Saturday, April 05, 2008

Meeting my Mohel

I met my mohel, Rabbi Weinberger, this past Shabbos. This is not usually news that people write home about, but I have a history with mine that makes running into him a bit more interesting.

The legend goes as follows:

After he was done editing me into a Jew, I was whisked away to whatever post-op procedure they had for me and the Rabbi commenced with his cleanup. Problem was, he was missing a single instrument, the very knife he used to perform the circumcision. He looked high, he looked low, it was nowhere to be found. I wonder if he ever wondered if he may have left it in my diaper or something, much like doctors are sometimes reputed to leave their surgical instruments inside their patients. Had he done so, that feature would have been added to the story as told to me, so he probably didn't.

He gave up after a few minutes, sealed up his valise minus his knife, and departed. I'm sure he had replacements and didn't worry too much about missing just one knife.

Eighteen years later, the bench on which my sandik sat broke and out of the crevice that was the faultline, the knife came tumbling, with my blood still upon it.

A person on scene, who happened to also have been on scene those eighteen years before and remembered the details of how the knife went missing, retrieved the knife, contacted the Rabbi and delivered it to him. The Rabbi, obviously c0nsidering these events quite mysterious and somehow meaningful, made a place for the knife in his breakfront at home where it remains to this day.

I had met him once previously. My folks (re)introduced me to him a few years ago and he regaled me with this story.

Back to this past Shabbos:

My neighbors had a baby boy (mazel tov!) and I was invited to the Shalom Zachor and Bris. While waiting for events to get started at the Bris, in whooshes Rabbi Weinberger!

As a complete aside, the ways in which Litvaks and Chasidim perform brises vary so incredibly, I'm suprised either party considers the other's brissim perfectly legal.

Litvaks prepare seven hours earlier, have at the ready 34 clamps, 17 scissors, 11 knives, surgical gloves and piles of disinfectants. They then address the organ with all manner of shiny metal devices before clamping and performing the bris.

Chasidim whoosh in four seconds before showtime, as if they've just performed a bris and are zooming out to another, with a valise manufactured in the precambrian era, have one knife, no gloves and some yellow powder. They address the organ from all angles like Tiger Woods addresses a putt on a curvy green, then swoop in (clamp shmamp!) and have it done in less than four seconds.

Back to our story:

The Rabbi whooshes in, does his whoosh bris, is about to whoosh out, but I tap him on the shoulder and he wooshes around.

The conversation goes like this:

Me: Hello Rabbi Weinberger, do you remember who I am?
Rabbi: [Pauses, looks me over]
Me: The knife story?
Rabbi: Boydik! (that's how you say "Bodek" in Chasidish)
Me: Yes!
Rabbi: Oyoyoy! Of course I remember you! Vait, hoo-ha, how long ago vuz dis story? Vait...let me think...uh! Parshas Emor it vuz, almost eggsectly toity-t'ree years ago. You vill be toity-t'ree imertzeshem in two weeks!
Me: [Jaw on floor]

And now you know why running into my mohel might be a litte more special for me than it might be for other people.


At 5:38 PM, Blogger Jake said...

t is a very cool story

At 7:57 PM, Blogger Me said...

Thank you. It's nice to have it recorded in some kind of medium rather than just my memory.

At 8:36 PM, Blogger Jake said...

my brother wonders if its the same R' Weinberger that he uses (it probably is, no?) He enjoyed the story as well.

At 9:32 PM, Blogger Me said...

Does your brother use a spry 80 year-old long bearded beaming-smile chasidish fellow? Might be him!

At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can tell a story and write about 72 you know whats and get the same reaction. Where the hell is YOUR BOOK!??????

At 9:19 AM, Blogger Me said...

I know I have the book gene somewhere inside of me. I just have to find it and exploit it. I promise you I will.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Michael Spilzinger said...

The Mohel for my sons will never forget when he did my oldest son's Bris.

When he was born, I called R. Paysach Krohn (who does it the Litvack way I believe). He was going to be out of town the day of the bris so instead asked if his son-in-law - also a Mohel (I hope!) - could do it instead.

The night before the Bris Rabbi Krohn called me and asked if he could do the Bris himself after all. He didn't have to explain why his trip out of town was cancelled - that day was September 11, 2001...

The next day, woth a bit of trepidation in the atmosephere, R. Krohn brought my Yisrael Menachem into Brisso Shel Avraham Avinu. Oddly enough, nobody scooted off to work grabbing a bagel. Nobody seemed to have any work to go to.

Now, almost every time I see the Maggid, a smile of recognition crosses his face as he points to me and says "September 11th!".

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Me said...

Wow. I'm speechless. Wow.


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