Jewish Life

Brit Milah

Essentials for the Covenant of Circumcision and the Celebration of Brit Milah (Brit)

  • A brit takes place the eighth day after the birth of a son.
  • A father is obligated to circumcise his son, but can transfer that obligation.
  • There are a number of roles to be played during the ceremony, including bringing the baby into the ceremony on a pillow (kvatter); holding the child during the circumcision (sandak); and holding the baby during the naming (sheini).
  • Any medical issue can be cause for calling off a brit; the baby’s health takes priority.
  • It is customary – and considered good luck – to keep the baby's name a secret until the brit.
  • There are two key blessings at a brit: The mohel says one about the mitzvah of milah, and the father recites one about bringing his son into Abraham’s covenant.
  • Plan a party.

Questions for a Mohel:

  • What method of sterilization do you use?
  • Where did you train?
  • How many brit milah have you performed?
  • Do you have references or letters of recommendation to share?
  • How many times – before and after the brit – do you visit?
  • Who removes the bandage?
  • Do you offer topical anesthetic?

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