You don’t need to feel lost with all the Hebrew words and technical terminology that will be thrown about at your son’s Brit Milah.  Here’s a list of common words and phrases that you may find helpful.

Brit Milah (or bris) – circumcision, literally means “covenant of words”

–  the woman who takes the baby from the mother and brings him to the ceremony

Kvater – the man who takes the baby from the kvaterin and gives it to the father

Sandek – the “god father” who holds the baby during the brit.  According to tradition, his soul is connected to the baby’s.

Mohel – the person who performs the Brit.

Kiseh Shel Eliyahu – a chair that is traditionally present for Elijah the Prophet to sit on and witness the Brit

Beracha – Blessing, what the mohel recites before and after the Brit

Baruch Habah – A Phrase meaning “may the one who has entered be blessed”. This is recited by the congregation as the baby is brought into the room.

Baruch atah Adonai elohanu melech ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav ve’Tzivanu le’hachniso le brit shel Avraham Avinu – This is the phrase that the father recites just before the cutting in order to fulfill his commandment of giving his son a Bris.  It means Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, Ruler of the universe, who sanctified us by Your commandments and commanded us to have our sons enter into the covenant of Abraham our father.

K’shaim she’nichnas la’brit, kain yikanais l’torah u’l’chupah u’l’ma’asim tovim – a phrase meaning “just as he entered the Brit(covenant), so he should enter the life of Torah, Huppa (canopy) and good deeds”.  This is recited by the congregation after the Brit has been performed.


Bris baby, picture courtesy of Rebecca Kowalsky