Nov 8, 2009

Mi K'Amcha Yisrael

There was a great and very moving story in the Mishpacha newspaper that I want to share with you.

The article was about how more and more doctors are performing bris mila in hospitals, and how it is a dangerous but growing phenomenon.

They spoke to a young mohel (23 yrs old) who works as a mohel in the army. Many of the circumcisions he performs in the army are for soldiers of Russian background who are uncircumcised who now want to get their bris.

The mohel told a story about a recent bris he performed on a Russian.

The soldier tells him that in the Soviet Union there was a mohel who was moser nefesh to perform the bris on as many children as he could, secretly of course, putting his life in danger. if he would be found out, it would be a death sentence for him.

One day he receives a message telling him to arrive to a certain building at a certain address.

he thought to himself that the gig is up. he has been found out and he is about to receive his punishment for the crime of performing bris mila in the Soviet Union.

He goes on the designated day to the address specified. He is met in the building by a senior KGB officer. The officer tells him we know what you have been doing, performing bris mila on Jewish children. We have brought you here because we are a group of officers who want bris mila performed on our children.

The officer brought the stunned mohel into a room where there were 10 other officers and a bunch of children and babies).

The soldier concluded the story in tears saying he is the child of one of those babies who had been circumcised in that room by the mohel who was moser nefesh for mila, and now he wants a bris.

Mi K'amcha Yisrael!


  1. The story about the Russian mohel was nice but why is it a "dangerous but growing phenomenon" that doctors are performing brissim in hospitals? It's actually the norm for chilonim to have the bris done in the hospital by a doctor with only a few family members in attendance and have a big party at a later date (we just went to such a "bris" for my husband's business partner)

    As far as I know, the doctor/mohel does an actual bris, not just a circumcision, it's just in a hospital, not a shul or catering hall.

  2. if what you are saying is true, then they are only concerned about the parnasa of the mohalim.

    I understood that they are performing a medical procedure and not following halachic ritual.

    Truth is I did not read the article too carefully and am not sure. At the time I was wondering why not just solve the problem by training the doctors to do proper mila.

    but I understood the problem to be that the doctors are not doing halachic mila. I might be mistaken.

  3. Hmm, from what I understand it's pretty commonplace for the hospital doctors to perform mila, but I don't have hard stats to back that up, but I doubt Mishpacha has stats to back up there claim either. I know it's common for close family members to attend chiloni mila, so if they were just performing a medical procedure, there would be no need for family to attend.

    They might not do it according to charedi interpretation of halacha, but I do think it's bare bones mila.

  4. "bare bones mila"

    snicker snicker. I like it.

    I will check if I still have the paper and if I do, will see what the claim actually was.

    It wasnt really relevant to the story, so I dont know why i wrote it..

  5. Oy, believe me when I say, that really was an unintentional pun.

  6. Is there anything believable in the story from Mishpacha Magazine that you posted.

    The story about the Russian Mohel sounds implausible on many different levels, and Mishpocha magazine aren't exactly known for dealing with the strict historical accuracy of the stories that they publish.

  7. I don't see why not to believe it. tell us what is not credible about this story..

    Of course, even if it is not true, many hold that stories can be made for inspirational purposes or for teaching a lesson, though it would then lose its "amazing" quality.

  8. i am confused - why did the soldier need a second bris?

  9. he was a child of one of those babies, but he himself had never been circumcised

  10. Shalom, Cherry HillNovember 09, 2009 7:12 AM

    To Commenter Abbi,

    The question that one must ask is when the circumcision is being done? If it's in the hospital, then it's probably not on the 8th day--please see Genesis 17:12 (And at the age of eight days, every male shall be circumcised to you throughout your generations...). That's directly from the Torah, not 'Chareidi interpretation of Halacha'.

  11. I'm a little concerned that if the bris is being done in the hospital by a doctor, is anyone checking that the mother is Jewish by halachic standards? Would the doctor care enough to ask?
    This could result in non-Jewish children having bris milah,,, which could lead to all kinds of confusion.
    I think it should be left to the rabbanut.

  12. rw,

    the likelihood of the mother not being halakhically jewish is pretty slim amongst the chilonim, not so much by the russians, but still.

    by telling ppl not to do it the hospital and leaving it to rabbanim / mohelim, you may decrease the likelihood that it happens at all (for some families)


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