Monday, September 19, 2005

Yellow bellied father.

There's a yellow baby in my neighborhood, and his bris is being delayed over the objection's of his father.

According to the Shulcha Orech, we don't perform a bris on a yellow baby, and many Achronim (Teshuvot Tuv Taam Vedaat, Yad Ketana) demand a 7-day wait after the jandice has receeded. The problem is this view doesn't coincide with the opinion of doctors, who say that it's safe to perform a bris on a yellow baby, so long as the billirubin count is lower than 15, and certainly on a bay who's jaundice has receeded. Rabbi Moshe Tendler, I am told, says that because a bris is a biblical requirement, we're biblically obligated to ignore the Shulchan Orech, on this point, and perform the bris the moment a qualified doctor says that it's safe. As you would expect, in precients where science is ignored, Rabbi Tendler's advice is likewise neglected.

So do we follow the halacha, as it was codified in the Shulchan Orech? Or do we rely on doctors? Do we let a law that predates modern medicine defiene "healthy" or do we allow doctors to give us the benefit of their educations?

My neighbor, the father of this baby, wants to rely on the doctors, and perform the bris on time. But like most Jews, he fears his neighbors more than he fears God, and so he waits.