Introduction to Brit Mila
Introduction to Brit Mila
Avraham was commanded to circumcise himself and all males in his household. From then on, all healthy Jewish males were to be circumcised when they reached 8 days old.
If there is any question about the baby's health, the circumcision is delayed or, in rare cases, not done at all.
The primary obligation to do the circumcision is on the boy's father. Since most people are not skilled surgeons, the actual cutting is usually done by a highly trained expert, called a mohel, who is appointed by the father. A festive meal is eaten after the circumcision.  A minyan is preferred, but not required, for a brit mila.
Brit Mila Scheduling
Brit Mila: Which Day
Brit Mila: Eighth Day
Brit Mila: When Is Eighth Day
As long as the boy was born before sunset (even one minute before), this time period counts as the first day.  Normally, the brit mila will be performed on the following week on that same day of the week (the baby's eighth day). If the baby was born between sunset and dark, consult a rabbi or mohel.
Brit Mila: Delays
Brit Mila: Delays: Health
Brit Mila: Delays: Health: Doctor and Mohel
The brit mila may be done only if the baby is healthy by the opinions of both a doctor and a mohel. If either says not to do the brit mila, don't.
Note Even if the doctor says the baby is healthy, ask the mohel for his opinion since the mohel can still veto.
Brit Mila: Delays: Shabbat/Jewish Festivals
Brit Mila: Delays: Shabbat/Jewish Festivals: Special Births
Situation A baby boy is born by caesarean section. The eighth day after the birth is Shabbat or a Jewish festival.

What To Do The brit mila must be delayed to at least the next day following that Shabbat or Jewish festival. (If the mohel or doctor says the baby is not healthy enough for a brit, the brit must be delayed even more.)
Brit Mila: Delays: Caesarean Birth
Brit Mila: Delays: Caesarean Birth
Do not delay a Shabbat brit mila until Sunday in order to prevent Jews who do not keep Shabbat from driving or otherwise desecrating Shabbat to attend the brit.
Brit Mila: What Time
Brit Mila: Time of Day
The brit mila may be done anytime from sunrise to sunset, but the preferred time is in the morning.
Note Brit mila may only be done during the daytime.
Brit Mila: Hatafat Dam
Brit Mila: Hatafat Dam
For a boy who requires an operation six months later (or more) to repair an anomalous condition such as hypospadias or webbing--if the hospital will allow a mohel "hands-on" participation, then the brit mila is done at the time of the operation. 
If not, after the child heals, a hatafat dam brit mila should be performed.
Brit Mila: Who Should Perform
Brit Mila: Who Should Perform: Preference
A father should circumcise his male children (if he knows how to do to the circumcision!) or appoint someone to do so. Order of preference for who should do the circumcision, if competent:
  • Father
  • Other shomer-Shabbat male
  • Shomer-Shabbat woman (if no male is available).
Note A father (or anyone else) may not perform the brit mila--even just the incision--on Shabbat if it is his first time.
Note A non-Jew may not perform a brit mila.
Note If a child was circumcised in the hospital or by anyone who is not shomer Shabbat, consult a rabbi.
Brit Mila: Sandak
Brit Mila: Choice of Sandak
Choose the greatest Jewish scholar (talmid chacham) in your town or city as sandak (person who holds the baby for the brit mila), since kabbala says it is a good omen for the boy's soul. A woman may be a sandeket but only if no suitable man is available.  If no Jewish man or woman is available, a non-Jewish person may serve as a sandak or sandeket.
Brit Mila: How To Do
Brit Mila: How To Do: Metzitza
When doing a circumcision, metzitza (sucking out some blood) is required.  Metzitza may be done using a pipette or other tube, but the traditional way is by mouth.
Note Using a gauze pad for metzitza is not traditionally done.
Brit Mila: Amount of Metzitza Blood
There is no minimum amount of blood to draw out for metzitza: any quantity suffices.
Brit Mila: Invitation
Brit Mila: Announcement or Invitation
Don't formally invite people to a brit mila meal, just announce it.
Reason If you invite people and they don't come, they are disrespecting the chance to participate in a mitzva.  
Brit Mila: Naming the Baby
Brit Mila: Naming a Baby after Someone
You are not halachically required to name the baby after a particular person. The custom is that a baby is not named after its living parent.
Brit Mila: Festive Meal
Brit Mila Meal: Minimum Requirement
A se'udat mitzva is required for a brit mila, but the brit mila is still valid even if no meal is held. The minimum requirement for the meal is to eat at least 1.3 fl. oz. (39 ml, or 1/6 cup) of bread within four minutes.
Brit Mila: Fast Day
If a brit mila is performed on Tish'a b'Av or other fast days, the meal (se'udat mitzva) is held after the fast ends. On a delayed fast day, the sandak, mohel, and father of the boy who is having the brit may eat after mincha.