Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When two parties make a bris-covenant what does that actually mean? Is it a form of oath? Legal arrangement? Is it binding only as an oral agreement? Are there any official procedures involved in creating a bris-covenant?

share|improve this question

One official procedure is that the agreement can be considered binding without a witness if a "kinyan" is made.

A kinyan in simply when one party gives something of value to the second party (even only temporarily as a token gesture) to theoretically show that he is serious about making the agreement. I am not well-versed in the laws of kinyan, but that is what I understand to be the general idea.

share|improve this answer
The question asks about b'rit and not kinyan. Looking through narratives of b'rit in the Torah, there always seems to be some sort of witness or external sign involved in making a b'rit. We also never find that a b'rit can be annulled, although it can be violated. It is clearly different from the act of kinyan. I have not been able to find any sources that describe how or if a b'rit can be made in modern times. Really, it seems like a b'rit is more like an oath, which carries a host of halachic problems. – Shemmy Jan 5 '13 at 23:53

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.