A festive spirit fills the air as family and friends gather to welcome the new child into his birthright. All present bless the infant with a life of health and happiness, in the traditional words: “Just as he entered this covenant,
may he enter a life of Torah, marriage and good deeds.”
As a blessing is made over a cup of wine, the child receives his Hebrew name and enters into the covenant of Abraham, with a sign of G-d that will become part of him forever.
It’s a Boy!
When God gave the Torah to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai it was the Jewish children who stood as the guarantors in carrying the Torah into future generations. Indeed, the primary obligation for most time-bound mitzvot falls to the man, for the woman is occupied with and immersed in the Jewish education of her children and this responsibility surpasses the obligation of most time-bound mitzvot. The first mitzvah experienced by the newborn boy is his Bris Milah, the ritual circumcision. It is through this highly significant ceremony that the child enters into the Covenant of our forefather Abraham and is given his Hebrew name, cementing an irrevocable bond between him and his Jewish soul.
It’s a Girl!
Throughout the ages our tradition has held the Jewish woman in the greatest esteem. Our Sages taught us that women are more similar to the Creator than men. Just as God created the earth, it is the woman who bears children. Just as God provides the world with its sustenance, it is the woman who embodies the nurturing nature so vital for sustaining life. And it is the Jewish mother who conveys the Jewish status and birthright upon her child, ensuring the future of the entire Jewish people.
Tradition tells us that a newborn girl is considered “complete” with regard to the spiritual benefits attained through a Bris Milah. However, the customs regarding pregnancy and birth are equally related.