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In the middle of a war: Brit Milah for 6-year-old boys

פורים - קריאת המגילה - אזני המן

• Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

"On Shabbat I was approached by Lara with a surprising idea," wrote Chaya Wolf, Chabad emissary in Odessa, who is presently in Germany with women and children who managed to flee from the war zone. Chaya's husband, Rabbi Avraham Wolf, stayed behind in Odessa with other members of the community. Chaya continued as follows:

"Lara smiled and asked me: 'We are stuck here next week in any case so perhaps it would be possible to have a brit milah for my son Andrei?' Hearing this suggestion, I almost fainted. Brit? Now? We had not yet recuperated from our journey and our identity papers were still not in order.

But what can you say to a woman who just fled from her home, leaving her husband behind, and is now asking for a brit for her 6-year-old son? Lara added that there was another mother who was requesting a brit for her 6-year-old son as well. In the midst of great uncertainty, they were seeking certainty. It must have been the wonderful display of solidarity and fellowship that gave them a feeling of missing out on something truly special as long as their Jewish sons were uncircumcised.

So I took a deep breath, gave a big smile, and said it was an excellent idea. After Shabbat, Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, the chief rabbi of Berlin, the leader of the amazing community that is hosting us, looked for a mohel. The 'Brit Yosef Yitzchak' organization, which specializes in brits like this, sent us the mohel Mordechai Tzvi Salomon. Today we were privileged to bring into the Covenant of Avraham Avinu Andrei-Baruch and Misha-Levi Yitzchak.

All the children from the orphanage in Odessa, all the mothers and families who came with us, celebrated. At a brit milah, it is customary to say: 'I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, and I said to you: You shall live through your blood, and I said to you: You shall live through your blood.'

Master of the universe, if blood has been decreed for us . . . let us hope that today we fulfilled our obligation through the mitzvah of brit milah, even if delayed by six years, for two boys.

May everyone have a joyful Purim holiday as we wish, from here, lots of good news for the entire Jewish people."

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