web analytics
April 26, 2015 / 7 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Q & A: The Sandak (Part VI)


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Our original question, however, concerns a person serving as sandak for his own child, so the grandfather’s objection cannot be based on such a consideration and is not applicable.

* * * * *

I have to admit that I have been at many brit milah and I don’t recall a father ever serving as sandak for his own son. Let us see how the Shulchan Aruch sets forth the order of the brit milah ceremony.

The Mechaber (Yoreh De’ah 265:1) states: “The mohel should recite the blessing ‘asher kideshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al ha’milah – who has sanctified us with His mitzvot and commanded us regarding the milah.’ The father of the child, between the time that the foreskin is cut and the priyah (the revealing of the corona), should recite ‘asher kideshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hachniso b’vriso shel Avraham Avinu – who has sanctified us with His mitzvot and commanded us to bring [the child] into the covenant of our patriarch Abraham.’ ”

The Rema (in his glosses, ibid) adds: “If the father of the child is not present at the brit, there is one (Rambam in Hilchot Milah) who says that another person should recite this blessing since [in the absence of the father] beit din is obligated to circumcise the child. And the custom in such a circumstance is that the one entrusted with holding the child [i.e., the sandak] recites this blessing. Similarly, if the father does not know how to recite the blessing, the [sandak] should recite the blessing even if the father is present.”

The father and the mohel are required to stand while they recite the blessing. However, if the sandak recites the blessing, then the custom is for him to sit. Custom also dictates that all present during the brit should stand. We derive this from the verse (II Kings 23:3) “vaya’amod kol ha’om ba’brit – and all the people stood at the brit.” (The brit referred to in this verse is the covenant that Josiah, king of Judah, reestablished between the people and God when he removed and destroyed all the idols from the Temple.)

A second reason for the father to stand at the brit is cited by the Mechaber (infra, Y.D. 265:9): in order to make known to the mohel that it is the father’s wish to appoint him as his agent to perform the mitzvah.

Now we seem to be faced with a contradiction. On the one hand, all present at the brit are required to stand (the father, mohel, and all others), and yet the sandak sits – even if he is the one reciting the blessing. There is no real contradiction, however, for two reasons: first, the verse is only an asmachta brought as a support for the practice, as the passage in Kings II is not discussing brit milah but another covenant with God. Second, the sandak, when reciting the blessing, is doing so at the instruction of another, whether it is the father or beit din. Thus, in either case, the sandak need not stand next to the mohel. We can add a third reason, which is probably the intent of the Rema, supra, 265:1. That reason is that, in actuality, there is no absolute requirement for the one reciting the blessing to stand, whether it is the sandak or the father himself.

In truth, even though the Mechaber and the Rema seem to take it as a given that the father does not perform the milah but rather appoints another (the mohel) to do the mitzvah on his behalf, what we see in the mishnah (Kiddushin 29a) is something different. It states: “All mitzvot of the son upon the father: men are bound by but women are exempt. All mitzvot of the father upon the son: both men and women are bound by.” The Gemara seeks to clarify: Surely it can’t be that only a son is duty bound in the mitzvah of kibbud av va’em but a daughter is exempt. The Gemara therefore explains that “what is meant is that regarding mitzvot incumbent upon the father to do for his son, men are bound by but women are exempt.”

The Gemara then lists the responsibilities of the father that are implied in our mishnah: “The father is obligated to circumcise his son, to redeem his [first born] son [from the kohenpidyon haben], to teach him Torah, find him a wife, teach him a trade [that would lead to gainful employment], and some even say to teach him how to swim. R. Yehudah adds: One who fails to teach his son a trade teaches him thievery.”

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: The Sandak (Part VI)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Children are asleep at last as adults in the Chabad House continue to deal with the crisis in Nepal.
Chabad Co-Emissary in Nepal Hopes for ‘Only Good News’ in Video
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

In her diary, Anne Frank wrote words that provided hope for a humanity faced with suffering.

Leff-042415

The Arizal taught this same approach, making the point that the Torah would never mention wicked people and their sins if there was not great depth involved from which we are to learn from.

Staum-042415

Humility is not achieved when all is well and life is peachy but rather when times are trying and challenging.

In order to be free of the negative consequences of violating a shvu’ah or a neder, the shvu’ah or neder themselves must be annulled.

“I accept the ruling,” said Mr. Broyer, “but would like to understand the reasoning.”

He feared the people would have a change of heart and support Rechavam.

Ramifications Of A Printers Error
‘The Note Holder’s Burden of Proof’
(Kesubos 83b)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

In this case one could reason that by applying halach achar harov we could permit the forbidden bird as well.

“What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon,” my husband remarked. “Well, baruch Hashem we are safe, there was no accident, and I’m sure there is a good reason for everything that happened to us,” I mused.

The answer to this question is based on one of the greatest shortcomings of man – self-limiting beliefs.

Myth that niddah=dirty stopped many women from accepting laws of family purity and must be shattered

In every generation is the challenge to purge the culture of our exile from our minds and our hearts

Rabbi Fohrman connects the metzora purification process with the korban pesach.

The day after Israel was declared a State, everyone recited Hallel and people danced in the streets.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Question: What if someone forgot to count sefirah Thursday evening but only realized after he finished davening Friday evening? The catch is that he accepted Shabbos early so that it is still light outside. Can he still count for Thursday evening and then count for Friday night with a berachah once it gets dark?

Pesach Bernstein
(Via E-Mail)

Question: What if a person counted the Omer but forgot to utter the blessing beforehand? Has he fulfilled his obligation? Incidentally, why do we recite a blessing for this counting but not for the “zayin nekiyim – seven clean days”?

M. Goldman
Miami Beach, FL

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-the-sandak-part-vi/2012/12/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: