The Parent's Comprehensive Guide to Bris Milah
Rabbi Shlomo Golish
The Day of the Bris
Finally, the big day has arrived!
Here is everything you need to know on the day of the Bris:
First of all, the father of the baby is supposed to go to the Mikvah on the day of the Bris. The Sandak is also supposed to go to the Mikvah, so if your father or father-in-law is going to be Sandak let him know that he should go as well.
The Minyan where you daven Shacharis should skip Tachanun. So make sure to let the Gabbai or Chazzan know that you will be making a Bris today. If your father or father-in-law is the Sandak, and if he is davening in a different Minyan, Tachanun should be skipped there as well.
If the Bris is on a day that there is Krias HaTorah, you should be getting an Aliya and a MiSheberach, so go ahead and make sure the Gabbai does this for you.
By Mincha, the Tzibbur doesn't skip Tachanun, but the father and Sandak do. If the Bris is going to be after Mincha, the Tzibbur should skip Tachanun as well, so let the Gabbai or Chazzan know you are making a Bris later today.
Before you leave to the Bris
The Mohel will have instructed you to finish feeding the baby some time before the Bris, usually 1-1/2 hours before. So go ahead and feed the baby with this time-frame in mind.
Also, dont forget to take along all of the things the Mohel told you to bring. (For the list, See Here)
At the Bris
When you arrive at the Bris, hopefully the caterer will already have everything set up. You can proceed to receive Mazel Tov wishes from all your family and friends who are attending.
Make sure to bring all the things that the Mohel requested to the men's section, and place it on the Mohel's table near the Kisei Shel Eliyahu.
When the Mohel arrives, you should put on your Tallis and Tefillin. (The Minhag is that the father wears a Tallis and Tefillin by the Bris.)
The Mohel will set up his things, and when you are ready, he will call Kvatter. The mother will give the baby to the woman Kvatter, who will then bring the baby to her husband. The Kvatter will then bring the baby to you, the father.
The Mohel will give you a card with what you need to recite: you will recite the Pasuk of Shema Yisrael, twice the Pasuk of Hashem Melech, twice Ana Hashem HoShiya Na, and twice Ana Hashem HaTzlicha Na. (This is the Minhag in Eretz Yisrael.)
Afterwards, the Mohel will call out Kisei Shel Eliyahu. The person who gets Kisei Shel Eliyahu will put on a Tallis, take the baby from you, and place him on the Kisei Shel Eliyahu. The Mohel will then recite the Pesukim of Ze HaKisei etc.
Then the Mohel will call out MeHaKisei. This does not require a Tallis. Whoever recieves this Kibbud will lift the baby off of the Kisei Shel Eliyahu and give him to you.
The Mohel will then call out Sandak. The Sandak will put on a Tallis, and sit on the Sandak's chair.
You will then place your baby on the Sandak's lap. This is akin to placing a Korban on the Mizbeyach.
Then the Mohel will open the baby's diaper, and the Sandak will hold his legs. For the exact procedure, look at my section: What is a Bris? - The Bris. At this point the Mohel will ask you to appoint him as a Shliach. You should say clearly, "I am a making you a Shliach to מל my son".
The Mohel will make the Bracha of Al HaMilah, and then he will make the cut. You should answer Amen to his Bracha, and immediately make the Bracha of LeHachniso and Shehecheyanu. (The Minhag in Eretz Yisrael is to make Shehecheyanu)
The Mohel will proceed to do Priya, Metzitza, and bandage the baby, all which should go quickly.
After the Mohel bandages the baby, he will call out MehaSandak, Brachos and Amidah LeBrachos. MehaSandak does not require a Tallis, but Brachos and Amidah LeBrachos do require a Tallis. He will pick up the baby from the Sandak, and give him to the one who got Amidah LeBrachos.
The one who got Brachos will make Hagefen on the wine, and then make the Bracha of Asher Kiddash. He will then drink a little wine and then say the Tefillah of Elokeinu VeLokei Avoseinu, which is when the baby receives his name. When he reaches the words "ויקרא שמו בישראל", you will whisper the name into his ear, and he will repeat the name and continue the Tefillah. When he is finished, the Mohel will make a MiSheberach for the baby, followed by Aleinu and Kaddish.
After the Bris, the Mohel will want to change (or just check - that depends on the Mohel) the bandage, either before the baby goes back to the women's section, or a few minutes after he is brought back.
The Mohel will also give you or your wife (or your mother-in-law) instructions of how to care for the baby for the next day.
Now it is time for the Seudah!
Generally the father gives a Shtickel Torah and some Divrei Hodaah. There is often another speaker as well.
Before bentching, the Minhag is to sing the song Yom LaYabasha, found in many bentchers. It is a very easy tune to follow along, and there is probably someone by the Bris who knows it.
At the end of the HaRachamans, there are additional HaRachamans for a Bris. One person can say them all, but the Minhag is to give them out to different people. There is no Inyan to say the Harachamans with wine.
After the Bris
For instructions for after the Bris, see my next section - After the Bris.