Ethics

For the week ending 24 January 2009 / 28 Tevet 5769

Whose Brit is First?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: A new oleh immigrant to Israel approached the rabbi and asked him to arrange a brit for his eight-day old son. The rabbi asked him if he himself had ever had a brit. When he answered in the negative the rabbi persuaded him, after a strenuous effort, to agree to be circumcised. The only problem was that there was not enough time left in the day to circumcise both father and son. What was the right thing to do?

Answer: When this case was brought before the outstanding halachic authority Rav Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv of Jerusalem, he ruled that the father should be circumcised that day and his son the next day. Even though this meant that the brit of the son would not be on the eighth day as required by halacha, the rav's reasoning went like this.

Since the father neglected having a brit for so many years, and it took so much persuasion for him to finally consent to be circumcised, it can be assumed that he has a negative attitude towards this mitzvah. If he should be asked to wait till the next day there is a serious likelihood that he will back out and never have a brit for himself at all.

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