A bris is the ceremony of circumcision for Jewish boys when they are eight days old. The origins take us to the 12th and 15th chapters of the biblical book of Genesis. God made unconditional promises to Abraham that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky; that through his descendants all the nations would be blessed; that Abraham's people would be given a great land to occupy and that all who blessed them would in turn be blessed.

Then, in the 17th chapter of Genesis, God commands,

"This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised." (v. 10)

Circumcision was a "sign of the covenant" that had already been given, with no strings attached, to Abraham.

To some secular Jews, circumcision may not seem especially important or relevant in today's culture. To others, the value of circumcision might be mainly in the fact that it is one of the few things that we do to reinforce the fact that we are Jews. Religious Jews can look to many rabbinical commentaries on why circumcision is important. What about Messianic Jews? How is this ancient rite meaningful to us today? Click on one of the articles in the right side bar.

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2016 Jewish Holidays

Note that in the Jewish calendar, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day: