|The Jesin Circumcision Clinic - Brit Milah
Mazal Tov on the birth of your son!Brit milah, the covenant of circumcision, was commanded by God to Abraham over 3,700 years ago. It has been carried out faithfully, from generation to generation, even during times of religious and ethnic persecution when Jews were forced to practice their rituals in secret. In fact, the only time the Jewish people willingly desisted from this practice was during the 40 years of wandering in the Sinai wilderness. Before entering Canaan, every male was circumcised by Joshua.
The acceptance of this commandment, or mitzvah, established an eternal bond between God and the Children of Israel. Its observance today is testimony to the continuity and strength of that relationship which requires us to perform the mitzvah with adherence to the laws and customs prescribed in the Torah and interpreted by our sages.
God appeared to Abraham when he was 99 years old and commanded him to circumcise himself, his son, Ishmael, all the males of his household and all his slaves. It is said that Abraham accomplished this on the tenth day of the month of Tishri, later designated as Yom Kippur, when the sins of the Jewish people were forgiven. The following year, when Isaac was born, he was circumcised on the eighth day. In return for his faithfulness, God promised Abraham that his descendants would become a great nation and inherit the land of Canaan for eternity.
Although circumcision dates to prehistoric times, and is one of the oldest operations performed by mankind, for the Jewish people the rite supersedes the surgical component. The rabbis believed it so important that they declared, "Were it not for the blood of the covenant, heaven and earth would not exist." (Shabbat 137b) Punishment for failure to obey this commandment was to be karet - cut off from one's kind, more specifically, excised from the community by Divine decree. Gradually, brit milah acquired a national identity, making its performance today as mandatory for the modern secularists of Israel as for the traditionally observant.
Information About Circumcision
The Jewish people have adhered to the covenant of circumcision throughout the ages – both in times of peace and prosperity, as well as in times of persecution and difficulties. Nothing has ever stopped us from fulfilling this great and holy commandment from G-d. We were chosen to be a light unto the nations; circumcision displays our eagerness and willingness to be connected to G-d and to fulfill His Divine Will.
Important: The Jewish brit, with all pertaining ceremonies, is performed for a Jewish child who is either born from a Jewish mother or from a woman who had properly converted according to Orthodox Jewish law. In all other circumstances, circumcision may be performed on the child, but religious ceremonies are withheld unless they are being performed as part of a proper conversion process.
Instructions For Ritual Circumcision
The following is a list of items which you will need to prepare for the ceremony:
Please prepare the following items at the physical location where the bris will take place. Make sure this location has adequate lighting.
For after care of the brit milah, you will need:
Honours:Please decide on these ahead of time, and inform the people:
Baby Care:Before the Bris:
After the Bris:
Pidyon HaBenIt is necessary for a first born male, whose father or mother are not a Cohen or Levi and who was not born by C-Section, to undergo redemption of the first born. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have in this regard.
AnaesthesiaThis topic has become much discussed in the last few years. It is important to note that all the studies regarding circumcision and pain have been done with non ritual circumcision which is a longer and more painful procedure. However, though babies recover extremely quickly from their bris even if wine is their only anaesthetic, it is possible that they experience some element of pain. However, EVERYONE allows the use of topical cream. The recommended cream would be EMLA. It has to be put on at least 1 hour before the procedure. It should be spread fairly liberally covering the whole penis and top of the scrotum. The penis should then be loosely wrapped with cellophane, and this should be left on till the brit.
You should be aware that the EMLA has not been approved for babies under the age of six months. However in a Toronto study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it has been found to be safe. I have found it to be inconsistently effective. It also may cause some swelling as well as rendering the area a bit slippery. This has never caused a problem during a brit. I leave the decision of using this cream up to you, the parents.
Many rabbinical scholars allow the use of an injectable anaesthetic but not on Shabbat and Jewish Holy Days. I do not necessarily recommend the injection in the newborn. However, if the bris has been delayed for 4 weeks or more, I definitely prefer using this form of anesthesia.
Please feel free to ask me any questions you might have.
About Dr. Aaron Jesin
|Dr. Aaron Jesin