It's been a hard day's night.

As a mohel, a ritual circumciser, I can't afford to bite my nails. However, on my flight to New Zealand this past Monday, it took great effort to refrain from a nervous nibble or two. The plane had been delayed and it was going to be touch and go whether I would have time to land, clear customs, meet the parents, examine the newborn and complete the circumcision, brit, before nightfall.

Why the worry and rush? Would running a few minutes late justify postponing my return flight to do the job on the morrow? Would it really make so much difference if we'd have to do the brit after nightfall? Why be so pedantic?

The verse reads, "When a woman gives birth to a male child… on the eighth day you should circumcise." The Talmud understood the verse to be insisting that a brit be done only during the day. This to the extent that there is discussion in Jewish law of how to "re-brit" a child circumcised at night.

Parenthetically, a brit done before the 8th day does not qualify as a kosher brit and needs to be rectified as soon as possible. Any queries — ask your Local Orthodox Rabbi.

My father learnt the art of circumcision from an elderly Russian Hassid, Betzalel, who would tell of hiding all night in an attic watching and waiting for the break of dawn so that he could fulfill his holy task and scurry away, all the while praying that the sounds from outside didn't presage the approach of the KGB.

Most of us are not faced with such astounding demands of self-sacrifice for G‑d and Judaism. Our trials and challenges are more prosaic. However, the temptation to settle for "good enough," the attitude of "she'll be right," even when fulfilling G‑d's commandments it is sometimes too tempting for us to withstand. How often do we allow ourselves to cut the corners of religious life, rationalizing that good intentions are all that counts?

Judaism rejects this attitude. Done at the right time, a brit is a covenant between Jew and G‑d. The same actions done a few minutes too early or too late is nothing but an unnecessary operation.

Let us resolve to not only do the right thing but also to do it at the right time and in the right way.

(Oh, and by the way, I made it to the brit, and with time to spare.)