« Brooklyn DA Condemned For Failing To Prosecute Haredi Pedophiles | Main | Ohel's Alleged Coverups Of Child Sexual Abuse »

March 30, 2012

Why Metzitzah B'Peh Must Be Banned, Part 2

BrisMetzitzah b'peh (MBP), the direct oral to genital sucking of the bleeding circumcision wound done by many haredi mohels has sickened, maimed and even killed babies, and it must be banned immediately. But hasidim claim that MBP is a part of the mitzvah of circumcision itself and not an antiquated health measure based on ancient Greek medicine, and they refuse to stop doing it. Here's why they are wrong.

  Bris 2

Why Metzitzah B'Peh Must Be Banned, Part 2
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

Metzitzah b'peh (MBP), is the direct oral to genital sucking of the bleeding circumcision wound done by many haredi mohels.

Epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists along with the New York City and New York State Health Departments are opposed to the procedure, which doctors have now linked to at least two deaths, one case of severe mental retardation, and other cases of infection with Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1).

Once a person, even an infant, gets HSV-1, he carries the virus for life and he can – and surely will – transmit the virus to others.

Again, MBP has sickened, maimed and even killed babies and the only sane response is to ban it immediately.

But hasidim claim that MBP is a part of the mitzvah of circumcision itself and not simply a health measure, and they refuse to stop doing it. Here's why they believe what they believe, and here's why they are wrong.

Here is the source for the need to suction the open circumcision wound:

“We perform all necessary acts for the circumcision on Shabbat [even if they violate Shabbat law]: We circumcise, tear the membrane (peri’ah, in Hebrew), we do metzitzah (suction), and we place a bandage with cumin powder on the wound [to cause clotting and stop the bleeding].” – Mishnah Shabbat 19:2, circa 200 CE.

In the gemara (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 133b) that comments on that mishna, Rav Papa teaches that:

“Any mohel who does not do metzitzah causes a health danger (sakanah in Hebrew) [to the baby], so we remove him from his post [as the community's mohel].”

Normative halakha, Jewish law, understands two important things from this mishna/gemara:

1. Neither the Mishna or the Talmud specifies how metzitzah should be done and they do not specifically mention the mouth.

2. Metzitzah, cumin powder and the bandage are all health measures instituted to speed healing and protect the baby.

3. Metzitzah, cumin powder and the bandage are not part of the mitzvah of circumcision. They are part of separate mitzvot commanding Jews to guard their health and to protect others from accident and injury.

Cumin powder is no longer put on the circumcision wound because better products created by modern medical science exist, and no hasidim are holding protests over that. But they do protest the potential banning of metzitzah b'peh, contending that MBP is more than a health measure. That flies in the face of 1300 years of published halakha. So why are they claiming it?

 Kabbalah.

The earliest mentions we have of MBP being anything other than a health measure come in the 16th century – 1300 years after the codification of the mishna quoted above – and primarily come from kabbalists who saw the act of metzitzah b'peh as a rectification of the sin of Adam HaRishon, the Torah's first human being and an indispensable part of the circumcision ritual itself.

The kabbalah these men studied was primarily based on the Zohar, a 13th century Spanish forgery falsely attributed to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who lived in Israel just before the codification of the Mishna. The Zohar is laced with Aramaic words and grammar of a much later period, and traces of Spanish – a language that did not exist in the 2nd century CE – can be seen, as well.

The forger, a rabbi no less, claimed to have found this previously unknown work of Bar Yochai, and went on to make his living selling copies of it. When asked by a group of rabbis sent to investigate the provenance of the work, the forger's wife freely admitted that her husband wrote it.

(Don't call me a heretic for writing this because it is essentially the position of Rabbi Yaakov Emden and several other 17th century rabbis and it has been confirmed by modern historical research and linguistics, as well. Some other haredi rabbis take the position that some of the Zohar is authentic, but most of the book is made up of material added much latter. Hasidim and the current crop of non-hasidic haredi leadership takes the position that the Zohar is the holiest work next to Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible.)

Nevertheless, the book was judged to be holy, and it made its way into the accepted canon of Jewish scholarship. By the 16th century it had begun to openly influence halakha. And when the hasidic movement was founded, it was based on mysticism derived from the Zohar and the kabbalist works that grew from it.

And because some of those works see MBP, metzitzah done specifically with the mouth, b'peh, as a rectification of Adam's sin, many hasidic rebbes – including even Chabad rebbes – adopted the view that MBP had been included in the circumcision ritual for that reason. The health benefits of MBP were only secondary.

This raising of kabbalah over halakha is something that clearly would have confused and even shocked the sages of the Mishna and Talmuds.

So would the additional layer added by Orthodox and haredi rabbis – including many of those same hasidic rebbes – in response to reformers who wanted to modernize Judaism by eliminating redundant prayers, bringing decorum to synagogues that often lacked it, and eliminating the "disgusting and unseemly" metzitzah b'peh.

Metzitzah b'peh suddenly became a halakha given to us by God through Moses on Mount Sinai. This was, at first, simply bluster meant to rally the masses and scare off the reformers, and the rabbis who said it didn't actually mean it. But over time the bluster became for many an established halakhic fact. And that's why Satmar, Bobov, Vizhnitz, Chabad, and other hasidic groups, along with many Hungarian non-hasidic haredim and even some Lithuanian non-hasidic haredim have worked to hard to protect MBP from "attacks" launched by reformers, "anti-Semites," and the "self-hating Jews" at the Health Department and The Jewish Week.

Here's how the Hatam Sofer, a non-hasidic "Hungarian" rabbi who was both the leader of the fight against the early Reform Movement and one of the leading rabbis in Europe, viewed the issue in the first half of the 19th century:

“We only find metzitzah b’peh as a requirement by the kabbalists, who assert that one must mitigate the strict attribute of justice with the mouth and lips. However, we have no dealing with hidden matters if there is at all even the slightest concern of a health hazard…. Therefore, as long as we can draw out the blood from the faraway places, it may be done in any way possible. We should believe the experts regarding which act is as effective as oral suctioning. I will go even further: Even if the Talmud had explicitly stated that one must suction with his mouth [I would still maintain that one may use a sponge], since the act of suctioning is not an integral part of the mitzvah of milah, but is rather merely done to avert danger to the child. To wit, according to the halachah, if one circumcises and does peri’ah but neglects to suction, he has completely fulfilled the mitzvah….”

 In other words, if even a small chance exists that metzitzah b'peh is dangerous, metzitzah should be done by another means, and we should rely on experts – doctors and medical scientists – to choose a way to do metzitzah that will work as well as sucking the circumcision wound directly with the mohel's mouth.

Two such ways are commonly used today: a sterile pipette, glass tube, through which the mohel suctions the wound by sucking; and sterile gauze, which when placed on the wound draws blood out of the wound.

Both of them are rejected by hasidim unless there is a very strong suspicion or absolute proof that the baby has a communicable disease (usually given to him in utero by his mother).

In that case, to protect the mohel, a pipette or gauze is used.

What this establishes is that if the danger is clear and present, even hasidim do not do MBP.

So why are they doing it now?

The answer is very sad.

Because of the position of the Maharam Schick (please see part 1), for the danger to clear and present, it can't be based on an estimate or educated guesswork. His reasoning for this is based on his understanding of the medical science of his time, which often consisted of a doctor trying a remedy on patients over a period of years and then writing a brief paper reporting on his findings. Another doctor somewhere else sees similar results and publishes his own paper. Pretty soon, lots of doctors across Europe adopt that remedy as a treatment of first resort.

Those of you familiar with modern, double blind, peer reviewed medical studies and epidemiological studies done over vast geographic areas and large amounts of time with massive amounts of data processed by computers know that these modern studies are not guesswork, and they bear little resemblance to those the Maharam Schick heard about in the 19th century. Our ability to generate computer models and all the other technical advances of modern medical science make the data we have today exponentially more reliable than anyone living in the 19th century ever could have dreamed of, and halakhicly it is absolute proof.

Schick's 19th century position essentially was that the ancient science of the Greeks and Romans that posited that blood had to be drawn from the furthest reaches of the body to the wound in order to prevent infection, and which had been adopted by the sages of the Mishna and Talmud because it was the best medical knowledge of their era, had become frozen in time and was binding on Jews 1300 years after the rabbis who included it in the Mishna died. The only thing that could change that would be if we had absolute proof of its danger. Otherwise, who were we to say that the "guesswork" of our doctors today was being more correct than the words of our ancient sages and the absolute truth of our Torah?

Of course, we have reams of evidence that proves MBP is dangerous, from epidemics of various diseases transmitted by it in the 1800s and early 1900s to modern immunology and disease research. And that should be more than enough to ban MBP even for the Maharam Schick – especially when at least two babies have died from it in the past ten years, another was left mentally retarded, and others were sickened and hospitalized.

Enter hasidim.

Besides their misplaced over-reliance on kabbalah, hasidim have another endearing feature – they will never say their rebbes were wrong. They view their rebbes as intermediaries between God and man, perfect holy men whose every action has divine import. And because their rebbes did MBP, they will do MBP.

When the government tries to get in the way of that, hasidim fight dirty in response. That includes making sure that families of infected babies do not give the name of the mohel who did MBP to the health department or doctors. It also includes making sure no mohels turn themselves in or allow themselves to be fully tested by the Health Department. And that allows hasidim and their fellow travelers to say that there has never been definitive proof these infections came from MBP, because there is not a definitive genetic match between the virus in the babies and thevirus  mohels hasidim hide from the Health Department.

This sophistry allows hasidim to keep the position of the Maharam Schick in play and say that because we lack absolute proof, we can't stop MBP.

Agudath Israel of America is complicit in this deadly game, as well, because some of its leaders are hasidic, because much of Israeli non-hasidic haredi leadership has no understanding of disease transmission or modern medical science and therefore thinks Schick's position is still valid, and because all the rest are afraid that Satmar and Edah Charedis will send thugs to beat them up or take other forms of revenge if they don't go along with the charade. And so they do.

I think the only thing that will stop this insanity is for government to ban MBP, and for prosecutors to treat it as a serious crime.

But hasidm vote in blocs and they're still fighting a long dead holy war against Reform and secularism, and they won't change – even if change will save lives.

Politicians like Michael Bloomberg and Andrew Cuomo in the US need to do the right thing, not the politically expedient thing. They need to do what haredim will not do and ban metzitzah b'peh.

Haredim are killing their own children. They may not mean to, but they are. And that must be stopped immediately.

Part 1.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I totally agree with Shamarya.
Of course, we have reams of evidence that proves MBP is dangerous, from epidemics of various diseases transmitted by it in the 1800s and early 1900s to modern immunology and disease research. And that should be enough to ban MBP even for the Maharam Schick – especially when at least two babies have died from it in the past ten years, another was left mentally retarded, and others were sickened and hospitalized.
If R Shmuel is willing to say the same thing, who exactly are the advocates of this barbaric ritual?

I take issue with your characterization of the Zohar as
a 13th century Spanish forgery falsely attributed to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, ...laced with Aramaic words and grammar of a much later period, and traces of Spanish
Its true that some Spanish turns of phrase may exist in the Zoharic corpus but that doesn't mean the whole thing is a forgery. Indeed, the Zohar contains many ancient traditions from the times of the dead sea scrolls and includes many strata of great antiquity. Whether the final recension was done by MDL doesn't mean the whole thing is a forgery.

Shmarya - Fascinating post. A couple of questions - Do the mothers play any role in allowing this ritual to be performed on their sons? Are they typically aware of the dangers it involves?

Also, what do you make of Rabbi Kamenetsky's recent statements to the press? Did he mean to say that metzitza b'peh should be abandoned or was he just speaking theoretically? Isn't he one of the leading haredi rabbis? Is he not afraid of being intimidated?

hassid:

De Leon almost certainly did not make up the Zohar from whole cloth, but, his intentional misattribution of the work to Shimon bar Yochai, and the misrepresentation of its provenance, make it an unfit authority for halacha Moshe miSinai.

It is a forgery, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have some truth in it. The problem is that the "holiness" of the sefer is dependent on the author, who did not write it.

Shmarya:

This is an excellent exposition. Your reasoning and research are stellar.

Thanks.

hmarya - Fascinating post. A couple of questions - Do the mothers play any role in allowing this ritual to be performed on their sons? Are they typically aware of the dangers it involves?

Also, what do you make of Rabbi Kamenetsky's recent statements to the press? Did he mean to say that metzitza b'peh should be abandoned or was he just speaking theoretically? Isn't he one of the leading haredi rabbis? Is he not afraid of being intimidated?

Posted by: Anon | March 30, 2012 at 09:16 AM

As I told several people when the story broke a couple days ago, I expect him to clarify – i.e., retract – his remarks.

The Zohar is not a forgery. Its at most an example of psuedopigraphical literature. This is common for many misattributed texts of the middle ages. It certainly compiles many ancient traditions. Obviously the story of discovering a manuscript is not an entirely serious story. Reading the Zohar though, its hard to believe that God isn't talking. Its a work of such beauty, nuance and unexpectedness that it could only be divine. Maybe its divine as only fiction can be.

Shmarya:

This is an excellent exposition. Your reasoning and research are stellar.

Thanks.

Posted by: Yaakov | March 30, 2012 at 09:32 AM

Thanks, Yaakov.

hassid:

Signing someone else's name to a document is forgery. And, yes, there is a tradition of attributing things to the people who originated them, but, De Leon went far beyond this with the Zohar.

Compounding the problem is the acceptance of his claimed provenance and imputing holiness to the text on its strength. We are talking about people claiming halacha Moshe miSinai on the strength of a book which is, at best, a patchwork of genuine traditions among material with no special merit.

Mothers i assume are in the dark about mbp since they arent there next to the baby and i assume not many know about this procedure its a male thing the machoness involved in ti,like in everything else when it come to a baby boy the men have all the say mothers are ignores especially in the hassidishe crazy world.

Shmaryahu. Your analysis of why MBP should be discouraged is correct. However, your blatant hostility to haredim and hassidim in particular to th extent that you include issues about the authenticity of the Zohar in this discussion proves that you are no scholar, and that you cannot possibly be objective. I must conclude that you are unable to control your prejudices even when your arguments are correct. That makes you a fool.

Posted by: mhalberstam | March 30, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Please.

Yeish breirah. There is a world. There is reality. There is fact. There is truth.

Jews who understand that don't let mohels suck their baby's bleeding penis.

Jews who don't understand that risk their children's lives.

I told them the truth.

You want to tell them lies.

The rifraff here make it clear they hate chassidim and chareidim, and they think they have too many kids.

Then when it comes to metzitza suddenly they love chareidi babies and care so much for the wellbeing of each and every chareidi baby. Oh please!

Posted by: jancsibacsi | March 30, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Interesting point about mothers not being near the baby when this is done. I would imagine in times when a bris is done in close quarters in a home, it might be easier for a mother to observe, though many mothers (and others!) look away during the actual procedure. But I'm just imagining the reaction, if she doesn't know ahead of time, when she sees the mohel do that!

And has anyone yet answered the question asked on a previous thread about whether metzitzah b'peh is required for adults who undergo circumcision, as well? If it is considered a necessary part of the procedure for the bris to be valid, I would think it would have to be done. But if they set that part aside for adults, could they not do so for babies? Or do they say that the wording in the texts implies it is necessary for one but not the other?

". Reading the Zohar though, its hard to believe that God isn't talking. Its a work of such beauty, nuance and unexpectedness that it could only be divine. Maybe its divine as only fiction can be."

What's funny about your reasoning that it must be divine(ly inspired?) because it so excellent and beautiful is that the Zohar itself rejects this reasoning about the Torah; it says that the Torah is not divine because it is the most beautiful book, that it is not the most beautiful book, and that in fact we can write an even more beautiful book. (Sounds like the Zohar's response to the Muslim claims about the literary merits of the Quran, which you adopted in order to ascribe holiness to the Zohar.)

Posted by: abcdef | March 30, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Most people are capable of disagreeing with a lifestyle without wishing death or injury on the babies born to people in that lifestyle. Even in someone thinks people should limit their family size, it does not imply that they want to see the children that are already born be killed or sickened. Sheesh.

mhablerstam:

The concerns about the authorship of the Zohar are material to the matter at hand. They are not gratuitous, and they are not an invention of opponents of orthodoxy. Shmarya even goes to the trouble to show that Rabbi Emden and others held this position.

If the Zohar is the source for the claim that MBP is halacha Moshe miSinai then its authenticity and reliability are very important to the arguments of MBP advocates. If the sefer is unrelaible, the psak is tenuous and should be trumped by pikuach nefesh based on the very logic of the psak that demands it! (as Shmarya showed in part 1)

The irony of your complaint is palpable. You are doing exactly what you claim Shmarya is doing. You need to find a fault with his work because you cannot bring yourself to unmitigated praise.

Shoshi -I have no doubdt that motherS are unaware of what theese macho retard men do,the bond especially in the few weeks or month with the mother is extreemly important foR the babies welfare but theese mindless religious fanatics dont take into consideration it is a no brainer, but tragically we live in a very very cruel world were money and power overides common sense.

Shoshi:

And, as had been said here before, children, especially babies, are innocent and powerless. Even if the baby comes from an actual enemy, the impulse to rescue it from harm is an ordinary, ethical, human one. In fact, in the case of an enemy, perhaps more so.

This logic "charedi babies grow into charedim therefore your concern is obviously a sham" is specious.

Yaakov-thanks to you i just learened another word the meaning of specious never knew the meaning:))

If the Zohar is the source for the claim that MBP is halacha Moshe miSinai then its authenticity and reliability are very important to the arguments of MBP advocates. If the sefer is unrelaible, the psak is tenuous and should be trumped by pikuach nefesh

Posted by: Yaakov | March 30, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Yaakov, I don't understand.

If we are taking pikuach nefesh into account, then even if the Zohar source is authentic, how can one argue in favour of MBP?

I thought the Charedi-MBP-advocates' argument is that MBP does not constitute Pikuach Nefesh...

Shmarya,

In all sincerity, what do you hope to achieve with your posts on this subject on your blog?

hassid:

You are articulate, and seem to be a thoughtful person. I have the impression you try to look deeper into things. So, without any condescension intended, I would like to make an observation about your comment:

Reading the Zohar though, its hard to believe that God isn't talking. Its a work of such beauty, nuance and unexpectedness that it could only be divine

I understand, and can empathize with the feeling you describe, but, I want to suggest that the perfection you sense is a matter of the reflexivity of the text you are reading.

That is, before you learned the text you learned things that were influenced by it. You absorbed the result of the foundation it presented for the milieu you are in.

So, when you read it, it seemed a revelation of the foundation of your faith. Not because it is divine, but because it is integral to the reasoning that the people who taught you, and who taught them, back to some earlier time, used in formulating the interleaved interpretations, rules, and stories of orthodoxy.

As an example from another milieu… When a conservative American reads Paine's Common Sense they see it as self-evident truth. It is so obvious to them that Paine is right. It's everything they believe about government and its rôle. It fits perfectly. That's because it is the source of the mythology they've absorbed from living in this milieu.

So, I am saying that you see how the Zohar pulls together a lot of the threads of your faith. How it explains things, fundamentally, that can tie many things together. This, in my view, is no surprise because it is the source of so much of current orthodox metaphysics and philosophy.

So, I am saying, the Zohar isn't God speaking, rather your faith is largely the Zohar speaking. I will add one qualification: I do believe that humans have encounters with the divine and that some of the Zohar could be the result of this. But, I don't have quite the same idea of what that means as one would find in orthodoxy.

This is my view, and you may well disagree with it. I don't think I know better than you do, but it is the conclusion I have drawn. I present it so you might think about it, since you seem to actually consider things.

[I have written this essay On the Universal Rôle of Mythology which lays out important related ideas, if you are interested.]

The rifraff here make it clear they hate chassidim and chareidim, and they think they have too many kids.

You do have too many kids. That isn't even open to discussion. It's irresponsible socially, economically and environmentally, and is a form of child abuse. It must be stopped.

Leyzer:

The sevara of the Maharam Schick is, since MBP is halacha Moshe miSinai (according to the Zohar), and it is a matter of "safety" for the infant, pikuach nefesh demands we do it even if there is a "chance" of disease.

The idea is that the possibility of disease is trumped by the certainty of the requirement to perform it for the "safety" of the baby. This is a conflation of the gemara, which is talking about a medical concern of cleaning the wound, and the Zohar which si talking about a kabbalistic concept.

If the Zohar is impeached as a source for halacha Moshe miSinai, the logic of the Maharam Schick demands that we stop the practice.

Shmaryahu. Your analysis of why MBP should be discouraged is correct. However, your blatant hostility to haredim and hassidim in particular to th extent that you include issues about the authenticity of the Zohar in this discussion proves that you are no scholar, and that you cannot possibly be objective. I must conclude that you are unable to control your prejudices even when your arguments are correct. That makes you a fool.

Posted by: mhalberstam | March 30, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Congratulations, Shmarya. You pissed off a Halberstam (if the name is legit).

This, in particular, is rich: to th extent that you include issues about the authenticity of the Zohar in this discussion proves that you are no scholar.

Translation: "Saying what we don't want to hear = poor scholarship; therefore, we don't have to listen to you and can continue to suck on baby's penises." The logic born of a yeshiva education.

Your subculture is a toevah, an abomination. You people are destroying yourselves, and I, for one, cannot wait. The world will be infinitely better off without you.

Jeff-As long as there is sec.8 medicaid food stamps theese irresponsible chareidim will not stop their insane behaviour they are lughting at the system they fool the system to them the wrold is a play ground who can fool or steal the most and they try to teach the honest people how to act in their everyday affairs can you beleive it such indifferent attitude this is their trade mark indifference to everyone else,you can extrapolate from this the mbp behaviour its all about power and money by them .

Shmarya, another excellent article.

I'm not necessarily opposed to mysticism per se, but in the wrong hands it's dangerous. There is a world of difference between a mystic who spends years in solitary meditation, perhaps encountering something larger than himself and being profoundly transformed in the process, and someone who inherits a position or who happens to have an eidetic memory and manages to memorize the most pages of medieval quackery. Obviously, these people fall into the latter two categories.

If Hasidism ever had something positive to offer the world (which I doubt), it's gone now. Every time these thugs apply what they perceive as mysticism to their minhag du jour, someone (or something, in the case of kapparot) gets hurt.

Hassid,
Can you give me some example of where the Zohar relates an exegetical tradition that was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

on vin and some people that i speak to use this argument for MP, and negate the medical reason that is stated in the Talmud

1. The only reason why the Talmud or Rav puppa mention the medical and safety issue about M (will not use MP since it does not say that) is so one should and can it on shabbos.

But that makes no sense. since if it would be an intricate part on the bris it would negate shabbos anyway just like the cutting is

"Shoshi -I have no doubdt that motherS are unaware of what theese macho retard men do"

You should doubt it. The mothers are well aware that MbP is being done. My neighbor, lovely people, told me that she told her husband to specifically have Fisher circumcise their son to show support for him and to insure that MbP would be done. It was a matter of principle for her.

DBSesq- Youre bringing here 1 woman out of thousands and thousands does not prove anything.

DBSesq- Youre bringing here 1 woman out of thousands and thousands does not prove anything.

Posted by: jancsibacsi | March 30, 2012 at 01:02 PM

Jan, you know, they probably are aware of it. These are the same women who accept their subservient roles and claim they aren't oppressed. This is the result of generations of indoctrination - Stockholm Syndrome.

DBSEsq, did Fisher perform the MBP on your neighbor before or after the 2007 Health Department ban?

Shmarya, excellent work, and your point by point review were illuminating.

Regardless, I still don’t want to see MBP outlawed, my view is that government should only ban religious practices at a minimum if it meets the following two thresholds. One, it puts the life of the subject matter in danger of illness or death, which in this case I believe it met. Two, if there is no other save way to conduct this religious act, my view is that MBP could be salvaged if the mohel has a certificate of not having any communicable diseases, and it should be renewed on an annual basis.

Finally, my views is not to say that I believe that MBP is important, no I believe it is all superstition, nevertheless, government should not try to ban religious practices without first seeking accommodation, if possible.

DBSesq,

If this is true, and the family went through with it, ACS should be called. This amounts to endangering the welfare of a child and could end up involving a much more serious criminal charge if the infant was sickened. For the baby's sake, I hope you are merely posturing and made this up.

Joe Field,

I am taking your comments in good faith and assuming that you are merely ignorant of how HSV1 and other infectious diseases work rather than spreading disinformation. In order to ensure that a mohel does not have a communicable disease, he would literally have to be tested right before EVERY BRIS he does, which would be not merely impractical, but in fact impossible, as it often takes days to obtain test results. The ONLY safe way to do the suction is through a sterile tube.

Joe Field -You truly must be mentally ill if you insist on this digusting mbp to still be continued i dont know where youre coming from but you are debasing and demeaning the whole of jewish religion mbp is inhuman especially after the brit on a helpless child how brave you are with someones life who cannot defend himself you cant get lower then this.

DBSesq- Youre bringing here 1 woman out of thousands and thousands does not prove anything.

Posted by: jancsibacsi | March 30, 2012 at 01:02 PM

I have no doubt that most woman know. They follow the word of their leaders just like the men, no questions asked

Why not ban circumcision alltogether Seymore You self hating Jew?

Posted by: jancsibacsi | March 30, 2012 at 02:53 PM

In the face of logic, you always attack the opposing side, why on earth would you have to resort to calling other mentally ill, is that your way of covering up your own shortcomings? Moreover, if your view is that because the baby is defenseless therefore, MBP should be outlawed the same logic should be used to prohibit circumcision, are you for that.

My views are shrouded not in religion, but the in the writings of Thomas Jefferson’s to the Danbury Baptist Association were he wrote there should be a “wall of separation between church and state," Again if you want to debate my views, no problem and if you convince me that you are right, or that in this case the government has met its burden to ban it, than rest assured I will admit and say you are right but debate me, instead of name calling, that is the game.

Posted by: Information | March 30, 2012 at 02:07 PM

I am not a doctor, but I am not sure that you are right or wrong, if you are right, than in my view the government has attained the second prong of my threshold prerequisites that I previously enumerated.

MAN POWER

In all the time I have watched Seymour comment here I have never seen anything that would indicate he hates himself.

I know this is not easy for you to accept, but one can be a Jew and disagree with orthodoxy. It is possible to be a Jew and think that other Jews are terribly mistaken in their ideas and choices.

The whole concept of "self-hating Jew" is very presumptuous. It implies the superiority of the orthodox viewpoint and the exclusivity of the orthodox mythology.

Shmarya,

Thanks for the good work. Keep up the fight.
The issue with regard to MBP is that there are alternatives to MBP that as far as we know entail no substantial risks.

However, relying on probabilities opens up a whole can of worms: circumcision itself is associated with a death ratio of 1 in 500,000 (according to a study cited by wikipedia (forgive my laziness in not going straight to the sources)). Thus, based on halakha and Maharam Shick should we ban brit milah completely ? On the other hand -- said with the proper talmudic inflection and hand movements -- we increasingly know that circumcision is associated with a reduced likelihood of HIV infection, penile cancer, and Human papilloma virus infection, which itself is responsible for nearly all of cervical cancers. However, these are all conditions that would hypothetically occur far after the brit milah.

According to my very limited knowledge of halakha, and extrapolating from a specific case where I was told by a haredi rabbi (not ultra haredi nor hasidic) that bearing false witness is absolutely prohibited even if it would probably lead to preventing future crimes, I would have to conclude that given what we now know (1 in 500,000 deaths) halakha prohibits brit milah iself.

I should add that we're led to the completely paradoxical and ironic conclusion that according to modern sensibilities circumcision should be obligatory -- the upside statistics with regard to preventing HIV infection, penile cancer, and cervical cancer (via prevention of HPV transmssion) far outweigh the downside of a 1 in 500,000 risk of death due to brit milah -- while according to halakha brit milah should be prohibited, since it's absolutely prohibited to undertake any activity that runs the risk of death.

Thank you, Shmarya. Incredible depth and beautifully written.

I would ban circumsisionalso, the only way i would allow it is when the baby gets anesthetics to relieve the intense pain otherwise no circumsision

Joe Field-If you cant understand that mbp is disgusting then i have nothing to tell you exept i dont care about the religious aspecrs of brit when it comes to inflicting intense pain on a halpless child it is beyond cruel it is evil

Posted by: jancsibacsi | March 30, 2012 at 04:11 PM

I am not disagreeing with you point that it is MBP is disgusting and a brit is painful, but it is not government who should get involved, you as a parent should make the decision.

Joe Field - You are 100 per cent right about parents making that decision but i can tell you this much the parents are under the influence of theese rebbes and they dont want to rock the boat,besides if the government can ban cruelty to animals it surely should do the same for humans.

Posted by: Yaakov | March 30, 2012 at 03:39 PM

thanks

man power why not answer the simple question i asked. You can't and are frustrated so you attack.

(where did I say anything about banning a bris I said MP since any person who ever learned gemorah as i did can see that Rav puppa said do it for medical reason, maybe I have a misprint of that passage)

If MP is really part of the bris there is no need for rav puppa to mention the medical issue for MP to be done of shabbos

I am asking that from a Talmudic point of view.

Interesting my friends that I speak to, that are hearidi even satmar said they have to think about that question, since they did not have a ready answer

ira the difference between a bris and MP

is that bris one can argue is mandated by the Torah and MP all indication are that it was instituted for the safety of the child and in addition it does not say suck by the mouth all it say is suck

No argument will ever convince religious extremists, Jewish or otherwise, to change anything they do - they believe they're carrying out the directives of a higher power which therefore allows/requires them to do whatever they believe to be that entity's will. Argument and what seems like logic to the rest of us great unwashed is unlikely to have much effect.

If their leaders cannot be convinced to end the practice then prosecution is the appropriate route to take. It may well be, though, that even if this or that rabbi changes his viewpoint that the more extreme of his followers will abandon him for one less flexible.

@ Shmarya:

Great post- it seemed to me that the halakha was rather clear on this (if it risks lives don't do it) and yet you took it a step further by explaining the hassic reason- and then shattering it to smithereens.

Yet unfortunatly, there will always be those who stick their fingers in their ears. They don't want to know nor do they want to learn. Hopefully this spreads and they begin to realize this seemingly blatant truth.

shmarya-

this piece is beautifully written and amazingly well-researched. yeyasher cochacha!!

the introduction of a "long lost book" is a very common way of foisting new religions or additions to existing ones on the gullible masses. thats how much of the torah was introduced as admitted plainly in kings 2- chap. 22 and nehemiah 8. its also how mormonism began at the hands of the convicted con-artist joseph smith.

Joe Field -

i respectfully disagree and heres why. you said there were 2 conditions you wanted met before the govt. bans a religious practice. the first is that it presents a danger. i'm having trouble understanding what the second condition is. are you suggesting that if no other option is available to fulfill the relig. obligation then you wouldnt ban it even if it placed the physical or mental health of a child in danger?
in the case of MBP, if there were theoretically a way to ensure that it did not pose a threat, by, for example requiring testing , then it would no longer meet even your first condition. so unless i'm missing something, what youre saying is that if theres a way to eliminate the danger, the govt. shouldnt ban it. i think everyone would agree on that.
the problem is twofold with MBP. firstly, as per the medical community there isnt any way to test for everything in such a way as to eliminate the threat. and if thats true, then i think you agree that it must be banned.
secondly, there is another issue with MBP that has nothing to do with physical health and isnt the subject of this piece per se. the act of a grown man engaging in oral to genital contact with an infant is abhorrent and illegal. on that basis alone it should be banned. just because the venue in which it takes place and the justification for it is religious, that shouldnt provide justification for acts we would otherwise find revolting.
i respect your thinking and look forward to reading your reply.

one more thing...

the govt. should NEVER ban ANY religious practice specifically. what they SHOULD do however is prohibit actions society finds objectionable. that would include any activities that place a minor in danger, whether that is physical or psychological, such as with sexual abuse. thats why we dont permit female genital mutilation despite that some say islam requires it. and we dont permit men to have sex with underage girls even if takes place in a religious cult which claims it holy and necessary. and we dont permit parents to withhold needed medical treatment for their children just because their religion deems it sin. and MBP falls into the same category. the govt. isnt banning it as a religious practice, it is KEEPING banned what must be banned despite any religious protestations.

the point is that govt. should not PERMIT anything normally prohibited just because a religion claims its required.

Hasidim and the current crop of non-hasidic haredi leadership takes the position that the Zohar is the holiest work next to Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible.
Shmarya
======

You can add others like the Vilna Gaon who devoted much of his life to kabbalistic scholarship mostly centered on Sefer HaZohar. In addition, many others like Ramchal ( author of Mesilas Yeshorim) devoted many s'forim to this study. All of Lurianic Kabbala is centered around Sefer HaZohar.

It is easy to knock the Zohar and much of the work and tradition connected to it. However, from earliest times as mentioned in Gemoro we have a tradition of pardes ( pshat, remez, drosh and sod). Sod, of course, is kabbala.

Sefer Ha Zohar is an extensive and I believe especially profound peyrush on Torah. Many will disagree but that does not in any way take away from its intrinsic kedusha and brilliance.

Kabbala existed before the appearance of Sefer HaZohar. We have many examples of this including Sefer Yetsirah, Sefer HaBahir, as well as the works ofRabbi Azriel of Gerona, Rabbi Jacob ben Sheshet of Gerona, and the Kohen brothers, Jacob and Isaac.

I have spent the last 40 years learning classical kabbala and I am a much better person for it. Each of us has their own way to hashem. This has been one that is especially fulfilling for me and many others.

And I am not at all surprised to read the ignorant rambling of those who obviously have never tasted the waters of sod.

ah-pee-chorus, I am staying firmly out of the MBP debate, but on the more general issue, please allow me to agree with you. My position is this:

If an action is illegal when performed for non-religious reasons, that same action should be illegal when performed for religious reasons.

In other words, the secular state has the authority to prohibit the actus reus, regardless of the mens rea.

I can't believe that so many, so-called intelligent people are wasting so much time and effort discussing nuances of superstitious beliefs and ignoring the inherent dangers in this bizarre form of infant genital mutilation.

People get yourself a rational set of ethics and morals; in other words--GROW UP!

People get yourself a rational set of ethics and morals; in other words--GROW UP!

Posted by: D
==

There is not and never has been a scintilla of rationality in religion.

The foundation of Judaism, for example, is a belief that an invisible something gave a revelation. Everything else is based on this belief.

Bushes that burn and never are consumed, the Red Sea parting for a ugly dwarf ( Moshe as described in the text) leading a group of slaves into the Sinai, death by stoning for anyone who labors on one day of the week, murdering of the entire nation of Amalek, bloody sacrifices by a caste of the tribe, shatnez et al. All this and more are based on a simple belief that the invisible something wants us to do this and believe all of this.

Otherwise intelligent people lose every semblance of rationality and logic and embrace the most irrational, insane beliefs when they accept religion.

As one very frum rabbi, a rosh yeshivo in J-m, told me, This is all absolute nonsense. I only follow it because I believe in god and believe he wants me to do this.

This is true of all religion except Buddhism which does not require belief in anything. That is why the original teachings of the Buddha are often not considered a religion. What has resulted from that, however, is a folk belief that is every bit as much of a religion as Judaism and which most Buddhists follow.

Curiously the Buddhists who do not believe in a god, per se, are among the most peaceful and tolerant people in the world. This is what happens when there is no religion as we know it with Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

However, this blog is devoted to Jews who do believe that the great invisible something commanded them to do all sorts of weird stuff.

So, yes, otherwise intelligent people, many of them Jews, have embraced the most absurd set of beliefs, including mutilating the penis of their sons shortly after birth, because of this totally irrational belief system.

Welcome to the world, D.

This is true of all religion except Buddhism which does not require belief in anything.

Actually, even that's a matter of debate. I know he said (supposedly), "As the wise test gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it (on a piece of touchstone), so are you to accept my words after examining them and not merely out of regard for me." - but that only takes you as far as the teachings on karma and rebirth, and then, suddenly, you have to accept them on faith.

I've been told by a Theravadan scholar that faith (in the Buddha's awakening and the accuracy of the reporting) was always considered an integral part of the package, until the Mahayana philosophers came along centuries later and claimed that you didn't have to take anything on faith, as it could all be demonstrated analytically. They then spent centuries in philosophical speculation, which the Buddha had told them not to do.

And, of course, there's disagreement about which sutras are authoritative. My understanding is that the later sutras, revered (and most likely written) by Mahayanists, aren't accepted as authoritative by Theravadins.

I can't abide Buddhism, myself. Their cosmology is the most horrific of all of the world's religions. Their hells may not be eternal, but they describe them in terms that would make a Christian or Islamic fundamentalist faint dead away. Here in the West, it's presented as docile and largely non-dogmatic, but that's because the Buddhism most Westerners encounter is Zen or Vipassana (which isn't even Buddhism, really, just a form of meditation) In reality, Buddhism on the ground in Asia is pretty horrific in terms of what they tell people.

Jeff-

i'm pretty ignorant about buddhism so you taught me some good stuff there. thanks for that.

Pagan -

In other words, the secular state has the authority to prohibit the actus reus, regardless of the mens rea.

by my laymans understanding of the concept of mens rea, it refers to whether the person intended to commit the crime, to exclude situations when their actions are beyond their control. an example i read was if a town has a midnight curfew and somebody broke into your house and placed you in the street at 2 A.M. you wouldnt be guilty. but in the case of MBP or other similar religious based actions, the act was intentional thereby satisfying the need for mens rea. the fact that the person claims he didnt intend to break any laws or was engaged in oral-genital contact for religious reasons as opposed to sexual should not absolve him of guilt. he has met the bar for mens rea.
i think we agree.

Posted by: ah-pee-chorus | March 31, 2012 at 01:22 PM

APC, you wouldn't believe the amount of credulousness, gullibility and fundamentalism among Western practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. Seriously, they're as bad as evangelicals and Haredim. In all of the years I was involved in it, I met perhaps two people who had been able to use it successfully for personal transformation, without descending into fanaticism. It attracts fringe personalities almost exclusively.

People encounter the Dalai Lama and hear him talk about caring for the environment, creating a just and equitable society and so forth, then they toddle on down to their local Tibetan center, thinking the lama they encounter there is going to be some sort of middle management version of the DL. What they don't realize is that he's the most forward-thinking guy in the entire Tibetan ecclesiastical hierarchy (and even he has his moments). He's been trying for sixty years to drag the other lamas into the 20th and 21st centuries, and frankly, in my opinion, it's largely been a losing battle (although there are those who would disagree with me).

You don't even want to know what they would think my fate in the afterlife will be merely for saying what I've said here.

Well, I am personally familiar with Buddhism as a result of having lived in that world for over ten years.

The Buddha's disciples were responsible for Theravadin or Hinayana Buddhism. For many years that was it. Then Mahayana came and finally Vajrayana.

I also lived in Taiwan in a home where Mahayana Buddhism was practiced. They were heavily into folk religion is what 99% of all those who call themselves Buddhists in Asia practice. It has absolutely no conection with what the Buddha taught. It is a religion that is no better than Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and all the other mind fucks out there.

Theravadin or Hinayana is the original form. It is founded on the teachings of the Buddha who specifically said, Don't trust me, or some holy book or some holy man/woman. You must determine from your personal experience what is true and what is not. Don't go outside of yourself for truth.

Vipassana is a meditative discipline which is the tool given by the Buddha for us to experience our own personal view of who and what we are, what this is. The term literally translated from Pali, the language he taught in and which later evolved into Sanskrit, mean clear seeing. In other words, you see things as they are without any overlay of thinking or concepts. This is true seeing. It will transform you and develop deep insight into all phenomena. You will personally understand consciousness which is what all of this actually is.

There are no deities to worship, no hells nor heavens. Just simple consciousness.

What you are referring to is folk religion which has no connection with the teachings of the Buddha. He denounced such superstition and blind belief not based on personal experience.

The Buddha is not regarded as a god or someone to be worshiped. He was a teacher and never claimed anything beyond that. In fact he was very reluctant to teach because he specifically didn't want anyone to build another religion.

The sole faith that the Buddha recommended was: Have faith in your own mind. ( Mind here refers to consciousness via direct, non-conceptual experience).

If I had to recommend a path for inner growth, the original teachings of the Buddha would be a great place to start. Not to study his words as much as to do the disciplines that he recommended for those who wish to develop true insight into life.

Mahayana ( Japan, China+), Vajrayana ( Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal+) are later developments. Zen came out of Mahayana. Zen meditation can be very useful for mind development like Vipassana but I prefer Vipassana. I also spent time with two excellent teachers doing Zen.

Whatever you choose to do, should you go this route, just stick to it and give it a few years before you decide whether it is for you. The quality of your teacher is also vital. This cannot be learned from a book in my opinion.

It is not a conceptual path like Judaism which, no matter how alluring and eloquent, will still leave you at the end stuck in the swamp of concepts. You cannot escape the conceptual realm via more concepts.

As a Jew I thought that more reading, more study, more prayer, better teachers would help me have a better life.

It didn't work out that way and I went about as far as anyone could have in my situation. My years of learning in yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel, in secular Jewish sites ( grad studies at Hebrew University, Univ of Chicago, Rutgers University), many personal excellent rebbes, pretty good skills in Hebrew, Aramaic, Yiddish, ability to learn on my own from all the texts, etc. at the end left me with the understanding that all of this would only lead to the accumulation of more and more beliefs and concepts. This is not a path to personal freedom.

Since I knew nothing more than concepts as a Jew, I found great help in the path of Vipassana. The personal insight I received from it radically changed my perception of myself and the world. It provided a true foundation for emotional and spiritual freedom which has since served me well.

There are no deities to worship, no hells nor heavens. Just simple consciousness.

Litvish, the Buddha talked about hell. He just didn't push it as emphatically as the Mahayanists (particularly the Tibetans) do. Unless you want to say the sutras in which he mentions them are misrepresentations - but then you run into the same trouble you run into with every other religion: what do you leave in, and what do you throw out?

Posted by: ah-pee-chorus | March 30, 2012 at 08:06 PM

When it comes to outlaw MBP I believe we are on the same page, which if there is no medical evidence that we could protect the child from any harm than there should be an outright ban on MBP. However, we part ways, in your view that MBP could be construed as a sexual act on a child, I don’t, because my understanding that when it comes to sexual charges there is a prerequisite that, the act was done by the perpetrator for his own “sexual gratification”. Consider this, any medical first responder could be charged with sexual misconduct with a child, if he gives mouth to mouth and chest compression to revive female child, but that is not the case.

Finally, I absolutely disagree with all the views off orthodoxy, but in this country for good or bad, they have the right to indoctrinate their children, and they believe MBP is an integral part of said religion than, so be it.

shmarya, you failed to bring the relevant passages on MBP from the Zohar and Arizal.

Hi, Jeff

I wrote a very detailed post which, somehow, got deleted after I checked to make sure it was posted. This will be much briefer.
===
You wrote:

Litvish, the Buddha talked about hell. He just didn't push it as emphatically as the Mahayanists (particularly the Tibetans) do.
====

Where did he mention this? Which sutta?
FYI, the Tibetans are Vajrayanist and not Mahayanist.

===

The Buddha was a prince who left his lofty station in life to seek answers to very basic questions: who am I, what is this all about? Is there a way to prevent suffering? Is there an escape from death? Old age? Things like that.

He studied with all the great teachers and became one himself. Then he gave up all of that since he realized it was sheker. His students turned their back on him and he was near death from his ascetic practices. He decided that he was going to find out the answers to his questions or just die.

He rigorously studied his own experiences and experienced a profound dropping away of all attributes of "self". His conclusion was that there are four noble truths which one can personally come to on one's own: anicca, anatta, dukha and awakening from the dream of separate existence from consciousness. Anicca means that everything is in flux; nothing is permanent. anatta means that since everything is in flux and nothing is permanent, there is no permanent anyone or soul. Dukha means that there is no abiding happiness for us since everything is fleeting and nothing is abiding or lasting more than a fraction of time. Finally, there is an escape from all of this. It comes via the spontaneous dropping away of the concept or illusion of self. It is called enlightenment.

He didn't teach about hell as we know it since there is no one that survives after the death of the body. The person doesn't die because they didn't exist as a separate entity to begin with.

There are hellish states of mind such as anger, lust, fear, sadness but these are not happening to anyone; they are happening and there is the concept of self which gives the illusion that someone is suffering.

When the realization comes that this is all states of consciousness happening but not to anyone then a lasting peace results.

That is why he denounced all religions, authorities, beliefs, scriptures, and concepts. His only suggestion was to rigorously study one's mind and that alone would bring a transforming insight.

Insight itself is what provides the healing.

This is not to be found from study, reading books, learning any scripture, etc. It comes only from direct observation of one's internal experience.

We go directly to the "I" and study it. At some point we realize that it just doesn't exist in the way we had assumed it did.

There is no hell because in order for there to be a hell there needs to be someone, an abiding entity, to experience that. There is no soul, nothing that survives after the body falls away. That is also why he never taught about heaven.

He had no interest in starting another religion. Unfortunately, others who came after him started religions but that is not his teaching.

Maybe some of this will be helpful. I hope so.

You either experience it or dwell in just more ideas which just create more suffering.

In my experience, there is no escape from the conceptual hell via more concepts.

Hence, the incredibly neurotic state of most of us especially those locked into the Judaic, Christian, Muslim mind fucks.

Your mind will only spin and spin as you continue to suffer with more and more thinking.

There is no peace.

Peace only comes with direct, personal clear seeing ( the original meaning of vipassana which he advised us to do to find out for ourselves what all of this is).

Have a good weekend.

בכל הדורות נהגו המוהלים לבצע את המציצה בפה, היינו המוהל מוצץ בפיו דם ממקום פצע המילה. אמנם מציצה בפה דווקא הוא דבר שאינו מפורש בתלמוד, אך כי יש מהפוסקים שדייקו בלשון הגמרא, שהכוונה בפה אכן מציצה בפה מוזכרת בפירוש במקורות הקבלה, וכן כתבו כמה ראשונים
---------------------------
שבלי הלקט הל' מילה סי' ח; ספר העיטור שער ג, הל' מילה ח"ד; מחזור ויטרי הל' מילה סי' תקה; אבודרהם הל' ברכות ריש שער ט; רמ"א יו"ד רסה א;. וראה באריכות בשד"ח מערכת מילה, קונט' המציצה. וראה בשו"ת באר משה ח"ב סי' פ, שהביא דברי הגאונים ר' יצחק אלחנן ספקטור, ר' חיים עוזר גרודזנסקי, ור' אליעזר סילבר, שבמקומותיהם נהגו כל החרדים למצוץ בפה דווקא

Zelig -DI MESHUGENER GO AND LECK DAINEM TOHES

Litvish-

thanks for the synopsis.


Joe Field -

i dont think the first responder example is analogous because society certainly makes allowances for what it deems to be necessary actions in medical care provided they are supported by science. and there is accepted protocol which must be adhered to. if a doctor rubbed an unconscious womans genitals he would be jailed since that is not a recognized remedy for that condition.
also, i dont think sexual gratification is a prerequisite though i could be wrong. if a group of men use a broomstick to violate someone in a hazing context, i dont believe its necessary to determine whether they had sexual gratification as opposed to a desire to dominate or humiliate in order for them to be prosecuted for a sexual assault.
and even if that were needed, who can say for sure whether a mohel is or is not in that frame of mind? would you permit MBP even assuming there was no medical danger if it were done on a 6 year old? or a 15 year old without consent? shouldnt every male have the right NOT to have his penis sucked without his permission or before he is able to consent?

I have thought about what I wrote and want to add the following.

I don't find concepts useful to heal the harm created by concepts.

However, if you faith or religion helps you and makes you happy then please ignore what I have written.

I wrote about my experience.

Yours, obviously, will be different and you must respect and honor that.

Janc do try to grow up.

Posted by: ah-pee-chorus | March 31, 2012 at 08:48 PM

You wrote “I don’t think the first responder example is analogous because society certainly makes allowances for what it deems to be necessary actions in medical care provided they are supported by science. And there is accepted protocol which must be adhered to. If a doctor rubbed an unconscious woman’s genitals he would be jailed since that is not a recognized remedy for that condition.”
I will agree that my case in point is not the perfect example, but I was sure that you will get the drift. However, your example of a doctor rubbing an unconscious woman’s genitals are much weaker than what I proposed. The doctor cannot argue it wasn’t sexual gratification, his actions proves that indeed it was a sexual assault. Inasmuch, MBP is easily defended by the majority of orthodox Jews as a religious canon.

You wrote, “Also, I don’t think sexual gratification is a prerequisite though I could be wrong. If a group of men use a broomstick to violate someone in a hazing context, I don’t believe it’s necessary to determine whether they had sexual gratification as opposed to a desire to dominate or humiliate in order for them to be prosecuted for a sexual assault.”
I am certain that a sexual gratification is a prerequisite, and your example with the broom has met the other prong in sexual assault. Rape is defined as penetration with either a body part e.g. finger or penis or any foreign object, consequently, sexual gratification is not an issue. Nevertheless, an accidental touch of woman’s breast in a congested area similar too, NY’s subway system during the rush hour, he will not going to be prosecuted, only if the aggressor continued the touching for some time even if it is only 30 seconds, because after the first second it is no more considered an accident.

You wrote, “And even if that were needed, who can say for sure whether a mohel is or is not in that frame of mind? Would you permit MBP even assuming there was no medical danger if it were done on a 6 year old? Or a 15 year old without consent? Shouldn’t every male have the right NOT to have his penis sucked without his permission or before he is able to consent?”
As I said before, our legal system, for good or bad, gives parents the latitude, how to indoctrinate their offspring’s. You could argue that any religious indoctrination should be disallowed as in our views it is not in the interest of the child to be brainwashed, but the law is the law and as long it is done in the confine of the legal system, we cannot argue otherwise.

FYI, the Tibetans are Vajrayanist and not Mahayanist.

Vajrayana is a subset of Mahayana. The Tibetans consider themselves Mahayanists.

And yes, my experience has been very different. Some of what you've written above is incorrect. That which is a matter of opinion, I disagree with profoundly. In any case, after three decades of involvement (which included three years as manager of a Tibetan center), I don't need to take Buddhism 101.

אין כערכך ואין זולתך

Joe Field -

i concede that my example was lacking in that the intent by the doctor is unmistakeably sexual gratification whereas in MBP the intent could be understood as just religious ritual. so if sexual intent would be required for a given act to be criminal, then the lack of same removes it from the realm of criminality.
and in response to my example of te broomstick violation you wrote,

Rape is defined as penetration with either a body part e.g. finger or penis or any foreign object, consequently, sexual gratification is not an issue.

that got me thinking, so i looked up the legal definition of sodomy and found this:

"Sodomy in the first degree.

(a) A person commits the crime of sodomy in the first degree if:

He engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person by forcible compulsion; or
He engages in deviate sexual intercourse with a person who is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless or mentally incapacitated; or
He, being 16 years old or older, engages in deviate sexual intercourse with a person who is less than 12 years old.

(the ages vary by state)


Pursuant to 42 USCS § 15609 [Title 42. The Public Health and Welfare; Chapter 147. Prison Rape Elimination], the term "oral sodomy" means contact between the mouth and the penis, the mouth and the vulva, or the mouth and the anus."

so just like the broomstick example, which is rape regardless of the presence of sexual gratification, so too MBP has met the requirements for sodomy in that it involves oral-genital contact and involves an adult and an infant who cant consent.

so while i agree with you that as distasteful as plain old religious indoctrination is, and though i believe many aspects of it -particularly the instilling of fear that every action and thought is being monitored and evaluated by an invisible sky god- are abusive, it is permitted by law. however, oral sodomy is forbidden by law and MBP seems to meet the requirements for oral sodomy (the forced variety). therefore, i feel it should be outlawed on that basis alone. and as i wrote earlier religion shoud not be an excuse to break the law, and isnt in most areas including the aforementioned islamic female genital mutilation, a parent withholding medical treatment from a child, and a cult whose religion permits sex with underage girls or boys.
shmarya has laid out a powerful case for why it must be banned halachicaly, as well as the need for it to be banned by govt. on child medical safety grounds. i propose that even if there were NO medical grounds it is sodomy and children should be protected from this kind of violation under existing law.

Posted by: ah-pee-chorus | April 01, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Your new way of framing the issue of MBP as sodomy, is interesting new legal argument for universally outlawing direct mouth to penis contact, proviso that your argument is actually the current law in relation to sodomy.

Regardless, of the sodomy argument, I agree if save MBP cannot be assured, than it is the responsibly of the government to protect infants and MBP should be banned.

Finally, I always enjoy, and stand with you, in particular about your religious views, but as a liberal I am very reluctant to impede parents from making dogma decisions as much as I don’t want the state of force their religious on us, I don’t want the state to tell us what “NOT” to do. It was a pleasure to hear from you.

Joe Field -

always a pleasure and i'd love to see you comment more often. youre always right on target.

Litvish one question if there is no god ? Then try creating a cockroach from scratch, Call me when you blew some life in to it.

You will roast in your own shit in your afterlife.

Sincerely,

Sol:

The hatred you spew is stunning. If you were an example of what it really means to be a "Torah Jew" I would run from the Torah as fast as I could. Thankfully, you are just someone off the derech.

If I had to choose atheist vs. Jew with Litvish and yourself as exemplars for each, I would be an atheist in a heartbeat. Again, I am thankful I am not fooled by pious posturing so that isn't necessary.

Sol. - or should i say utter fool,

dont announce to everyone what an ignoramus you are. learn just a little bit about evolution before you make a fool of yourself again.

and heres this...

Then try creating a god from scratch, Call me when you blew some life in to it.

You will roast in your own shit in this life, the only one you'll ever have.

OK, here is a great sketch from BBC's That Mitchell & Webb Look which is relevant to this thread. It's a great commentary even though Mitchell, Webb, and their writers probably haven't even heard of the Zohar.

I hope you enjoy it as much as my wife and I do. Mitchell and Webb are comic geniuses.

You will roast in your own shit in your afterlife.

Hateful and stupid - always a winning combination.

Jeff! Hey you forgot to mention the first part of that sentence. Whatever

You guys crack me up. God does exsist whether you like it or not:

PROOF: go to YouTube type in NDE experience and then tell me it's all
Evolution.

Posted by: Sol.

I went and watched.

It's all evolution.

Next.

Sol-Its all in the mind which can imagine everything when youre dreaming or unconcious so sol wake up and stop dreaming you fool.

PROOF: go to YouTube type in NDE experience and then tell me it's all
Evolution.

Posted by: Sol.

HAHAHAHA! yeah, that did it for me.
peoples NDE has disproven evolution. arent all those scientists going to be SOOOOOO red-faced.

Sol, you believe that rabbis from 1000 years ago are still perfect and that they knew exactly what God wanted because they could communicate with God. You consider them the Sons of God.

So why do you reject Christianity, which believes in one Son of God? Isn't Christianity a more pure form of what you believe in?

Woolsilkcotton,

I believe in rabbis?? I BELEIVE IN GOD DIRECTLY .

YOU KNOW WHY CAUSE HE IS THE MOST TOLERANT ESSENCE .

God does exsist whether you like it or not

Translation: "I'm terrified you people may be right. Ridiculing you makes me feel safe."

Jeff! If you want the fact that you are breathing and claiming that there is no almighty is also from god so you crack me up ! I am not doubting myself for one minute, as of now it is YOU that is in the dark.

++HE IS THE MOST TOLERANT ESSENCE ++

The Torah is loaded with stories and commands for Jews to murder, slaughter, and wipe out thousands and thousands of people who stand in the way of the Jews. Murder every last man, woman, and child.

The Torah insists on the death penalty for a lot of petty crap, such as picking up sticks on Shabbos, or if your child eats too much meat.

Frumma today are the least tolerant people you'll ever meet. They are brimming with hate for everyone and anyone.

And that's your 'tolerant essence'?

The fact is, very little is directly codified in the written Torah. You rely on rabbis to codify and write the rules for everything. You have no choice but to believe that those rabbis get the word directly from God. How is this different than being Jesus, the son of God?

BTW, the word you want is 'because', not 'cause'.

Woolsilkcotton:

If you were to buy anithing let's say a blender and it comes with a owners manual would you go question every single thing it says regarding the item? The answer is no, because you know that the company knows they're product best, now apply the same thing when talking about god, whether you like it or not he is the one standing behind our wonderful planet, and the Torah scripts are our users manual.

Oh and about the thing you mentioned about stoning someone who eats a lot of meat, the answer is were not created to sit around all day. We were created to overcome our weaknesses as a human being, you got to look deeper then what you see over here. The problem is not that the rebelling child is eating too much meat, its because the Toah knew that such a child would cause a lot of blood shed later on.

Question:

Do you believe that you are breathing air ?

Yes. Why? You can't see it. That's how someone questions god sounds like .

Woolsilkcotton:

Let me rephrase my question.


Do you believe that you are breathing air ?

Yes. But You can't see it?! Thats what someone whho questions if there is a god sounds like .

How old are you?

Jeff ! That's how you and your lame friends sound ...... GLAD TO GET MY POINT ACROSS, Now bug off!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website.

Thank you for your generous support!

----------------------

----------------

----------------

Please Scroll Down Toward The Bottom Of This Page For More Search Options And For A List Of Recent Posts

Recent Posts

Audio: Rabbi Eliezer Silver on Child Sexual Abuse.

Do you need help leaving an ultra-Orthodox community or navigating life outside one? Call Footsteps.

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar
Jibbadgefinalist

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar

Comment Rules

  • 1. No anonymous comments.

    2. Use only one name or alias and stick with that.

    3. Do not use anyone else's name or alias.

    4. Do not sockpuppet.

    5. Try to argue using facts and logic.

    6. Do not lie.

    7. No name-calling, please.

    8. Do not post entire articles or long article excerpts.

    ***Violation of these rules may lead to the violator's comments being edited or his future comments being banned.***

Rubashkin Protest Gear

  • Rubashkin_parody_1

    Buy one of these and wear it to shul. Other Rubashkin gear as well. Protest!
  • Rubashkin_label_parody_1

    Wear this amazing T-shirt to your local supermarket. Better yet, buy a dozen and bring your friends – with signs! Available here!

Older Posts Complete Archives

Search FailedMessiah

Lijit Search

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website.

Thank you for your generous support!

----------------------

----------------------

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com in the Media

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar

RSS Feed

Blog Widget by LinkWithin