Celebrating the Bris: Meaning, Customs, and Prayers
by Rabbi Nechemia Markovits M.B. Certified Mohel
The bris ceremony, a sacred Jewish tradition, holds deep significance for the community. Following the completion of the bris, a special ceremony takes place, accompanied by a delectable kosher meal known as the seudas mitzvah. In this article, we will explore the post-bris ceremony, its customs, prayers, and the symbolic burial of the foreskin. Join us as we delve into the profound rituals that honor this Divine commandment.
The Seudas Mitzvah: A Feast of Honor
After the bris, participants gather to partake in the seudas mitzvah, a meal specially prepared to commemorate this sacred occasion. Adhering to the laws of kashrut, the meal ensures that all food served is kosher. It is essential for everyone present to wash their hands appropriately before consuming bread and actively engage in the meal.
Postponement on Fasting Days
In cases where the circumcision is scheduled on a fast day, the seudas mitzvah is deferred until the evening when the fast is concluded. This postponement allows for the participants to fulfill their spiritual obligation without compromising their observance of the fast.
Reciting Prayers of Blessing
After the meal, a series of special prayers are recited by the participants. These prayers serve as a heartfelt expression of gratitude and a plea for divine blessings. Among the prayers is a supplication, beseeching that the fulfillment of the mitzvah of circumcision will hasten the arrival of the Messiah and bring an end to human strife, ushering in an era of peace and harmony.
The Burial of the Foreskin
Following the circumcision, a unique custom is observed—the burial of the foreskin. The foreskin is considered to contain a concentrated negative energy that needs to be transformed into positivity. In Jewish tradition, the Earth symbolizes growth and transformation. Just as a seed buried in the ground ultimately yields fruitful results, the burial of the foreskin allows for its energy to be harnessed and transformed into positivity.
This ritual also sheds light on the Jewish prohibition of cremation. Ashes lack the potential for growth or transformation, as nothing can sprout from them. Conversely, burial in the Earth ensures the potential for positive growth and renewal, aligning with the core principles of Jewish faith.
The ceremony following the bris is a profound and meaningful continuation of this sacred Jewish tradition. The seudas mitzvah, with its kosher delicacies, serves as a festive tribute to the Divine commandment. The recitation of prayers, including the fervent plea for the arrival of the Messiah, brings a sense of hope and unity to the participants.
Moreover, the burial of the foreskin carries a symbolic significance, emphasizing the transformative power of the Earth and the belief in the potential for positivity. By adhering to these customs and rituals, the Jewish community honors the bris ceremony and strengthens their connection to their faith. May these traditions continue to inspire and foster spiritual growth for generations to come.