Photo Credit: Rabbi Yehuda Machpud's Facebook page.
Mohel Rabbi Yehuda Machpud.

Rabbi Yehuda Machpud, grandson of one of the leaders of the Haredi Sephardi community, Rabbi Shlomo Machpud, on Monday told Israel Hayom that from the moment the public panic over the spread of the coronavirus had begun, many Israelis have been postponing their newborn sons’ circumcisions.

Rabbi Yehuda Machpud, who is a medical mohel, specializing in correcting problematic circumcisions, reported that “many people are calling me who want to postpone their child’s bris. This is a particularly large phenomenon and I hear about it from all the practitioners. People are fearful for the child after the bris, if he is exposed to the virus. They are afraid that they may become ill and be unable to care for the child, or that the mohel would infect the child.”

Rabbi Yehuda Machpud and his grandfather Rabbi Shlomo Mahfoud / Rabbi Yehuda Mahfoud’s website
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“Because my grandfather is one of the most recognized mohalim in Israel, many people call me all day long asking that I ask him if they can postpone the bris,” he told Israel Hayom.

Rabbi Machpud, who performs an average of three and more circumcisions a day, has issued a halachic ruling on the matter, and explained that the public’s concern is completely without foundation.

“The mohalim I know also maintain strict hygiene everyday, and during the bris they take off the gloves they wear regularly and thoroughly disinfect.”

He said that Israeli mohalim have canceled flights abroad, although they are invited to many places around the world, in order to protect the parents and children in Israel.

“People should realize that circumcision is more important than a Chuppah,” he said, adding, “But I’m aware of the pressures and so I try not to force anything on anyone and only explains the situation.”

His revered grandfather, Rabbi Shlomo Machpud, a mohel in his own right and the head of the Badatz Yoreh De’ah kashrut system and rabbi of the neighborhoods of Neve Ahiezer and Shikun Vav in Bnei B’rak, explained that the bris is as important a mitzvah as one can imagine.

“The bris should be performed with ten participants, with the mohel, the father and the sandak (godfather) keeping a distance from each other according to the [health ministry’s] instructions (6 feet). Also, contrary to the usual practice of letting the sandak be the family’s eldest or a beloved elderly man, now the sandak must be a man under fifty,” he said.

“I know the bris is important to people and that they are scared,” Rabbi Shlomo Machpud said, “But this is a very important commandment and should not be postponed because of such considerations, especially since it’s not at all clear what will happen in the future, so there does not seem to be a point in postponing. After all, who knows if in one more month things will be better? So we should do the bris now, at home, it’s the best and most appropriate thing to do, and may all the people of Israel will have health and happiness.”

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