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Joining the Covenant

This past week I had the opportunity to attend a Brit Milah (circumcision). This special ceremony occurs when a baby boy is eight days old. It is filled with lots of emotion for the baby's relatives and lots of joy. Many mothers are filled with such emotion that they have a hard time watching the procedure as it causes some pain to their newborn baby. At this point in my life, I can only imagine what the mother must feel. Why do we do this to our baby boys and what is the actual process like?

The mother brings her newborn son to the place where the Brit will occur. The grandmother or another special woman brings the baby to the Mohel who performs the circumcision. The baby is then placed on the chair of Elijah, and is then picked up by the Sandek (the father's representative) who will hold the baby during the Brit. The father stands next to the Mohel who then, recites the blessing "Blessed are You, L rd our G d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to enter him into the Covenant of Abraham our father.”Afterwards, the parents give their son his name and explain the meaning behind it and other details about his name. The ceremony concludes with a festive meal.

Even though there is some emotion and pain on the part of the baby and parents, we still perform this mitzvah on our sons to ensure that they have a place among the Jewish people. This is also what sets Jewish boys apart from other boys who receive a circumcision. Ultimately, the higher purpose is continuation of the covenant between the Jewish people and G-d.

It's amazing that Jewish parents ranging from the least religious to ultra religious have a Brit for their sons. This ceremony is incredibly important because it is much deeper than performing a circumcision. When a boy has a Brit it ties his him to his ancestors going all the way back to Avraham and also ties him to future generations. Upon completion of the Brit, he officially enters the covenant with G-d and the Jewish people. May G-d continue to give us the strength to honor the covenant and may we all have a Moadim L'simcha and Chag Sameach!

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