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June 07, 2012

Breaking! Herpes Risk 3.4 Times Higher For Babies Who Get Metzitzah B'Peh During Circumcision, CDC Says

Bris milahThe risk for neonatal HSV-1 or untyped HSV infection following Jewish ritual circumcision with confirmed or probable direct orogenital suction [metzitzah b’peh] during April 2006–December 2011 in New York City was estimated to be 24.4 per 100,000, a risk 3.4 times greater than the risk for HSV-1 or untyped HSV infection among male infants unlikely to have had direct orogenital suction [metzitzah b’peh].

Bris milah

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control 's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report to be released at noon Eastern Daylight Time today has a paper on metzitzah b'peh (MBP), the direct oral to genital sucking done by the mohel to the baby's open, bleeding penis wound during brit milah, the circumcision ritual.

MBP is primarily a hasidic and right wing non-hasidic haredi practice today. The rest of Orthodoxy usually uses a sterile glass pipette or tube through which the mohel applies oral suction.

Some Modern Orthodox mohels use sterile guaze in place or oral suction, and this is the practice among many non-Orthodox mohels, as well.

MBP has been linked to Herpes Simplex 1 infections that caused at least two deaths of babies in NYC and at least two cases of permanent brain damage. At least 10 babies have been hospitalized with MBP-transmitted HSV-1 infections during the past decade or so, although evidence indicates the actual infection rate probably is much higher, and that cases are not reported to the Department of Health – sometimes by the order of haredi rabbis who warn parents that it is mesirah, a violation of the Jewish law forbidding informing on a fellow Jew to secular authorities. In Jewish law, mesirah is punishable with death.

Hasidic rabbis have adamantly refused to alter this dangerous practice. (You can see many articles about that here.)

The CDC's paper, Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infection Following Jewish Ritual Circumcisions that Included Direct Orogenital Suction — New York City, 2000–2011, is four pages long with a fifth page of footnotes. Please click the pages to enlarge:

CDC MBP 1
CDC MBP 2
CDC MBP 3
CDC MBP 4
CDC MBP 5 cropped

Here it is as a PDF file:

Download CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 6-7-2012 Metzitzah B'Peh

Related Circumcision Posts.

Comments

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This whole controversy about mbp is symptomatic of the entire mindset of the haredi community. That is: We've been doing mbp for time immemorial and since it is a mitzvah, there is no secular authority that can force us to modify it. Even though the scientific community tells us in no uncertain terms that it is dangerous for the babies affected, we will continue doing it nevertheless. One should never forget that our rabbonim are endowed with daas torah. Hence, they know better than the modern scientific world, and so we will continue doing mbp even if one of our mohelim is caught, idicted and imprisioned. We will also ignore the fact that a certain of babies will be endangered or may even perish.

This is very lucid. No idea how any responsible adult could ignore this sort of data. (let's guess...."data is anti-Semitic"? "Science is anti-Semitic"? or how about the usual "Shmarya is just a self-hating Jew for publishing information that will save the lives and minds of Jewish children.")
The authors note that 73% of adults in NY suffer from herpes infection so mohels "should assume they are infected" as a safe practice. I had no idea the infection rate was so high.
They also note that pediatricians should consider the possibility of herpes infections when treating Jewish infants. This, by itself, would increase the statistics of injured children just by increased reporting.

If they can ignore evolution,fossils, carbon dating, etc. it'll be easy to ignore this CDC report as well. To twist the famous quote, it's no stretch for them to make up their own facts.

Did hazal speak of viruses, bacteria or fungi? Did any of our gedolim? So obviously its something the goyim made up and not our concern. In fact, at the next asifa, we will ban talk of viruses, any one found to have antibiotics in their house will be deemed a kofer and expelled from our mosdos.

Posted by: Eli, what me messiah? | June 07, 2012 at 10:49 AM

the talmuld say to do it (somewhat since it never says pie) end of story since they where infallible

in addition, my father did it my father did it and so on how could they have been wrong. and keeping up tradition is worth a few lives


What can we accept from anthropods who love to be anthropods,theese hassidim are beyond the pale, reason and common sense is their enemy.

