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I have heard - do not know the source - that a Mohel is not supposed to charge an official price - however you are supposed to pay him.

1: Is it true that a Mohel is not supposed to charge an official price?

2: What is considered a proper amount to pay the Mohel?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

A mohel is not allowed to insist on payment. Sh"A Y"D says:

האב שאינו יודע למול, ויש כאן מוהל שאינו רוצה למול בחנם, רק בשכר, יש לב"ד לגעור במוהל זה, כי אין זה דרכן של זרע אברהם, ואדרבה מוהלים מהדרין שיתנו להם למול. ואם עומד במרדו, ואין יד האיש משגת לתת לו שכרו, הוי כמי שאין לו אב שב"ד חייבים למולו, ולכן ב"ד היו כופין אותו, מאחר שאין אחר שימול (רשב"א סי' תע"ב).‏

That is, a mohel may accept money for his services, but he is not allowed to demand payment.

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1  
I would read it as: "it would be despicable for a mohel, if he is the only one available, to refuse to render his services because of lack of payment; in fact, any decent mohel would go out of his way to render his services. Should the father be unable to pay and the mohel refuse to render his services, the obligation would fall upon society, in which case society could compel the mohel." (Though who would want someone operating on their infant only doing so out of societal compulsion?) Sounds like the attitude should be: "I'm a mohel because it's a mitzva, but I would like to be paid." –  Shalom Oct 21 '10 at 11:59
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If you go back and look in the Tur, I believe it is the B"Y but it may have been one of the other meforshim, say that the "societal compulsion" is that they lie to the Mohel and say they will pay him after the Brit, and then deny him payment once it is performed. That aside, many of the later Ahronim apply this to a Mohel not being paid. I learn in a Kollel that is under Rav Mahpoud, the current chief Mohel of Jerusalem, and that is the way the halakha is taught there. That doesn't mean that there aren't mohelim that charge. –  Rabbi Michael Tzadok Oct 21 '10 at 14:03

There are mohalim that do not accept payment for their services. I know because I used one. I offered him $300 (the amount I paid my previous children's mohalim) and he refused to take it.

Interestingly, the very next day my car was towed from a no-standing zone. The bill (ticket plus towing) was exactly $300. Maybe I shouldn't have re-pocketed the cash with such glee.

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Reb Yossele Weisberg z"l, the famous mohel in Yerushalayim, used to quip about this: מל ולא פרע כאילו לא מל (Play on words: The term פרע refers to the act of פריעה, but in other contexts it means "to pay").

Joking aside, I was told by Rabbi Mozes of Lakewood, one of the most prolific mohelim around, that the range is 360-500 (IIRC). This was a few years ago.

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No relation. I point this out pre-emptively because I've been asked many times. –  Isaac Moses Oct 20 '10 at 20:23
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@Isaac - perhaps soon he will be the one getting the question. :) –  Dave Oct 20 '10 at 20:53

I believe I've heard $300-$500 is the normal charge.

I've never heard about the mohel not charging (though it may be "oh we'll talk about it after the bris"...) from a strict halachic perspective it's the father's obligation, and the mohel is your proxy. A person is allowed to charge for performing a mitzva as far as I know. (R' Ahron Lichtenstein is quoted as saying selling your organs for donations would be theoretically permitted according to halacha [assuming no state law otherwise], as it's just getting paid to do a mitzva; but whether it's smart public policy to allow it is a very different question!)

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In Israel 100$ is a normal charge. –  jutky Oct 21 '10 at 6:39
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Probably a combination of exchange rates, and rabbi supply and rabbi demand. –  Shalom Oct 21 '10 at 12:00
    
$100 being a normal charge is indeed the case. Most give around 400 shekels which now is a little more than a $100. The Mohel I use does it for free and any money given to him he gives to tzedeka. By my second son I lichatchila said to him the money that I was planning on giving to you I'm giving to "this and this" tzedeka cause and he agreed without problem. –  Yehoshua Jan 10 '13 at 22:09

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