Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Are female mohels halachically okay?

Jewish law does not forbid a woman from serving as mohel, although it seems to be discouraged. Rabbi Daniel Korobkin of Kehillat Yavneh in Los Angeles points to Yoreh De’ah 264:1 in the Shulchan Aruch. “Two opinions are brought,” he says, one that says a bris done by a woman is kosher, and one that says it’s not. “But both agree that whenever a Jewish male is available, a woman should not be used,” he concludes. That preference for a male has, over time, become custom that assumed the force of law. It’s the way things are done: In Orthodox circles, a brit milah takes place in the presence of a minyan, or group of 10 Jewish men. Women often stay in a separate room during the ceremony, or in a part of the main room separated by a mechitzah, and join the men afterwards. Throughout history, however, when a male mohel was not available women have stepped in. One prominent Orthodox rabbi, who declined to be named, spoke of an Orthodox woman physician who circumcised boys while visiting the former Soviet Union, and of a nurse who performed ritual circumcisions in post-World War II Europe. There are many other such cases, he added. Mohels are accepted by popular acclaim of the community, not by admission into any professional organization.

1 comment :

  1. See shemot ch 4
    25 Then Zipporah took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet; and she said: 'Surely a bridegroom of blood art thou to me.' 26 So He let him alone. Then she said: 'A bridegroom of blood in regard of the circumcision.' {P}


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