Meat at a Bris: Who Should Eat?

Ask the Rov: Who may eat meat at a bris during the Nine Days?

By Rabbi Chaim Hillel Raskin – Rov of Anash in Petach Tikvah

For a variety of reasons, poskim write that meat should be served at a bris. Besides being a seudas mitzva when the minhag is to eat meat, there are specific precedents for having meat at a seudas mila.1

At the bris Avrohom Avinu made for his son Yitzchok, he held a large feast. Rishonim explain that eating at a bris is equivalent to eating the meat of korbanos, and there is support in the posuk, “Those who made a covenant (bris) with Me over a sacrifice.”2 Tzaddikim have said that serving meat by a bris is a segula that the child should have strong emuna and grow to be a talmid Chacham.3

The Mordechai, a rishon from Germany, writes that there is a mitzva of simcha at a bris, which would give preference to beef over chicken as on yom tov (see issue 405).4 If beef isn’t available, poultry also generates some degree of simcha.5 Yet, there is a view that fish is sufficient, and some communities even had a custom not to serve meat to not embarrass those who couldn’t afford it.6

The importance of meat at a bris is highlighted in the allowance to serve it even during the Nine Days when meat is generally forbidden. During the actual week of Tisha B’Av, the meat at the bris should only be eaten by a limited number of participants — not more than ten people besides the baalei bris and close family members who cannot testify for each other (e.g., parents, siblings, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews).7

In the earlier segment of the Nine Days – from Rosh Chodesh until the week of Tisha B’Av – some apply the same limitations,8 while others allow meat for anyone who has a connection to the feast and would have come even if it wasn’t the Nine Days.9 When discussing the halachos of erev Shabbos, the Alter Rebbe implies that the week before Tisha B’Av is not subject to the greater restriction.10

In practice, before the actual week, it is permitted for any participant who would have honestly come to the seuda in any case.11

See Sources (open PDF)

From The Weekly Farbrengen by Merkaz Anash

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