The word Bris means covenant; the word Milah, to circumcise.
Hashem (G-d) commanded Avraham, Judaism’s founding father, to circumcise himself and all male children born to his offspring. Avraham was the first person in history to perform a Bris Milah, he even circumcised himself.
Circumcision is the forging of a blood pact between Hashem and the Jewish people.
Why on the 8th day?
The Bris is performed on the eighth day after the baby is born since the Torah commands us to do so. Different reasons are given for the significance of the eight day.
The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh (R’ Chaim ben Atar 1696-1743) quotes our sages as stating that waiting eight days is a sign of HaShem’s mercy on the child, so that the baby would have the strength and energy to survive the procedure. The Ohr Hachaim then asks how our sages knew that the child gains the necessary strength specifically on the eighth day. The answer lies in the Zohar, which states that the child gains strength from passing through Shabbos night. It is the Shabbos that establishes the newborn baby as one whose existence is stable. As our sages state, “the world was shaking and unstable throughout the six days of creation until the Shabbos came and made it strong, and then it rested.” Therefore, to insure that even a baby born on Shabbos day would pass through a Shabbos night before its bris, the Torah made bris mila on the eighth day.
The kabbalistic writings teach us that the number eight alludes to the concept of eternal Jewish continuity.
In the Torah, all references to the numbers have great significance. Seven days represent the physical world of creation, the eight day transcends everything physical. Thus, when a child has lived for eight days, he has transcended the physical to the metaphysical. The Bris Milah, performed on the eighth day, reminds us that Jewish survival is not merely a natural phenomenon, but rather it is a supernatural one. Jewish survival defies the laws of nature.
To contact Rabbi Sochet to schedule a bris please call 845-659-4041.