FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Without taking into account the fact that an infant’s nerves aren’t fully developed, the actual bris pain isn’t as severe as it appears. The reason being, that besides for all the equipment being sterile according to medical regulations, every aspect of the circumcision is performed with the utmost care and love for your child’s comfort. The instruments used are specially designed so that mother and baby enjoy this happy occasion to the best of their ability, before, during and after the Bris. It should be noted, that just like when you change the diaper of any infant under the age of one month, the baby will almost always cry, because infants aren’t accustomed to feeling air on that area, similarly, before the Bris, as the Mohel reveals that area while preparing your infant, you will usually hear your child cry a little. However, after the Bris, from when the child is wrapped up again and being named, in almost all cases, you won’t hear your child cry, as he’s once again comfortable.
The Mitzvah of Bris Milah begins on the eighth day of a male infant’s life. That being the case, a Bris done before the eighth day is halachically a meaningless procedure and therefore mandates another Bris. As stated explicitly in the Torah: “ובן שמנת ימים ימול לכם כל זכר” , at the age of eight days every male among you shall be circumcised . (Interesting to note, prothrombin and vitamin K, do not reach peak levels in the blood until the eighth day of life. Prothrombin levels are normal at birth, drop to very low levels in the next few days, and return to normal at the end of the first week. One study showed that by the eighth day, prothrombin levels reach 110 percent of normal. This may be one reason why the biblical commandment of Bris Milah only begins on the eighth day and doesn’t fulfill its obligation if performed before then. Therefore the Bris must be done on the eighth day of the child’s life, and must be done even on the Shabbos or jewish festivals including Yom Kippur when the eighth day of the babys’ life falls out on Shabbos or any other Jewish festival. However this only applies when your baby was born naturally and healthy. In the eventuality that your baby was born by caesarean section, the Bris would not take place on Shabbos or a Yom Tov, but postponed for the following day. This law is derived from Leviticus chapter 12 verses 2-3 that conditions the mothers purity with the bris overriding the Shabbos or Holiday. In the event that your baby is not in perfect health e.g.; has a high fever, an eye infection, or most commonly, newborn jaundice, the Bris must be postponed until your baby’s physician and the Mohel agree to the healthy status of your child. Additionally, the Bris should be performed in the morning as the Torah states regarding Avraham Avinu “וישבם אברהם בבקר” – and Avraham woke up early in the morning to do this great Mitzvah of Bris Milah.
A Mohel is not only better trained than a doctor in the medical and surgical techniques of circumcision, but a Mohel is also trained in comforting techniques, minimizing and many times making it appear as if the child doesn’t feel any pain or discomfort at all, during the Bris. A Bris done by a doctor, is a long and painful experience for both the mother and baby. Due to the lack of experience and patience, the doctor will have to use painful instruments such as clamps or hemostats to compensate for his lack of care to the comfort of the child. It should be noted, that the healing time is longer when done by a doctor. A doctor’s circumcision will not fulfill the requirements of a Bris Milah according to Jewish law, as the Bris Milah must be performed by a Jewish expert Mohel, who understands and upholds the Jewish tradition we accepted as a nation at Har Sinai.