Prologue:         He was a one man Teshuva Movement.

 

Avraham Aveinu was recognized as one who took on the masses. Indeed the Rambam (Hil. Avoda Zara 1:3) chronicles just how Avraham went from place to place in order to inspire monotheism in the world.

 

So it comes as somewhat of a surprise that the same Avraham Aveinu would reject his nephew Lot. After all, how could the man who never gave up on the world and dedicated his life to spreading Shem Shomayim to one and all, give up on Lot? And over somewhat of a petty fiancial disagreement no less? Why the rejection by Avraham?

 

Rav Shlomo Lorencz once noted the difference between different types of people. There are some, who were never shown the light of the truth. These people had to be exposed to Toras Emes and, when given the opportunity certainly would be inspired to better and more spiritual lifestyles. To this group, Avraham never turned his back. However, when dealing with his nephew who grew up in his home and knew Avraham’s Emunah, Avraham realized that if his greatest efforts were to no avail then, there would be no hope for him against Lot’s shepards either. As Rabbi Lorencz put it, once there was a call for reform within the Torah way of thinking, Avraham had no choice but to insist that he distance himself from the inherent evil of the reformers.

 

Sometimes the chance to be Mikarev someone only happens after s/he is gone. Are we to do Kiruv in such an instance? This week’s chaburah examines such a scenario. It is entitled:

 

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Too little too late???

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Sometimes we find that the first chance we have to keep a Mitzva is after the chance to do it has past. This is certainly the case when one meets many who have never had the chance to fulfill the mitzvah of Bris Milah during their lifetimes. The question arises as to whether one should provide a Bris prior to burial or perhaps, seeing that the opportunity to fulfill the Mitzva has passed, leave things alone.

 

In dealing with this question, we note the position of the Geonim cited by the Tur (Y.D. 263) in regard to a child who passes away prior to his eighth day (Rachmana L”tzlan) where the Halacha demands that he receive his Milah posthumously. The Halacha is codified in Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 263: 5) this way as well. Two basic reasons for the decision are offered as to why the Halacha follows this path: The Kol Bo (cited in Beis Yosef) notes that it would be a terrible embarrassment to bury a Jew with the oralh still present. The Hagahos Maimoniyos (Hil. Mila 1:10) offers a totally different perspective. He maintains that the removal of the Orlah is to protect other Jews who might be less observant. The midrash (Berashis Rabba 48:8) notes that in the future Avrohom Aveinu who sits at the doorway of Geheinom and does not allow anyone with a Bris to enter, will place the orlah from children who did not have Brisim unto those who sin too much and thus they will be held accountable and will go to Geheinom. This odd comment of the Midrash is hinted to in the Torah (Devarim 30:12 and see Baal Haturim there).  Accordingly two approaches toward the Mitzva of Mila for the deceased can be established: one for the benefit of the deceased and one for the protection of the sinners within Am Yisroel.

 

When one does not attempt a bris during the course of his lifetime due to obstinancy, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Iggros Moshe O.C. II:33:2) urges communal sanction as Rav Moshe equates one who stays away from Milah to one who separates himself from Klal Yisroel. He tells us not to allow the one who doesn’t get the Milah to be given Kibbudim (See Minchas Yitzchak III:65 who concurs). However, Poskim (Shut B”Mareh HaBazak IV:30) note that if the person suffered from anxiety and withheld Milah for that reason, he too, should not be sanctioned but rather encouraged to have a Mila while he is alive. What does one do when that individual passes away without Mila? Sefer HaBris cites the position of Shut Yad HaLevi (Y.D. 111) who encourages the posthumous Mila even in these situations even with the sinner who refuses Mila in accord with the reasons for giving a Bris to a child who passed before the opportunity to do Mila came about.

 

It should be pointed out that the Minhag of Yirushalayim and that which is cited in the Sefer Kores HaBris (Os Bris: 16), is to only do a posthumous Bris on those who did not receive one in their lifetimes as a result of an Ones (an unavoidable situation). Supposedly (See Shut B’Mareh HaBazak VI: 71), Hagaon Harav Elyashiv Shlita concurred with this position.

 

L’Halacha, a person who never had the opportunity to receive a Bris when alive should receive one after he has passed away. It should be noted that such a Bris is not a regular Bris, is merely to remove the Orlah (thus can be performed by a woman) and is not performed with the Beracha (See Kores HaBris Os Bris 16-17).