The Pre-empted Circumciser
So eager was Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitch to perform the mitzvah of circumcision that he never once declined an invitation to act as mohel.
Connection: Weekly Reading (beginning) -- Circumcision on the eighth day
The Pre-empted Circumciser
Now one day a son was born to the young man so, being a loyal
chasid, he hastened to honor his rebbe, Reb Mordechai, an expert mohel,
with the coveted mitzvah of circumcising the newborn infant.
Radiant with innocent expectation the father and his rebbe returned from shul, accompanied by a retinue of joyful Chasidim, all ready for the great mitzvah. But what a surprise awaited them! The young man was understandably distressed, firstly, because he had not been present at the circumcision of his own son, and secondly, because of the calculated insult to his revered rebbe. But there are things in this world which, once done, cannot be undone. There was nothing to do but to quietly go to the rebbe's home for the seudas mitzvah, the traditional festive meal that follows a joyful mitzvah.
There, to the wonderment of all the crestfallen Chasidim, the rebbe was clearly happier than on all the other occasions when he had in fact carried out the mitzvah of circumcision.
His explanation was simple: "The mitzvah of circumcising
a baby is, of course, a singularly great one - but it is almost always tainted
by the shadow of a hankering after honor, or pride. Now our Sages teach us that
'if an emergency prevented a person from doing a mitzvah, Scripture accords
him credit for his good intention, as if he had actually performed the mitzvah.'
Obviously, a mitzvah of this kind has no ulterior motive, and is reckoned
by the Almighty as having been executed in the most perfect way possible. And
this is why I have cause to rejoice more than usual: for how often do I get
a chance to do a mitzvah that is absolutely untainted?"
He answered; "Regarding a certain passage in the Torah, the Talmud tells us that 'it comes to teach us of Avraham's alacrity,' which I understand to mean that the Torah teaches us Avraham's alacrity; nay, the Torah implants it in us."
And, indeed, Reb Mordechai rose at the crack of dawn, hastened
to set out and circumcise the infants in both villages, and sped home - weary,
but in time to prepare for Shabbos.
Connection: Weekly Reading (beginning) -- Circumcision on the eighth day.
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