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Mohel

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A mohel (Hebrew: מוהל) is a Jewish man who performs the Jewish ritual of Brit milah. The Conservative Movement also certifies female mohelim.

Biblical originsEdit

For Jews, circumcision is mandatory, as it is prescribed in the Torah:

  • In the book of Genesis as a mark of the Covenant between God and the descendants of Abraham: "Throughout all generations, every male shall be circumcised when he is eight days old...This shall be my covenant in your flesh, an eternal covenant. The uncircumcised male whose foreskin has not been circumcised, shall have his soul cut off from his people; he has broken my Covenant" [1] (Genesis 17:1-14), and
  • In Leviticus: "God spoke to Moses, telling him to speak to the Israelites: When a woman conceives and gives birth to a boy...And on the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised." [2] (Leviticus 12:1-3).

FunctionsEdit

Biblically, the infant's father is commanded to perform the circumcision himself. However, as most fathers are not comfortable or do not have the training, they designate a mohel as a delegate. The mohel is specially trained and a specialist in circumcisions and the rituals surrounding the procedure. Many mohelim are either doctors or rabbis (and some are even both). However, all are required to receive appropriate training both from the religious and medical fields.

It is customary that, if possible, a mohel will perform his first circumcision on his own son, under the supervision of his own teacher. Even if his first circumcision isn't on his own son, if he has a son, he must perform the circumcision himself and not ask another mohel to do so.

Traditionally, in ultra-orthodox Judaism, the mohel would draw blood from the childs penis using his mouth to clean the wound after circumcision, a practice known as metzitzah b'peh ("suction by mouth"), Though for hygiene and social reasons a small pump is used today by most mohel.

External linksEdit

fr:Mohel he:מוהל nl:Moheel ja:モーヘール pl:Mohel yi:מוהל

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