Why Is a Bris in the Daytime?

Question

A Bris is traditionally conducted during daylight, following the Morning Prayer service.
If this is not possible, it can be done any time during the day.

However, a Bris can NEVER be done at night, which according to the Jewish calendar begins at sunset.
Why can a Bris not be done at night?

2 months

Answers

  1. The mitzvah to do the Bris on the eighth day is written in the Torah as, “On the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.” (Leviticus 12:3)

    Since the word “day” is stated in the verse, our Sages have taught that the mitzvah is to be fulfilled in the daytime and not at night.

    Likewise, it is learned from this verse that the Bris is to be done on the eighth day, and not before. And it is traditionally done in the morning, after the morning prayers – as you point out, to show our desire to do the mitzvah as soon in the daytime as possible – since mitzvahs are dear to us and we should do them at the earliest opportunity. Also, it is done on the eighth day, even if it is Shabbat (in general). Of course, for health reasons it can be delayed until a later day.

    I have seen two reasons offered for why the Torah states that it is to done in the day. One is a practical one: since the mitzvah involves the removal of the foreskin of an eight day old baby, it is important to have excellent lighting for this procedure – i.e. daylight. Another reason, perhaps one that goes to the essence of the mitzvah, is that the Bris is a sign of a covenant between the Jewish People and God. (In fact, the word “Bris” means “covenant”.) This covenant should be made and “proclaimed,” as it were, in the bright light of day, and not in the darkness of night. This mitzvah of covenant is something we are grateful for, and thrilled to announce as a nation – not something to be done while covered in the darkness of night.

    I hope this reply is helpful.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team