General Laws and FAQs about Circumcision

Who is a qualified mohel?
A mohel is an expert in the surgical aspects of Bris circumcision, and who has significant knowledgeable in the laws and customs pertaining to a traditional Bris circumcision and ceremony. Mohels have had unique significant training in the surgical field of urology as well as in advanced first aid. A mohel has to be trained and certified by a Master Teacher of Bris Circumcision, and needs to be tested on the Halachic Laws pertaining to the Bris circumcision.

Does Rabbi Levy perform Medical Circumcisions (Bris Milah) in the general Portland area?
Rabbi Levy has been the mohel for many Bris circumcisions throughout the state of Oregon.

Do Mohels work within a sterile environment?
One of the great advantages of using a mohel, is that the baby is circumcised in the comfort warmth and quiet of his own home. Therefore most Mohels attempt to create as sterile environment as possible while not losing the home advantage.
Almost all mohels have their tools sterilized through various techniques. Rabbi Levy always has his tools sterilized through an autocalve (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoclave) and works within a controlled relatively sterile environment. Due to the technical challenges in working with such a small limb, Rabbi Levy prefers to not wear surgical gloves, his hands however are frequently washed prior to during and after the Bris ceremony.

Who must do the Brit milah ceremony?
The Torah (Jewish Bible) places the primary obligation of performing the traditional Jewish Bris circumcision on the father. However, if he himself is not a qualified mohel, he then may delegate a qualified mohel to be his agent to perform the Bris circumcision for him. Once the father has delegated the mohel to do the Bris circumcision, the mohel is considered to be working completely on behalf of the father.

On Which day will the Mohel perform the Bris circumcision?
If the baby was born in good health then the proper day is the eighth day. Therefore, if a baby was born on Sunday at 1:00pm , the mohel should perform the Bris circumcision on the following Sunday at anytime between sunrise and sunset. Babies born through a cesarean delivery are not circumcised on Saturday (the Jewish Sabbath). If the baby is unwell, then the mohel should postpone the Bris circumcision for one week after the baby is declared by his physician to be in good health. When there is a doubt, the mohel would usually air on the side of caution.

Who was the first Mohel?
The sacred practice of traditional Bris Milah was first performed by the Jewish Patriarch Abraham, who was his own mohel, and the tradition has continued in every generation of Jewish people.

Who is not considered a traditional Mohel?
Today, there are many Jewish children circumcised by a non Jewish doctor in the hospital within two days after birth. However, Jewish tradition teaches us that the Bris circumcision should be performed on the eighth day and only by a qualified and certified mohel, who is Shabbat observant.

Is there a time when a Bris Circumcision is not counted?
In a case when the circumcision is performed prior to the eighth day, or in the evening, or by a non Shabbat observant person, the circumcision is not counted as a Bris Milah (circumcision) and a hatafa (drawing of a dash of blood, see below) should be done by a Jewish mohel.

When will the certified Mohel postpone the Bris circumcision?
In case of a significant issue regarding the health of the newborn baby, the Bris circumcision is postponed until a week after the child has completely recovered. This decision is determined by the physician in consultation with the Mohel. If the baby is jaundice (which may be noticed by a yellowish color in the face and upper body) then sometimes the circumcision is postponed just a day or two. Where issues of health arise, the parents should consult with the doctor pediatrician.

Where Will The Mohel Perform The Circumcision?
A Jewish bris ceremony (Bris Milah) may be done in any suitable location. Usually people choose to have the mohel perform the circumcision in their home, synagogue, or in a catering establishment.

How much does a mohel charge?
The honorarium a mohel receives for performing a Bris circumcision (Bris Milah) varies from mohel to mohel. Generally, an experienced mohel receives somewhere between $500 to $800 for the entire Bris circumcision ceremony. A mohel will usually take into account travel time when he travels a great distance. Rabbi Gadi Levy has never refused to perform a Bris circumcision for a Jewish child due to a parents inability to afford. Rabbi Levy has helped parents with a low income, make financial arrangements to help make a dignified Bris circumcision. There have been a number of cases where Rabbi Levy has performed a Bris circumcision (Bris Milah) at no charge.

