Archive — Mitzvot


“My Grandson’s Bris” (2009) 

This past Monday, I was privileged to usher my first grandson into the Covenant of Abraham.

I am pleased to share with you the fact that my son-in-law and daughter chose to name him after my beloved teacher, Rabbi Moshe Dov Chait, of Blessed Memory… 

Read More.


“My Grandson’s Bris – 2” (2010) 

Yesterday morning I was given the privilege of performing the Bris on my second grandson…My new grandson’s name is Yisrael Meir…


“A Covenant of Dedication” (2000)

… The Mohel performed the Bris and handed the child to his mother who embraced him, kissed him, and fainted flat out onto the floor!…


“Mrs. Moses: Certified Mohelet??!” (2008)

Several years ago I was driving in the car listening to a discussion on the radio about circumcision.  Being a Mohel myself, I was, of course, very interested in the conversation.  I listened with curiosity and apprehension.

I get very uncomfortable when religious Jews call radio shows.  It is very difficult to explain a profound religious concept in a cogent and articulate manner when the host has his own ideas and can cut you off in mid-sentence.  Yet, the calls were coming in, and the host maintained that circumcision is done for health reasons.

Then an Italian lady called and said that she had her boys circumcised for health reasons, and was glad she did.  He said, “Thank you, dear,” and hung up.  Then he asked, “Hey, I wonder if a lady is allowed to be a Mohel.”

I braced myself for the responses.  A short time later, the host said, “Our next caller, from Rockland County, is Moysheh.  Hello, Moysheh.”

“Hello, Mr. Grant.  This is Moishe-the-Moyel from Monsey!”…


“Pain in the Ukraine” (2004)

… A Mohel went to the Ukraine to usher Jewish men into the Covenant of Abraham.  As a fifteen-year-old Yeshiva student lay on the table, the Mohel read his medical chart.  The boy, as it turned out, was allergic to the anesthesia that the Mohel had brought from the U.S…  The Bris would have to be delayed… No, insisted the boy.  He wanted to have his Bris!  He would not get off the table.  He was adamant.  He was already fifteen years late; he would wait no longer!…The Mohel set out to do his holy work.  There was skin tissue to cut, and wounds to suture and cauterize.  The young man just lay there and endured it all.

He tried to be stoic and motionless.  Throughout the excruciating pain, he was silent.  But finally, he could be silent no more. It was just too painful.  He let out a blood-curdling scream…



“Why You’ll Never See a Vampire at a Pidyon HaBen” (2009)

…After the redemption took place, Great-Uncle-Chayim-the-Kohain blessed the little “redemptee.”  Part of the blessing he gave him is borrowed from the ceremony at a Bris: “May it be Your will that the same way he has entered into this redemption (or, at a Bris: “The same way he has entered into the Covenant…”) so too may he enter into the Torah, the Chuppah (marriage canopy) and good deeds.”

What does this blessing mean?  “The same way he has entered the Covenent/redemption…?”  What is the “same way?”  Should he come to his Chuppah the same way he came to his Bris — naked, kicking and screaming???!”…


“Your Money or Your Son” (2010)

…The Kohain issued to the father an interesting challenge: “Which do you prefer: to give me your firstborn son, who is the first issue of his mother’s womb, or do you prefer to redeem him for five shekels…”

What kind of question is that?! What would have happened had the father called the Kohain’s “bluff”?

“Well, now that you mention it, Mr. Kohain, the baby’s been keeping us up at night, and we could really use a break.  And money’s a little tight.  Why don’t you keep him?”…



“Sheepskin or Cheapskin?” (2004)

Overheard conversation:

“I bought an absolutely gorgeous Mezuzah for my apartment!”

“Great!  I can’t wait to see it!”

“Oh, yes, it’s really beautiful.  Ornate, hand-carved mahogany, inlaid with cherry, and sterling silver trim.  It’s a one-of-a-kind!  Now all I need is the little paper that goes inside!”…


“The Changing of the Guard?” (2006)

… Last week my son surprised me with a new law that I had never heard.

… I have a chicken coop in my back yard, and, to avoid being too graphic, it is easy to understand that a chicken coop, like a bathroom, is not an appropriate place to hang a Mezuzah.  Chickens are not known to be particularly fastidious about the cleanliness of their surroundings.  Therefore, I never put up a Mezuzah on the front door of my coop.

