You’ve had a baby boy? Mazal Tov – Congratulations!
A new baby is one of the greatest joys in life, but caring for an infant can also be highly worrisome for parents. To relieve some of the stress involved in planning the Brit, we’ve provided the following general information to parents in preparation for the Brit.
The ideal time to call the Mohel is immediately after the birth, or as early as possible, so that he can observe the general health of the baby, and become aware of any medical circumstances that might delay the performance of the Brit on time, thus enabling the parents to prepare for a postponement of the date of the Brit if necessary.
It is very important to inform the Mohel of anything unusual in the baby’s health from the moment of his birth until the day of the Brit. Any change, such as an occurrence of fever, even if it returned to normal, lack of appetite, secretions from the eyes, paleness or apathy, should be reported to the Mohel. Even if the parents are told in the hospital that there is no deterrent to having the Brit on time, any change in the baby’s health or behavior should be told to the Mohel. Parents should also show him the release papers from the hospital.
It is very important and imperative to advise the Mohel of any genetic family medical problem such as hemophilia, or other clotting problems and lack of G6PD.
In order to ensure that the Brit is performed according to Jewish law, it is best to hire an experienced Mohel knowledgeable in all the laws of circumcision. Click here to find a Mohel near you.
The Date of the Brit
The Brit is performed on the eighth day of the baby’s life, including the date of birth (i.e., a baby born on Sunday has his Brit on the Sunday of the following week, at any time before sunset). According to the Jewish calendar, the day begins on the previous evening right after sunset (excluding Shabbat), a baby born on Sunday for example, would have his Brit Milah on a Monday. Therefore, when a birth occurs close to sunset it is advisable to check the clock at the actual moment of birth. Parents should not rely on the time determined by the hospital staff, who do not always note the exact time.
In any event, it is best to ask the Mohel with respect to determining the day of the Brit.
The Time of the Brit
A Brit can be performed at any time during the day until sunset. However, since it is preferable not to delay performing a mitzvah, especially such a vital one, it is customary to have the Brit as early as possible in the morning, while of course taking into consideration the convenience of close family and friends.
Postponement of the Brit
The Halacha [Jewish law] is most scrupulous not to endanger the baby by performing the Brit. Therefore, in any event of apprehension concerning the baby’s health, Jewish law dictates postpone the Brit until it can be performed without any danger to the baby. In some instances, Jewish law requires a waiting one week after the child has completely recovered.
In no event should the parents rely on a medical release from the hospital to perform the Brit without reporting to the Mohel of any unusual medical problem of the baby.
A baby born by Caesarian section can undergo a Brit on the eighth day as is customary, provided his health is satisfactory. However if the eighth day falls on Shabbat or a Jewish holiday, it is postponed to a weekday.
The Day of the Brit
On the day of the Brit, do not put any kind of ointment whatsoever in the area of the Brit and try to refrain from feeding the baby for about 1 ½ hours before the time of the Brit.
Dress the baby in a two-piece outfit (shirt and pants).