Brit Milah

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Obligation of the Mitzvah of Brit Milah

  1. A father is obligated to perform a Brit Milah (circumcision) on his son or to appoint a pious Mohel to perform a Brit Milah on his son. [1]
  2. The father of the baby should place the baby on the knees of the Sandak. [2]
  3. The father of the baby should stand near the Mohel (the one who is performing the circumcision) in order to show that the Mohel is his proxy. [3]

When a Brit Milah should take place

  1. The Brit Milah is performed on the eighth day after the baby's birth.[4]
  2. The Brit Milah may be performed any time during the day, after Netz HaChama, however, one should make an effort to fulfill the mitzvah of Brit Milah early in the morning because of "Zarizin Makdimin LeMitzvot". [5]
  3. If one performed the Brit Milah before Netz HaChama after Olot HaShachar one fulfills one's obligation. [6]
  4. If it will cause a fight among the family to perform the Brit Milah very early, one may delay it, but one should still try to make it as early as possible.[7]
  5. If there is a concern of a health risk to the baby, the Brit Milah should be delayed until the baby is healthy. Once the baby is healthy, in the case of some illnesses the Brit Milah should be performed without delay, while in other cases, the Brit Milah is only performed after 8 days after the baby became healthy. [8] Needless to say, because of the complexity of these issues, it is incumbent for a person to consult an Orthodox Rabbi to assess the situation. For more details about a delayed Milah, see the #A Delayed Milah section.
  6. If a baby is born during Ben HaShemashot, since there is a doubt whether it was day or night, the Brit Milah is performed on the ninth day from the baby's birth. [9]Because of the complexity involved in practically determining Ben HaShemashot an Orthodox Rabbi should be consulted.[10]

Brachot for the Brit Milah

  1. The Mohel makes the Bracha "ברוך אתה ה' אלוקינו מלך העולם אשר קידשנו במצותיו וציונו על המילה" (“Baruch Atta Hashem Elokenu Melech HaOlam Asher Kiddeshanu BeMitzvotav VeTzivanu Al HaMilah”) prior to the Milah. [11] This bracha should be said standing. [12]
  2. The father of the baby makes the Bracha "ברוך אתה ה' אלוקינו מלך העולם אשר קידשנו במצותיו וציונו להכניסו בבריתו של אברהם אבינו" (“Baruch Atta Hashem Elokenu Melech HaOlam Asher Kiddeshanu BeMitzvotav VeTzivanu LeHachniso BeBrito Shel Avraham Avinu”) before the Milah [13] This bracha should be said standing. [14]
  3. According to Ashkenazim a Shehecheyanu is not said at the Brit Milah except when a father is doing a Brit Milah for a firstborn son who is obligated in Pidyon HaBen, [15] however, according to Sephardim, the bracha is always said. [16]
  4. Next Hagefen is made on wine and then the bracha of Asher Kidesh Yedid MeBeten. [17]
  5. If the Brit Milah takes place on Shabbat, if the one making the Brachot didn't yet make Kiddush, he should drink from the cup of wine a Melo Lugmav and another Reviyit.[18]

Sandakut (holding of the baby)

  1. One should appoint a pious Sandak.[19]
  2. According to Ashkenazim, one shouldn't appoint the same person as a Sandak if he was already a Sandak for another one of one's sons.[20]

Those watching the Brit Milah

  1. Everyone in attendance of the Brit Milah should stand except for the Sandak who is holding the baby.[21]
  2. After the makes the Bracha of LeHachniso, the people in attendance should answer Amen and add "Keshem SheNichnas LaBrit Ken Yikanes LeTorah ULeChpah ULeMaasim Tovim".[22]

The meal of the Brit Milah

  1. It is a proper practice to make a meal on the day of a Brit Milah and it is considered a Seudat Mitzvah. [23]
  2. The practice is not to invite people to this meal because there is an issue for someone who was invited to a meal of Brit Milah and didn't attend.[24]
  3. There is a Sephardic practice to read the Zohar the night before the Brit Milah.[25]

A Delayed Milah

  1. A delayed Milah may not take place on Shabbat or Yom Tov.[26]
  2. According to Ashkenazim, one may perform a delayed Brit Milah on Thursday or Friday even if it will cause a situation of Pikuach Nefesh, however, Sephardim hold that one should not perform a delayed Brit Milah on Thursday or Friday. [27]
  3. Everyone agrees that if a baby boy is born during the Ben HaShemashot (halachic twilight) on Wednesday can have the Brit Milah on Thursday next week. [28]

