brismilah.co.uk

Tel. 07831 861 790

email. mohel@brismilah.co.uk

בס’’ד

by Rabbi Uri Elinson

Certified Mohel, Circumcision Specialist


Home ~ The Bris ~ About Myself  ~ Preparation ~ FAQ ~ Feedback

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

When should we contact you to organise the Bris?

As soon as possible after the birth.

  

Will our baby be in pain afterwards?

I firmly believe that the baby does not feel the actual Bris,  if done swiftly by a proficient Mohel, and with the use of a small amount of topical liquid xylocaine. The baby may be upset because its legs are being held apart and soon comes back to himself once he has been picked-up and cuddled.  In my experience once your baby has had a few drops of wine and a feed,  it is all behind him.


Can our baby be given an anaesthetic?

Yes.  I use a topical xylocaine spary into the foreskin which I find very effective.  Injection anaesthetics carry risks and are painful to administer.   In my opinion, if the baby is circumcised in the traditional Jewish method by an experienced and proficient Mohel, which is very swift and does not involve the use of clamps or similar painful instruments,  then the risks associated with an injection are not warranted.   It is really not advisable to give such a young baby an injection into that part of the body.


I am concerned about the safety of circumcision.  Wouldn’t it be safer to have a doctor do it in the hospital?   Why a Mohel?

Many people ask this question, but have come to find that a kosher Bris is simply the safest and best option.

The rabbinic procedure for Brismilah (circumcision) has been established for centuries and has been flawlessly executed for millions of Jews in every era. Furthermore, today each Orthodox Mohel (ritual circumciser) undergoes extremely precise medical training. It is safer to use the services of a trained Mohel than a doctor because Mohalim (plural of Mohel) perform Brismilah’s far more frequently than do physicians, making them naturally more proficient.  Many Mohalim routinely perform several on a given day, hundreds per year, and several thousand over a career as specialists.


A Mohel performs a Brismilah using a Magen shield, and an Izmil (scalpel), which severs the skin safely, quickly, and efficiently --- within fifteen seconds, resulting in a minimum of pain. Doctors use a clamp or ring method, which takes several minutes, causes unnecessary pain, and can have serious health consequences. A letter from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued in August of 2000 states:-

“...although research suggests that circumcision is generally a safe procedure, we are concerned that some device-related complications have occurred. We have received 105 reports of injuries involving circumcision clamps between July, 1996 and January, 2000. These have included laceration, hemorrhage, penile amputation, and urethral damage.”

Note that it is precisely those clamps and rings to which Jewish Law objects and I couldn't agree more. Not only do these devices not conform to the strictures of Jewish law, but they really aren't safe for any type of circumcision. Under the best possible circumstances, the use of a clamp etc. makes the circumcision a far more lengthy and painful procedure.

Using the Jewish shield, the results are precisely the opposite from those of the clamp.  The foreskin is completely, safely, and painlessly isolated from the glans in a matter of seconds, so that inadvertent damage is not possible.

Every parent should also realise that Brismilah is not simply a medical procedure. It is also a religious practice. The words “Bris Milah” convey both spiritual and physical significance. the term 'Milah' refers to the act of circumcision itself.   The term 'Bris' means covenant, and refers to the assurance that G-d gave our Patriarch Abraham that his descendants would be G-d’s chosen people.

Any properly trained physician may perform a 'circumcision'.   But when a circumcision is performed without the proper religious elements and ceremony, the child does not fully enter into this covenant.   The procedure is meaningless in the religious sense.   To seal the Covenant, another ceremony has to be performed, in which all the blessings and prayers are recited. A drop of blood is also taken from his member (as is done with a convert who was circumcised previously).

The religious ceremony surrounding a Brit is very festive because it brings the child into the ancient Covenant with Abraham. The ceremony enables him to receive the higher spiritual elements that are a part of the Jewish soul.

Both of these aspects, medical and spiritual, should be given adequate consideration.   As I've explained, the kosher Bris is superior in both regards.


My wife and I are not very observant.  Does this pose a problem?

I serve all levels of the community.

 

This is our first child and someone mentioned that we have another Mitzvah (good deed) to perform when he is a month old.   Can you please explain?

Yes indeed you do have, and it is called 'Pidyon Haben',  redemption of the male first born (Exodus 13,13).   This usually takes place on the 31st day from the baby's birth.  If this is applicable then I can advise you further if you so wish.


How much do you charge?

You don’t really expect me to answer that on the web!


Can you provide any references?

I have many happy parents that can do so upon request.