Extreme hypothetical here...

We know (MT Hilchot Mila 1:9) that mila on the (definite) 8th day is doche Shabbat. If the baby is born bein hashmashot, when we're not sure what day it is, it cannot be done on Shabbat. (1:12)

We know (SA OC 344:1) that someone who is lost in the middle of nowhere and doesn't know what day it is has special Shabbat rules. They are not allowed to do melacha on any day (except for acts required for survival), but observe every seventh day from the time they realized they don't know as Shabbat, with the special liturgy.

Now, let's mix these two cases together.

A mohel and his wife are lost in the desert rainforest. He conveniently has all his supplies with him. However, they don't know what day it is. Let's say one day (around noon) (not the day they're observing as Shabbat) his wife gives birth to a baby boy. It's obvious that in this case they should do the mila on the 8th day.

But the birth wasn't at noon. It was in the evening, during bein hashmashot. Now what? We're not sure when the 8th day is, and we're also not sure when Shabbat is. Is safek-8th-day doche safek-Shabbat?

Let's say the above case was on their "Tuesday". What if it happened on their "Friday", so the baby was born just as their "Shabbat" came in?

  • hmm I wonder if doing it at exactly the same time of day as the birth 8 days later is the best solution here (pure speculation).
    – Daniel
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 20:57
  • 1
    @Daniel Then you risk Milah at night. Milah has to be during the day.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 20:58
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    It's almost certainly Pikuach Nefesh to do surgery on a child when they need to be traveling. The Jews in the desert didn't do Milah for 40 years.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 21:00
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    @DoubleAA I don't know the halakhot well, but I don't think a bris in the evening is invalid. Doing it that way would avoid karet for delaying the bris and would also avoid violating shabbos. (Of course this assumes pikuach nefesh is somehow taken out of the picture)
    – Daniel
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 21:03
  • This is related to the general issue of safek asseh vs. safek lo taaseh.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 22:57

1 Answer 1


Every day is Safek Shabbos, making Kiddush on the 7th day has absolutely no repercussions whatsoever whether that day is Shabbos or not, rather the Kiddush is in order not to forget Shabbos as the Mishna Berura states SA OC 344,1 3.

בקידוש והבדלה - דהיינו שעושה קידוש על הפת והיין כדין ותקנו חכמים זה לזכרון שלא תשתכח תורת שבת ממנו

A safek (doubt) if it's Shabbos for one person stuck in a rain-forest when everyone else knows very well what day it is is not considered a safek. This is clear from Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 261,1 Biur Halacha:

בין השמשות: ועיין מ"ב סק"א ולא הוי ס"ס דספק חסרון ידיעה אינו נכנס כלל בגדר ספק

Also this is clear in Shulchan Aruch Yore Dea 98,3 in the Shach:

ספק התלוי בחסרון ידיעה לא מקרי ספק דדעת שוטים הוא זה

So if the 8th day bein hashmoshos is daytime it might be Shabbos, and if bein hashmoshos is night time it also might be Shabbos so there is no sfek sfeka rather one safek Deoraita which we judge Lechumra i.e don't do Mila.

Therefore one must not do Brit Mila (until they are rescued back to civilization), as every day might be Shabbos and Safek Deoraita Lechumra, so one cannot do Mila* for a baby born in Bein Hashmoshos as stated in the Rambam Hilchot Mila 1,9 quoted by the questioner.

*Note: Even though Mila is also Chayav kareis, this is only if the person goes his whole life withholding doing Mila on purpose. Here he is waiting for an opportunity when he goes out of the forest and knows it is not Shabbos to finally do Mila just like when klal yisroel left the Midbar finally did circumcision in Gilgal see Yehoshua chapter 5.

  • Safek l’chumra works both ways: maybe they should do Bris Milah b’zmano, as they’ll be in violation every day after that. Or, say a sefeik sefeikah: maybe it’s not Shabbos, and even if it is Shabbos, maybe it’s b’zmano.
    – DonielF
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 16:13
  • @donielf according to you the Rambam is wrong, that when a child is born on Friday night you should circumcise the kid on shabbos for fear of transgressing a Kareis not to be circumcised. Clearly the prohibition of shabbos which is Chayav sekila is worst than than delaying Mila. Be real man, people in a forest will eventually come out and when they know the day of the week they can circumsise the kid.
    – yosefkorn
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 19:26
  • @yosefkorn When it’s just a question of Milah vs. Shabbos, I agree that it’s better to push it off. My only point is that Safeik d’Oraisa l’Chumra isn’t the reason for it, because if it was, it would go both ways. The issue is that maybe it’s the eighth day, maybe it’s a nidcheh which doesn’t push off Shabbos or Yom Tov - nothing to do with Safek. But when there’s a Safeik each way you should say it’s a Sefeik Sefeikah.
    – DonielF
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 19:35
  • @Donielf see Shulchan aruch Yore dea 110 for information about sphek spheka you are making up a new klal which does not exist see shach there
    – yosefkorn
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 11:57
  • @DonielF you have a valid question i have incorporated your queston and my answer to your question in a note
    – user15464
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 12:48

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