Sources

  1. Kitzur S"A 163:1
  2. Kitzur S"A 163:1
  3. Kitzur S"A 163:1
  4. Vayikra 12:3, Tur and S"A 262:1
  5. Pesachim 4a says that the Brit Milah may be performed any time during the day but those who have alacrity in fulfilling mitzvot will do it early. The gemara learns this concept of Zarizin Makdimin LeMitzvot from Avraham Avinu when he went to perform the Akeda early in the morning. S"A YD 262:1 codifies this as halacha.
  6. Megillah 20a, Rama 262:1
  7. Rav Mordechai Eliyahu's comment on Kitzur S"A 163:1
  8. S"A 262:2, Kitzur S"A 163:4
  9. S"A YD 162:4
  10. Kitzur S"A 163:6
  11. S"A YD 265:1
  12. Rama YD 265:1
  13. S"A YD 265:1 writes that this Bracha should be made after the cutting of the Orlah before the Periyah, however, Yalkut Yosef (Sova Semachot vol 2 pg 60) writes that the minhag is to make it before the Milah altogether.
  14. Rama YD 265:1
  15. Rama YD 265:7
  16. S"A YD 265:7, Yalkut Yosef (Sova Semachot vol 2 pg 72)
  17. S"A YD 265:1
  18. Kitzur S"A 77:14
  19. Kitzur S"A 163:1
  20. Kitzur S"A 163:1
  21. Kitzur S"A 163:2
  22. Kitzur S"A 163:2
  23. S"A Kitzur 163:8
  24. Rav Mordechai Eliyahu's comment on S"A Kitzur 163:8
  25. Rav Mordechai Eliyahu's comment on S"A Kitzur 163:8
  26. Kitzur S"A 163:4
    • The Gemara Shabbat 19a quotes the Briatta which states that one may not board a boat in order to travel on Shabbat unless one got on before 3 days before Shabbat (whether or not this includes Wednesday, see Mishna Brurah 248:4).
    • The Rif (Shabbat 7a-b) explains that the reason for this restriction is that if one boards a boat within 3 days of Shabbat it will negatively impact the passenger’s oneg Shabbat (enjoyment of Shabbat), however, if it’s started earlier the passengers will get used to it and be able to enjoy Shabbat. The Rosh (Shabbat 1:38) and Rambam (Shabbat 30:13) agree with this reason.
    • However, the Baal HaMoer (on Rif) explains that the reason that one may not board a boat close to Shabbat is because it’s likely that there will be life threatening danger which will necessitate a violation of Shabbat. However, when it is begun earlier there’s no issue because the obligation to prepare not to violate Shabbat even for life threatening danger doesn’t begin (explained by Mishna Brurah 248:8).
    • The Rashbatz 1:21 originates based on the Baal HaMoer’s concept that a convert shouldn’t schedule his Brit Milah on Thursday because it will lead to a violation of Shabbat (if he doesn’t recover fully) and the same would be true of a baby who had his Brit Milah delayed. This is codified by the Tur and S”A YD 268. [Interestingly, the Taz explains that even if there’s no concern of a violation of Shabbat there’s an issue of ruining oneg Shabbat and so it would be forbidden to do the delayed Brit Milah on Thursday or Friday.]
    • However, the Shach YD 266:18 argues on the Rashbetz that the Baal HaMoer would permit just like it’s permitted to board a boat on Friday for the purpose of a mitzvah (S”A OC 248:1) and Brit Milah is a tremendous mitzvah. The Magan Avraham 331:9, Mishna Brurah 331:33, and Sh”t HaRanach 38 (quoted by Tzitz Eliezer 12:43) agree with the Shach.
    • The Chida in Birkei Yosef 248 quotes several achronim who defended the Rashbetz by saying that it was only permitted to board a boat on Friday for a mitzvah if one stipulated with the group that they wouldn’t continue to travel on Shabbat (S”A 248:1) and since there’s no way to make such a stipulation regarding Milah it’s forbidden to do it within 3 days of Shabbat like the Baal HaMoer.
    • Sh”t Yabea Omer YD 5:23, Menuchat Ahava (vol 1, 1:6), and Rav Mordechai Eliyahu (comments to Kitzur S"A 163:4) accept the Chida as halacha.
    • However, the Sh”t Tzitz Eliezer 12:43 rejects the Chida because he points out that the Tashbetz himself wasn’t sure whether to hold like Rebbe that one must stipulate or Rabben Shimon and one wouldn’t have to stipulate and only as a stringency did the Tashbetz hold like Rebbe. The Tzitz Eliezer concludes that it’s illogical that the Tashbetz would have postponed the Milah from Thursday just because of a stringency of holding like Rebbe. [See further in the Birkei Yosef who gives a second defense of the Rashbetz and Tzitz Eliezer who rejects it as well.]
  27. Menuchat Ahava (vol 1, 1:7) and Sh”t Yabea Omer YD 5:23(4) explain that since the Brit Milah’s original time was set for Thursday because of a doubt it’s not considered like it was delayed specifically for that time.