Stuart Rubenstein, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Certified Mohel
Former Chief of Pediatrics,
Scripps Memorial Hospital,
La Jolla, CA


Your son’s Bris should occur on the eighth day of life. The day of birth is considered the first day. For example, if your son is born on Wednesday, his Bris will be the next Wednesday. Jewish law (halacha) is so strong about the Bris being on the eighth day that it should occur even if that day falls on the Sabbath, Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah. If your son’s birth occurs after sunset, then the first day is considered to be the following day. For example, if your child is born Wednesday night, then the Bris would occur on the following Thursday. Exceptions to the eighth day include jaundice, illness or cesarean section (if the eighth day falls on the Sabbath). If this situation occurs, myself or your Rabbi will help in determining the appropriate day for the Bris. The Bris should never occur before the eighth day.

The timing of the Bris is also important. It may occur anytime before sunset. Morning or noon time is the most common period that the Bris is performed. After the ceremony, it is customary to have a festive meal for your guests.

The ceremony can be enhanced by adding traditional elements. Two chairs should be available, one for Elijah and one for the Sandak (see below). The empty chair for Elijah is in recognition of his honor to be at each Bris. The table on which the Bris will be performed is considered an altar. It can be beautified by the lighting of Shabbat candles, the presence of your Kiddush cup, pictures of relatives (especially the people your son will be named after), and flower petals scattered on the table. Your son’s gown may be ornate and he may be wrapped in a Tallis. Poetry may be read by the parents, relatives and guests. Finally, the parents may take a few moments to talk about the people your son is named after, and the characteristics that they have which you hope will be passed on to your child.

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