I don't think Hasidics care about statistics or science. Let them wallow in their ignorance, but could we freeze their welfare benefits after three children? I am tired of subsidizing their lifestyle through my Federal tax dollars. Pity the property taxpayers of Rockland County, NY who have to support a rapidly growing welfare class.

They don't want to be confused by the facts.

Will this information be included in the pamphlet "Before the Bris” that will be distributed in the NYC hospitals?

What is the date of publication of this paper? Weren't there any scientific studies done prior to this century, regarding MBP?

There is a Medrash that MBP was done when the Jewish Nation entered Canaan. That would make the practice of MBP a bit older than any available scientific research!

Oy oy oy! The Medrash contains so many reliable facts and stories that cannot possibly be untrue. All frumma yidden must continue to suck childrens' penises! I'ts Hashem's Will!

" Hence, they know better than the modern scientific world, and so we will continue doing mbp even if one of our mohelim is caught, idicted and imprisioned. We will also ignore the fact that a certain of babies will be endangered or may even perish."

But the so called gedolim make sure a sterilized OR and equipment is available before they present for a surgical procedure for themselves.

But the so called gedolim make sure a sterilized OR and equipment is available before they present for a surgical procedure for themselves.

Posted by: Nigritude Ultramarine | June 07, 2012 at 11:40 AM


there is no contradiction in their minds

one is a medical procedure and one is a mitzvah and we all know one cannot be harmed doing a mitzvah

if you want to knw why they will not listen here is a comment from yeshiva world

Avrohom Oveinu did the whole Millah on himself, and could not reach with his mouth to do Metzitza P’peh, so it says that there was a special Neis which extended his neck, so that his mouth should reach. Just like the extension of the arm of Bas Pharoh.
Moshe did the Metzitze B’peh on Eliezer, even though Tzipoiro did the Milah, even though Moishe had Aral Sfosayim.

if you believe that that there is nothing to talk about

one more

My wife’s OG/BYN said that the risk of a bacterial staph infection from the plastic tube used in place of Metzitza b’peh is far greater and more common that the possibly minor risk of viral infectio associated with actual metzitzah bpeh. However, since staph infections can come from anywhere, it’s not blamed on the mohel.

seymour-Theese bozos think everyone is as stupid as they are,the beastial behaviour of theese oiber chuchem hassidim is beyond the pale, by them everything that is disgusting to others is holy by them end of story.

Jancs, I don't think they even think at all. Thinking critically is not a skill set they are allowed. Just like animals in a zoo.

What I keep wondering is if human beings are born with instinct. Some say no, some say yes, such as a sucking instinct. Do you think that human beings have an innate instinct for individual thought?

dh-ayaes i do but of course theese hassids do everything in the power to stifle the inborn instinct that you and i are born with,this is their trademark to repress and terrorize the helpless or weak into submission,all their energy is channeled towards overpowering others you can see that in the spitting on children and woman.

It seems hopeless, doesn't it?

So, if I understand the article........those children who have the herpes 1 virus come into direct warm and moist contact with an open wound on their body are more likely to contract the virus than those who do not?

Can you imagine that?

Posted by: rebitzman | June 07, 2012 at 01:11 PM

I aksed some MP defenders if they get a wound or cut would they ask someone to lick it to cleanse the wound they looked am me like I was crazy and said one can get an infection.

Sp, I said that is what you are doing with MO. Some just had a blank look, others just said it must be protected somehow from infections when doing MP otherwise chazal would not have said to do it.

once they elevate chazal or gedolem or dass Torah as infallible. There is nothing to discuss. even statistics mean nothing, they will just say god is fooling people to test their faith

The problem is the same one as smoking but worse. As long as the chances are low (or in the case of smoking not immediate) these reports will not trump religious minhagim. Simple as that.

If I were to say the chances of getting killed in an airplane is 2,200x less then driving in a car, will that prompt you choose flying over driving or is the knowledge of that stat put on a very low priority in making a choice of flying vs driving.

I can give hundreds of examples of people doing thing that they should not be doing based of the statistics of its danger yet people do it because the chances are low.

On the other end of the spectrum how many people take their hard earned money and throw it away on lotteries like Powerball or MegaMillions even though the odds of winning are astronomically small.

