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the last 4 spell BABY

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© 1991 - 2019 by Hazzan Howard K. Glantz

Brit Milah - Ritual Circumcision

Spell B-R-I-S

There are so many ways to refer to this most sacred and meaningful commandment and further to spell it. Milah, bris, briss, milah, brit, brit milah, bris mila... and which is correct?

 

There is no right or wrong way to spell a word in English characters that is not an English word. Brit (breet) literally means covenant, not the slang for a citizen of England.  Bris is a Yiddish or Ashkenazic pronunciation of the

same Hebrew word. Brit Milah means literally, the covenant of circumcision and the more full reference to this rite. When one says bris milah, it is once again, the Yiddish or Ashkenazic pronunciation of the same Hebrew words.

 Spell M-O-Y-E-L or is it Mohel? Moyl? Moyle? Moil? Moiel?????

Is there a proper way to pronounce the role of the circumciser?  Like bris, there is truly no correct or incorrect way to spell 'mohel' but m-o-h-e-l is by far the most common. On the other hand, 'moyel' or 'moyal' is the most common way that people in the U.S. pronounce this word.  So it can depend on one's background.  The Hebrew term for circumcision is מילה (Milah) - pronounced "mee-lah."  One who performs Milah is called a מוהל (Mohel) - pronounced properly in Hebrew as "moe-hell"

 

In Yiddish, Hebrew words with syllables that have the long "o" sound, change to the Jewish sound of "oy." For them, a "mohel" is now pronounced "moy-ill" and the soft "h" is dropped in the process.  Since most (certainly not all) American Jews stem from European ancestry, and there Yiddish was the first language, the term "Moyel" became popular and it stuck.

Hazzan Glantz uses m-o-y-e-l most often, which is a Yiddish pronounciation because most of the time, that is how people pronounce it.  And when you email him, he will promptly e-moyel you a response!!​