I heard of a Hassidic rabbi performing a Brit Milah on a child whose father is Orthodox but whose mother is not. The mother is Jewish but not observant.

Why is it ok for an Orthodox rabbi to perform Brit Milah on someone who isn't going to be Orthodox?

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    When you say that only the father is Orthodox, do you mean that the mother isn't Jewish, or isn't Orthodox? Regardless, your best bet would be to ask the mohel. He would know best the status of the parents, their plans for their son, their motivation for circumcision, and why he did it.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 3:37
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    Mother is Jewish but not orthodox. This wasn't a circumcision this was a bris.
    – Shabbatai
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 5:47
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    @Shabbtai If the mother is Jewish, then the child is a Jew, and so the child needs a bris to enter the covenant of the Jewish people! Why does the parent's religious beliefs change anything? The child's a Jew and needs a bris, same as those who are frum from birth!
    – ezra
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 5:53
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    The question is why some Jews did something. That's not on topic. We can't know, and don't address individual Jews. Rather, the question should be something like a) Are gentiles permitted according to Jewish law to perform circumcision? b) Does circumcision on a non-Jewish baby cause conversion? c) Is a baby Jewish if his mother isnt Orthodox, etc.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 6:22
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    If a Jewish male is not circumcised, the penalty is karet. And indeed, I've seen mohels with the license of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate to perform berit milah even if the conversion of the mother might not be accepted everywhere. Later on they can request a valid conversion, but karet is so severe that they seem to be lenient in my experience. Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


Every Jewish baby boy needs to get a Bris - irrelevant of his future as a religiously observant Jew.

If the parents don't take care of it, then the local Bet Din has to deal with it.

If they didn't, then the kid has to do it when he grows up.

Where do you find that it is not ok for an Orthodox rabbi to perform Brit Milah on someone who isn't going to be Orthodox?

To address your specific question, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch says in 163:1 סימן קסג הלכות מילה:

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה עַל הָאָב לָמוּל אֶת בְּנוֹ

It's a positive commandment for a father to circumcise his son.

No caveats, unless the baby isn't perfectly healthy.

  • 1
    It is also worth noting that there are medical complications associated with circumcision which occurs after infancy, as such it is better for milah to be done at the appropriate time, than to wait. Historically, most mohelim have also been from the Orthodox community, for example: when I was born, the only mohel in the Boston area was the (future) Bostoner Rebbe, R' Naftuli Horowitz. Commented Dec 24, 2017 at 15:01

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