Bottom line, people take statistics with a BIG grain of salt.

another problem is the cheredeim do not look at tradition or minhagem like most others do. That is why all the stats in the world are meaningless. Even if they believe the stats it will not change their minds

To us it is simple the tradition has some danger to it, no big deal to stop it, or change it.

To them a tradition after a few generation takes on a aura like it is deemed from the Torah itself. To tell them to stop a tradition is almost like telling them to eat milk and meat (of course the Torah in no way shape or form says that but that is another discussion) or to be mechallal shoabbos

Numbers, the risk of getting AIDS from kissing someone on the lips with AIDS is also fairly low. How would you like to do that? When something is preventable, who in his right mind takes any extra risk? Do you drive with a seat belt on? Would you buy a car without air bags and other safety features? Do you have all (or at least most) of your vaccines?

Great! Now Time Magazine is carrying the story:

http://healthland.time.com/2012/06/07/
how-11-new-york-city-babies-contracted-herpes-
through-circumcision/

Numbers, the risk of getting AIDS from kissing someone on the lips with AIDS is also fairly low. How would you like to do that?
on the other hand there is a chance of getting AIDS from kissing anybody - again, risk tolerance issue. To answer your question, I may if it was my spouse.

When something is preventable, who in his right mind takes any extra risk?
Ask that from a smoker.

Do you drive with a seat belt on?
Its the law.

I guess it doesn't concern you as to the utter repugnancy of the issue of sucking a baby's penis as part of a religious ritual. Instead, it's a game of statistics for you.

The ultra-orthodox go berserk at the mere mention of gays. And yet, sucking little boys' penises is considered laudable. I assume if a boy of any age has a bris, the penis will be sucked by the good rabbi.
Sex with young boys is also not frowned upon in the uber-ortho world, either. Very nice. Very, very nice. What a lovely culture that Torah lifestyle is.

I say, let the frumma suck to their hearts' content. Just keep those disgusting perverts away from civilized society.

Posted by: Numbers | June 07, 2012 at 03:48 PM

1. A newborn doesn't have active immunity against microbes.
2. The child also isn't able to give informed consent, unlike an adult who smokes or kisses someone HIV+.
3. The mohel's fluids are in direct contact with an open wound .
4. There can be close to 700 different species of pathogens in the mouth, especially if that person's mouth isn't clean.


When something is preventable, who in his right mind takes any extra risk?
Ask that from a smoker.

Please.

Normative halakha forbids a person from starting to smoke, and all poskim I've ever seen hold that smokers should quit.

So not only is a defenseless baby different from an adult making a choice, your analogy is idiotic.

I guess it doesn't concern you as to the utter repugnancy of the issue of sucking a baby's penis as part of a religious ritual.

Posted by: WoolSilkCotton, rock star and sports superstar | June 07, 2012 at 04:09 PM

And it is so embarrassing that this has now come to the attention of a "goyishe" body. I mean, how the hell in this day and age can you explain to any normal person that the baby's penis is sucked as part of a religious ritual, especially as it is a "modern" innovation dating to the Middle Ages based on what we now know to be a misunderstanding of the disease process?

I assume if a boy of any age has a bris, the penis will be sucked by the good rabbi.

Posted by: WoolSilkCotton, rock star and sports superstar | June 07, 2012 at 04:09 PM

Correct. And it applies to an adult as well. In the case of adult converts I am not sure if they are told what to expect or not...and I can't imagine what a mohel could possibly say. At that point I bet a few gerim might be considering changing their minds...

MBP is not done on an adult as it is assur (forbidden) because of the halochot of erva (nakedness/immodesty).

MBP is not done on an adult as it is assur (forbidden) because of the halochot of erva (nakedness/immodesty).

Posted by: Just the Facts | June 07, 2012 at 05:13 PM

That's not what I've been told by someone very knowledgable in such matters.

++Just the Facts | June 07, 2012 at 05:13 PM++

Oh yeah. That makes perfect sense. (Sarcasm)

MBP is not done on an adult as it is assur (forbidden) because of the halochot of erva (nakedness/immodesty).

Posted by: Just the Facts | June 07, 2012 at 05:13 PM

so how are there public mikvahs

Keep doing Metzizah Bpeh folks. Its really embarrassing for most of the jews who are not ultra chassids to field the nice questions from the g-dless antisemities about how Israel and Jews suck baby penises and make oral genital contact. I was always proud to deal with that issue and when I finally realized that the antisemite didn't make this stuff up, I was mortified even more.