I was wrong…

I began to wonder.  What about protection?  The Mezuzah is more than just a symbol of the fact that G-d protects us.  According to our Sages, the presence of a Mezuzah actually contributes to that Divine protection. …  Does this mean, I mused, that for the last two years my chicken coop has been unprotected???…


“Gateway to the Holy Land” (2005)

… I was the only orthodox Jew on the street.  Very few live on the surrounding streets.  It is neither time- nor cost-effective for the charitable institutions to send their representatives to this neighborhood.

On Purim night, many Yeshiva students go door-to-door, singing, dancing, and collecting for worthwhile institutions.  This past Purim, it was quiet in the Seplowitz home.  My son was out collecting Tzedakah with his friends, and I was sitting in the kitchen with my wife and daughters.  Suddenly there was a knock on the door?  Who could it be?

I opened the door and beheld a young Chassidic Yeshivah student.  “Ah freilichin Purim!”  he cried.  “Happy Purim!”  I invited him into my home, where the two of us sang and danced for a minute or so.  I gave him a donation and thanked him for bringing a Mitzvah to my home.

“But how did you know to come here?” I asked.

“Simple,” he responded. . . 



“Double Talk” (2002)

… A religious person I know once confided in me that the fulfillment of a particular Mitzvah was very difficult. “I do it because I have to do it, but it’s a real pain in the … (neck!)” … When my children were very young, we were concerned as to how to give them a positive feeling about the Sabbath. It’s a real challenge when a 2-year-old child sees his mother light candles, and is then told, “No, sweetheart, you can’t listen to your ‘Uncle Moishie’ tape, because it’s Shabbos…No dear, you’re not allowed to play with that toy on Shabbos.”

How do you inculcate your child with a love of Shabbos? How do you teach him that it’s more than a day of restrictions?  …


The Silent Shofar” (2002)

…Why is the Shofar silent? Is it because we can’t blow the Shofar on Shabbos? Yes and no. Technically, it is permitted to sound the Shofar on Shabbos. The Sages banned Shofar blowing on Shabbos because of a fear that someone might accidentally carry a Shofar in the street on Shabbos.

Amazing. Rosh Hashanah is the Yom HaDin, the Day of Judgment. G-d is deciding our fates for the coming year. Everything… who will live, and who will die; who will be healthy, who will be successful. We want to awaken G-d’s compassion toward us; we want to be inspired, we want to be protected by our Father in Heaven. There is so much to be gained by each and every one of us fulfilling the Biblical Mitzvah of hearing the blasts of the Shofar, and yet, we give it all up because maybe someone will do something careless?! …



“Why are we Whispering?  What’s the Big Secret?” (2003)

… Jacob was lying on his deathbed.  His twelve sons stood by his bedside, awaiting his blessing.  He was concerned.  “How do I know,” he asked, “that you will continue to worship the One G-d after I’m gone? How do I know you will not become idol worshippers?”…


“Advice for the Foxholes of Life” (2000)

They say that there are no atheists in the foxholes.  When the chips are down in time of need, and we have no other place to turn, we always remember G d and ask Him for His protection.  But will He answer our prayers?  Will He say, “Of course My child, I’ve been waiting for you to call upon Me”?  Or will He ask, “Now you call Me?!  Where were you all the time that you thought you didn’t need Me?!” …



“Fringe Benefits” (2010)

… Caleb and Joshua were in the minority.  The Israelites believed the negative reports of the majority and wanted to return to Egypt.  They feared for the welfare of their wives and children…

Amazing.  These people personally witnessed G-d’s ability to wreak havoc on the infrastructure of the powerful kingdom of Egypt.  Yet, they were afraid of a couple Canaanite nations!?!   They saw the Ten Plagues and the drowning of the Egyptian cavalry.  They knew what G-d was able to do for them.  Didn’t they realize that with G-d’s help THEY COULD EAT THE CANAANITES FOR LUNCH?!!!…

Published on February 11, 2010 at 7:22 pm  Comments Off on Archive — Mitzvot  
%d bloggers like this: