« Attempted Child Kidnapping In Brooklyn | Main | New Square Women Asked To Increase Modesty In The Merit Of Arsonist Shaul Spitzer »

April 19, 2012

Why Metzitzah B'Peh Should Be Banned, Part 3

Bris 2"…Even if it was explicit in the Talmud [and it is not] that the suction is meant to be oral, nevertheless since this is not an integral part of the circumcision, but only adjoined because of a health measure, so if one circumcised and did not suction the blood, he has already performed the commandment, and the baby is permitted to eat terumah, and the father may make a Passover sacrifice.…"

Bris 2

On The Main Line has translated the full exchange between the Hatam Sofer and his student, Rabbi Elazar Halevi Segal Horowitz, Chief Rabbi of Vienna, about metziztah b'peh (MBP), the direct oral to genital sucking done to the baby's open circumcision wound by the mohel. Horowitz asked Sofer if MBP should be stopped in light of the new medical opposition to it caused by infant deaths:

…Teach me, Rabbi, what is the rule regarding a question which my local friend Dr. Wertheim asked of me. According to the law of our religion is a mohel required to make that suction which is performed after the circumcision specifically with his mouth? Or perhaps it is proper to peform the suction through some other means, such as to soak a sponge in wine or water and squeeze the place of the wound with it a number of times, and through this achieve the healing effect for the infant no differently than through oral suctioning? The circumstances behind this question is that some months ago in our city many children who were circumcized by a certain expert mohel developed festering sores all over the genitals and from there it spread to the entire body. Many infants died because of this, and were unresponsive to any medical attention. Some of them lived, but were in great pain. The doctors judged that this condition was caused by the mohel's orally suctioning the wound (ha-metzitzah she-be-feh). The mohel was examined and proved to have a clean bill of health, and they could not diagnose anything like this illness in him. However, we need to know what to do in a situation like this in general.…

Horowitz goes on to make several points and conclude that he believes MBP should be banned.

Here is the Hatam Sofer's response in full (you can read all of Horowitz's reasoning over at On The Main Line):

Sheviti, etc. Pressburg, Monday, 20 Shevat 5597 (1837)
Greetings and long life to my student and friend Rabbi Elazar Halevi Segal Horowitz, Chief Rabbi of Vienna.
Your nice letter reached me, and it is correct what you wrote, that we do not find the metzitzah (suction) is specifically with the mouth, save for the position of the Kabbalists who say that [the process] enacts a neutralization of strict judgment through the lips and the mouth. We are not engaged in mysteries when there is some concern for physical danger. Now, the roots mitz and matzat are the same, c.f., Proverbs 30[:31] mitz apayim and Judges 6:38 "and wrung dew out of the fleece." In all these places Rashi explains them in terms of squeezing, compressing, and suctioning something with force. Radak and Ibn Ezra similarly explain them. If so, we only need to draw the blood from the 'far places' though whichever method we are able, and we can rely on experts who assure us that some method accomplishes it. I further say that even if it was explicit in the Talmud that the suction is meant to be oral, nevertheless since this is not an integral part of the circumcision, but only adjoined because of a health measure, so if one circumcised and did not suction the blood, he has already performed the commandment, and the baby is permitted to eat terumah, and the father may make a Passover sacrifice. However he is in physical danger so long as the blood was not suctioned from the far places. In Chapter Rabbi Eliezer De-mila we find that Rav Pappa understood that suction is similar to the dressing and cumin, which are health measures. Now, we do not presently use the [particular] dressing [specified in the Talmud] and cumin, nor the particular type of dressing mentioned in the Talmud by Abbaye and Rava. Therefore we know that since these are for healing, we are not particular about which remedy we use in its place, and the same thing applies to suction - even if oral suction had been mentioned in the Mishnah, we would be able to change it to another method which accomplishes the same thing, so long as we heed qualifies physicians who will attest that in truth a sponge accomplishes the same thing as oral suction. More than this we needn't be concerned with, in my opinion. God should heal you and make you feel good!
Moshe ha-kattan Sofer mi-Frankfurt di-Main

Comments

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

Well, as you know - you and I disagree on this one.

But, that was the PERFECT picture to use to make your point.

Without going into details of this tshuva i don't see a comparison to the issue of our time.
In the Shailo the questioner writes:
"The circumstances behind this question is that some months ago in our city many children who were circumcized by a certain expert mohel developed festering sores all over the genitals and from there it spread to the entire body. Many infants died because of this, and were unresponsive to any medical attention. Some of them lived, but were in great pain."

