Explaining Jewish Customs

Today, at Zechariah Yehuda’s brit milah, my wife was complaining to a friend of ours, also a Rabbi, that it took a long time to find an outfit that fits well. The friend made reference to a minhag that the mother would wear her wedding dress for her son’s brit. This elicited the following responses, each of which is pretty characteristic of our thinking:

  • My wife: That’s a cruel joke. Who can fit into her wedding dress a year after the wedding, let alone a week after giving birth?

  • Our friend: Women probably only had one nice dress, so, yeah, they wore it to their own weddings and britot.

  • Me: This is a recipe for an Oedipus complex.

[Upon further reflection, there might be an inclination to explain it in terms of the very bizarre story of Ziporah circumcising her son and exclaiming “You are a bridegroom of blood to me”. But then why would one want to re-enact that episode?]

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