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When the Bris Should Occur

The bris ceremony usually takes place on the baby’s 8th day of life, unless it needs to be delayed for the health of the baby. The day of birth counts as the first day, so a baby born during the day on Monday would have his bris on the following Monday.  If he is born after sundown on Monday night, the bris would be held the following Tuesday, as each new Jewish day starts at sundown.  A bris is considered so important a mitzvah that, with few exceptions, it even takes precedence over observing and resting on Shabbat, so if the 8th day falls on Shabbos, the bris is held that day.

The Torah clearly states that Jewish boys should be circumcised on the 8th day of life. There are several explanations, some physical, some spiritual.  Physically, scientists have determined that a baby's blood clotting system is at its peak on the 8th day of life. Clotting ability gradually improves from birth until the 8th day, when it is actually at "super-natural" levels. Following the 8th day, it gradually goes back down to normal levels. Torah scholars use this scientific evidence as one of many proofs that the Torah was truly given by G-d. Who else would have known thousands of years ago that the 8th day was the best day for the bris?

Spiritually, the 8th day is the earliest possible day that insures that every Jewish boy will experience one Shabbos before his bris. We get a spiritual uplift when we go from Friday afternoon into Shabbos. It is important for every baby to receive this boost before his bris. According to some scholars, the first 7 days of life are in the physical realm. These are the days in which G-d created the world, then rested. But the 8th day of life is in the spiritual realm. As milah is a sign of the spiritual covenant with G-d, it occurs on this special spiritual day in a baby's life. A normal musical scale has 8 notes: do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, and do. The 8th note is a multiple of the same pitch as the 1st note, but it is an octave higher. The baby is also on a higher level on the 8th day of life.

All these interpretations show how important it is to have the bris on the 8th day of life, assuming the baby is healthy. This is what Dr. Katz strives for in every bris he performs.


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