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Thursday
Nov072019

Do I need to pay a Mohel?

A collection of halachos regarding the Mitzva of Bris Milah –first presented in this week’s parsha, from AskTheRav.com & Halacha2Go.com.

By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, Mara D’asra and member of the Crown Heights Beis Din

 

How to Choose a Mohel

When choosing a mohel to perform a bris milah, it is vital to ascertain that he is a trained professional, experienced and expert, as well as an observant, G-d-fearing Jew who does not change one iota of our mesorah, tradition, as it has been practiced throughout the generations.

The mohel should not numb the area with a local anesthetic and should not use gloves, as that can be considered a bizui mitzvah, a disgrace for the mitzvah (See Halacha #842). Moreover, the gloves get in the way of performing priah with the nail, as described below.

It is essential that the mohel perform all three aspects of milah (milah, priah, and metzitzah) in the halachically correct manner, and in the following order: first, milah, cutting the outer foreskin with a knife and not with a clamp; second, priah, tearing and peeling back the inner layer of the foreskin (membrane) with his nail, and not with a hemostat; and third, metzitzah, sucking the blood directly with his mouth. In certain cases, a rav may permit the use of other methods of metzitzah, such as oral extraction of the blood through a glass tube, but the traditional way is directly by mouth.

The mohel must take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the baby and not hesitate to postpone the bris if necessary, for example, if the baby has a low birth weight or has an elevated bilirubin count (jaundice, a yellowish appearance of the skin or the whites of the eyes).

If a baby’s bris is scheduled for Shabbos and he was not conceived naturally, but through infertility treatments, the mohel should be informed and a discussion should take place with a competent rav to determine whether the bris may be performed on Shabbos.

 

 Paying a Mohel

A mohel should not request payment for the act of performing a circumcision, since he is performing a mitzvah. In fact, poskim tell us that we should reprimand a mohel who does so. If a mohel insists on being paid, it’s an indication that he is not a member of the Jewish nation whose trademark is compassion. However, despite the fact that he may not ask to be paid, the mohel should nevertheless be shown appreciation; in addition, he should be reimbursed for his expenses, such as the cost of the medication he administered and his transportation costs. He may even charge for his services if there was another mohel in the area who would have been willing to perform the bris in his stead. He is also entitled to s’char batalah (compensation for wages he would have earned had he not been occupied with performing the bris). #347

Does this Bris need a do-over?

A non-Jew may not be a mohel; only someone who is obligated to perform the mitzvah of bris milah may perform it on others. If there is no Jew available to perform the bris milah, then the bris must be postponed—even beyond the eighth day—until a Jewish mohel can be found.

Someone who was circumcised by a non-Jew does not require a second bris, for there is no halachic requirement for a bris to be done lishmah (for the sake of the mitzvah). According to the Rema, however, in such a case at least hatafas dam bris (a small amount of blood drawn from the bris site) is required. Many authorities leave room for leniency if there is merely a doubt whether the mohel was a non-Jew.

A mumar may not perform a bris. This refers to a Jew who does not observe the entire Torah, one who is mechalel (desecrates) Shabbos, or one who is a mumar regarding the mitzvah of milah specifically—he himself not being circumcised. However, according to many opinions, even if a mumar was the mohel, hatafas dam bris is generally not required.

There are communities which ban a doctor from performing a bris, even on his own son. This was instituted as a safeguard against it becoming the standard for doctors to be mohalim, regardless of their observance of the Shabbos or their concern to perform brisim in the proper halachic manner. Strictly speaking, a Torah-observant male doctor may perform the bris—as long as he does it according to halachah—and may be the first choice if no other expert mohel is available (see Halachah #210). (Halachah #843) ■

Short Q.&A’s

Is serving beer at a Sholom Zachar a Minhag or a “Grubkeit”?

This is a very popular Minhag, most likely instituted because beer was considered a basic drink, and available also for the poor.

I am making a Bris for my son. I’m wondering what the Chabad Minhag is whether I should go to work after or not?

Many Poskim advise that the father not work on the day of the Bris. Nonetheless, this isn’t strictly forbidden. There is no known Chabad tradition on this matter.

Someone honored me to be Sandek. Am I required to pay them something for the Zchus?

There is no requirement, but it is a Minhag to pay for part or all of the Seudah, depending on circumstances.

Does a Sandek need to get an Aliyah on the Shabbos before the Bris? 

Yes. A Sandak should attempt to get an Aliyah the Shabbos before the Bris. (AsktheRav.com #4176)

Is there an inyan to have the same Mohel for all the boys in the family?

It’s not just an inyan; it’s usually halachically required.

I remember there was an inyan of giving money to a Yeshiva when a baby is born, is it accurate?

Yes. This is our Minhag, at the time of the Bris. (AsktheRav.com #981)

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