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Brit Milah - Circumcision

Brit means Covenant of Abraham. God said to Abraham "This is My covenant which you shall keep between Me and you, and your seed after you; every male amoing you shall you be circumcised.......he that is eight days old" (Genesis 17,10-12).

A Brit takes place eight days after giving birth to a baby boy even on Shabbat. A brit is performed by a mohel. When a baby boy is born you should contact a mohel as soon as possible via the Initiation Society.

The definition of the eighth day is:

  • If your baby was born before nightfall on a Monday the Brit will take place during the day the following Monday
  • If your baby was born after nightfall on a Monday the Brit will be the following Tuesday

The Brit can be held in shul or at home and preferably early in the day. If the Brit is Shabbat or Yom Tov it should not be delayed. If the Brit is delayed the mohel will advise of the soonest time to perform the ceremony but it will not then be on a Shabbat or Yom Tov.

"This is My covenant which you shall keep between Me and you"

What do you need?

  • Kiddush wine and kiddush cup
  • A pillow for the baby
  • Two chairs placed side by side
  • A hebrew name for the baby
  • A challah (two on Shabbat)


  • A Sandek – the person of high esteem who holds the baby
  • Someone to carry the baby in – can be a chain of people

After the Brit there should be a festive meal. If a minyan is present Grace After Meals for a Brit contains special additions.

A custom: If you invite a guest to a brit they should not decline the invitation as it is a mitzvah to attend. Therefore it is better just to inform friends of the day and time of the Brit.