Infant circumcision is one of the most common surgeries performed throughout the world. More than half of the men in the world are circumcised, and the far majority get circumcised as infants. The procedure that has been developed over the last few thousand years within the Jewish community is highly accurate and remarkably fast, normally taking about 60 seconds. In sharp contrast, circumcision performed in hospital settings ranges from 15 minutes up to 45 minutes.
If any health-related concern develops (i.e rash, fever, etc.) it should be brought to the mohel’s attention immediately.
The Level of Hygiene
The standards of hygiene utilized for this procedure are mirrored after hospital surgical standards. All utensils are cleaned, packaged and then sterilized. The packaging has a unique indicator that lets you know the utensils are in fact sterilized after undergoing the heating process.
The Medical Procedure
There are five steps to infant circumcision:
Separation of the foreskin from the glans using a thin instrument called a probe;
Determining the amount of skin to excise and pulling the foreskin away from the glans;
Applying a shield that ensures the safety of the glans;
The excision of the foreskin;
Bandaging with specialized clotting agents.
Families work together with The Mohel works together with the family to find just the right touch for the ceremony. From location of the ceremony, honors to be given out, blessings to be said and naming the newborn.
Baby's Last feeding should be half hour prior to the Bris
If breastfeeding, please refrain from taking Advil, Motrin, or any other known blood thinners, 2 days before the Bris.
One receiving blanket
Baby’s bottle containing milk/formula
A firm pillow covered with a clean white pillowcase
Tallit Kippot for your guests
Unopened bottle of Kosher wine (sweet – NOT DRY)
Besamim - Fragrant spices (Sephardic custom)
A candle - To be lit during the ceremony
A chair - for the Sandak
A small table - for instruments
Kvatter - brings the baby into the ceremony, usually a married couple
Placing the baby on the throne of Elijah
Lifting the baby from the throne
Sandak - holds the baby during the bris
Lifting the baby - from the Sandak
Standing Sandak - holds the baby during the naming
Blessings & Naming - Blessing over a cup of wine and Naming the baby.
Choosing a Jewish Name
Our Sages tell us that the name of an individual reflects his character and essence. It is what connects him to his spiritual soul, serving as the conduit to his spiritual sustenance and nourishment. Therefore, the giving of a name is a serious undertaking and involves a great responsibility. The Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (known as the Ari HaKadosh) writes, “When a person is born and his father and mother give him his name…the Holy One puts into their mouth the particular name required for that soul.”
My Hebrew Name is My Real Name
The Torah tells us that one of the reasons why God delivered the Jewish people from their bondage in Egypt, was that they did not alter their Jewish identities, particularly, their Jewish names. Indeed, throughout history, Jews have always taken pride in their Jewish names. Our Sages tell us that in the merit of maintaining our Hebrew names we will help hasten the final redemption in our times.
The aftercare for infant circumcision is really simple. For all of the diaper changes within the first 24 hours of the circumcision, parents will apply a 4x4 gauze pad with ointment over the affected area. After 24 hours, parents will bathe the baby for 14 days. That's it. Nothing complicated.
In regards to the amount of time it takes to heal, while the aftercare only takes a couple of days, it can take up to 2-3 weeks for all of the skin to return to normal skin color. If at any point beyond the first 10 days or so there is swelling or redness that is out of the ordinary, call the Mohel to ensure that the body is healing normally.