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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Two Week Disconnection

I am off to the East Coast for Shabbos, and then to Eretz Yisroel for a week. I don't expect to have access to the net during that time.

For Divrei Torah on the two Parshios I will be out of town for, please see

For Parshas Shemos:

Din Oneis by Goyim

Serving God through Worldly Occupations

Why Yisro Took an Escaped Criminal to be His Son-in-Law

Bris Millah and the Geula from Mitzrayim, Bris Millah and Korban Pesach

For Parshas Va’eira:

Who Names the Baby;" and "Who Pays for a Wedding" and "What Should a Wedding Invitation Look Like" , with pictures of wedding invitations Reb Chaim Brisker and Reb Leizer Yudel sent out for their children's weddings (and two from Klausenberg and Munkatch.)

Lust or Apathy; Which is More Dangerous?

I also recommend and for worthy Torah thoughts, and for serious hashkafa thinking. There is also for a great collection of shiurim, and to hear Harav Moshe Brown, a walking, talking Sefer Torah, saying a Daf Yomi Shiur.


Chaim B. said...

Have a nice trip!

Anonymous said...

I will Put an interesting topic up for fun.
Story from Yeshiva world
A female Mohel. Well now the “State of Israel” had it’s first ever “Brit Milah” done by a woman. Read and be sick. Nebach….. Back in 1997 when she began performing ritual circumcisions, Rochelle Schwartz became only the second woman in Canada to break into the male-dominated practice.Recently, she laid claim to another pioneering initiative that she’s likely the first woman in modern times to perform a Bris Milah in the State of Israel.“It was the highlight of my career to have the honour and the privilege of doing a brit milah as a woman in Israel,” she said.Adding to the satisfaction for the Toronto-area doctor was the fact that the child was her cousin’s baby and that her elderly aunt, the baby’s grandmother, was present.“It was beautiful, emotional,” Schwartz said.Schwartz has returned from Israel, basking in the glow of the very special life-cycle event. Not only did she perform the Bris before family and friends, she impressed her Israeli relatives with the inclusive ceremony that she has developed over the years.Her aunt, Radina, “led the blessing with me. It was so nice.”Schwartz’s service goes beyond what might be expected at a standard brit. She refers to passages in the biblical book of Genesis on the topic, explaining in some detail the reasons behind the the ritual and referring as well to key midrashes Her service is egalitarian and participatory, she said. “I incorporate women into the ceremony.”For many Israelis, it was an educational experience, she added.Dorothy Greenbaum, president of the National Organization of American Mohalim, said, “we are so incredibly proud of Rochelle for her breakthrough work in Israel, being what we believe was the first woman mohel to perform a bris in Israel.“This is a country that sadly needs a Reform progressive voice and I know the baby, the family and the tradition were in extremely good hands with Rochel.Greenbaum, a physician, added, “Hopefully it’s a first step towards training Reform mohalim in Israel so that progressive Jews there will have an option” that “is sensitive to modern families and [offers] the best of medical techniques.”Canadians have become accustomed to Schwartz’s service. She performs an average of three brits per week for Reform and Conservative Jews, and at her circumcision clinic, she does another eight every second Friday for non-Jews, many of them Muslims.Prior to departing for Israel, Schwartz contacted the representative of Israel’s ministry of health in Jerusalem who has jurisdiction over mohalim. She learned there were no impediments to her performing the ritual in Israel – mohalim are unregulated and pretty well anyone can claim to be one.Based on her research, Schwartz believes no other woman in modern Israel has performed a ritual circumcision. Of course, there was Tzipporah, but that was in biblical times and it was Moses’ son who was circumcised.
Now the Halacha
Can A Woman Be A Mohel?-It was discussed in a shiur whether a woman can do mila. In Parshas Shemos we read how Tzippora gave her son a bris. The gemara in Avodah Zara (27a) has a machlokes whether a woman can be a mohel. The gemara asks, according to the opinion that a woman can’t do the mila, how do you understand the ma’aseh with Tzipporah? The gemara gives two answers, either a) Tzipporah asked someone else to do it b) Tzipporah started and Moshe finished the mila.
Machlokes Rishonim-How do we pasken? There is a machlokes Rishonim on this issue. Tosafos brings the opinion that a woman can not do the mila. This is also the shitta of the S’mak and Hagahos Mordechai. The Rif and Rosh (at the end of Perek 19 in Shabbo) and the Rambam pasken a woman could do the mila only if a man is not present. If there is a man around, the man should do the mila.
