Kids are curious by nature, but Eli, or "Rabbi Eli" as we jokingly call him, is more inquisitive than most five year old boys. This is a child that asks appropriate questions, follows up with additional queries and is not satisfied until he fully understands what, when, who, and why. He is a bit obsessed with all things religion and tradition. This is my deep thinking child.
When I picked up the kids from school on Friday, Rabbi Eli began asking me some very specific questions about circumcision. I figured they must have discussed this at school, so before I got too deep into the conversation, I wanted to know why he was asking me. Apparently, at recess, a classmate was inviting the kids to her brother's brit milah, the formal ritual circumcision ceremony. Fair enough I thought. That seemed like a logical reason to want more information, especially coming from the spiritual and religious child.
I acted as if I did not know much, and asked Rabbi Eli if he could tell me what he knew first, then I could add more details if there were any. He was all to happy to share his vast knowledge on the topic of circumcision. Eli started with this; "When a Jewish baby boy is borned, the family has a celebration when the baby is eight days old. All the cousins and friends are invited. Then, the new baby becomes part of the Jewish community when the rabbi snips part of his dinky off." I nodded.
I agreed that is what happens- pretty much. I did not feel the need to elaborate on the newest trends in designer circumcision and appearances. I also felt there was no point in discussing caterers or plans for the brunch immediately following. These were more the things the Mommies worry about anyway.
Never satisfied with the bare minimum of information, Eli began questioning me more.
He asked, "Did CJ and I have our dinkys cut when we were 8 days old?" I had to tell the truth, and I explained that they were born very early and when they were 8 days old they were not big enough or healthy enough to have the service, so we waited until they got home from the hospital. Eli then wanted to know, "Did it hurt when they snipped off the tip of our dinkies?" I wanted to be honest, so I said, "Actually, I think you were more mad that your diaper was off and you were cold, so you got fussy-- I am sure it did not hurt that much because we had a pediatric urologist who happens to be a mohel too, and he gave you guys a little pain medicine on the area first." Eli was content with that but continued on. He said, "Mommie, who was at our bris, were Nana and Papa there?" I was able to say, "When we get home, I will show you the photos from that day, and you can see all the people that were there to welcome you to our family. It was a beautiful service and it was part of being Jewish, just like having a Bar Mitzvah!"
Then, with the most pained look of horror on his face, Eli said, "You mean they have to cut our dinkies again at our Bar Mitzvah?"
I can't make this shit up. I wanted to bust out laughing, but instead, I just said, "No, once you have it done, it is done."
Let this be our lesson in circumcision from Rabbi Eli, age five.
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