Weekly Chasidic Story #1010 (s5777-29
/ 22 Nissan 5777)
The Mohel-Circumciser who changed his Mind
Unlike in most Jewish circumcision ceremonies, the baby boy was 2 months old,
Connection: Weekly Reading of "U'b'Yom HaShemini"--"On
the Eighth Day"
The Mohel-Circumciser who changed his Mind
A full crowd filled the main hall of Chabad's Jewish Russian Community
Center of Montreal to participate the brit milah circumcision ceremony
for the son of Lubavitcher couple Rabbi Simi and Chana Wenger. The celebration
was especially joyous, in addition to being held in the month of Adar [in which
Purim occurs), in a year of Hakhel gathering (as in the Holy Temple on the 2nd
day of Sukkot following a Sabbatical Year) and the fact that a new child entering
the covenant of our patriarch Avraham.
Unlike most circumcisions, this child was older than 8 days old.
In fact, the boy was 2 months old, having been hospitalized since his birth
on the 7th of Tevet 5776 (Dec. 2016). He had been connected to machines and
receiving close medical attention due to health complications.
"Can you post a public request to say Tehillim-Psalms
for my baby," the father asked the director of //COLlive.com on Rosh Chodesh
Adar A. The name given for prayers was simply tinok ben Esther Chana--infant,
son of Esther Chana (the mother).
On Friday, Simi Wenger already had good news to share. "Baruch
Hashem - thank G-d, our baby came home Wednesday night," he updated
"We wanted to thank everyone who prayed and said Tehillim
and had the baby in mind," he wrote. "He went from being on a ventilator
and fully sedated to being home 2 weeks later. We should all hear only good
Following the circumcision on Sunday, 7th of Adar A, the child
was finally given his own name: Ori Yosef Wenger. He was named after
his late great-grandfather, Rabbi Ori Shonthal, the long-time Director of "Ecole
Primaire Beth Rivkah," a Lubavitch girls' school in France.
If that wasn't enough of a cause for celebration and joy, then came a thrilling
speech at the festive meal that followed. The speaker was the circumcisor, Rabbi
Pesach Sperlin, Director of "Mesivta Ateres Menachem" of Montreal,
a post bar mitzvah yeshiva, and emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe at
"Chabad Montreal West" center.
Rabbi Sperlin candidly told that when Simi Wenger first approached him to do
the brit circumcision he immediately declined. "I stopped doing
circumcisions in order to focus on the yeshiva and the Chabad House,"
he said. "If I make an exception now, it will be difficult for me to refuse
others in the future."
So what made him change his mind?
Rabbi Sperlin said that a few nights later he had a dream about the child's
late grandfather, Rabbi Eliezer Wenger, the noted teacher, author, and publisher
of works on halacha, who passed away on 22 Adar 5770 (2010).
"Rabbi Wenger in my dream was visibly very happy and asked me to wish him
a Mazal Tov ("Congratulations" - lit.: "good fortune").
I asked him what is the occasion and he replied that Simi had a son. So I wished
him a Mazal Tov," Sperlin told.
He continued, "Rabbi Wenger then asked me to do the circumcision. To show
me that it was not just a dream, he told me to look in the middle drawer of
When Rabbi Sperlin woke, he rushed over to the desk in his study and rummaged
around a little. To his astonishment, he found a photo of himself standing alongside
Rabbi Wenger and reciting the Kohen's blessing at the wedding of Simi and Chana
Wenger, the child's parents.
Agreeing to do the circumcision was not a question any more!
The found photo:
far left: Simi & Chana Wenger;
far right: Pesach Sperlin
Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from //COLLIVE.com/39536 (see there for
other photos). A big "thanks" to Yitzchak Dorfman for sending me the
Connections: This week's reading of Shemini, "On the Eighth Day";
Next week's reading of Tazria-3rd verse (Levit. 12:3);
Weekly reading of Lech Lecha-Genesis 17-Avraham is commanded circumcision
Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor
of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories
to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells
them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.
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