I know that one can convert an infant (and if he doesn't recant when he becomes of age, the conversion is retractively chal) but what about milah? For a Jewish child, milah before the 8th day isn't a valid milah and hatafat dam brit would have to be done at the proper time. But a non-jewish child isn't commanded to get a milah so it would seem that there is no obligation to do so on the 8th day specifically. (By the way, this is not a duplicate of the comments in Why Not Eight Days Until a Convert's Circumcision?) This site http://www.convert.org/Converting_Infants.html reads, regarding converting a newborn, "If possible, this should be done on the 8th day after the birth of the boy. If a circumcision has already been performed, a drop of blood needs to be drawn in a ceremony called hatafat dam brit." but no source is given. Why would there be a requirement to wait till the eighth day? A Jewish baby lives through one shabbat (i.e. 7 day cycle) before a brit but the non-Jewish baby has no connection to shabbat.

Is it that, objectively, there is something halachicaly about being alive 8 days for any human that then makes milah viable (I don't mean medically and I'm not sure if the kabbalistic notion of "positive and negative energies" http://www.nymohel.com/laws_customs.php#p16 is an answer I, as a layman, can truly appreciate).

  • Can anyone verify the claim of convert.org?
    – Double AA
    Jul 3, 2012 at 19:28
  • Why do you think Shabbat has anything to do with it?
    – Double AA
    May 11, 2014 at 16:35

1 Answer 1



Devarim Rabbah 6:1 states that God had pity on the child and instead of requiring circumcision immediately after birth, waited until the baby was stronger. This strength may be physical (Moreh Nevuchim 3:49) or spiritual (as discussed above regarding the Sabbath). Other reasons given are so that the baby is given time to "mourn" for the Torah that it learned in utero and has now forgotten (Taz, Yoreh Deah265:13), and that the parents are happier at eight days when "tumas leidah" no longer applies (Nidda 31b). Interestingly, the baby's coagulation factors appear to peak at the eighth day. See the essay entitled "A Tapestry of Eights" in Bris Milah by Rabbi Paysach Krohn (Mesorah Publications) for a detailed discussed of the significance of the eighth day for circumcision.

  • Thank you -- I knew about the coagulation bit but was trying to avoid the medical explanation. Only the moreh nevuchim, it seems, gives a reason which would apply to a non-Jewish baby and that reason is simply physical.
    – rosends
    Jul 2, 2012 at 14:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .