Who Pays For a Bris?

June 14, 2023

In Judaism, the circumcision of male babies is a sacred ritual known as a Brit Milah. The ceremony, which is usually performed in the parents' home, reaffirms God's promise to Abraham that the children of Israel would endure as a people. After the baby is circumcised, a blessing is recited and the Hebrew name is given to him. The parents then hold a meal called a seudat mitzvah to celebrate with family and friends.

Although Jewish law obligates the father to perform his son's bris, many men find that they are not qualified to do so and hire a mohel, or professional ritual circumciser. A mohel must be a competent, G-d fearing Torah observant Jew. In some cases, a pediatric surgeon who is sensitive to the requirements of Brit Milah may be chosen, but in this case, a full Bris should still take place under the guidance of a mohel.

Many parents choose to honor a few close friends or family members by choosing them as Kvater (passers of the child). These special guests form a human chain, passing the baby from hand to hand until it is passed to the sandek, who holds the child briefly on a chair that is designated for Elijah. It is a high honor to be sandek, and traditionally, this role is given to a pious man who is also a married man or engaged couple.

Some families who are not able to afford a bris will sponsor another boy's bris, so that they can fulfill this important mitzvah. This is a very meaningful and appreciated way to show the value of the ritual to our community.


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