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Sunday, December 1, 2019

Naming the Baby When His Bris is To Be Delayed a LONG Time

See more on this topic regarding specifically choosing to name the baby before the bris - during the first week of the baby's life. This article is about if the baby's bris has to be delayed for an extended period of time, either because of a medical condition or an anatomical condition which translates to a need for surgery, which will take place when the baby is at least 6 months or older, when a surgeon will be performing a reconstructive surgery on a condition developed in utero which should not be touched by a mohel.

In his book "Otzar HaBris" Yossele Weisberg writes the following (6:2:3):

* When the bris will not take place on time for whatever reason, there are those who say the baby should be named when his father is called to the Torah (e.g. for an aliyah), and it is good for this to take place after the baby's eighth day. 

* There are those who say to name the baby within the first 8 days of his life, when he is not yet considered an "ערל" (arel) (an "arel" is a person who is uncircumcised. When referring to a Jew, it is typically a kind of not-so-nice label unless the circumstances preventing circumcision were beyond anyone's control - such as if he had siblings who died from circumcision, or if his parents raised him in a place where circumcising him was impossible, such as the former Soviet Union). Since the baby, prior to the 8th day, may not be circumcised, he is not considered to be an Arel, so, this argument goes, it is actually a very good time to name him!

* People nevertheless have the custom not to name the child until he is circumcised, unless he is a firstborn who will be having a Pidyon Haben, as he would be named at the Pidyon HaBen (which takes place on the 31st day of his life), even if his circumcision still needs to be delayed

I am personally of the opinion that when praying for someone, as per Jewish tradition, it is much more appropriate to pray for that person using the person's name. If circumstances have made it such that the name could not be given at a time we prefer (such as a bris which is on time or slightly delayed), we should give the baby a name, so we can properly pray for him that he should be healed, strong, and certainly ready to have his bris soon.

Just to give you one example, a number of years ago I was called to do a bris for twins. One of the babies had developed normally in the foreskin arena, but the other baby had a significant case of hypospadias, for which the parents knew he'd be having a corrective surgery in several months, and I also knew there was no bris to be done.

When we did the bris for Baby #1, we named him (as usually done), and we also named his brother, blessing him that his surgery should go well at the right time.

See also the end of this posting:

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