Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Bris that never happened.

I think it was Mel Brooks as Moses who said it best when he said 

“The Lord, the Lord Jehovah has given unto you these fifteen...
[drops one of the tablets]
Oy! Ten! Ten commandments for all to obey!”

I have no idea what is it with Jewish humour that I get and love so much, but this scene from the Mel Brook’s film ‘History of the world, Part 1’, makes me laugh and also realise that sometimes you just have to do the best with what you’ve got.  This thought casts my mind back to when I was freshly born and I asked my Gentile mother to make me a Jew, well to at least start the process. I remember looking up at her when I was just days old and saying ‘Mohel, Mohel’, Ma was kvelling (or Schlepping naches? I was never sure), partly because she thought I was saying ‘Ma, Ma’ (can you blame her?, do you know how hard it is enunciating at such a young age and try enunciating a two syllable word!). The point is, you don’t need to be Jewish to know that soon I would be 8 days old and the Brit Milah (Bris) needed to take place! Have you tried booking a Mohel these days??? The waiting list for a good one is crazy! And then when you get one, you better hope they aren’t called away on an emergency…because then you have to rebook!! Oh the drama, I have a headache already. Anyway, Ma being so caught up in the joy of childbirth and also caught up being Agnostic (or Atheist, she never would tell me... I mean what do these people even do at church? I don’t get it!), she couldn’t be bothered with all the “religious shenanigans” (her Irish roots were coming out that day, sometimes her Asian roots come out or any other culture she feels that she has some ancestral connection with), and told me to stop already with the meshugas! Oy! Anyway after much noodging from me, Ma finally compromised for a circumcision and a blintz (I was a little peckish, It was hard to resist).

So here I am, thinking about the bris that never happened and feeling like it could have been worse. You know Moses may have parted the Red Sea, but he never had to contend with my mother (plus he did kinda drop one of those tablets).

Many thanks to Ros for her Yiddish assistance, or should that read 'for her assistance with the Yiddish'?  For the gentiles who may need some help with the Yiddish and don't have a Ros in their lives try:

And for info on the all important 'bris' click here.


  1. Maybe it's just the sunny morning (for a change) but I think that this is Matthew's cleverest blog so far. I may also be influenced because it presses one of my buttons - the removal of a normal part of a person's body without their permission, no matter the reason. I have no objection to adults in their right minds, and not under any coercion, arranging for it to be done to themselves.

  2. Dear person-of-no-name,
    Thank you for reading! While I'll stay away from a discussion on the body political (as much as the sociologist in me loves this type of healthy discussion), I will graciously bow to your acknowledgment of my cleverness, but as for 'cleverest blog' so far...clearly you have not read all of my work ;-)

  3. I have,but I have a VERY bad memory :(

  4. love the humour in your post. i like the link too. thanks for that :)