Pomp and Circumcision
The mohel showed up at around 4:30 pm, give or take, and while we waited for the rabbi to arrive, he went over post-operation care with Noah's parents. The rabbi arrived at a little after 5:00. I had the honor of holding Noah's legs still during the circumcision, which meant that I got the closest view. It was both amazing and beautiful on the one hand, and horrifying on the other.
Every man in the room felt some sypathetic pain there I think. At one point, the mohel had what appeared to be a pair of scissors in his hand, and that's when I just looked at Noah's face and tried to calm him down and comfort him. But I did see part of the circumcision. I mean, I was holding Noah's legs, how could I not? And let me tell you, I'm still occasionally twitching from the memory of yesterday..
But on the other hand, it is truly a beautiful and quintessentially Jewish ceremony. We're welcoming Noah into our family and the Jewish community. And that is a very happy occasion. Why is it done? Because of this passage in Genesis (17:1-14):
"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."
Noah recovered amazingly quickly. During the ritual he wailed like a banshee, but immediately after when his mother picked him up, he quieted down. There was an anesthetic applied and the mohel assured us he didn't feel pain, just pressure, and that he was just cold and uncomfortable. That's hard to imagine of course, but I guess he does this all the time so he would know.
During the baby naming that followed, a number of us teared up as the rabbi spoke. And Noah received as his Hebrew name Yosef, after my grandfather. Afterward, we gnoshed on fruit salad, challah, kugel, and cookies.
It was a taxing emotional experience, definitely. But beautiful. I offer my congratulations again to Noah's mom and dad. He's a beautiful, perfect baby, and we're so happy to have him as part of the family!
One interesting, amusing thing, the mohel's name sounded like "Max Mince"... I think it was actually "Mintz". But still...