Tuesday, October 14, 2014
When Does the Delayed Bris Take Place?
The reasons why a bris might be delayed are mentioned here.
The specific points to consider are addressed here.
I got a call Sunday night from a father whose newborn son had finally come home from the hospital after having been there for over a month on account of his premature birth.
He wanted to schedule the bris for a week later, because that was what he had been told to do.
(The following is my summary of our conversation, the quotes are not actual)
Did your baby have complications? No. He needed to learn how to do things, but he's been fine for a while.
Why was he in the hospital so long? He wasn't eating well, he needed to gain weight.
Was he ever "sick"? No. He needed to grow into himself.
All this information led me to understand that the baby did not fall into the "choleh b'khol haguf" (systemic illness) category. It was a matter of maturity.
Then he told me that the doctors felt the baby could have circumcised while still in the hospital, if the parents had wanted such. Which meant he'd had medical clearance for a while.
With an understanding of the medical side, and an understanding of the halakhic side, we discussed options for when to have the bris, and when to have the "celebration party." I told the father that when a baby is ready for his bris, the appropriate thing is to do it as soon as possible. Could a preemie wait a few more days? Yes. But it's not necessary to do so.
The bris ended up taking place the following afternoon after our conversation, with a small, yet respectable - mostly family and very close friends - crowd. The family will have a bigger party as a combination homecoming and post-bris celebration, after the holidays.
Posted by A.B. at 3:05 AM