוןs, versus Bris Milah (what I call “an event”), where the Milah is done with joy, but we don’t cancel everything because of it. We might skip Tachanun, for example, but we wouldn’t skip Selichos on a fast day or during the ten days of repentance, when the day requires those other prayers.

The same is true for the יהי רצוןs

He quotes the לבוש מרדכי who also records the story of the Tzaddik of Galina who skipped Tachanun on the Yarzeit of R Meir of Premishlan but said the יהי רצוןs, because you’re really supposed to fast on a yarzeit.

R Bachrach continues saying that some poskim felt that on a Bris Milah day, even though we don’t say Tachanun we should still say the יהי רצוןs because it has a בקשה לחיי הנימול, a prayer that all should go well for the child, along the same lines as a מי שברך prayer, which of course no one would suggest shouldn’t be said on the baby’s behalf.

The footnote there (#91) refers us to Taamei Haminhagim

Before we go there, however, let us take a quick look at what Yossele Weisberg, the famous Mohel from Jerusalem, said on this subject in his magnum opus, אוצר הברית, in ג:י:ג.


There are those who say not to say the יהי רצוןs (in addition to skipping והוא רחום on Monday and Thursday). He then quotes מגדל עוז who says we should say the יהי רצוןs because it has a בקשה לחיי הנימול בכלל ישראל, a notion we’ve seen above in several contexts, along with the argument that it is the same as saying a מי שברך. He quotes the same sources that we’ve seen mentioned before including: the בית הלוי על נועם מגדים אות מ"ה and ברית אבות ו:כג.

[While I did not look very extensively, I could not find the sources referenced, other than the שך shared above]


In paragraph קל (130) he notes that at a bris we are שרויים בשמחה ועת התעוררות ומדת הרחמים. In other words, it is a joyous time, which combines an awakening of the spirit, but also a hope that God’s mercy will bode well for the baby, and he should have a Refuah Shleimah. We don’t want to bring in God’s judgment (מדת הדין) at this time.

The Simcha at a bris is limited due to the pain to the child (צערא לינוקא), as evidenced from the fact that Tachanun is only canceled for one minyan (Shacharis) but not for the whole day – only until after the Milah (unless davening Mincha where the baby is – otherwise everyone who attended the Bris should pray Mincha later, with Tachanun.) In the footnote he says that we do say the יהי רצוןs because of the בקשה לחיי הנימול בכלל ישראל. He quotes R Yaakov Emden who says the יהי רצוןs are therefore no different than יקום פרקן and מי שברך which is said on Shabbos.

He also quotes חידושי מכלול סימן ד' – “We don’t find that it says to not say the יהי רצוןs when there is a day of no Tachanun” (which may be referring to if the skipping of Tachanun is triggered by a Bris or by a Baal Bris).

He also mentions the tale of the Tzaddik of Galina (who he identifies as R Yechiel Michel M’Galina) who didn’t say Tachanun on the yahrzeit of R”M of Premishlan and said the יהי רצוןs.


It is clear that in the Ashekanazic community, the recitation of the יהי רצוןs, which are only said on Mondays and Thursdays, is generally connected to Tachanun.

There are circumstances in which Tachanun is not said because of an event – such as a yarzeit (primarily in Hassdic circles), a house of mourning, the presence of a groom, the presence of a baal Bris, or an actual Bris taking place. We are only talking here about the circumstance of a Bris accompanying davening, or a Baal Bris present at davening, when the Bris will take place elsewhere and later in the day. 

The main reason to skip the יהי רצוןs as well is due to the Simcha of the father of the baby. If the father is not there (only the Mohel is at the davening), perhaps the argument to skip the יהי רצוןs is taken away.

The main reason to say the יהי רצוןs is because it is a prayer similar to a Mi Sheberach, and because we have in mind the difficulty the baby is going to experience. Just as we reference in למנצח the יום צרה (the day of difficulty the baby is experiencing), the צרה is also referenced in the יהי רצוןs, making them a fitting prayer for the experience of the baby during the bris.

The circumstance I am primarily addressing is when a Baal Bris, specifically the Mohel, is present at a davening where the Bris will not be taking place, such that Tachanun will not be said (see Mishneh Berurah OC 131:21-22). Because the bris is not actually taking place there, the יהי רצוןs should be said, because we have limited simcha in that minyan and the יהי רצוןs are said having in mind that the baby should have a relatively easy ordeal.

At the minyan which will be followed immediately by the Bris, however, a much stronger argument can be made to skip the יהי רצוןs, though the argument in favor of their being recited is still very much in play.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Abudirham (or Abudraham) on Cleanliness

In the Shulchan Arukh, there is a description of a Bris ceremony that includes the recitation of the blessing that follows the circumcision (the Mohel's blessing is right before the incision, and the father's blessing is at the moment of the incision), and the Rama adds an insight from Abudirham.

שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות מילה סימן רסה

ואומר: בא"י אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדש <ה> ידיד (ד) מבטן וכו'. ו ט] ונוהגין שכשמגיע י] לבדמיך חיי, נותן מהיין באצבעו <ו> בפי התינוק. (וכשהמוהל מברך ברכה זו, רוחץ תחלה ידיו ופיו, כדי שיברך בנקיות) (אבודרהם). 