When something is preventable, who in his right mind takes any extra risk?
Ask that from a smoker.

Please.

Normative halakha forbids a person from starting to smoke, and all poskim I've ever seen hold that smokers should quit.

So not only is a defenseless baby different from an adult making a choice, your analogy is idiotic.

Posted by: Shmarya | June 07, 2012 at 04:43 PM

What are you smoking. I was replying to the question:

When something is preventable, who in his right mind takes any extra risk?

And my answer was Ask that from a smoker

Just what does that have to do with halach or babies.

I mean, how the hell in this day and age can you explain to any normal person that the baby's penis is sucked as part of a religious ritual, especially as it is a "modern" innovation dating to the Middle Ages based on what we now know to be a misunderstanding of the disease process?

Posted by: David | June 07, 2012 at 04:52 PM

Please; I still haven't figured out how to explain kapparot to them.

I guess it doesn't concern you as to the utter repugnancy of the issue of sucking a baby's penis as part of a religious ritual.

Posted by: WoolSilkCotton, rock star and sports superstar | June 07, 2012 at 04:09 PM

My nephew had one as a teenager. He was circumcised already, but of course, that wasn't good enough for the Hasidim he began hanging out with. A Karliner rabbi with whom he was friendly brought in a guy form Monsey who specialized in it remedial circumcision for adults. Apparently, it involved making a tiny incision and drawing a few drops of blood.

Since I've learned about MBP, I haven't asked if it was done to him. Frankly, I don't want to know.

No idea how any responsible adult could ignore this sort of data.

Well, there you go. The operative terms are "responsible", "adult" and "data".

The frumma are obsessed with penises.

Not that I expect much from some of the uber orthodox today, but I posted a comment about how this practice seems to invite antisemitism on an orthodox web site and of course, they would not post my intelligent comment about how our really wise way from some talmudic injunction is really corrupting our own image as jews. Either way, the orthodox today are not so much orthodox in the way that they seek justice, they just want to be super pious in the way that they seek presence. I am not sure I would call that orthodox by the standards given in Tanakh. Oh yeah, I have been told by them that Tanakh is not very imporant and that I should go study talmud instead. Thanks guys. I am sure you will get many more from an unaffiliated reform or conservative background seeking your counsel. Good job.

"Avrohom Oveinu did the whole Millah on himself, and could not reach with his mouth to do Metzitza P’peh..."

If he could, he would have never felt the need to marry Sarah Immenu, and there goes the whole Jewish people!

YL, LOL!

A better miracle, rather than Avrohom's neck becoming extended, would have been for his schmekel to become 12 inches longer, so that he could fulfill the 'mitzvah' himself, as well as make Sarah completely unnecessary.

And amazingly, the frumma believe these stories, and present themselves to politicians to defend MBP, and the politicians listen to them with a straight face, all in the name of the frumma votes. What a country.

What a country.

Indeed.

"could not reach with his mouth to do Metzitza P’peh.."

Probably not for lack of trying...

David, LOL!

The Reformic Jews, being egalitarian, will use a moheles. I wonder if they do mbp.

Breaking! Herpes Risk 3.4 Times Higher For Babies Who Get Metzitzah B'Peh During Circumcision, CDC Says

My cousin did MBP at his newborn son's bris, because the mohel wouldn't do it. I asked him if he was concerned about infection. No, he said, before the MBP he just rinsed his mouth with vodka and then with whisky, and it kills all the germs, he said.

So there you have it folks - rinse with vodka, whisky, and your favorite brand of mouthwash, and just like it says on the bottle - it kills all the germs!

I don't know why the CDC didn't think of that. Probably because they are anti-Semites.

Breaking! Herpes Risk 3.4 Times Higher For Babies Who Get Metzitzah B'Peh During Circumcision, CDC Says

Anyway, what does the CDC know from "circumcisions"?! We Yidden have been here for thousands of years. The Greeks told us to stop Bris Milah, and even threatened to kill us if we did, and they are dead and buried, and we're still here. The Romans came and went. But we are still here, and our Chachamim Zichronim Levracha (Chazal) are the wisest and most knowledgeable and if THEY say that Metzitza B'Peh will protect a baby, then Hashem will make it so.

