Brit Milah

Doggedly Performing a Brit

Doggedly Performing a Brit

I had the zechut to be sandek at a brit in the Ukraine, for a young man of eighteen years. I was excited at hearing that his name is Yisrael Zalman David, like my name. Additionally, the initials of his three names, *שראל *למן *וד are numerically equivalent to the Name, א-ה-י-ה.

The sefer Sha’arei Orah explains that the Name א-ה-י-ה is the first Name which Hashem had. His other Names are like branches coming out of a tree.

  1. Reciting the berachot and announcing the name of a baby as his brit

The Rambam, in Moreh Nevuchim, writes that Hashem revealed Himself to Am Yisrael in Mitzrayim by this Name (Shemot 3:14). This Name indicates Hashem’s omnipresence. He was, His is, and He will always be.

The brit of this young man took place in the month of Elul, the month of mercy and forgiveness. Hashem surely implanted at that time a surge of inspiration for kedushah and Ahavat Hashem in this bachur, hinted at in his name.

As I observed this young man lying on the operating table, careful to remain still, just like Yitzchak Avinu on the altar, I was extremely moved. This act surely reflects well upon our entire nation, manifesting mesirut nefesh for doing mitzvot with love and goodwill.

I felt that my entire journey to the Ukraine was worthwhile if only for the fact that I participated in this unique brit milah. I felt a special closeness with Hashem and that my devotion to Torah and mitzvot had been reinforced.

After the brit, I continued with my companions to Uman, to visit the grave of the tzaddik, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, zy”a. There, we poured forth our hearts in prayer. Suddenly a vicious dog appeared before us. It began barking ferociously and attacking us. We made every effort to chase it away. We thought it would be a difficult undertaking, but, to our surprise, the dog left us alone and walked into the street. A few seconds later, a motorcycle came zooming past and ran over the dog.

This incident gave me no rest. What was Hashem telling us? Why did He send a dog to disturb us in our moments of elevation?

Then it struck me that the word כלב (dog) is numerically equivalent to the word אליהו (Eliyahu), the angel who appears at every brit milah. He is the one who reminds Hashem of our merits, acting as the advocate for all those who keep the mitzvah of brit milah. In this merit, Eliyahu Hanavi abolishes all prosecution from our nation.

In contrast, the dog is the prime example of the forces of impurity. Together with the kelippah, it constantly attempts to implicate us. David Hamelech refers to this in Tehillim (22:21), “Rescue my soul from the sword, my essence from the grip of the dog.” Furthermore, our Sages contend that “whoever speaks or accepts lashon hara is deserving of being sent to the dogs” (Pesachim 118a). They are alluding to the forces of evil and impurity which adhere to those who involve themselves in lashon hara.

Moreover, Chazal assert (Zohar, Bamidbar 259) that whoever has relations with a gentile is tied to him like a dog on a leash. The Jewish woman who consorts with a gentile becomes affected by the impurity and defilement which surround the nations of the world.

And finally, the Gemara states (Bava Kama 60b), “The dogs whimper when the Angel of Death enters the city.” The dog is the only creature which perceives the Angel of Death, for the dog itself represents the Satan, the kelippah, and all forces of defilement. This is why David felt it imperative to pray to be spared the influences of the dog.

My experiences that day taught me a tremendous lesson. In the morning, we participated in a brit milah for a young man who sacrificed himself for the sake of this mitzvah. Eliyahu Hanavi, the agent of holiness, also participated. We merited basking in his presence. The dog was sent by the powers of impurity to impede our growth, the outgrowth of the kedushah which we had gained that morning.

Hashem made this world perfectly balanced. This includes kedushah and tumah. Wherever there is an abundance of sanctity, the level of profanity is also increased.

Baruch Hashem, in our case, the forces of kedushah, symbolized by Eliyahu Hanavi, overpowered the forces of evil, represented by the dog. Therefore, the dog was immediately killed. Where there is holiness, defilement cannot exit.

 

Doggedly Performing a Brit

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michté pourirm rabbi david

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Actualités du Rav

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Actualités du Rav

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Ask for a blessing from the rabbi