A baby is laying in the sun with a calendar hanging on it.

Mohel Tradition & Planning

The Hebrew word "brit" means circumcision, or "covenant." This Biblical law is mentioned in Genesis 17:2. It refers to a pledge that God made to Abraham and his descendants, promising to bless him and make him prosper in return for his loyalty. The act of circumcision sealed the covenant and stated, "and ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and that will serve as a sign of the Covenant between Me and you." This early life cycle practice is a way of life for those of the Jewish religion. The Bible requires every son born to a Jewish woman to undergo a traditional circumcision on the 8th day following his birth.

The Brit Milah is considered the most important commandment. As stated in the Talmud, circumcision comes before all other commandments in the Torah, and no changes from this Biblical law are permitted. Throughout history, Jewish people have risked their lives for the freedom to perform this mitzvah.

"Mohel" is the Hebrew word for the person who cuts away the foreskin. He is the specialist who performs the procedure and who recites the prayers.

"Circumcision is of such importance that heaven and earth are held only by the fulfillment of that covenant."

"Circumcision is one of the commandments which, having been accepted with joy, are ever obeyed with joy and observed with steadfast loyalty."


It is a tradition that the parents give out the honors before the Brit Milah. Men and women are invited to be included. There are many special people who can be included, such as relatives, friends, and siblings. By giving thought to these honors, this will add to the importance and make this an event of lasting memory. The Hebrew names of both parents will be needed, as well as your descendence from either Kohen or Levi. You should also fill out the information sheet found on this site, so I know your information, such as everyone's name and the baby's date of birth, etc.

  • KVATER AND/OR KVATERIN - This person brings the baby into the room where the ceremony will take place. This is traditionally given to a married couple who do not yet have children or the grandmothers, together or one at a time.

  • KISE SHEL ELIYAHU - This is someone who places the baby on the Chair of Elijah and takes him from the same chair. This chair is placed next to the Sandak's seat. It remains unoccupied for the prophet Elijah, who supposedly attends every brit to protect every infant from danger.

  • SANDAK - This is the person who holds the baby while the circumcision is taking place. It comes from the Greek word meaning "godfather." He is also called the Ba'al brit, or "master of the circumcision," because of his central position in the ceremony. If this is your first son, then his paternal grandfather should be considered first.

  • AMIDAH LE-BERAKHOT- This person holds the baby during the naming portion of the ceremony.

A woman holding a baby in her arms.

Pre-Brit Preparation

  • 1 Plan a simple outfit with a bottom that can be easily opened up or accessed. Please avoid clothes with many buttons or zippers up the front or back. Have a blanket to keep him covered so he can stay warm.
  • 2 Religious - Yarmulkes (kipot) should be worn by all males present. Tallit (tallis) is optional and could be worn by the father and grandfathers.
  • 3 Pillows - 2 standard bed size pillows with pillowcases on, any color, not satin.
  • 4 Table - A six-foot is preferable, with one chair and an extension cord.
  • 5 Wine - A new bottle of sweet Kosher grape wine, or if desired Kosher grape juice (no blackberry or cherry). We will also need a Kiddush cup or wine glass.
  • 6 Ceremonial Needs - These you must have:
  • Diapers – Six disposable and three burp cloths

  • Bacitracin Ointment - 1 oz tube with no additives

  • Gauze pads – one box 3x3 inch.

A Brit Milah can be postponed at any time, including the day of the ceremony, if there is any question about the health of the baby. Be sure to check with your pediatrician if you have any medical concerns.