Brit Milah on Shabbat or Yom Tov

A very common question that I am asked is ” What happens if my baby is born on Shabbat?”

The mitzvah of Brit Milah is a time bound positive mitzvah that should occur on the 8th day of a baby boy’s life.  So what do we do if this situation arises ?  By calculation a baby boy born on Shabbat should have his Brit Milah on the following Shabbat.

The following criteria must be satisfied in order to have a Brit Milah on Shabbat.

  • The baby must have been born after nightfall Friday night and before nightfall Saturday night.  Nightfall is defined as the time at which three stars are visible in the sky (Tzet Chochavim). If the baby is born after sunset but before nightfall on Friday night, the Brit Milah is delayed until Sunday.
  • The baby must have been born by spontaneous vaginal delivery.  A Caesarian Section disqualifies the baby from having his Brit Milah on Shabbat.
  • The baby must be free of any malady that would otherwise delay the Brit Milah.

If any of these criteria are not met then the Brit Milah would be delayed until Sunday.  The same criteria apply to a baby born on a day that would necessitate his Brit Milah take place on any Yom Tov day, in which case the Brit Milah would be delayed until the first non Yom Tov day following the actual eighth day of his life.

Therefore when attempting to schedule the Brit Milah it is always best practice to consult with me before making any arrangements for the Brit.

Finally, since the mitzvah of Brit Milah is so important that it overrides certain laws of Shabbat/Yom Tov, it is very important that the integrity of the day is preserved.  Therefore, the baby must not be driven to the location of the Brit Milah. Furthermore, all the preparations for the Brit Milah must be concluded prior to the onset of Shabbat including any preparation of food to be served at the Seudat Mitzvah that follows the Brit Milah.

For further information on this topic please feel free to contact me directly.