Parshat VaYeira

By Micha Golshevsky

In this parshah we find that Avraham gave Yitzchak a bris milah when he was eight days old.

When the communists took over Lithuania, Rabbi Yankeleh Galinsky was staying with the local mohel, Reb Aizik. When the head of the KGB came for a visit, Aizik sent Rabbi Yankeleh to the door.

“Is this the house of the man who cuts infants?” What a way to describe milah!

“I think you came to the wrong house.”

Drey nit kein kup—don’t mess with me!” shouted the officer in Yiddish. “Where is he?!”

Hearing Yiddish, Rav Yankeleh figured it was going to be all right. “Reb Aizik, you can come to the door!”

The mohel came to the door with a very white countenance.

“Are you are the one who makes children Jews?” A much better depiction!

“Listen, we just had a baby boy. My wife keeps dreaming that her father is pushing her to give the child a bris.”

He gave his address.

“Come tomorrow at nine A.M. If all is clear you will see a woman with a basket leaving the house. The only one in our home will be a completely trustworthy maid…”

Reb Aizik said he would be there.

Although this meant he had to skip his regular job, which was dangerous enough, he was willing. The next morning Rav Aizik and his guest waited near the post office, one of the only buildings with a clock. At nine they arrived at the address and saw the woman leaving with the basket as described.

They entered the officer’s home and Reb Aizik performed the bris. As they were leaving the maid gave them a fortune in meal tickets at the better store for officers and the like, which was stocked plentifully and had no lines.

Later on, Rav Yankeleh ran into the baby’s father. “Why did you risk your position to give your son a bris?”

Rav Yankeleh often repeated his reply. “Right now the communists have the upper hand and I must work with them to live. But the Jewish people have survived for three thousand years and will surely outlive them, just like the sun always comes out after a cloudy day. Then it will be an honor to be Jewish. My son must know he is Jewish so that he can find his way home when the time comes.”


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