And if one or two babies die or get sick chas v'cholilah then it must be because of our aveiros and because the Tziyoinim are not doing Metzitza B'Peh or brissim correctly, or the women aren't tzniyusdik, or because there was a Yid who did some mixed dancing somewhere on Earth chas v'shalom. Ta'arivois is the root of all sickness. And keeping Hashem's mitzvos from Har Sinai, including the mitzvah of Metzitza B'Peh, is what protects us. The scientists know nothing. They keep changing their minds. But the Torah is eternal.

>Tongue being removed from cheek.<

Did any of you fine folks know that historically, the bris did not include the removal of the whole foreskin? But during the times of the Greeks and Romans Jewish males in adulthood (or teenage-hood) tried to reverse their bris. So the rabbis (good, ol' faithful, halachah-changing, chumrah-creating, rabbis) instituted the removal of the entire foreskin at the bris so that bris reversal would not be possible later in life.

And then they put in a little piece of Medieval cutting edge medical advise telling Jews to suck the wound after the bris because the saliva would help it heal. And Boruch Hashem, for generations, we've kept the Toiyreh Hakedoiysha until the evil Tziyoiynim....

I am now in the camp that says circumcision is extreme body-alteration and genital mutilation and should not be done on babies. If a man wants a circumcision once he is 18, that is his business.

I am now in the camp that says circumcision is extreme body-alteration and genital mutilation and should not be done on babies. If a man wants a circumcision once he is 18, that is his business.

Posted by: chutzpah | June 07, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Of course, it's not circumcision per se that is the problem. It is addition of the unnecessary oral procedure which the Rabbis added because they incorrectly thought that it conferred a health benefit which is the problem.

I have no problem with the circumcision itself which is an essential part of the Jewish tradition. It's the problematic additions.

David, LOL!

Posted by: WoolSilkCotton, rock star and sports superstar | June 07, 2012 at 09:14 PM

Thanks Wool!

My cousin did MBP at his newborn son's bris, because the mohel wouldn't do it.

Posted by: Abracadabra | June 07, 2012 at 10:06 PM

This sounds extremely bizarre. Why would your cousin feel he needed to go "above and beyond" what the professional mohel was prepared to do? Perhaps he should have hired a mohel to do what he wanted in the first place. Then again, perhaps he shouldn't have...

Did any of you fine folks know that historically, the bris did not include the removal of the whole foreskin? But during the times of the Greeks and Romans Jewish males in adulthood (or teenage-hood) tried to reverse their bris. So the rabbis (good, ol' faithful, halachah-changing, chumrah-creating, rabbis) instituted the removal of the entire foreskin at the bris so that bris reversal would not be possible later in life.

Posted by: Abracadabra | June 07, 2012 at 10:21 PM

I've heard this as well. Shmarya and I have a mutual friend who said it on his blog a few years ago, but I've been unable to find confirmation of it. I'd love to know if this had been determined, if not indisputably, then with at least a reasonable chance of certainty.

Of course, it wouldn't make any difference to the Haredim - "this is how Chazal taught us to do it!" - but I'd hope it would make a difference to people with functioning forebrains.

This sounds extremely bizarre. Why would your cousin feel he needed to go "above and beyond" what the professional mohel was prepared to do? Perhaps he should have hired a mohel to do what he wanted in the first place. Then again, perhaps he shouldn't have...

Posted by: David | June 08, 2012 at 02:22 AM

The belief is that if a circumcision is performed by a doctor - as it is for many (most?) Jewish children - it doesn't count as having fulfilled the mitzvah. When a secular Jew becomes frum, they get a mohel (again, there are apparently a few who specialize in this) to perform the ritual, which consists of making a small incision and drawing a drop or two of blood.

It may just be a Hasidic thing. As I said, the rabbi with whom he was friendly, and who pretty much insisted upon it, was a Karliner. Shmarya would know more about this than I.

They didn't make a big deal of it, as they would with an infant. It was just my nephew, the rabbi and the mohel. I saw a photo of the three of them afterward, having a glass of schnapps or something. I didn't know about MBP then, and now that I do, I have no intention of asking. As I said, I don't want to know - but now that he's married and is presumably going into the Chabad baby-making business, I don't really want to know anything about his life any more, anyway.

