On the eighth day of life, Jewish tradition has it that every Jewish boy should be circumcised. The act represents the covenant between God and the Jewish people. The Torah tells us that Abraham was circumcised at 99, after “converting” to Judaism (Genesis 17). Moses circumcised his son, Eliezer, on his way to Egypt to free the Jewish people (Exodus 4).
Abraham was the first Jew to be circumcised. The act is said to have made him as spiritually close to God as possible, removing any barrier.
The commandment reads as follows: “You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin as a sign of the covenant between Me and you. At the age of eight days you shall circumcise every male child born to you throughout the generations … (Genesis 17:11-1).
Abraham, of course, circumcised Isaac.
We see how important circumcision is from the story of Moses. Tradition has it that the Angel of Death nearly took Moses’ life on his way to Egypt, for he had neglected to circumcise his newborn son before traveling. Only when his wife takes “a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin” did the Angel withdraw.
The circumcision ceremony can take place any time of day, but it is customary to hold it after the morning prayer service. Boys receive their names as part of the ceremony.