When the Mohel recites that blessing, he should first wash his hands and mouth in order to recite a blessing in cleanliness.

This assumes that the mohel practices in a manner that does not utilize this hygiene enhancing medical supply item and this hygiene enhancing device.

Those of us who use them never have a concern as our hands and mouths are clean.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Purim and a Bris

 Purim is a little over a week away.

Click here for a brief summary of what might be different on Purim.

An interesting question can be raised regarding a Purim Bris. 

Since the Bris is a mitzvah which is typically accompanied by its own Seudas Mitzvah, AND there is a Rabbinic Mitzvah to have a special meal on Purim, can the meals be combined? Do there need to be 2 separate meals?

In a simple sense, the halakha recommends that the Purim Seudah be in the afternoon, presumably so that all the other obligations of the day are over - one has already given Matanos L'Evyonim, one has delivered Mishloach Manos, one has heard the Megillah... now a person can relax, drink a little extra (slightly more than usual), and if necessary fall asleep. However, the Seudah MAY take place in the morning, if that is one's preference.

A bris celebration often takes place in the morning, due to the attempt to fulfill the concept of זריזין מקדימין למצוות - those who are punctilious rush to do mitzvos as early as possible. 

While I am sure it happens all the time, I only recall one time that I had a bris on Purim. The family chose to have the bris in the afternoon, at Mincha, and invited their guests to a co-Purim-and-Bris celebratory meal.

Could they have had a normal bris meal and later had Purim Seudah with their normal "family crowd?"

Absolutely. While one is only obligated to have one Purim Seudah, it does not mean someone is not allowed to have two celebratory meals on Purim day. 

Mazal tov! Enjoy! And it is wonderful to have added Simcha!!!

Thursday, February 8, 2024


It's hard to explain how much of a privilege it is to serve as a Mohel.

For most Jews, there is no question about whether we will circumcise our child. The questions are usually more along the line of where and what time, as the date is usually chosen based on the baby's arrival... on the 8th day of his life (unless there is a medical reason to delay).

The other question, for the non-mohel-father (the mohel father will circumcise his own son) is "who will we have to help us fulfill this mitzvah?" While none of these are guarantees of the direction parents will go, most people who have a relative who is a mohel will typically go to that relative. People who have a friend who is a mohel might go that route as well. Sometimes a set of grandparents will be fond of a particular mohel and they'll do the hiring (and often carrying the financial load) for all of their grandsons. 

Some communities have a mohel who has a monopoly on the community (so to speak), and "everyone uses him." In those cases, the question is never "who will help us...?" but rather "is he available?"

Some people don't live in that one-mohel-for-all kind of community, and will therefore ask their friends things like, "Who was your mohel? Were you happy with the experience?" That will often go the longest way in helping people decide what is best for them and their baby.

And thus it is an absolute privilege to be considered for this important role - at a vulnerable time in your family's story, for an intimate insider's view into your family's dynamic, to play a special role in your fulfillment of this special mitzvah.

Many people tell me afterwards how much they appreciated the role I played, whether the bris was a more explanatory one, or more of a straightforward ceremony type. I try to match the "service provided" with the read on the family that I get, and thankfully, for the most part, it's usually an excellent match, me with each unique family.

All I'm saying is "As much as you appreciate it, I appreciate the trust and the opportunity to help and guide your family through this mitzvah, while giving your son the best care I can, and hopefully producing the best results I can."

As always, thank you for your entrusting your son to my care.

I know that when all is over, he will be fine and in the right hands... YOUR hands... and this day will not even be a memory for him. 

Hopefully for you, you'll remember the results more than the process, and will look back at the bris as a memorable and special day in all of your lives. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Naming the Baby Before the Bris? A Mi Sheberach for naming...

This question comes up every now and then - can the baby be named before the Bris?

The answer is YES, but the circumstances for why you'd want to do that are far less than ideal.

Before I get into this here, just to note that this is a popular question in Israeli websites:

I've addressed it before in two places: 


And here:

The main goal here is put on the Internet a suitable Mi Sheberach for this situation in which the child is named and a prayer is offered that his Bris should take place at the right time for him (which may be after a tragic illness, or may be when he has a corrective surgery for an anatomical abnormality that developed in utero, for which six months need to pass until he can safely undergo general anesthesia and have that important procedure). So here it is: (First I embedded the text in the blog, then I put an image that it may be easier to download and print)

ליולדת זכר וקריאת השם:

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב משֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן דָּוִד וּשְׁלֹמֹה הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת הָאִשָּׁה הַיּוֹלֶדֶת (פב"פ) וְאֶת בְּנָהּ הַנּוֹלָד לָהּ בְּמַזָּל טוֹב, וְיִקָּרֵא שְׁמוֹ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל (פב"פ), בַּעֲבוּר שֶׁבַּעְלָהּ יִתֵּן לִצְדָקָה בַּעֲדָהּ, בִּשְׂכַר זֶה יִזְכּוּ אָבִיו וְאִמוֹ לְגַדְּלוֹ לְתוֹרָה וּלְחֻפָּה וּלְמַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים וּלְהַכְנִיסוֹ בִּבְרִיתוֹ שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ בְּעִתּוֹ וּבִזְמַנּוֹ הַנָכוֹן לוֹ. וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן: