Monday, June 21, 2010

More details about the bris...

A lot of people wanted to know how I was successful convincing my wife to name our son after the holy rebbe of Piaseczna, Reb Kalonymos Kalman. After all, it's not a very common name.

Aside from the fact that he was a very holy Jew who has had a tremendous influence on my life, we still had to deal with the issue of our custom to name after deceased relatives. Our bechor was named after my wife's father's father; this time it was my turn. My father's father is still alive (until 120, Amen!), and my mother's father shares the same name as my father-in-law who is thankfully still with us.

Since I had this opportunity, I begged my wife months ago that - if it is indeed a boy - we should name him after Reb Kalonymos Kalman. She was resistant, yet she understood how important it was to me that I honor this man in such a way.

In any event, our son was born a half hour after sunset on motzei Shabbos, 1 Tammuz, 5770. I checked to see which relevant yahrtzeits (anniversary of deaths) there were on that day, and a chill ran up my spine.

1 Tammuz is the yahrtzeit of the author of the Meor V'Shemesh ( a seminal book in chassidic literature): Reb Kalonymos Kalman Epstein, a major disciple of Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk, and the great grandfather (and namesake) of Reb Kalonymos Kalman Shapira.

Now tell me that that isn't a sign! Just to be sure, I asked a rav whether I should lend this credence, and he told me that I could take this as a sign with confidence.

I also had the tremendous z'chus (merit) to perform the chituch (the actual circumcision) on my son this time. I had really wanted to do it last time, but since everything was touch and go in terms of scheduling, there was no opportunity for a real tutorial. This time around, I followed our mohel to several other "jobs" he had last week. He showed me how to hold the blade, how to manipulate the blade and move it along the protective shield (there is a steel shield that simultaneously hold the foreskin in place and protects the rest of the member) so that there is one fluid motion, to ensure that there is a clean cut, and that the pain is minimal.

I stayed up the whole night before the bris, as is customary in many communities; there is this concept that the night before the bris there is a need for extra protection from malevolent spirits, so the father stays up and learns and prays.

I learned about milah, put the finishing touches on my speech, and then went to the mikvah. I had special intentions while underwater - it is said that one of the most potent times for prayer is while completely immersed in the waters of the mikvah (this resembles the womb, which is the closest thing in the physical world to the spiritual world)- and when I got back home, I recited Rebbe Nachman's Tikkun HaKlali.

The actual cutting is pretty straightforward; as described above there really isn't any marging for error, thankfully. Plus, I was performing the circumcision under the watchful eye of the mohel, who is a very competent, careful man, as well as a big Torah scholar. It felt wonderful to be such an active part in this great mitzvah - in reality, the obligation is on the father of the child, but most people are not trained, or are unwilling...

I hope that my performance of this bris will serve as a tikkun for the wrongdoings of my youth...


yitz.. said...

kol hakavod on doing the mitzwah yourself!! :)
(and on winning the discussion about the name.. but more a kol hakavod to your wife for accomodating your wishes in this case!)

ramchal said...

Mazal tov again! the speech is wonderful and u shouldd have much nachas from the young kloinimis kalman.