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What is the order of the Brit ceremony?



Library » Life Cycle » Circumcision » The Brit | Subscribe | What is RSS?


During the Brit it is customary to have lit candles in the room where the Brit is performed. Some have the custom to kindle thirteen candles, connoting the thirteen Divine attributes of mercy. 

The Brit ceremony begins with bringing the newborn into the room.

A couple is honored with bringing the newborn into the room. The wife, known as the kvatterin, passes the baby to her husband, the kvatter, and all present say:

Blessed is the one arriving!1 Happy is the man You choose and bring near to dwell in Your courtyards; we will be satiated with the goodness of Your House, Your Holy Temple.2 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aaron the Kohen, has turned My wrath away from the children of Israel when he displayed anger among them in My behalf, so that I did not wipe out the children of Israel in My anger. Therefore say: I grant him My covenant of peace.3

The Kvatter passes the baby to the person who will place the baby on The Chair of Elijah (Kisay Shel Eliyahu). Once the child is placed on the chair, the Mohel recites the following:

This is the Seat of Elijah the Prophet, may he be remembered for good. For Your deliverance I hope, O Lord.4 I have hoped for Your deliverance, Lord, and I have performed Your commandments.5 Elijah, angel of the Covenant, here is yours before you; stand at my right and support me. I rejoice in Your word, like one who finds great spoil.6 Those who love Your Torah have abounding peace, and there is no stumbling for them.7 Happy is the man You choose and bring near to dwell in Your courtyards; we will be satiated with the goodness of Your House, Your Holy Temple.

The person who is honored with taking the child from the Chair of Elijah lifts the baby and passes him to the father. The Sandek is summoned to sit on the chair. Then the father places the baby on the lap of the Sandek.

The father stands near the mohel. He must "transfer" his obligation to circumcise his son to the mohel by appointing him to perform the brit in his stead. Some have the custom for the father to take the brit milah scalpel and give it to the mohel as a symbolic act of transferring his obligation.

The Mohel then recites the following blessing:

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning circumcision.

There are three important stages to the actual brit process:

Chituch - The removing of the foreskin.

Priah - Uncovering the flesh under the foreskin.

Metzizah - Drawing the blood out of the wound and surrounding areas.

Following the Chituch the father recites the following blessing while the Mohel proceeds with the Priah:

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to enter him into the Covenant of Abraham our father.

All present respond:

Just as he has entered into the Covenant, so may he enter into Torah, into marriage, and into good deeds.

The Mohel completes the Brit, applies some medical ointments to promote healing, and the baby is taken from the Sandek's lap and given to the "Standing Sandek". The person honored with reciting the blessings takes a cup of wine in his right hand and says:

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who sanctified the beloved one from the womb, set His statute in his flesh, and sealed his descendants with the sign of the holy Covenant. Therefore, as a reward of this (circumcision), the living God, our Portion, our Rock, has ordained that the beloved of our flesh be saved from the abyss, for the sake of the Covenant which He has set in our flesh. Blessed are You Lord, who makes the Covenant.

The person honored with the giving of the name recites the following:


  • 1. In some communities these few words are all that is said by those present, and only the Mohel continues. In other communities this whole paragraph is said by all present.
  • 2. Psalms 65:5.
  • 3. Numbers 25:10-12.
  • 4. Genesis 49:18.
  • 5. Psalms 119:166.
  • 6. Ibid 119:162.
  • 7. Ibid. 119:165.


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(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
First Jew, and first of our three Patriarchs. Born into a pagan society in Mesepotamia in 1812 BCE, he discovered monethieism on his own. He was told by G-d to journey to the Land of Canaan where he and his wife Sarah would give birth to the Jewish People.
Third of the three Patriarchs and father of the Twelve Tribes. Lived most his life in Canaan and died in Egypt in 1505 BCE. Also known by the name of "Israel."
Second of the three Jewish Patriarchs, son of Abraham and Sarah. Lived in Canaan (Israel); b. 1712 BCE, d. 1532 BCE.
Brother of Moses. First High Priest of Israel and progenitor of all Kohanim (priests) until this very day. Died in the year 1272 b.c.e.
[Lit. Covenant] Circumcision. The act of removing ones foreskin 8 days after birth, perpetuating a covenant with G-d originally established by the Patriarch Abraham.
King of Israel who succeeded Saul, becoming king of Israel in 876 BCE. Originally a shepherd, he became popular after he killed the Philistine strongman, Goliath. He is the progenitor of the Davidic royal dynasty -- which will return to the throne with the arrival of King Messiah.
Son of King David, and succeeded him on the throne of Israel in the year 836 BCE. he was the wisest man to ever live. He built the first Holy Temple and authored several books of the Bible.
A legendary prophet who lived in the 8th century BCE, and saved the Jewish religion from being corrupted by the pagan worship of Baal. He never died, he was taken to heaven alive. According to Jewish tradition, he visits every circumcision and every Passover Seder table.
One who performs ritual circumcisions.
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.
The one honored with holding the baby during the circumcision.
Bikkur Cholim
Visitation of the sick.