Rosh Yeshiva Responds
Rabbi Linzer answers halakhic questions from rabbis and community members

11 04, 2023

Naming a Child Who Did Not Have a Bris Ceremony

April 11th, 2023|Milah, Yoreh De'ah|


Chicago, IL

A couple, whose wedding I officiated at a number of years ago, had a son two years ago. He was circumcised by a mohel but at the pediatrician’s office as a procedure. No formal ceremony happened. Now the parents want to give their son a Hebrew name. While naming usually happens at the bris, is there any way to give this boy a name without another ceremony (hopefully not hatafat dam brit or anything similar)?. Is there anything to do b’di’eved? The parents very much

9 05, 2021

Day of Brit When Father’s and Doctor’s Time Conflict

May 9th, 2021|Milah, Yoreh De'ah|


Washington, D.C.

A baby boy was born Wednesday night. Sunset was 8:04. The father initially thought he was born at 8:06, however, the birth certificate says 7:58. Does this qualify as a safeik?


In such a case we would follow the doctor’s recording of the time and rule that the birth occurred on Wednesday before sunset, and the brit will be on the following Wednesday.

To understand why, we have to consider two scenarios:

  1. The most likely scenario is that the father’s time is not the moment of halakhic birth. According to halakha, the halakhic time of birth is when the majority of
2 05, 2021

Using a Mohel Who is Not Shomer Shabbat

May 2nd, 2021|Milah, Yoreh De'ah|


New York, NY

In a small town without a traditional mohel nearby, would we be lenient on who the mohel is to avoid postponing a Shabbat brit milah? Would we allow a mohel who is not shomer Shabbat  (i.e. a Jewish doctor who does circumcision in coordination with local shuls)? What if the mohel live close enough to walk (~1.5 hour) but will likely drive? What if they use the Gomco clamp and not the Mogen clamp/shield?


This contains a lot of issues.

A. Postponing from Shabbat. This can definitely be done when necessary for appropriate halakhic reasons. For example, a number

11 04, 2021

Are There Limitations on an Uncircumsised Levi?

April 11th, 2021|Milah, Status, Yoreh De'ah|


Philadelphia, PA

A levi wasn’t circumcised because his parents are intactivists. Does the Rosh Yeshiva allow such a person to read from the Torah? Could they have the levi aliyah? Can they wash the kohen for birkat kohanim?


The basic pesak is that someone who does not have a brit milah, even if he is מומר לערלות, is only considered to be a mumar for one aveirah. He does not have a larger status of pasul.  See Shulchan Arukh YD 2:7. (The one exception might be whether he can be a mohel, see Rema in Shulchan Arukh YD 264:1.) There is a

14 03, 2021

Can a Geir Perform Hatafat Dam Berit On Himself?

March 14th, 2021|Geirut and Geirim, Milah, Yoreh De'ah|


Chicago, IL

Hopefully this is only a theoretical question. Can a geir perform hatafat dam berit on himself?


No. Since he is doing it, he is either definitely not yet a geir or it is a safeik whether he is yet a geir. Therefore, the hatafah does not work.

Regarding milah for a Jewish baby, the Shulchan Arukh (YD 264:1) says that the mohel has to be Jewish, but if he was not-Jewish the baby does not need a second milah. Some commentators understand that to mean that bedieved a non-Jew can be a mohel for a Jewish baby (See Taz there), but many

17 10, 2018

Should a Father Personally Circumcise His Son? – The Mitzvot of Bris and Milah

October 17th, 2018|Marriage and Family, Milah|

QUESTION: I am the father of a newborn beautiful baby boy.  The bris is coming up in a few days.  Since I have a mitzvah to give my son a bris, and the mohel is just an agent, is it better that I do the bris myself (after the mohel sets everything up, of course)?


ANSWER:  Mazal Tov to you, your wife, your new son, and your whole family.

A good way to approach your question is to start by looking at the blessing that the father makes during the bris ceremony, while the mohel is performing the circumcision.  “Blessed are you

4 01, 2018

May a Woman Be a Mohelet?

January 4th, 2018|Milah, Women, Yoreh De'ah|

May a woman be a mohelet?

Although women are not circumcised, they are members of the covenant that the Jewish people, have with God:

“You stand this day all of you before the Lord your God.. all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and the stranger that is in your camp… that you enter into covenant with the Lord your God…” (Deut. 29:10-12).

Men, women, children; Jews by birth and Jews by choice, are all part of the brit. In other words, we must distinguish between the brit and the milah.  Women do not have a milah; they are most definitely part of the