Brit Milah

Brit Mila, or Bris, is one of the most important life cycle events for Jews. By reaffirming the Covenant of Circumcision, new parents have continued the four thousand year-old tradition of welcoming our newborn children into our special peoplehood. A mohel is privileged to assist the family in this milestone.

In the case of a berit mila, the circumcision is, of course, being performed as a religious act rather than for a medical indication. The origins of the circumcision as a Jewish ceremony are ancient, and are the fulfillment of one of the mitzvot or commandments of the Torah:

And God said to Abraham, “This is My Covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a sign of the Covenant between Me and you. He that is eight days old among you shall be circumcised; every male throughout your generations.” (Genesis 17:9-12).

The infant should be circumcised on the eighth day of life according to the Torah. If the eighth day of life falls on Shabbat, the circumcision will still take place because the mitzvah of circumcision takes precedence over the Sabbath. (One exception is when a baby is delivered by C-section–then the Berit is delayed until after Shabbat.) However, the baby must have been examined by the pediatrician or family doctor and be in good health prior to the Bris. Any medical concerns can legitimately delay the Berit. The rabbi or Mohel can talk more with the parents if there are unusual circumstances that might warrant a delay.