Ceremony


Your son's Bris should occur on the eighth day of life. The day of birth is considered the first day. For example, if your son is born on Wednesday, his Bris will be the next Wednesday. Jewish law (halacha) is so strong about the Bris being on the eighth day that it should occur even if that day falls on the Sabbath, Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah. If your son's birth occurs in the evening or at night, then the first day is considered to be the following day. For example, if your child is born Wednesday evening, then the Bris would occur on the following Thursday. Exceptions to the eighth day include jaundice, illness or cesarean section (if it falls on Shabbat). If this situation occurs, your Rabbi or I will help in determining the appropriate day for the Bris. The Bris can never occur before the eighth day. The timing of the Bris is also important. Many people do it early in the day as recognition that Abraham performed his mitzvot early in the day. Morning is the most common period that the Bris is performed but it can be performed in the afternoon. The Bris should never be performed at twilight or later.

The Brit Milah ceremony is possibly the oldest ritual in our nearly 4000 year history; thus it is rich with many beautiful customs. Presented below are the customs that Dr. Marchbein follows. However, it is possible on occasion to include other customs and family traditions.

The ceremony starts with the baby in another room while his family, friends and community gather together. Before the ceremony, the infant is examined to assure that there are no abnormalities that would preclude performing the bris and that he is well enough to undergo the circumcision as well as having local anesthesia administered.

The ceremony begins with lighting of candles. Then the mother gives the infant to the Kvatterin who then brings the baby to the Kvatter. It is the Kvatter who brings the baby into the room for the Bris and everyone exclaims "Baruch Habah" (Blessed is he that comes). The child is then placed on the Chair (Throne) of Elijah while a prayer is said that greets Elijah and asks for G-d's assistance with the circumcision. The child is passed to the Sandek who holds him on a pillow or special pediatric support while the circumcision is performed. The father recites the blessing of the Covenant while the child is swaddled and handed to one being honored for the naming ceremony (sometimes referred to as the Naming Honoree or Sandek Sheni). Then we celebrate with the motzi (the Challah listed in the Instructions section) and a festive meal for your guests.


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