Folks,very few if any died in the last 50 years.And the case then was that MANY died.

The Chasam Sofer passed away about 170 years ago.
If MBP was done among Jews even after this pesak (again,NOTHING to compare to the issue of our time)then NO one can say "i like this peask and will do like that posek says.
Many times when you ask a rav,dyan a shailo he gives you his pesak one can say i saw a pesak in a sefer differently.The rav says "we know about the peask but we don't hold like that.And if you dont listen to the Rav's pesak but follow what you saw in a sefer you are doing which is against Halacha.

My comment is NOT for those who think that a blog is Toras Moshe.
My comment is only for those who don't how and what kind pesokim we follow and how its determined which pesak to accept.

More importantly,the Maharam shik who knows more then anybody what the Chasam Sofer said says clearly that he meant it in one particular case.

Posek Hador:

http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2006/10/what_i_believe.html

So there you have it. I no longer believe in the mesora as preached in Orthodoxy. I follow halakha for the most part due to simple inertia. I find little religious inspiration in Judaism. Yet I still believe in God the Creator who many billions of years ago made room for specks of dust like us and started the process that brought us – and brings us – into being.

Anyone who is aquiescent to the procedure of mbp is menatlly disturbed no doubdt about that whatsoever it is a mindless behaviour, on top of it all it is life threatening to the baby

Deremes:

The salient point in this teshuva is that even metztzah is not required for the milah to be kosher. It is a kal va-chomer that using the mouth isn't required.

The purpose is to show that using a tube would certainly be OK, from the point of view of the mitzvah, and is not, according to this understanding, al pi halacha Moshe miSinai part of the Milah itself, as some claim. It does not have to be done.

Next is to show it presents a risk, which is a separate argument.

Derenes,
The only problem is that the chasam sofer is accepted as a leading scholer. He is greatly revered for fighting the reform movement and only to his credit there is orthodoxy today. His pasak is binding in many chasiduses. And when he says that metzitza in not part of the mitsvha then it isnt. Dont be holyer than though.

Ask any Hungarian and they will tell you that the Chasam Sofer is the final psak on anything. The Hungarians force their wives to shave their heads because of the Chasam Sofer. But on this they won't listen to the Chasam Sofer??????

Hungarians = Satmar

Yaakov, as ive said to you before not me,you or anyone can say "i saw this and this pesak in a Shailos U'tshuvos sefer from this and this accepted noted Gadol and how come we do differently.From now on you Yakkov or myself will do as i see fit and which ever pesak is good for me i will follow La'chumra or L'kula.
No sir, it does not work like this.We have mesorahs what kind of pesokim we follow and if you do differently even if you follow a big posek like the Rashba if that pesak is not accepted you are doing against halacha.

fg, see my comment of 3:55 PM

Lubavitchers are Christians-The hungarians are not worse then the poilishers litvaks why equate satmar with hungarianS why can you please tell me what is so special about hungarian?

Deremes-No sir, it does not work like this.We have mesorahs what kind of pesokim we follow and if you do differently even if you follow a big posek like the Rashba if that pesak is not accepted you are doing against halacha.
So tell me you have with youre unique pesak the universal truth it cannot be otherwise ,the botton line is no sane person can aquiesce to a procedure so repugnant as mbp you have to be mentally disturbed to not see that.

Hungarians = Satmar

Posted by: Lubavitchers are Christians | April 19, 2012 at 04:43 PM

Wow, even the secular and MO Hungarians are Satmar? I had no idea!

skeptical-Theese satmerers are so entertwined with everything that you cannot extricate them from anything just a tought:)

Uncle Jonny, I suspect that there are some who might take umbrage at that statement ;-)

That photo (and others like it) evoke such an intense disgust. There needs to be 100% ban of MBP now!

OK I gotta ask. Shmarya - are you circumcised?

Why Metzitzah B'Peh Should Be Banned, Part 3

Any idea how many parts to this one topic? Maybe it is time to make this a sticky and simply add to it rather than scattering this topic for weeks on end.

First of all, the surgical part of a Brit should be done in private where parents would not be under the pressure of those present to condone metzitza. Two days after the medical procedure, when the baby has healed, the guests can party.
As it is practised in orthodoxy, the brit is akin to a bullfight complete with a defenceless victim, lots of blood and pain, a total loss of dignity and a cheering macho crowd. It is nothing short of barbaric.


