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Thought for the Day: Some Bentching Gomel Stuff

A goy was poised ready to convert, but was very nervous about the circumcision.  (Yes, this is a joke.)  He was expressing his concern to one of his friends, who told him, "Listen, we've all been through it, I'm sure you'll be fine.  One thing though... I don't really remember mine, but I know one thing: I didn't walk for almost a year afterward!"  (I don't know how funny you find that joke, but I'll tell you one thing: jokes like that are much funnier after the conversion is over than before.)

The truth is, though, that you could have a case where an adult Jewish man needs to be circumcised.  First, there were Jews who came out of Soviet Russia who were uncircumcised due to general societal pressure.  Another example would be someone whose health precluded the operation until he got older.  While the mitzvah is usually associate with the father, once the boy turns 13, the responsibility is on him.  So whether it was from societal or health pressures, as soon as he is able, that Jew now has the opportunity to fulfill a real, live mitzvas asei mi'd'oraisa.  We have so few opportunities for that now a days (may the Beis HaMikdash be rebuilt soon and in our lifetime), that this is very, very exciting!

Ok... it's also more than a little daunting as it also involves a real, live surgical procedure.  Not the kind of thing you try at home by yourself unless you are 99 years old, named Avraham, and G-d explicitly told you to do it.  Being as it is a surgical procedure under general anesthesia (oh yes... you better believe you want to be out for this one), after the recovery one should bentch gomel.

Two ha'aros of the Halichos Shlomo.  First, he is shocked that some want to say that since he was doing a mitzvah that they shouldn't bentch gomel.  Their reasoning is that the formula for the bracha, which includes the phrase "who does kindness to those who are guilty", is not appropriate to someone doing a mitzvah.  The Halichos Shlomo counters that since those who cross the dessert and/or ocean in search of parnassa certainly bentch gomel, and seeking parnassa is certainly a mitzvah, obviously the formula applies there also.  I found it interesting that the mitzvah of bris mila and the mitzvah of seeking parnassa could be put on an equal footing.  It should give us working stiffs a bit more pride that all that menial work we do to earn a living is also fulfilling a real, live mitzvas asei mi'd'oraisa.

The Halichos Shlomo also noted that a ger does not bentch gomel upon recovery from his surgery and after immersing in the mikvah.  Why not?  He doesn't immerse until he has recovered, so by the time he is Jewish he is no longer in danger from the surgery.  Nothing deep; I just like strange(r) halachos.  Get it?  "ger" "stranger"; it's a pun.  Boy I seem to be batting 1000 with the jokes today.


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