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Should The Parents Name Their Newborn Boy If The Brit Milah Is Delayed Due To Sickness, and Counting 7 Full Days Until The Milah Once A Sick Baby Boy Is Healed

The Gemara in Masechet Shabbat, DAf 134A and 137A, discusses a child who Chas VeShalom is sick, and is unable to have a Brit Milah on his 8th day. Today we discuss some questions about such a case. What sicknesses qualify for a delayed Brit Milah? When should the baby ultimately have the delayed Brit Milah? Can we name the baby before the postponed Brit?

Halacha says that we postpone a Milah when the baby boy is sick. What qualifies as sick? Among other things, sick refers to a baby who suffers from a fever exceeding 100 degrees. Sick also refers to a baby who received a blood transfusion, or who has a health condition that may jeopardize the healing process or ability to handle the circumcision. Today, we are finding many cases where newborns are yellow in color. This is referred to as ‘jaundice’, which is more so very prevalent in premature babies. There are barometers today to determine its severity and recovery rate. When it is determined that the jaundice is rescinding and the color is improving, the Milah is not delayed. (Soua Semahot page 120). But if the child is excessively yellow, then one must consult with their Mohel and pediatrician. Bottom line, unless the sickness is severe and an obvious threat, one should talk with their Mohel and pediatrician to determine if the Milah should be delayed or not.

According to the Halacha, when a child is sick, we not only wait until after child recovers, but we must wait an additional 7 full days after the child gets healthy. Again, we do not make the Milah immediately when the child recovers.

Now the question was asked in this regard about the 7 days after the child gets healthy. When do the 7 days start? Does it start immediately after the child is deemed healthy, meaning do we count seven 24 hour intervals from that moment? Or, do we start counting from that day? For example, if a child is deemed healthy at 2:00 PM on a Tuesday, do we count Tuesday and allow the Milah to be the following Tuesday morning? Or, do we start counting at 2:00 PM, and schedule the Milah to be the following Tuesday after 2:00 PM?

Halacha says that we are in deed strict on this, and one must wait until after 7 full 24 hour intervals. Meaning, in the case above, the Brit Milah may not take place on Tuesday morning. It must take place on Tuesday after 2:00 PM. One must wait 7 full 24 hour intervals from the moment the baby is deemed healthy. (Shulchan Aruch Yore Deah, siman 262:2)

Many people ask a question about naming a boy before the Milah, if the boy is sick and the Milah is delayed. We name our boys at the Brit Milah, so the question is asked if one has to wait until the Milah if it is delayed. In fact, the parents push to name the baby early in this case so that they are able to cite the baby’s name in prayer for a Refuah Shelama (full recovery.) Some hold this way and allow the naming of the baby before a delayed Milah, but our custom is to follow the Sod, the opinion of Kabalistic teachings, and refrain from naming the baby until the time of the Milah (Hishmat Abraham). We wait. In the event the parents want to say a prayer for the baby’s health, they would mention ‘Tinok Ben [mother’s name.]’ We would refer to the child as ‘Tinok’ (which is the Hebrew word for ‘baby’.) (Sefer Ot Haberet)