Bris Milah

Mazel Tov!

A Jewish baby boy has been born.

Bris Milah, ritual circumcision, is one of the most fundamental precepts of the Jewish religion. It is referred to in the Torah as The Covenant of Abraham, since our forefather Abraham was the first to receive the commandment concerning circumcision from G-d. “And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male throughout your generations…” Genesis 17:12)

More than any other Jewish ritual, Bris Milah is an expression of Jewish identity. Its fulfillment symbolizes an affirmation of faith in Abraham’s ancient, and still vibrant, covenant with G-d. Through circumcision, parents create yet another link in the continuing chain of our People that has proudly survived the challenges to its physical and spiritual existence over thousands of years. A Bris Milah performed according to Jewish tradition is a wonderful beginning for a newborn child.

It is a memorable experience, replete with significance and meaning for all those involved. It is the first of many milestones and happy occasions to be joyously celebrated during the child’s life, as he grows to be a source of Nachas and satisfaction to all.

The Mohel

Rabbi Mordechai Rosenberg has recently joined the Lakewood, New Jersey community, after serving as a Mohel for the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas since 1990. He apprenticed under the late Rabbi Benjamin Nadoff of Pittsburgh, and was trained and certified by the late Rabbi Yosef Dovid Weisberg, the Commissioner of Mohelim in Israel and Chief Mohel of Jerusalem. Rabbi Rosenberg is recognized as a Certified Mohel by the American Board of Ritual Circumcision.

An ordained Rabbi, Rabbi Rosenberg studied in Jerusalem and in the famed Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood, NJ. Rabbi Rosenberg served as a member of the Kollel Jewish Learning Center of Pittsburgh and a teacher in Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh for almost 3 decades, and is currently serving as a Remedial Teacher and Mohel in Lakewood, NJ.

Traditionally, the parents engage a mohel to perform the Bris. A mohel is specially trained in the medical and surgical techniques of circumcision. In addition to being an expert in his field, the mohel is also an expert in the Jewish laws pertaining to Bris Milah. A doctor’s medical circumcision, usually performed in the hospital on the second or third day after birth, does not fulfill the requirements of a Bris Milah and is not considered valid according to Jewish law. The Bris must be performed by a Jewish person who understands, upholds, and practices the tenets of the Jewish religion, and is specially trained to function as a mohel.

An experienced, compassionate, gentle and caring Mohel, Rabbi Rosenberg will guide you through the process and details of Bris Milah as he joins you in bringing your son into the Covenent of Abraham.

The Ceremony

The Bris ceremony is a very special occasion and is accompanied by much happiness and rejoicing. The ceremony may be held at home, in a synagogue, or at a catering hall. A couple enters with the baby, and the baby is placed on a chair designated as the Chair of Elijah. The baby is then placed upon the lap of the Sandek, most often a grandfather, who holds the baby during the actual circumcision. After the appropriate blessing is recited, the circumcision is performed by the mohel. Immediately following the Bris, another blessing is said over a cup of wine, and the baby receives his Hebrew name, which he will proudly carry throughout his life. The newborn child is often named after a departed relative, a symbolic source of life to those no longer with us. The ceremony ends with resounding Mazel Tov wishes, followed by the serving of a festive light meal or refreshments.

Honors

Several honors are given during the ceremony, usually bestowed upon the relatives and close friends of the baby’s family.

Kvatter

The couple who carry the baby in.

Kisei Shel Eliyahu

The person who places the baby on the chair designated for Elijah the Prophet.

Sandek

The person who holds the baby during the Bris ceremony.

Sandek Me’umad

The person who holds the baby during the blessings and naming. This can be split two honors.

Brachos, Krias Ha’shem

The person who recites the blessings and names the baby. This can be split into two honors.

The Baby

The Bris of a healthy baby is done on the eight day of life (counting the day of birth). This is done even if the eighth day falls on Shabbat, Yom Kippur, or any other Jewish festival. However, in the case of a baby born by Caesarean section, the Bris is not performed on Shabbat or on a festival, but on the following day. Bris Milah may not be performed before the eighth day or at night. In the event that a baby is not in perfect health – even if not severely ill – the Bris is delayed until both the doctor and the mohel concur that the circumcision can be performed safely. A common example of this situation is newborn jaundice. However, in the case of severe illness, a delay of one week following full recovery is required.

What to prepare for the Bris:

• Small table for instruments

• Firm sleeping pillow

• Two prayer shawls (Tallis)

• Red sweet grape wine OU certified

• Kiddush cup with saucer

• 4 cloth diapers or towels

• 2 disposable diapers

• Infant’s Tylenol

• 25 – 50 3×3 gauze pads

• Bacitracin ointment – large size tube

Before the Bris:

• Do not soak baby or use ointments, creams or lotions on bris area. A sponge bath is okay.

• The last feeding should be within two hours before Bris, but not within the last half hour before the Bris.

• Dress baby in clothing that can be opened from the bottom. Wrap baby in a receiving blanket.

After the Bris:

• Apply bacitracin on a gauze pad and place on top of area at each diaper change.

• Baby may lay in any position, even on his stomach.

• If baby is uncomfortable, you may give 40 – 60 mg. of infants’ acetaminophen drops (Tylenol), every four hours as needed.

• If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call at any time!

Testimonials

“Thank you for performing the bris for our grandson… we knew that everything will go just fine when you held our little baby…” – S.K.

“You are a very soothing, confident man whom we respect very much… we can not express our appreciation enough. Our son continues to thrive and is blessed with such a beautiful beginning.” – M. J.

“We were so comfortable that you were the mohel and appreciate it very much!” – A. T.

“You did such a respectful and professional job, and it was very meaningful to us and our families.” -A.R.

“Thank you again for all your help…we are very fortunate to have you in our community.” -K.F.

“Thank you for the lovely ceremony. We were blessed to have you officiate at the Bris Milah of our son…We will always remember you…” -B.A.

“This was a special occasion for us, and we are glad to have had you here with our family and friends.” -T.M.

“Thank you so very much for your understanding and patience in helping our son enter into our world of Jewish traditions.” S.L.

“… and the Bris was a very beautiful, special occasion – thanks so much to you.” -L.D.

“Thank you so much for helping to make this day so special for us…” -J.B. “Your expert advice and reassurance made such a difference to us when we were so anxious.” -S.G.

“We want to thank you for your special role in the lives of all three of our boys, and our family.” -S.S.