#30 Birth/Brit Milah/Baby Naming

#30 Birth/Brit Milah/Simchat Bat/Baby Naming


The brit milah (Hebrew: בְּרִית מִילָה‎, ) “covenant of circumcision” happens for Jewish boys and is performed by a mohel on the eighth day of a male infant’s life. Simchat bat (Hebrewשמחת בת‎) is a ceremony to welcome newborn girls into the covenant of the Jewish People. The brit milah and the Simchat Bat is often followed by a celebratory meal.


#1 WATCH: Simchat Bat


Simchat Bat (“The Joy and Happiness of daughters”) is a naming ceremony for infant girls and can take place in the synagogue or the home. The custom involves prayers of welcome and the official giving of a Hebrew name to a daughter from the parents. This prayer is often said at a simchat bat: “The one Who blessed (our mothers,) Sarah and Rivkah, Rachel and Leah, and the prophet Miriam and Abigayil and Queen Esther, daughter of Abichayil — may He bless this beloved girl and let her name (in Israel) be … [insert first name here] with good luck and in a blessed hour; and may she grow up with good health, peace and tranquility; and may her father and her mother merit to see her joy and her wedding, and male children, riches and honour; and may they be vigorous and fresh, fruitful into old age; and so may this be the will, and let it be said, Amen!”. (See Psalm 92:15)”



The short ceremony is conducted by a mohel (male) or a mohalot (female)- a Jewish person trained in the practice of circumcision to remove the foreskin from the baby. The baby does not feel any pain because the mohel uses a special lotion to numb the area on the baby. Some prayers are said before and after the foreskin removal (which takes about 10 seconds) and then the baby is given a hebrew name by his parents.

The Sandek is a special person given the honor of holding the baby during the ceremony. A chair is sometimes placed next to the sandek’s seat. The chair is reserved for the prophet Elijah and remains unoccupied during the ceremony; this practice comes from the tradition that Elijah protects children from danger. According to some sources the sandek is the “representative” of Elijah.

A brit milah is more than circumcision, it is a sacred ritual in Judaism.

#5: Text Study

Mezritch TorahAccording to the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 17:10-14God commanded the Biblical patriarch Abraham to be circumcised, an act to be followed by his descendants:

10 This is My covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee: every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant betwixt Me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male throughout your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any foreigner, that is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must be circumcised; and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken My covenant.


#6 Review and Response

1. What is ceremony for “welcoming daughters” called in Hebrew?
2. What is ceremony of “circumcision” for boy infants called in Hebrew?
3. On what day is the “brit milah” held for the Jewish boy?
4. What is the name of the person who conducts the circumcision?
5. Who has the honor of holding the baby boy during the circumcision?
6. What happens at the “simchat bat?”

Need some help? We’re here for you. At any time, if you have any questions, please contact one of our teachers so we can help you. Also, at the end of the session, remember to review your responses in your Tamid Workbook so you can get credit for this lesson. Behatzlacha (Hebrew for good luck)! You can reach Christina at (646)360-0689 or connect@tamidnyc.org