Sunday, June 14, 2009

Commitment to an Honor (mohel or sandek)

The Rishonim discuss a case where a father committed to honor someone with part of the bris ceremony, either as a sandak or a mohel, and then changed his mind. (See Beis Yosef YD 264)

The Maharam says that since these commitments are routinely made and kept, the commitment is enforceable in court.

Rabbeinu Yechiyel limits this to a commitment made after the baby was born.

The Rosh disagrees, and says that only a standard kinyan is enforceable.

Rabbeinu Tam says that if one committed to a mohel to do his son’s bris, this has the status of a verbal commitment, and one who does not keep it is considered untrustworthy.

The Pri Yitzchak says that committing to a mohel has the status of a small gift, since the father typically cannot perform the bris, and he is simply giving the right to choose the mohel. However, committing to a sandak is a large gift, since the father himself can do that, and he is giving that right to the sandak. Since it is a large gift, a verbal commitment would not be binding.