Brit milah

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Brit milah (Hebrew: בְּרִית מִילָה [b'rīt mī'lā], Ashkenazi pronunciation, bris milôh, "covenant of circumcision"; Yiddish pronunciation, bris) is a Jewish religious circumcision ceremony performed on 8-day old male infants by a mohel. The brit milah is followed by a celebratory meal (seudat mitzvah).


Biblical references

In the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 17:1-14) circumcision was enjoined by God to the Biblical patriarch Abraham, an act to be followed by his descendants:

As well as in Leviticus 12:3:

According to the Hebrew Bible, it was "a reproach" for an Israelite to be uncircumcised (Joshua 5:9.) The name arelim ("uncircumcised" [plural]) is used opprobriously, denoting the Philistines and other non-Israelites (I Samuel 14:6, 31:4; II Samuel 1:20) and used in conjunction with tameh (unpure) for heathen (Isaiah 52:1). The word arel ("uncircumcised" [singular]) is also employed for "impermeable" (Leviticus 26:41, "their uncircumcised hearts"; compare Jeremiah 9:25; Ezekiel 44:7,9); it is also applied to the first three years' fruit of a tree, which is forbidden (Leviticus 19:23).

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