Which Day?

The brit, ritual circumcision, is performed on the eighth day of the child’s life, at any time between sunrise and sunset (click here for your local times).1

If health complications delay the circumcision, it is performed immediately after the stable health of the child is confirmed (see here for more details).

If one was not ritually circumcised as an infant, it is his responsibility to be circumcised as soon as possible.2

Why Eight Days?

In accordance with the biblical verse, “On the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised,”3 the brit is performed on the eighth day.

In addition, the eight day wait allows the infant to attain the physical strength needed to undergo the surgical procedure.4

A deeper explanation: while the number seven is related to the natural world—seven days of the week, seven notes to an octave—the number eight goes one step beyond into the supernatural.

Circumcision also takes us beyond the natural order—our very physical body enters into a covenant with G‑d who creates nature at every moment. It all starts by etching a covenant in our body on the 8th day, thereby sealing our miraculous connection to a higher authority. 5

The Time

In an effort to emulate Abraham, who woke up early and ran to do G‑d’s commandments, we try to perform the circumcision as early in the morning as possible.6 However, the Sages teach us that one should wait until later in the day if there will be more participants in attendance at that time.7 For this reason,8 it is preferred to have the ritual circumcision in the synagogue following the morning prayers. 9,10