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What are the various honors given to people at a Brit?



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


Woman who carries baby from mother to Brit room and, after the brit, back to mother. In some communities the baby is passed from woman to woman, each bringing him closer to the brit room.

(colloquially- Godfather)
Husband of kvatterin who carries baby from kvatterin to brit area and, after the brit, back to the kvatterin. In some communities the baby is passed from man to man, each bringing the baby closer to the brit area. Often, the kvatterin and kvatter are a couple seeking to have a child,  as this honor is deemed propitious for this purpose.

Throne of Elijah
Places baby on the chair designated as Throne of Elijah. Some place great emphasis on this honor.

From the Throne
Takes baby from the Throne of Elijah and gives him to father who places him on Sandek’s lap.

Holds baby during brit. This is the highest honor at brit, the sandek is equated to a kohen offering the incense offering in the Holy Temple. Many single out the rabbi or a grandfather for this honor.

From the Sandek’s Lap
Takes the baby from sandek at conclusion of the circumcision and gives him to the standing sandek.

Standing Sandaek
Holds baby while blessings and prayer are recited, during which baby is given his Hebrew name. Arizal considered this an important honor.

Reader of the blessings
Recites two blessings said following the brit. This honor is often bestowed on a rabbi, Mohel or sandek.

Giving the Name
Recites prayer during which baby is given his Hebrew name. This honor too is often bestowed on a rabbi, mohel or sandak. This honor is often combined with that of the blessings.

Leader of Birchas HaMazon
Recites the invitation to the Grace after Meal -- following the festive meal; recites special Harachamon prayers recited in honor of the circumcision. In some communities the mohel is accorded this honor. In others, a different person recites each Harachamon prayer.

In Summary
The mother gives the child to the kvatterin, who passes him to her husband - the kvatter, who then passes him to the person who will place him on the Chair of Elijah. He is then taken from the chair and given to the father, who places the child in the lap of the sandek. The mohel then performs the brit. Afterwards the child is taken from the sandek's lap and given to the standing sandek, the blessings are recited, and the name is given. Then the child is returned to the mother through the kvatter and kvatterin.

[In some communities a kohen is honored with blessing the child -- and all present -- with the Priestly Blessing. In Chabad communities, someone is traditionally honored with reading the letter which the Rebbe would customarily send to the parents on the occasion of a brit.]


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Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
A Chassidic master. A saintly person who inspires followers to increase their spiritual awareness.
[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.
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.
Rabbi Isaac Luria, the 15th Century founder of Modern Kabbalah.
The one honored with holding the baby during the circumcision.