The Ceremony Begins
Everyone should stand for the duration of the Brit Milah ceremony.
The Brit ceremony begins with the kvatterin giving the baby to the kvatter, who brings him into the room.
When the baby is brought into the room, all present say:
Blessed be he who has entered.
Happy is the man You choose and bring near to dwell in Your courtyards; we will be satiated with the goodness of Your House, Your Holy Temple. The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aaron the Kohen, has turned My wrath away from the children of Israel when he displayed anger among them in My behalf, so that I did not wipe out the children of Israel in My anger. Therefore say: I grant him My covenant of peace.
The kvatter passes the baby to another honoree, who places the baby on the “Chair of Elijah” (Kisay shel Eliyahu), and the mohel then recites the following:
This is the Seat of Elijah the Prophet, may he be remembered for good. For Your deliverance I hope, O Lord. I have hoped for Your deliverance, Lord, and I have performed Your commandments. Elijah, angel of the Covenant, here is yours before you; stand at my right and support me. I rejoice in Your word, like one who finds great spoil. Those who love Your Torah have abounding peace, and there is no stumbling for them. Happy is the man You choose and bring near to dwell in Your courtyards; we will be satiated with the goodness of Your House, Your Holy Temple.
An honoree takes the child from the Chair of Elijah and gives him to his father. Since the obligation of circumcision is incumbent upon the father, he now explicitly transfers his obligation to circumcize his son to the mohel and appoints him to perform the Brit in his stead. There are those who have the custom for the father to take the Brit Milah knife and hand it to the mohel as a symbol of this transfer.
Then the sandek is summoned to sit on the chair, and the father places the baby on his lap. The father continues to stand near the mohel while the mohel recites the following blessing:
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning circumcision.
There are three important stages to the circumcision:
Chituch- Removing the foreskin.
Priah- Uncovering the flesh under the foreskin.
Metzizah- Drawing the blood out of the wound and surrounding areas.
In between the milah and priah, the father recites the following blessing:
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to enter him into the Covenant of Abraham our father.
All present respond:
Just as he has entered into the Covenant, so may he enter into Torah, into marriage, and into good deeds.
Following the circumcision, the mohel applies some medical ointments to promote healing.
The baby is taken from the sandek’s lap and given to the standing sandek. Another honoree takes a cup of wine in his right hand and says:
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who sanctified the beloved one from the womb, set His statute in his flesh, and sealed his descendants with the sign of the holy Covenant. Therefore, as a reward of this [circumcision], the living God, our Portion, our Rock, has ordained that the beloved of our flesh be saved from the abyss, for the sake of the Covenant which He has set in our flesh. Blessed are You Lord, who makes the Covenant.
Either the same honoree, or a different honoree, continues:
Our G-d and G-d of our fathers, preserve this child for his father and mother, and his name in Israel shall be called [here say the baby's name] the son of [the father's name]. May the father rejoice in his offspring, and his mother be glad with the fruit of her womb, as it is written: May your father and mother rejoice, and she who bore you be glad. As it is said: I passed by and saw you weltering in your blood, and I said to you: You shall live through your blood; and I said to you: You shall live through your blood. And it is said: He has remembered his Covenant forever, the word which He has commanded to a thousand generations; the Covenant which he made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac; He established it for Jacob as a statute, for Israel as an everlasting Covenant. And it is said: Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as G-d had commanded him. Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His kindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His kindness is everlasting. May this little infant [mention his name] become great. Just as he has entered the Covenant, so may he enter into Torah, into marriage, and into good deeds.
After naming the child, the person who recited the blessings drinks the wine. (If the Brit is being performed on a fast day, the wine is given to a child under the age of thirteen to drink.) Then the mohel and the father recite the following prayer.
Sovereign of the universe, may it be Your will that this [circumcision] be regarded and accepted by You as if I had offered him before the Throne of Your Glory. And You, in Your abounding mercy, send through Your holy angels a holy and pure soul to [here say the baby's name] the son of [the father's name] who has now been circumcised for the sake of Your great Name. May his heart be open as the portal of the Great Hall in the Temple in Your holy Torah, to learn and to teach, to observe and to practice; grant him long life, a life imbued with the fear of sin, a life of wealth and honor; and fulfill the desires of his heart for good. Amen, and so may it be Your will.
The mohel then recites the following:
May He who blessed our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses and Aaron, David and Solomon, bless this tender infant [here say the baby's name] the son of [the father's name] the because [the father's name] the son of [his father's name] pledged charity for his sake for bikkur cholim. In this merit, may the Holy One, blessed be He, hasten to send a complete recovery to all his two hundred forty-eight bodily parts and three hundred sixty-five veins, and raise him to Torah, to marriage, and to good deeds; and let us say, Amen.
The Priestly Blessing
If there is a kohen (priest) present, it is customary to have him recite the Priestly Blessing at this point:
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus shall you bless the children of Israel, say to them: “The Lord bless you and guard you. The Lord make His countenance shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord turn His countenance toward you and grant you peace.”‘ And they shall set My name upon the children of Israel, and I shall bless them.”
The kvatter takes the infant from the standing sandek and delivers him to the kvatterin, who in turn gives the child back to his mother. The Aleinu prayer is recited, concluding the morning services.
The Festive Meal
Once the Brit is completed and the child has been returned to his mother, the family and guests join for a festive meal. It is a great mitzvah to be present at a Brit and partake in the festive meal. Some say that in honor of this great mitzvah, and in honor of Elijah the Prophet, all those who are present at the Brit are purified from their sins.
It is customary that this meal include bread and festive foods such as meat and wine. We also light candles to create a joyful and dignified atmosphere. Amongst Chassidim, it is customary that during the feast the father of the child recites a Chassidic discourse on the subject of Brit Milah. During the Grace After Meals, special portions are added: six additional “Horachamans” (“The Merciful One”) associated with the Brit Milah. Some give the honor to six different people to say the six different Horachamans.