A mohel (Hebrew:מוהל, plural mohelim, pronunciation moy'el, mo'hel) is a Jewish person trained in the practice of Brit milah (circumcision).



For Jews, circumcision is mandatory, as it is prescribed in the Torah:

  • In the Book of Genesis as a mark of the Covenant between God and the descendants of Abraham: "Throughout all generations, every male shall be circumcised when he is eight days old...This shall be my covenant in your flesh, an eternal covenant. The uncircumcised male whose foreskin has not been circumcised, shall have his soul cut off from his people; he has broken my Covenant"[1] and
  • In Leviticus: "God spoke to Moses, telling him to speak to the Israelites: When a woman conceives and gives birth to a boy ... on the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised."[2]


Biblically, the infant's father (avi haben) is commanded to perform the circumcision himself. However, as most fathers are not comfortable or do not have the training, they designate a mohel. The mohel is specially trained in circumcision and the rituals surrounding the procedure. Many mohelim are doctors or rabbis (and some are both) or cantors. However, all are required to receive appropriate training both from the religious and medical fields.

Traditionally, the mohel uses a knife and not scissors to circumcise the newborn; glass was never used. Today, doctors and some non-Orthodox mohalim use a perforating clamp before they cut the skin. The clamp makes it easier to be precise and shortens the recovery time. However, Orthodox mohalim have rejected perforating clamps, arguing that by crushing and killing the skin it causes a great amount of unnecessary pain to the newborn, cuts off the blood flow completely, which according to Jewish law is dangerous to the child and strictly forbidden, and also renders the orlah (foreskin) as cut prior to the proper ritual cut.[citation needed]

Under Jewish law, a mohel must draw blood from the circumcision wound. Most mohels do it by hand with a suction device, but some Orthodox groups use their mouth to draw blood after cutting the foreskin.[3]

Women as mohels

All types of Judaism except for Orthodox Judaism allow female mohels, called mohelot (pl. of mohelet, f. of mohel). As the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California states, "...there is no halachic prescription against female mohels, [but] none exist in the Orthodox [Jewish] world, where the preference is that the task be undertaken by a Jewish man."[4]


  1. ^ Genesis 17:1-14
  2. ^ Leviticus 12:1-3
  3. ^ Rabbi probed for circumcised infants' herpes
  4. ^ Making the cut

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mohel — Mohel, der Beschneider, s.u. Beschneidung 1) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Mohel — (hebr.), der die Beschneidung (s. d.) Vollziehende …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • mohel — Circuncidador judío ordenado. Diccionario Mosby Medicina, Enfermería y Ciencias de la Salud, Ediciones Hancourt, S.A. 1999 …   Diccionario médico

  • mohel — [mō′əl; ] Heb [ mō̂ hāl′] n. pl. mohelim [mō′əlim; ] Heb [ mō̂΄hā lēm′] [Heb] Judaism a person qualified to perform the brith milah, or rite of circumcision …   English World dictionary

  • Mohel — Beschneidungswerkzeuge des Mohel Die Brit Mila (auch: Berit Mila, Mila; hebräisch ברית, Berith: „Bund“, מילה, Mila: „Beschneidung“, jiddische Aussprache Brismile, abgekürzt: Briss) ist die (partielle) Entfernung der Vorhaut des männlichen Glieds… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mohel — Le mohel (מוהל en hébreu, mohelim au pluriel) est la fonction de celui qui exécute la Brit milah selon la tradition juive, c est à dire la circoncision rituelle d un enfant mâle au huitième jour après sa naissance. Fonctions Dans le judaïsme… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • mohel — noun (plural mohels; also mohalim or mohelim) Etymology: Hebrew mōhēl Date: 1650 a person who performs ritual Jewish circumcisions …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Mohel — Mo|hel, der; s, ...halim [hebr. môhel]: (im jüdischen Ritus) jmd., der die Beschneidung vornimmt …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Mohel — Mo|hel der; s, ...halim <aus gleichbed. hebr. môhēl zu lāmôl »rituell beschneiden«> (im jüd. Ritus) jmd., der die Beschneidung vornimmt …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • mohel — [ məʊ(h)(ə)l] noun (plural mohels, mohelim, or mohalim) a Jew who performs the rite of circumcision. Origin C17: from Heb. mōhēl …   English new terms dictionary