Mechabeir vs Rema-Both the Mechabeir and Rema (Y.D. Siman 264) pasken a woman could do the mila . However, the Rema adds on that the minhag is a woman should not do the mila. The Shach asks what is the Rema adding on to the Mechabeir. The Mechabeir would not disagree with the Rema.The Aruch Hashulchan writes that the nafka mina between teh Mechabeir and rema is in acase where there is no male mohel in town but there is a male mohel in a different town. According to the Mechabeir one would not need to go to a different town to find a mohel and according to the Rema one should go to the other town because that is how the minhag evolved. Accordingto this the Rema would hold there is nothing wrong with a woman doing the mila, just teh minhag is that she doesn’t.The Sefer HaBris gives a different hesber based on the Ra’avyah. Teh Ra’avyah understands teh Rema that he is being machmir for the shitta that a woman is posul. Therefore, we don’t use a woman because maybe she really can’t do the mila. The Mchabeir would hold that m’ikkar hadin a woman is kosher to do the mila but it is better to use a man.
Tichilas B’P’sul V’Sofo B’Kashrus-The gemra in Avodah Zara suggested that Tzipporah started the mila and Moshe finished the mila. This leads to the question, can a posul (an akum) start the mila if a kosher mohel finishes the job. Both teh Shut Beis Ya’akov (ayin Pischei Teshuva) and the Ohr Sameiach (hilchos mila)address this question. The both bring a rayah from the gemara in AZ that you could do this. However, the Ohr Sameiach points out that it would not work on Shabbos. On Shabbos, machshirei mila that can be done before Shabbos are not allowed to be done on Shabbos. (l’moshol if the mila knife breaks on Shabbos you can’t bring a new one if it involves carrying). Therefore, when a posul starts the mila it has the staus of machshirei mila since there is no mitzvah for the posul to do the mila. This machshirei mila could have been done before Shabbos (even though it would have been before day 8, since a posul mohel is doing the mila who cares when he starts it). Therefore, a posul can’t start the mila on Shabbos.The Sefer Habris brings a teshuva from the Yidei Moshe that disagrees. He says this question is based on the machlokes in Chullin whether “yesh l’shchitah m’tichila ad sof” or “aino ella l’sof”. Since we pasken “yesh l’shchitah m’tichila ad sof”, we need a kosher mohel to do the whole mila.Obviously the Ohr Sameiach disagrees with the comparison. I’ll leave this question hanging. How would the Ohr Sameiach answer the kasha from shechita?
Related Story-“Hassidic Tales of the Holocaust” by Yaffa Eliach:One of the forced laborers in the camps relates that one day he heard frightening cries of anguish the likes of which he had never heard before. Later he learned that on that very day a selection had been made — of infants to be sent to the ovens. We continued working, tears rolling down our faces, and suddenly I hear the voice of a Jewish woman: “Give me a knife.”I thought she wanted to take her own life. I said to her, “Why are you hurrying so quickly to the world of truth…” All of a sudden the German soldier called out, “Dog, what did you say to the woman?”“She requested a pocketknife and I explained to her that it was prohibited to commit suicide.”The woman looked at the German with inflamed eyes, and stared spellbound at his coat pocket where she saw the shape of his pocketknife. “Give it to me,” she requested. She bent down and picked up a package of old rags. Hidden among them, on a pillow as white as snow, lay a tender infant. The woman took the pocketknife, pronounced the blessing — and circumcised the child. “Master of the Universe,” she cried, “You gave me a healthy child, I return him to You a worthy Jew.”

Chaim B. said...

>>>I’ll leave this question hanging. How would the Ohr Sameiach answer the kasha from shechita?

I think the Kli Chemdah asks this kashe.

Anonymous said...

I would love to See the Teretz (HINT,HINT(;)

Chaim B. said...

The Kli Chemdash is a long piece, but I'll give you a different teirutz from the sefer Mishmeres Chaim. By shechita the ma'aseh shechita is the mitzvah and must be done b'kashrus. By milah the mitzvah is the totza'ah of removing the arlah which is the mitzvah and therefore so long as part of the act was done by a bar chiyuva it is OK.

I would have thought you could distinguish between the psuk of an aku"m (who the Rambam seems to reject completely) and the psul of a woman. A woman is included in the parsha of milah, but she has a psul because of himol-hamal yimol. An aku"m is mufka completely from the parsha.