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The Circumcision Procedure and Blessings

The Circumcision Procedure and Blessings

Performing the Bris Milah

Photo: Chana Lewis
Photo: Chana Lewis

The father of the infant stands next to the mohel, the one who will perform the circumcision. The father picks up the surgical knife and hands it to the mohel, stating that he appoints the mohel as his deputy to perform the brit milah, the circumcision.1 The knife is extremely sharp, and double edged, in order to cause the least pain possible.2

The Sephardic custom is for the mohel to say, at this point in the ceremony, “bereshut moirei verabotai,” “with the permission of my teachers and the community.” The community responds, “l’chaim,” “to life.”3

The Blessings

The mohel recites the blessing, “Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning circumcision.”4

Then he begins the circumcision.

The father recites the blessing, "Baruch atah A-donay, Elo-heinu Melech Ha’Olam, asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu le-hach-ni-soh bivrito shel Avraham Avinu", “Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to enter him into5 the Covenant of Abraham our father.”6

Those present7 respond:

“Ke-shem she-nich-nas la-brit kein yi-ka-neis le-to-rah le-choo-pah oo-le-ma-a-sim to-vim.”- “Just as he has entered into the Covenant, so may he enter into Torah, into marriage, and into good deeds.”

The community prays that the father merit to fulfill his other obligations throughout the child’s upbringing: to educate him, marry him off, and raise him with acts of kindness.8

In most Sephardic communities the father says his blessing before the circumcision,9 followed by the blessing of Shehechiyanu.10


Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 265:9.


Derech Pikudecha, Mitzvat Asei 2, 30.


See the Sephardic Prayer Book.


Shulchan Aruch 265:1.


Some say, “to the covenant” and others say, “enter my son into the covenant,” (see Otzar Habrit p. 221).




Shulchan Aruch 265:1.




Otzar Habrit, p. 220.


Shulchan Aruch 265:7: Ba-ruch A-tah A-do-noi Eloi-hei-nu Me-lech ha-o-lam she-he-che-ya-nu v'ki-yi-ma-nu vi-hi-gi-ya-nu liz-man ha-zeh, Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.

Dovid Zaklikowski is a freelance journalist living in Brooklyn. Dovid and his wife Chana Raizel are the proud parents of four: Motti, Meir, Shaina & Moshe Binyomin.
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Michael Flynntz Inskter November 3, 2015

Circumcision tool When I was young I was told that the circumcision tool was called a "Kytle" can't find any reference to that at all.
Local Detroit Jewish thing? Reply

Rabbi Tom Barnes Indiana April 26, 2013

why is it necessary to wait 8 days before performing a brit? The main reason is 'G-d said so' another reason is: 'it is less painful, there is less bleeding, and faster healing'. But G-d saying should be good enough. He knows best, so I'm sure He knew what He was doing.
My He Bless every child and may every child grow up to bless HIM!
Bless you all too!
Rabbi Tom Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for May 25, 2012

Re: Circumcision and factor deficiencies Indeed, if there is a danger to the child the circumcision is postponed. For more on this see The Health and Wellbeing of the Baby Reply

Dr. Gary Raffel Bethesda, Maryland May 25, 2012

Circumcision and factor deficiencies as a physician, I would think it prudent for the Mohel to know whether a newborn boy suffers from a factor deficiency or clotting disorder. One comes to mind, factor XIII deficiency, which causes oozing of blood from the wound site; others, such as von Willebrand disease may cause severe bleeding at the wound site. If such a situation is evident, is the bris not performed? Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for March 23, 2011

The Eighth Day Please see: Reply

Anonymous March 22, 2011

circumcism why is it necessary to wait 8 days before performing a bris? Reply

Circumcision is the first commandment given by G-d to Abraham, the first Jew, and is central to Judaism.
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