Is Rabbi Levy an experienced Mohel?
Rabbi Gadi Levy is a notably experienced certified mohel who has been performing Bris circumcision (Bris Milah) in Israel, Colorado and Oregon for a number of years. In addition, Rabbi Levy can also connect you with a mohel in many other communities throughout the United States . Rabbi Levy does travel, and has performed circumcisions in Canada as well as other neighboring states.

Can a Mohel do adult Bris circumcision?
There are experienced mohels who do perform adult circumcision.
Aside from performing traditional Bris circumcisions on newborn children, Rabbi Levy can also be a mohel for older children and adults.
For more information on an adult Bris by Rabbi Levy, please call him at 720-315-4266.

Which surgical methods do mohels use?
Although there are various methods available for performing a regular circumcision, in Judaism one may only perform a Bris circumcision with a blade and shield. Rabbi Gadi Levy is a Mohel who employs the traditional method to perform the circumcision procedure, using a shield which may also be called a guard. During his training in Israel, the Chief Rabbi of Israel asked Rabbi Levy to remain loyal to this traditional Jewish method.This method is arguably the fastest way to perform the Bris circumcision procedure, as well as the most gentle for the child.
In unique instances due to the various physical characteristics, the mohel may modify his method a little in order to perform the Bris circumcision.

Which supplies do I need to have for the mohel?
Being that the supplies list varies from mohel to mohel, it is important to ask your mohel which supplies he wants you to have available for him. To see a list of supplies which Rabbi Levy’s requests, please download the complete Bris companion pdf.

Can you explain the recovery process when circumcision is done by a mohel?
It is the experience of Rabbi Levy that the recovery process from a Bris performed by a mohel is gentle and smooth. After the circumcision the mohel should give the parents instructions about after-care. It is the experience of Rabbi Levy that most babies resume their normal pre-circumcision routine soon after the circumcision.

Is the third day after a Bris performed by a by a mohel the most painful?
It is the experience of Rabbi Levy that the third day is not painful at all, and that most babies resume their normal pre-circumcision routine soon after the circumcision.

When will a mohel perform the circumcision (Bris Milah) on a baby delivered through a C-section?
Assuming that the baby is in good health, then the mohel will perform the Bris on the eighth day. The only exception to this rule is when the C-section occurred on the Sabbath or Jewish holiday. In such a case, the Bris is postponed to the next weekday. Therefore a baby born on the Sabbath would have his Bris performed by a mohel on Sunday which is the ninth day.

Does a mohel perform a circumcision (Bris Milah) on a convert?
One of the main steps of undergoing a Jewish conversion is having a circumcision. This circumcision needs to be done by a mohel. If the conversion is being done on an older convert, then it is necessary to have a mohel who is trained and experienced with circumcision on older children and adults. Rabbi Levy is a mohel with such experience.

When does the mohel draw only a drop of blood?
In cases when the person undergoing a Jewish circumcision has already been circumcised, then it is only necessary to release a drop of blood. This is often the case when a convert has already been circumcised. This procedure is called “Hatafa dam brit”.

Will a mohel perform circumcision on a Non-Jewish child adopted by Jewish parents?
If it is the intention of the parents to raise the child as a Jew, then a mohel could perform such circumcision. As this is a complex issue, it is important to contact the mohel and discuss such a circumcision with him.

Can the mohel perform the circumcision (Bris Milah) in a hospital?
Generally the circumcision ceremony is a family event performed in a home, catering establishment, or synagogue. There are some medical conditions which could require the circumcision to be performed in the hospital. Rabbi Levy has participated with Dr Duncan Wilkox in performing a Circumcision in the Operating Room of Childrens University, in Denver, In each case it would be best for the family to clarify the issue with their local hospital.

Is Rabbi Levy a mohel who is able to perform circumcisions (Bris Milah) outside Oregon?
Rabbi Levy has been the mohel for many Bris circumcisions outside the state of Oregon. He is a mohel with numerous families that have been completely satisfied with his services as a mohel.  In addition, he has experience as a mohel in Israel and Toronto, Canada.

