Hatafat Dam is a ritual drawing of a drop of blood from the penis of an already circumcised man by a mohel (pronounced "moyel"), a Jewish professional trained in circumcision. For more information, visit the My Jewish Learning site.
This is Dawn's interview with a man who went through the Hatafat Dam Brit. The comments in bold are hers.
I was struck by how mysterious this procedure feels and the lack of information around it so I asked someone I know to tell me about his experience of hatafat dam. He agreed.
Not exactly a topic I like to revisit, Dawn... But for you, here's the story.
The most painful part of the process was writing the check to the mohel. The actual procedure was a walk in the park - I didn't feel a thing. My mohel was Rabbi Chanan Feld, of blessed memory.
One thing to consider is the time in between the hatafat dam and the mikvah - when you are technically in this weird nexus of not a Jew but not-not a Jew either. Strange.
Dawn: What was the level of pain?
Zero physical pain. This is more info than you probably care to know, but the mohel draws blood from the scar tissue on the man's penis, which isn't near the head. Again, I'm not trying to be graphic or inappropriate, but you asked.
Dawn: Where was it done?
It was performed at a house which I believe doubled as Rabbi Chanan Feld's office. Specifically, it was done in a room designed for little kids (Winnie-the-Pooh wallpaper was hung and toys were in the room). Obviously no children were present, but still a little weird.
Dawn: Was your rabbi with you? Or did you go on your own?
I went on my own. I'm sure if I’d asked my rabbi to be there, he would have, but it wasn't something I needed him there for.
Dawn: How did you get the contact information for the mohel?
I was given Rabbi Feld's contact info by my rabbi and told exactly what to ask for. Rabbi Feld was very responsive.
Dawn: How much did it cost?
Feld charged $200 for him and $25 for each witness, which there were two. Total bill was $250.
Dawn's comment to us: For everyone’s information, Rabbi Chanan Feld, of blessed memory, was a mohel by profession. Not every doctor who performs the ceremony charges this amount. Most of the men who emailed me said that they paid less. For example, Dr. Piser, when asked about the cost, suggested that the man give a donation to Dr. Piser’s synagogue, Temple Beth Abraham. The gentleman chose to give $50 to the shul.