Why should every Jewish Bris Milah be performed by a qualified Certified Mohel (Ritual Circumciser)
Should I choose A Doctor or a Mohel?
"Every Jewish father is obligated to circumcise his own son, just as Abraham circumcised his own son, Isaac. However, most fathers are not trained to circumcise. So we invite a mohel to serve as a shaliach, a stand-in for the father. A mohel is an observant Jew who has studied the texts and laws of bris milah; the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the penis (and related organs); and the techniques of circumcision."
A mohel is an expert specially trained in the medical and surgical techniques of circumcision, who does the circumcision for Jewish babies. Circumcision for Jewish babies is called “bris milah” (brit-milah) which means “covenant of circumcision.” Therefore, he is the person who not only is specially trained in the medical and surgical techniques of circumcision but also the customs and traditions behind the “bris milah” (brit-milah). In Judaism, the act of circumcision is sacred; it is a mark of the covenant between God and the descendants of Abraham. The first person who performed the act of circumcision was Abraham, at 99-years-old he circumcised himself, as well as his sons, namely Isaac and Ishmael.
What is a Mohel?
The act of circumcision among Jewish boys is not an act of circumcision per se but rather something that is sacred.
That is to say, undergoing this process means that they are entering into a covenant between them and God. Thus, if you are a Jewish mother who has a child who needs to be circumcised, it is important for you to choose a mohel rather than a doctor due to the fact that in the Jewish belief, the act of circumcision itself, Bris Milah (Brit-Milah) is a religious observance.
Thus, the person who will do the procedure must know not only how to circumcise and be an expert in the latest medically approved surgical and sterilization procedures. But he must also be an expert in Jewish laws and customs pertaining to Bris Milah - the traditional circumcision and ceremony.
Why a mohel?
"Jewish law sees the moment of Bris Milah (Brit-Milah) as having a great spiritual impact upon the child."
"A doctor's medical circumcision, usually performed in the hospital within the first few days after birth, or/and not performed during daylight hours does not fulfill the requirements of a bris milah and is not considered a valid bris according to Jewish law."
"The bris should be performed by a Jewish person who understands, upholds and practices the tenets of the Jewish religion and is specially trained as a mohel."
A full time Mohel is a highly trained specialist in his field. As his sole profession is limited to circumcisions, he performs many more circumcisions than doctors do. A professional mohel’s expertise is held in such high esteem that doctors and surgeons will often seek a mohel’s advice and guidance when dealing with very difficult and serious cases.
A mohel performs the circumcision procedure much more swiftly and painlessly than doctors do. It takes a skilled Mohel 10-20 seconds to perform a traditional circumcision as there is "no crushing of tissue" involved as compared with a hospital circumcision or one performed by a doctor/mohel that can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes.
Mohel Vs. Doctor
"It is, moreover, acknowledged that for Jews the traditional bris might be less traumatic than common institutional approaches [Lander et al., 1998]. Jewish Mohelim take 10 seconds, with 1 second for excision, and 60 seconds on average for crying; "
Hospital and doctors circumcisions require giving the baby injections of anesthesia, a nerve block, because of the length of the procedure. While a bris - traditional circumcision, done by a mohel with proper technique the actual incision is so quick and precise that subjecting the baby to the injections is more painful than the circumcision itself. Also the potential for side effects or extreme reactions especially in newborns is substantial and tend to increase the level of discomfort of the baby.
For this reason many non-Jewish communities choose a mohel for their expertise in circumcision rather than a standard hospital or doctor’s office procedure, as it is much more rapid and less painful. A hospital circumcision takes place in a cold sterile setting while the mohel performs the procedure in the comfort of your home or synagogue in a loving warm and sterile setting.
Why A Mohel Should be Chosen Rather Than A Doctor
How To Choose A Mohel
In choosing a mohel, you should take into consideration the following:
He must be a well-trained "Certified Mohel" so that the safety of your baby would not be compromised.
You must recognize that he is an Orthodox Jew and, at the same time, a God-fearing person, who is personally observant, shomer torah umitzvot.
He must be trained in Jewish law, customs and traditions behind the “bris milah” (brit-milah). So he understands that “brit milah” (Jewish circumcision) is sacred and has a great spiritual impact on the child, and therefore performs the Bris Milah in accordance with the intentions as well as the methods of Jewish law.
You may contact Rabbi Markovits about traveling out to distant locations to perform a traditional circumcision. He travels great distances to perform Jewish Bris Milah circumcisions.
Where You Can Find A Mohel?
You can find a mohel by asking your friends, family, fellow synagogue members, or your Rabbi. However, If you live in a location where you cannot find a qualified mohel or you don’t know how to contact the mohel. Rabbi Nechemia Markovits may be able to help you find a mohel who can perform the circumcision. However, Rabbi Markovits will not assume responsibility or liability for such information. It is up to the family to do the proper research and make sure they are obtaining the services of a qualified experienced mohel.
Mazel Tov on the birth of your new child! May you merit bringing him into the covenant of Abraham.
Congratulations! You have chosen to use Rabbi Nechemia Markovits as the Mohel to perform the circumcision for your son.
Many people contact the Mohel well before the baby is born in order to become familiar with the many details involved in a Jewish circumcision (Bris Milah) and ceremony.
Upon receipt of your information you will receive a "Bris-Milah package" which includes: Bris-Milah Parent Guide, forms to fill out and checklist of items that you will need to prepare for the Bris Milah .
Upon the birth your child please contact Rabbi Markovits to finalize plans.