If a healthy baby boy's eighth day of life is on a Saturday, that's the day his bris milah / circumcision should be performed if at all possible. While elective surgeries are prohibited on Shabbos, circumcision in its proper time overrides Shabbos. However, only the act of circumcision itself overrides Shabbos: if there was no boiling water available to disinfect the scalpel, the bris would just have to wait till Sunday.

If no mohel is available within walking distance, could he ride a bicycle to get there?

Disclaimer as usual -- for theory's sake only. Ask a rabbi first. (And please be sure your scalpel is securely stowed before flying off on your bike.)

  • 2
    Could you please flesh out a little more what the basis for your question is? Are you trying to determine what level of prohibition riding a bike is? Do you know that, and are trying to determine what level of prohibition a mohel can get away with to help get to a mila? Are you considering both sides of this question unknown?
    – Isaac Moses
    Apr 4, 2011 at 16:09
  • @Isaac, correct. What prohibitions can a mohel do? And how prohibited is bike-riding?
    – Shalom
    Apr 4, 2011 at 16:16
  • See also judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/7406
    – msh210
    May 16, 2011 at 2:51
  • 1
    I'm told R H Schachter permitted a new uncle to ride his bike from Brooklyn to Washington Heights on a Friday afternoon of a three-day Yom Tov for his new nephew's bris on Saturday, rather than burden the new parents with extra guests for three whole days.
    – Double AA
    May 8, 2013 at 3:40
  • @DoubleAA Now that's psak!
    – Shalom
    May 8, 2013 at 10:12

1 Answer 1


According to the Ben Ish Chai, one can ride a bicycle on Shabbos inside an eiruv for leisure. Outside of an eruv, a mitzvah purpose might be needed, which includes attending shul to daven with a minyan, and certainly would include performing a bris. So according to the Ben Ish Chai, the answer is yes.

  • 1
    Except that the BI"Ch would only permit it in a town with narrow roads (<16 amos).
    – YDK
    Apr 5, 2011 at 4:13
  • 2
    @YDK: as far as I understand, the Ben Ish Chai allows it even in the city of Bombay based on a totally different sevara of koach kocho, in which there isn't really a case of carrying at all. He explains this after he proposes the possible objection you cited based on street width.
    – Curiouser
    Apr 5, 2011 at 6:14
  • Curiouser- Yes, my bad.
    – YDK
    Apr 5, 2011 at 15:59

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