The Full Wiki

Mohel: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A mohel (Hebrew:מוהל, plural mohelim, pronunciation: moy'el, mo'hel) is a Jewish man trained in the practice of Brit milah (circumcision).


Biblical origins

For Jews, circumcision is mandatory, as it is prescribed in the Torah:

  • In the Book of Genesis as a mark of the Covenant between God and the descendants of Abraham: "Throughout all generations, every male shall be circumcised when he is eight days old...This shall be my covenant in your flesh, an eternal covenant. The uncircumcised male whose foreskin has not been circumcised, shall have his soul cut off from his people; he has broken my Covenant"[1] and
  • In Leviticus: "God spoke to Moses, telling him to speak to the Israelites: When a woman conceives and gives birth to a boy...And on the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised."[2]


Biblically, the infant's father (avi haben) is commanded to perform the circumcision himself. However, as most fathers are not comfortable or do not have the training, they designate a mohel as a delegate. The mohel is specially trained in circumcision and the rituals surrounding the procedure. Many mohelim are doctors or rabbis (and some are even both) or cantors. However, all are required to receive appropriate training both from the religious and medical fields.

Traditionally, the mohel uses a knife and not a scissor to circumcise the newborn; glass was never used. Today, doctors and some non-Orthodox mohalim use a perforating clamp before they cut the skin. The clamp makes it easier to be precise and shortens the recovery time. However, Orthodox mohalim have rejected perforating clamps, arguing that by crushing and killing the skin it causes a great amount of unnecessary pain to the newborn, cuts off the blood flow completely, which according to Jewish law is dangerous to the child and strictly forbidden, and also renders the orlah (foreskin) as cut prior to the proper ritual cut.


The Conservative movement also certifies mohelot (pl. of mohelet, f. of mohel).

In Orthodox Judaism, it is preferential or possibly required in Jewish law that males carry out the procedure on male children.


In The Joys of Yiddish, author Leo Rosten repeats a couple of old jests about the mohel:

  • The saying, "The rabbi gets the salary, and the mohel gets the tips."
  • The story of a man with a malfunctioning watch who goes into what looks like a repair shop, but the shop owner informs the man that he's a mohel. The man asks why there is a clock in the window. The mohel answers, "What would you put in the window?"


  1. ^ Genesis 17:1-14
  2. ^ Leviticus 12:1-3


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also mohel



Proper noun


  1. One of the (major) islands of the Comoros

See also


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address