Monday, September 03, 2007

Ima, what's a bris?

Anyone who is a parent will surely agree with me that every so often there comes a time when their child asks a question that catches you off-guard and you're not quite sure how to respond. I recently experienced one of those moments.

Now that LO is back in school, one of her homework assignments is to read 30 minutes every day. It came as no surprise to me that the first book she grabbed from her collection of books was "The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden". (Written by the wonderful and talented member of our very own Jblogosphere, Robert J. Avrech.) Every night after reading a chapter we discuss it. After reading the last chapter she asked me, "Ima, what's a bris?" Had I been prepared for this conversation I might have said something like, "It's the time when a Jewish baby boy is welcomed into a covenant between G-d and the Jewish people." Yeah, that's what I would have said....if I had been prepared. But...I was not not and so the conversation carried on something like this...

Me: Well, it's um,'s when they cut a small part of a baby's penis off.

LO: (shocked) What?

Me: (dying that I actually have to say it again to her) It's when a mohel cuts off a small part of a baby's penis.

LO: What's a mohel?

Me: (thinking this conversation is not going well) It's a man who can be a Rabbi or a doctor who performs the circumcision which is what it is called.

LO: Why?

Me: (thinking when is this conversation going to end?) Because a very long time ago, G-d and Abraham made an agreement that all Jewish males would do this.

LO: Did Abba do it?

Me: Yes, Abba did it.

LO: (wide-eyed) Can I see?

Me: (wanting to die from this conversation) No - you can't see it silly-head.

LO: Well, thank goodness I'm not a boy because I bet it would hurt.

And just as out of the blue that this conversation started, it ended and she started talking about school and her teddy bear Winston as though this conversation had never happened. And oh was I ever thankful.


Jack's Shack said...

That sounds like a fun conversation. ;) It is good that she is so interested.

BTW, the conversation can be just as interesting with a boy.

Ayelet said...

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my son, Mordechai. At my nephew's bris, for some crazy reason, his father didn't think to steer him away from the actual spot of action, so that he witnessed the whole process - up close and live. Naturally he was traumatized, asking hundreds of questions. At the end of our conversation, he confided in me that he was glad that his sister Ada was a girl so that she didn't have to get hurt. How sweet is that?

torontopearl said...

I'm guessing this topic of conversation will come up again soon enough, but perhaps you'll be better prepared next time.

Oh, the joy of parenting...and awkward questions at the wrong moment.

Jewish Deaf Motorcycling Dad said...

I got a front row seat at a bris once. After that I tended to sit in the middle of the crowd. Similar effect to when you see a father get a baseball to the groin during "America's Funniest Home Videos." All the guys go "Ohhhhhhhh."

RaggedyMom said...

That's precious. I wish you and LO could have been at the recent one we made!

Ann got quite the education this time around - it was pretty impossible to shield her from several days of very intense post-bris diaper changes. Thankfully, as she tells me, the "booboo on his tail is all healed."

orieyenta said...

Jack - I can only imagine that conversation with a boy.

Ayelet - Super sweet that Mordechai.

Pearl - as much as I try, I am NEVER well prepared for these questions ;)

JDMD - Oy!

RM - I really wish we could have been there. That's so cute about Ann. Sounds like she is being a great big sister again.

Kol Ra'ash Gadol said...

Hmm, I wonder how that will go when DS gets to be asking. He went with me to the bris of a friend's son - but he's only three. He was very concerned about all the crying and wanted to give his little friend a kiss to make him feel better, but I don't think he got any of the details (and the crying was mostly before anything happened anyway). Jack, I'd sure love to hear your take on my future discussion....