It is truly amazing that in the year 2012 we still need to explain why it is wrong for rabbis to suck penises of young boys.

Haredim will find a lot of support from NAMBLA, with whom they have much in common.

It is truly amazing that in the year 2012 we still need to explain why it is wrong for rabbis to suck penises of young boys.

Come on, this is not a sexual thing. You are twisting it and sound foolish by doing so. It is a health issue, now cut it out!

Wool,

Ever wonder why the "Moytzetzes" Gedoylay Ha'Toyreh support the sucking of the freshly-circumcised infant's penis?

It is truly amazing that in the year 2012 we still need to explain why it is wrong for rabbis to suck penises of young boys.

Posted by: WoolSilkCotton, rock star and sports superstar | April 19, 2012 at 09:00 PM

And even more amazing that they simply do not understand.

Enough: there is no enough until the practice falls out of use.

Deremes: --- The Chasam Sofer passed away about 170 years ago. If MBP was done among Jews even after this pesak ... ---

That sounds like an argument from "Ein gozrin gezeirah she’ein hatzibbur yecholim la’amod bo".

You can't use that as a way to invalidate a p'sak. For one, we don't follow a mob to do wrong (d'oreita, Ex 23:2). Thus the rightness and wrongness of something is independent of whether the crowd obeys.

For another, "ain gozrin"'s purpose is to make sure rabbis take into account the needs and circumstances of Jews when making halachic decision. You can't seriously be arguing that parents or mohels or the child personally _need_ MBP regardless of its objective validity?

For another, there is no such thing as "ain gozrin" to permit one person to cause harm to another, not at least that I know of.

For another, if you were to use it to criticize p'sak, that same argument could be used to say that the traditional Shabbat observance has become "she’ein hatzibbur yecholim la’amod bo" and we should rely on the liberal approach which allows each person to set the day apart from the rest of the weekdays in whatever way makes sense to them. If you don't find that an attractive possibility, then I wouldn't use "ain gozrin" as a way of claiming that the Chofetz Chaim's opinion is invalid.

Or did you mean to say that the p'sak is so old it is no longer relevant? Since when does the age of a p'sak invalidate it? Some very old things are true and some very new things are false, and vice versa. Some things in the human condition change and some stay the same. One has to go by the merits of an opinion and not just its age, i.e. is it well reasoned? does it consider all the relevant if, ands, and buts? and so on.

Or did you mean to say "we don't go by the Chatam Sofer in this matter"? If so, why not? In most cases one does, at least in the Haredi community. It's not like Shmarya is quoting from David Ellenson the rosh yeshiva of HUC (the reform rabbinic institute).

As it is practised in orthodoxy, the brit is akin to a bullfight complete with a defenceless victim, lots of blood and pain, a total loss of dignity and a cheering macho crowd. It is nothing short of barbaric.

Posted by: Force Skinned | April 19, 2012 at 08:57 PM

You clearly have rarely been to rarely, if any, Brisos 'practiced in orthodoxy'. I , on the other hand, have been to many.

There is very little blood.

There is little loss of dignity for a little baby who has his diaper changed five times a day anyway.

There is no cheering crowd. Most of the Brisos I have attended have been solemn affairs. A few hardy souls may venture near the Mohel to watch, but the crowd keeps a safe distance.

This is a disgraceful and irreverent post that seeks to portray a Bris for something it is not. The comparison to a bullfight is disingenous.

As I have said before, the dangers with a thread trying to objectively discuss MbP is that the anti-Bris/anti-Torah brigade will crawl out of the woodwork to espouse their irrelevant and inappropriate comments - which do little more than detract and distract

It is truly amazing that in the year 2012 we still need to explain why it is wrong for rabbis to suck penises of young boys.

Posted by: WoolSilkCotton, rock star and sports superstar | April 19, 2012 at 09:00 PM

No-one has been explaining anything of the sort.

These threads are concerned solely with the medical risks that MbP can cause.

If it was perfectly safe from a medical point of view none of these threads would exist. You clearly have not been reading them with any genuine attention.

