A Bris on the eighth day is a very special occasion… yet there are instances when it has to performed later in lieu of health or other concerns. While we might assume that any Bris performed after the fact is lacking something, Maimonides does not seem to agree with this sentiment at all. In fact, he writes that a Bris may always be performed. He adds that if his health is lacking, it is impossible to return his soul to him. Thus, better safely perform a Bris than rush it if one is in fragile health.
Even with this perspective, the individual had not had a Bris until a certain point, meaning that he was lacking in positive fulfillment of this mitzvah. Nevertheless, the Kabalistic sages do not seem to find this problematic either, explaining that the Bris has the capability to retroactively rectify any lack that the individual previously had.
The moment he receives his Bris, he has rectified the past in an actively positive way, not just erasing any past negativity. Generally we are limited by time, once it has passed we do not have any active participation with it. If we used it wisely it remains a testament to our righteousness that we carry with us forever, if not it is lost.Humans have the unique capability to rectify past wrong doings expunging it from our divine record, but any positivity that we did not act on is lost.
A Bris is different! It retroactively repairs and enhances a person’s previously lost time. The lesson: the Bris is beyond time, as are humans in general if we look at ourselves from a deeper prospective. Since we are above time, it bodes that we can never be too late and that there is always an opportunity to rectify ourselves regardless of our past.
For instance, when we use previous negative experiences to enhance our connections with humanity and the universe at large, or at the very least learn more about ourselves from them then we are taking a negative reality and reframing it into an inherently positive one. It also practically means that it is never too late to get a Bris. As a Mohel who also does adults, I have seen hundreds of young and old men decide to take the next step in their lives and receive a Bris, exemplifying the concept that it is never too late. When I saw a man over ninety years old receive a Bris it struck me that it is really never too late! But beyond the Bris it also means that anything that we aspire towards, or relationships that seem too damaged to repair can always be rectified because it is never too late.
Rabbi Yehoshua Levin, Certified Mohel