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Bris Pillow

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Bris Pillow Guide

The Brit Milah, or circumcision of a child is one of the most emotional ceremonies in Judaism other than the wedding ceremony known as the Chuppah. This is because the infant is considered to be Jewish following this and it is the first time the child is called by his Jewish name. One of the most important items for a Brit Milah ceremony is the Bris Pillow, which the child rests on during the ceremony.

What is a Bris Pillow?

A Bris Pillow is a large sized pillow that is heavily decorated. It may be just the case in which any pillow can be placed or it may have a pillow built into it. The pillow is usually larger than a standard pillow. The pillow often has a pouch in which the infant is usually placed in before and after the ceremony.

Bris Pillow Decorations

Brit Pillows may be decorated with hand painted or embroidered designs. One of the most common decorations is the “Chair of Elijah”, on which the Brit is performed. Other decorations include floral patterns with pomegranates or grapes, crowns, or Jerusalem. Amongst some communities, such as the German community, the Hebrew name of the child is embroidered or painted onto the pillow. One unique design that is popular is the design that appears on the first page of the Babylonian Talmud – two pillars draped in cloth that support a crown.

It is also common for Bris Pillows to be decorated with verses. The most common verses come from the text of the Brit ceremony, such as “This child will become great” as “Just as he entered the covenant of Abraham, so may he study torah become and adult and marry.” Other phrases like these that are prayers for the child to have a bright and successful future are popular as well. Brit Pillows may also be decorated with children’s toys, such as trains and cars. However, they may also decorated with images of puzzles and similar items.


Bris Pillows can be personalized and in German communities this is the practice because the pillow is later turned into a belt used to dress the Torah and is used in the synagogue during the Bar Mitzvah of that child and during the public reading of the Torah prior to his wedding. Normally the name used is the Hebrew name although the secular name may be used as well. The child’s birthday may also be embroidered into the pillow.

For More Information

For more information on Bris Pillows or other Judaica items, feel free to contact our Judaica experts with any questions or concerns.

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