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 Home > Baby > Brit Milah > Leil Shimurim, the eve before Brit
 Brit Milah (Bris) - "Leil Shimurim"
Bringing Newborn Jewish Boys Into the Covenant

On the evening before a brit, it is traditional to invite Jewish children to visit the home of the newborn to recite prayers, say Psalms, and make blessings over food. Children's voices are pure,  their souls unblemished, and their hearts whole.  Prayers of these pure children are desired to draw spiritual protection for the little boy on the eve of circumcision, and attract blessings to come down upon the newborn and the entire household.

The night before the Brit is called "Leil Shimurim" -- the night of protection, or in in Yiddish, the "Vach Nacht." When spiritual power and intensity of a performing a great mitzvah is prevalent, according to  Jewish mystical teachings, so is the struggle of negative spiritual forces seeking to obstruct and thwart the performance of this mitzvah. Hence the tradition.

Children's Prayer:
Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.

Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be upon your heart. You shall teach them thoroughly to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. And you shall write them, upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.

May the angel who has delivered me from all evil bless the lads, and may my name and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac be called upon them, and may they increase abundantly like fish in the midst of the earth.

The children are given candies over which they say the following blessing:

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, by whose word all things came to be.


More about the Brit Milah:
Brit Milah: The Covenant of Circumcision, an overview.
Brit Milah: Biblical Commandment
Leil Shimurim: The Evening Before the Brit Ceremony
Brit Milah: The Venue
Brit Milah: Best time for Ceremony
Brit Milah: The Ceremony
Brit Milah: The Controversy
       Brit Milah: Benefits - AP Article
       Brit Milah: Benefits - BBC Article

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