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Thursday
Jan172019

FLYING HIGH TO PERFORM A BRIS MILA ON TIME

On the right is the mohel Rabbi Alon Razla at a bris for a Jew in Peru. On the left is the director of Bris Yosef Yitzchok, Rabbi Yaron Amit.PART I

It was the middle of winter 5770 when Rabbi Alon Razla from Florida received a phone call. On the line was a woman who introduced herself as Shani Huebner.

“I live in Mobile, Alabama and will be giving birth in a few months. I’m looking for a mohel who will circumcise my baby when he’s born. You were recommended, which is why I’m calling to find out whether you are available to come to our city to perform the bris.”

R’ Razla said yes, wrote down her name and told her to contact him after the birth so they could plan a bris. When he hung up, he looked up Mobile, Alabama on the map and found that it’s a distant city in the southern United States. Nevertheless, the mitzva had come his way and when the time came, he would make every effort to do it.

About two months passed and Mrs. Huebner called back. “I gave birth to a boy on 5 Adar.”

“I’d be happy to do the bris, as we discussed.” R’ Razla quickly checked his calendar and saw that the bris would take place on 12 Adar, a Friday.

He is experienced in these matters and he began checking possible flights. He took into account that Purim would begin on Motzaei Shabbos and he had to be back home. In other words, he had to be home before Shabbos. However, with all his checking he could not find a flight back to Florida that would land on time, before Shabbos. He did not want to be in Mobile for Purim!

He told Rabbi Yaron Amit, the director of Bris Yosef Yitzchok, about the situation. At that time, R’ Amit lived in Bal Harbour, Florida. R’ Yaron is an expert in the field of performing and arranging brissin and he is in touch with mohalim all over the world.

He asked R’ Yaron to find a mohel close to the area who could make it in time. Then and there, R’ Yaron called one of the hundreds of mohalim he knows and this mohel agreed to do the bris.

A few more days went by and that mohel canceled at the last minute due to technical problems having to do with flights.

PART II

It was Thursday night, 12 Adar, Motzaei Taanis Esther, when R’ Razla held a farbrengen in honor of his birthday which was that night. Around a table laden with refreshments, sat about sixty of his friends and acquaintances, singing niggunim and speaking divrei Torah and Chassidus.

In the middle of the farbrengen, his phone rang. Mrs. Huebner’s name appeared. Since he was busy hosting his simcha, he could not take the call.

Mrs. Huebner then tried calling R’ Yaron Amit who was at this same farbrengen. As he listened to what the caller was saying, one could readily see his face changing colors. Deep furrows appeared in his brow and two minutes later he hung up. When he looked up, his eyes looked tired but determined.

He said to R’ Razla, “She does not have a mohel for tomorrow.”

The smile on R’ Razla’s face disappeared in an instant. The network of Bris Yosef Yitzchok’s mohalim is global and it had never happened before that someone who called the organization was left without a mohel.

The question was, what to do on Thursday night, when the bris was supposed to take place the very next morning and there was no return flight to Florida that would land before Shabbos.

R’ Razla called the woman back and told her that unfortunately it did not look as though the bris would take place the next day with a mohel from their organization. The woman sadly told him that she had called many other mohalim but each one referred her to someone else. The only one who agreed to travel to Mobile would do so the following Tuesday. “If that’s the situation, then I would like you to do the bris even if it’s next Monday or Tuesday,” she said.

R’ Razla felt very badly. Since he started circumcising babies, he had never postponed a bris. He made every effort so that Jewish babies had a bris on the eighth day. Even if he couldn’t make it, he made sure another mohel went instead of him. But what could he do now?

He said, “Give me thirty minutes to think about what to do.”

He shut off his phone and began to pray in his heart to be able to resolve the situation. He reminded himself that on this day, his mazal was ascendant.

Filled with a holy determination to do everything possible so the bris would be on time, he shushed all the people at his farbrengen and asked to speak. He told them the story and said, “Surely one of you knows someone with a private plane … Please try really hard to think. If we can get a private plane, we can use it for a mitzva and perform a bris on time for a Jewish baby in Mobile, Alabama.”

There was silence. His heartfelt words made a strong impression on everyone. Then suddenly, a babble of voices filled the room. Various ideas were thrown about. Phones were picked up and within a short time, the hoped-for plane was found. It was a very light private jet (VLPJ) that travels at high speeds, which could make the trip in an hour and a half each way.

Within less than an hour, the details were arranged with the pilot and the flight was scheduled for the next morning at 9:00.

In the spirit of the spirits imbibed at the farbrengen, the participants decided to do it even better and have a minyan of them attend the bris and even bring food for the seudas mitzva. Each of those present donated $1000 toward the cost of the expensive flight.

Mrs. Shani Huebner got the good news and was thrilled; she burst into tears which could be heard quite well in Florida. She couldn’t get over the chesed: not only would the bris take place on time, but R’ Razla would be the mohel, just as she wanted. She promised to pay toward the cost of the flight.

PART III

R’ Razla flew many times in his life, thanks to being a mohel. Every time, he asks the Rebbe for a bracha through the Igros Kodesh. This time too, he asked for a good trip and to return before Shabbos.

In the Rebbe’s answer it said “good trip” with a mention about checking things out well since not everything is as it seems.

R’ Razla did not know what that meant. He thought it over and thought maybe it had to do with the Jewish status of the mother of the baby.

When the farbrengen was over at 1:00 in the morning, he called the mother back to verify her being Jewish. He went over all the details even though he had already done so in their first conversation. The results were the same, she was Jewish.

Friday morning, a minyan got up early to daven and then immediately left for the airport. Upon arriving there, they looked for “their” airplane and to their great disappointment, the plane that awaited them was not the high-speed jet they had arranged the night before with the pilot but a far slower propeller plane (turboprop).

It was too late to insist on the plane they had agreed upon and having no choice, they boarded the plane and hoped for the best.

During the flight, their fears were realized as the pilot was very protective of his new plane and flew at a low speed so as to preserve his new engine. This was despite the passengers’ begging him to hurry up. The group landed safely at 2:30 instead of 10:30. And Shabbos would be at 7:00. The pressure was on.

They rushed to the Huebner home where the bris was performed. Despite the time pressure, everyone involved was very moved.

At this point, the mother said to R’ Razla that she was an assimilated Jew whose apparent connection to Judaism was minimal. She added that when she called R’ Razla and he asked her for thirty minutes, that was the first time in her life that she prayed to G-d. She asked that He give R’ Razla the strength and will to overcome all the obstacles and come.

When he called her back and told her he would come and with a minyan no less, she saw that her prayer had been answered.

As soon as the seuda was over, the group rushed back to the airport. They got to the plane far later than they had originally plan and implored the pilot to go as fast as possible.

This time, he acceded to their request. Thankfully, the wind was in their favor. They landed at 6:20, forty minutes before Shabbos.

R’ Yaron Amit had already given up on his plan of returning home to Bal Harbor and spent Shabbos with R’ Razla. R’ Razla served as the driver and drove everyone home. He sped home, driving most of the way on the road shoulder, circumventing lines of cars and ignoring the likelihood of a police car showing up and stopping him. He was sure that Hashem would help him. And so it was.

They made it to R’ Razla’s house exactly at candle-lighting time.

PART IV

The story did not end with a bris mila.

One mitzva leads to another and Mrs. Huebner left her gentile husband, met a Jewish man who was also beginning to get interested in Judaism and they married. They moved to Eretz Yisroel and are growing in their Jewish practice.

The baby is now eight years old. He goes to a religious school.

This is the power of mesirus nefesh to do the mitzva of mila on time.

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