If you are insinuating sexual motivation, it is truly farfetched to suggest that anyone could get off on sucking a truly tiny blood-spattered week-old baby's organ - If this does it for you, I guess I had better call the men in white coats

More importantly,the Maharam shik who knows more then anybody what the Chasam Sofer said says clearly that he meant it in one particular case.

Posted by: Deremes | April 19, 2012 at 03:55 PM


A very valid point.

If we are relying on Chasam Sofer's opinion on the basis of his being a leading Hungarian posek, the opinion of his main Talmid with similar status must be accorded equal weight

DerEmes, can you please quote the relevant statement of Maharam Shik?

MoisheCohen:

Actually, the salient halachic point here is not the "heter" of not doing metzizah b'peh. It is the sevara that is used. He clearly states that the metzizah is not part of the guf of the mitzah of brit milah.

That is why it is brought here. To act as though this teshuvah doesn't include clearly stated reasoning by suggesting that only its conclusion is permitted to us is obscurantism while the details are in our faces. How can you support such a thing?

Posted by: Yaakov | April 20, 2012 at 09:44 AM

Agreed...

But what does Maharam Schick write?

Anyone that's interested in reveiwing this topic from the original text should look up the sefer ברית אברהם הכהן. Can be downloaded from http://hebrewbooks.org/15201 .
On page 188 in the reader from footnote (ו) he brings down all the sources from the Rambam, Chasam Sofer, Maharam Shik, Rav Shamshon Refael Hirsh, and others. He quotes on page 190 the Maharam Shick that the היתר of the Chasam Sofer to do Metzitza with a sponge, was only for that Mohel who they couldn't remove his from his postion. You can also see the proofs that he never banned it, and the practice continued there to do MBP.

A Charedi:

You are missing the point. No one is claiming that the Chasam Sofer banned MbP. The point of bringing this tesuvah is to show that he reasoned it was not part of the guf of brit milah.

That's clearly stated in the tesuvah.

A Charedi:

Actually, there is a second point as well: that the purpose of metzizah is health related. Which means with current medical knowledge we can re-evaluate MbP, and even metzitzah entirely, although no one is arguing against some form of the latter.

MoishieCohen:

Shmarya did cover the Maraham Shick's teshuvah.

"He quotes on page 190 the Maharam Shick that the היתר of the Chasam Sofer to do Metzitza with a sponge, was only for that Mohel who they couldn't remove his from his postion. "

The only trouble is that this is not true. Furthermore, even if it was true - the Chasam Sofer still said that it is not an integral part of the bris and that another method may be used, so long as there is some danger from oral metzitzah, and doctors affirm that the other method accomplishes the same thing. He also says that he would say this even if the Mishnah specifically said that metzitzah is performed orally, which it does not. Maharam Schick's interpretation does not change his own words and there is no way to fit his words into Maraham Shick's interpretation. Also, if we cannot accept Chasam Sofer's teshuva as it is, that means that every teshuva requires someone else to interpret it. Then we can do the same thing to the Maharam Shick and en ledavar sof.

Finally, Maharam Shick also shows his hand when he declared that it is halacha lemoshe misinai. Since there is no source for it apart for himself, and since we know there was a polemical battle over metzizah, it is reasonable to assume that he was overstating the case to win the argument. Even if I am wrong, how could the Chasam Sofer permit that which is required by halacha lemoshe misinai, even in one case? What gives him the right? Further, to write it in such an irresponsible way that makes Maharam Schick's interpretation seem weak? How could the Chasam Sofer have done that?

First of all the sefer I quoted above ברית אברהם הכהן, brings down the Rambam in the Igress Hashmad (מאמר קידוש השם אות ה ) says that Metzitza was done in Egypt already.
http://hebrewbooks.org/15201