Will a mohel perform the Bris circumcision if our family is not religious?
Rabbi Gadi Levy believes that each and every Jewish child is entitled to a proper traditional Bris circumcision by a qualified Jewish mohel regardless of the family’s level of religious observance. One of Rabbi Levy’s favorite quotes is “a Jew is a Jew is a Jew”

How Do I Locate A Mohel In My Area?
There are many people who live in locations where they cannot find a qualified mohel to perform the traditional Jewish Bris circumcision on their newborn baby boy. In some cases there is no qualified mohel to perform circumcision where they live. In other cases there may be a qualified mohel for circumcision in their area, but the family of the newborn baby boy does not know of the mohel and/or does not know how to contact the mohel.

Rabbi Gadi Levy may be able to help, by giving contact information for a Rabbi or mohel in various communities throughout the country. In many cases Rabbi Levy will be able to guide you to a mohel who can perform the Bris circumcision.

Rabbi Levy can not and does not assume responsibility or liability for such information. It is up to the family to do the proper research and make sure they are obtaining the services of a qualified experienced mohel.

Rabbi Levy has traveled great distances to be the mohel for Bris circumcision nd may be contacted about traveling out to distant locations to perform a traditional circumcision.

How do I choose a mohel?
When choosing a mohel, it is important to realize that you need an experienced professional in the surgical aspects as well as in the religious aspects of performing a traditional Jewish ceremony. You also want to be comfortable with the personality of the mohel who would be performing the ceremony.

Many mohels will provide you with testimonials and references from people who have used them and are personally acquainted with them. It is ideal to meet the mohel in person beforehand to gauge whether you are comfortable dealing with him. To set up a meeting with Rabbi Levy or for testimonials from people who are familiar with Rabbi Levy’s services as a mohel, please contact Rabbi Levy at 503-985-6229.

When do I contact the mohel?
Many people contact the mohel well before the baby is born in order to get to know the mohel, and also to become familiar with the many details involved in a Jewish Bris circumcision (Bris Milah) and ceremony. To schedule and reserve a mohel to perform the Bris, the mohel should be contacted as soon as possible after the baby is born.

Can I contact the mohel last minute?
Although it is not ideal to call the mohel last minute, Rabbi Levy has been flexible in helping parents to ensure their sons Bris will get done on time.

Can the mohel help us choose a Hebrew name?
A mohel or rabbi can be very helpful in guiding the parents to decide which Hebrew name to give the baby. Naming the baby is sometimes one of the more difficult decisions confronting the parents. Ones Mohel/Rabbi can often be very helpful in ensuring that everyone is comfortable and pleased with the name. Rabbi Levy is fluent in Hebrew and will gladly explain the deeper meanings behind various Jewish Hebrew names. Please feel free to contact Rabbi Levy about this topic.

What time will the mohel perform the circumcision?
The mohel will want to perform the circumcision on the eighth day (the day of birth is counted as day 1, therefore a baby is , during the daytime, at anytime between sunrise and sunset. After it is known exactly which day the circumcision will take place, then the parents and the mohel decide on a time that works well for both of them.

Do I need a Rabbi besides the mohel?
Although it is not necessary to have a Rabbi at the Bris, a Rabbi certainly helps guiding the parents to ensure a meaningful ceremony. Rabbi Gadi Levy is a certified Mohel and practicing Rabbi, he is available to give guidance and consultation for parents before during and after the Brit.

Do I have to watch the mohel perform the circumcision procedure?
It is not obligatory to watch the mohel perform the circumcision procedure. It is the experience of Rabbi Levy that some mothers choose not to be present when the mohel performs the circumcision procedure. This is perfectly acceptable.

Where can I find a mohel in Oregon?

Rabbi Levy is a certified mohel in Oregon, and performs the bris milah ceremony in cities throughout the state, including:

  • Portland
  • Salem
  • Eugene
  • Gresham
  • Hillsboro
  • Beaverton
  • Bend
  • Medford
  • Springfield
  • Corvallis
  • Albany
  • And more