Originally published on www.mybris.com
The Brit Milah is a wonderful opportunity to welcome your son into the Jewish people and to connect him to the generations that came before him.
The special honors for the day include:
At the beginning of the ceremony, the baby will be held by his mother in a room close to where the Bris will be performed. After Dr. Rubtchinsky gives a brief introduction, the mother hands her baby to the Kvatereen. The Kvatereen passes the baby to the Kvater and the Kvater brings the baby to the front of the room and passes him to Dr. Rubtchinsky. This role is traditionally fulfilled by a Jewish married couple who have not yet had children, as it was thought to enhance their fertility. You may choose to honor siblings, friends or other family members as this role. The Kvater/Kvatereen may be single or married, parents or not. The Kvater and Kvatereen pass the baby to the Sandek.
The Sandek holds the highest honor of the day. Usually the baby’s grandfather, the Sandek is responsible for holding the baby during the circumcision and comforting him. Please note that Dr. Rubtchinsky uses a circumcision board during the one minute procedure. This helps to minimize undue pressure on the baby’s legs by a nervous Sandek, who may squeeze the baby during his circumcision. The Sandek will sit at the baby’s head and offer a pacifier soaked in sugar water. The Sandek will also soothe the baby with his voice.
The Brit Milah ceremony takes approximately thirty minutes. It begins with a brief introduction by Dr. Rubtchinsky, then one or two honored guests will light two candles to represent the new life brought into the Jewish people. The honored guests, the Kvater and Kvatareen, will then bring the baby into the room. Next, the baby is placed in the spiritual chair of Eliahu Ha’Navi (the prophet) as prayers are recited to elicit Eliahu’s memory. The baby is then brought to the Sandek for the Milah. The Sandek cradles the baby and soothes him during the ceremony. After the circumcision, Kiddush is said and the baby naming takes place. Prayers and readings are recited and finally ~ Mazel Tov, the celebration can continue with a ceremonial meal.