for the Bris Ceremony
ceremony of Brit Milah affords the opportunity to honor family
members and friends. Below is a list of the honors that may be
assigned at the bris. Please decide in advance those
people whom you would like to honor. If you are involving the
help of a rabbi, he/she can help you decide on specific
you are using candles to enhance the spiritual mood, you may
assign someone to light the candles. They are lit before the
ceremony starts. No blessing is required.
(if male) / K'Vatterin (if female)
to several people to bring the baby in for bris, and to hold
him initially. He can be passed from person-to-person, so each
has a chance to hold him.
person who sits with or places the baby in the chair or throne of Elijah.
This comes just before the circumcision, and gives us an opportunity to
welcome the spirit of the Prophet Elijah (Eliahu HaNavi) to the bris.
According to tradition,
Elijah was the only prophet not to have died. Instead, he
rode up to shamayim (heaven) in a chariot, and returns
to Earth to accomplish various chores for Hashem. It is
said that Elijah returned to life as Pinchas, Aaron the Kohen
Gadol's great grandson. Just as Elijah visits every Passover
seder, he also attends each and every bris. He is also
said to be the one who will herald the coming of the
messiah. There are several reasons Elijah is said to
visit every bris. He comes to safeguard the baby
through the procedure. In a prayer for Elijah, recited at the bris,
Elijah is referred to as "Malach HaBris", or
messenger of the covenant. This is an allusion to Elijah's
future role of bringing the era of redemption (the messiah).
Since every Jewish baby boy has the potential to be the
messiah, Elijah accompanies him at his bris.
Finally, as described in the book of Kings (Chapter 19, verse
10), Elijah declares to Hashem that while he has
zealously defended the honor of Hashem, some Jewish
people have become lax in observing the mitzvah of bris
milah. G-d replies, "By your life, henceforth Jews
will perform circumcision only when you see it with your own
eyes." This can be interpreted as a reward for Elijah's
zealousness and concern for Jewish observance of this mitzvah,
or as a punishment for complaining. The sages instituted
the ritual of placing the baby on the Throne of Elijah (Keesay
shel Eliahu) at his bris, so he can sit with Elijah
before his circumcision. In respect for Elijah the Prophet, we
follow this tradition at every bris.
the baby's legs still during the actual circumcision. One
Jewish male. The Sandek is the highest honor, and is usually
given to a grandfather, if possible.
the baby while the naming prayers are recited, as he receives
his Hebrew name. I suggest
his mother do this, so she can comfort him.
the "motsi" or prayer over bread at the light meal
which usually follows the circumcision.