Everyone was shaking Uncle Shmuel’s hand and wishing him: Mazel Tov! Mazel Tov!” Avromie was also excited about his new cousin’s bris, but he kept thinking about the tiny baby’s crying.

“Don’t worry about little Meir,” Avromie’s father calmed him. “He’s fine. Just look at him, he’s sleeping peacefully now. He even looks like he’s smiling in his sleep!”

“I’m not worried, Tatti,” replied Avromie. “I was just wondering why HaShem commanded us to have a bris when we’re so tiny — only eight days old.”

“There is something very special about the number eight...,” his father began to explain.

“I know!” interrupted Avromie. “We learned about eight last week in Parshas Shemini. The number seven is a symbol of natural things — like the seven days in a week. The number eight is a symbol of things which are higher than nature.”

“Good for you, my little Talmid Chochom,” his father complimented him. “And by the way, speaking about the parshah, isn’t it interesting that your cousin Meir’s bris is taking place during the week in which we read: ‘And on the eighth day you shall circumcise....’ ”

“But still, Tatti, why do we have to have the bris when the baby is so tiny? He doesn’t even understand anything. Couldn’t we have it when he’s eight years old? It would still be connected with the special number eight.”

“Actually, Avromie, being eight days old and not understanding much is exactly what the bris is all about.”

“What do you mean, Tatti?”

“The bris between HaShem and the Jewish people involves a very deep connection. Our link to HaShem does not depend on what we understand or feel. It comes from our neshamah, which is far above our understanding. Even though there are many things about HaShem that we don’t understand,we trust in Him and follow His laws.

“And our connection to HaShem is not just something spiritual; it is a real part of our everyday lives. And so we make a bris with HaShem in our actual flesh. Do you know who was the first Jew to have a bris when he was eight days old?”

Yitzchak,” Avromie answered.

“Good,” his father replied. “But Yishmael claimed that he was greater than Yitzchak because he had a bris when he was 13 years old. ‘I understood what I was doing and I still agreed to have a bris, while you were only a baby,’ Yishmael bragged to Yitzchak.

“Yishmael was wrong. Our connection with HaShem is far above understanding, and that is why Yitzchak’s bris — and little Meir’s and every Jew’s — should be performed when he’s eight days old.”

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. I, p. 19ff)