Where is the earliest attestation of the word mohel for one who performs the act associated with a ritual circumcision?

When was it written?

What language is it?

[Inspired by Why is there a ה in "מוהל"? ]

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  • 1
    Your last line needs fixing. – Isaac Moses May 18 '11 at 17:51
  • 1
    @IsaacMoses - Man, that was faster than I could say, "let me go get that link." – WAF May 18 '11 at 17:52
  • Are you specifically looking for מוהל used as a noun referring to the person who performs the cut, or any use of the verb which incorporates the radical ה? – Double AA Jan 22 '13 at 18:52
  • The nominal, with the ה. – WAF Jan 22 '13 at 22:28

It would seem (because I don't see it in the Mishna) that the earliest usage is the Tosefta Brachot 6:12 (7:12 in some editions):

המוהל צריך ברכה לעצמו או' ברוך על המילה
The Mohel must make a blessing himself [even if he is not the father?]. He says, "Baruch [...] Al HaMilah."

  • Is there conventional agreement on when Tosefta was written? There seems to be a wide range of opinions. – WAF Jan 22 '13 at 22:32

הלוקח עבדים ערלים מן הגוי על מנת למוהלן, עבד איש את מוהלו בעל כורחו;

תלמוד ירושלמי מסכת יבמות--

הערל פרל. שמיני יבמות

  • Both of those are verbs not nouns. – Double AA Jan 22 '13 at 18:52

From a search on Wikisource, the earliest source found is Midrash Rabbah (Shir Hashirim:1:12:3). Excerpt:

אמרו לו תן לנו מה נאכל אמר להם כך אמר לי הקדוש ברוך הוא סינטומוס "כל ערל לא יאכל בו" מיד כל אחד ואחד נתן חרבו על ירכו ומהל עצמו מי מלן ר' ברכיה אמר משה היה מוהל ואהרן פורע ויהושע משקה וי"א יהושע היה מוהל ואהרן פורע ומשה היה משקה

  • I'm pretty sure the Talmud Yerushalmi is an earlier source though. – jake May 18 '11 at 19:06
  • I agree, though am not sure. Unless it means the word מוהל and not its other forms? – soandos May 18 '11 at 20:48

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