There are many reasons explaining what the danger is without doing metzitza quoted in the sefer. הרב שמשון רפאל הירש is quoted there from a teshuva saying that although we know that the reason of metzitza is because of sakana, it is not proven that it is only because of that, and it could be part of the actual mitzva like מילה ופריעה. (The ערוך לנר also mentions that sevara.) Although it is not an integral part of the mitzva like the other two parts, since if not for sakana it would be forbidden to do on Shabbos, (however the bris itself is דוחה שבת) but it still may be part of the mitzva of bris since they are mentioned together in the mishna. There is also further proof in the sefer that Metzitza was done in the time of the Amoraim, since the Gemara in שבת דף קל"ז says that the mohel does the mila but someone else makes the beracha "asher kidash" the בעל העיטור explains that the reason is because the mohel's dirty from blood on his hands and his mouth from metzitza.
The author brings down that Metzitza was always done by mouth until Reformers about 150 years ago tried to get the authorities to ban it on the basis of a few reasons why it's not safe. One of them is that is causes infection, and tried to back themselves by the Gadol the Chasam Sofer from his teshuva. Now it's clear from the question of Rav Horowitz that he wanted to know if a sponge is permissble in a case where the mohel was infecting babies, and the Chasam Sofer brought proofs that it is, and no posek is known to disagree with that. However that wasn't a psak to do away with it completly.
The biggest proof is that in Pressberg, where the author is from, and where the Chasam Sofer lived and in all the cities where they held like his psakim, all mohalim continued to do Metzitza only Bepeh till world war 2.
Then the reformers tried to get metzitza stopped altogether, saying that if we listen to doctors when they say it's dangerous to do MBP, and we do it with a sponge, just do what the doctors say regarding any wound and don't do metzitza at all. To this all the Gedolim went out against, and clarified that the Chasam Sofer only was ruling on whether you can do metzitza whith a sponge.

Rav Hirsh also writes that in Germany he ruled to use a glass tube only because the government wanted to ban metzitza completely. He writes that this ruling was against his will as he holds that lechatchila it should be done bepeh.

In a teshuva in שמש מרפא סימן נ"ד he writes that he was asked the following: What should a G-d fearing man do if he is asked by a person from the כת החדשים reformers to do a bris but without metzitza at all, should he do so, or not do the bris at all?
The reply was as follows:
I will not withhold my humble opinion, that all that which is said in our days against metzitza are nonsense. Isn't it so that when tens of thousands of Jews where together, our forefathers had in one year more experience regarding mila and metzitza a thousand times more than any doctor in our times through their whole lifetime being among us. And if chazal told us that not doing metzitza is a danger to the baby, we cannot doubt the truth of their words.
Also I ask your mechila, but it seems you are mistaken in saying that the experts in our times said that metzitza is a danger to the baby, this I never heard. At most they said that it is unnecessary for the healing, and to stop it because many kids were dangered because of it.
Due to our many sins, we cannot deny this as a lie, but it is true that babies got sick and were dangered through those mohalim. But this evil didn't come just from the metzitza, but rather because the mohel was a man with unpure lips who had poisen in his mouth, which he received by going בדרכי פריצות והזנות. And the contact of such peoples mouth on a wound is like the kiss of a hater going to death. And instead of these people (the doctors) spreading slander on Chazal, they should warn everybody not to use a mohel unless he is G-d fearing who goes in the holy way and he is not te be suspected in going in impure ways.

But what should a Mohel do when a person who likes modern ways comes and wants a bris for his son but without metzitza?
My opinion is BETTER NOT TO DO THE BRIS AT ALL, RATHER THEN GOING AGAINST CHAZAL, WHO COMMANDED TO REMOVE A MOHEL WHO DOESN'T DO METZITZA.

This is not the end of the teshuva, and he continues on page 192 and 193.

He wites clearly at the top of page 194 that the method of the tube is only to be used by those who till know didn't do metzitza at all (because of fear of disease or because of the law).

Meanwhile there is no proof from the Chasam sofer that MBP should be banned.

A Charedi -One mentally disturbed person can create a thousand mentally disturbdt chazal was mentally disturbed doest that mean i should take his advice you goilem.

Ask any Hungarian and they will tell you that the Chasam Sofer is the final psak on anything. The Hungarians force their wives to shave their heads because of the Chasam Sofer. But on this they won't listen to the Chasam Sofer??????

Of course. Fundamentalists always pick and choose - always. The Rambam and Yoseph Caro are two of our most important authorities, and we have to obey them in everything, until they condemn kapparot - then, all of a sudden, "We don't hold by them; we hold by the Rema!" And when this is pointed out to them, they'll either refuse to answer, or cry, petulantly, "That isn't how it works!" Yeah - it is.

You simply cannot tell theses people anything. It's a collective psychosis. If you're waiting for them to respond to reason or rational argument - you'll have an interminably long wait.

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, For A List Of Recent Posts, And For Comments Rules

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

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

Recent Posts

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

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website. Please click the Donate button now to contribute.

Thank you for your generous support!

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.***

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

RSS Feed

Blog Widget by LinkWithin