Jeff - I think it might be mentioned in either the Gemara, Midrash, Tosfos, or some other rabbinic source dating back 900 years ago or more.

Jeff -

See the following copied from this webpage:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0004_0_04318.html

In Hellenistic times, Jews encountered the mockery of Gentiles who believed circumcision to be an unnecessary and unseemly mutilation and circumcision was widely neglected (Jubilees 15:33–34). Many Jews who wanted to participate nude in the Greek games in the gymnasia underwent painful operations to obliterate the signs of circumcision (epispasm).

The custom of circumcision seems to have spread among the Romans in the Diaspora under the influence of the Jewish community in Rome. Hadrian again proscribed it, and this was one of the causes of the Bar Kokhba rebellion. According to a midrash, when a Roman official asked R. Oshaya why God had not made man as he wanted him, he replied that it was in order that man should perfect himself by the fulfillment of a divine command (Gen. R. 11:6). After the *Bar Kokhba revolt the rabbis apparently instituted peri'ah (laying bare of the glans), probably in reaction to attempts to "obliterate the Seal of the Covenant" by epispasm. According to Tractate Shabbat 19:2, circumcision and peri'ah became part of a unified process in which the mohel disposed of all or most of the foreskin and then split the thin layer of mucosal membrane that is under the foreskin and rolled it downward to uncover the head of the penis. The importance of peri'ah is emphasized in the early rabbinic period and supportive midrashic readings were constructed in order to base it in Torah (e.g. ḥatan damim (Ex. 4:25) is said to imply two acts: the blood of milah, the actual circumcision, and the blood of the peri'ah incision (TJ, Shab. 19:2 17(a)).

Jeff - also see the bibliography at the bottom of that webpage.

Jeff - More info for you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_male_circumcision

According to Hodges, ancient Greek aesthetics of the human form considered circumcision a mutilation of a previously perfectly shaped organ. Greek artwork of the period portrayed penises as covered by the foreskin (sometimes in exquisite detail), except in the portrayal of satyrs, lechers, and barbarians.[16] This dislike of the appearance of the circumcised penis led to a decline in the incidence of circumcision among many peoples that had previously practiced it throughout Hellenistic times. In Egypt, only the priestly caste retained circumcision, and by the 2nd century, the only circumcising groups in the Roman Empire were Jews, Jewish Christians, Egyptian priests, and the Nabatean Arabs. Circumcision was sufficiently rare among non-Jews that being circumcised was considered conclusive evidence of Judaism (or Early Christianity and others derogatorily called Judaizers) in Roman courts—Suetonius in Domitian 12.2 described a court proceeding in which a ninety-year-old man was stripped naked before the court to determine whether he was evading the head tax placed on Jews and Judaizers.[17]

Some Jews tried to hide their circumcision status, as told in 1 Maccabees. This was mainly for social and economic benefits and also so that they could exercise in gymnasiums and compete in sporting events. Techniques for restoring the appearance of an uncircumcised penis were known by the 2nd century BC. In one such technique, a copper weight (called the Judeum pondum) was hung from the remnants of the circumcised foreskin until, in time, they became sufficiently stretched to cover the glans. The 1st-century writer Celsus described two surgical techniques for foreskin restoration in his medical treatise De Medicina.[18] In one of these, the skin of the penile shaft was loosened by cutting in around the base of the glans. The skin was then stretched over the glans and allowed to heal, giving the appearance of an uncircumcised penis. This was possible because the Abrahamic covenant of circumcision defined in the Bible was a relatively minor circumcision; named milah, this involved cutting off the foreskin that extended beyond the glans. Jewish religious writers denounced such practices as abrogating the covenant of Abraham in 1 Maccabees and the Talmud.[19] Because of these attempts, and for other reasons, a second more radical step was added to the circumcision procedure. This was added around 140 AD, and was named Brit Peri'ah. In this step, the foreskin was cut further back, to the ridge behind the glans penis, called the coronal sulcus. The inner mucosal tissue was removed by use of a sharp finger nail or implement, including the excising and removal of the frenulum from the underside of the glans.[20] Later during the Talmudic period (500–625 AD) a third step, known as Metzitzah, began to be practiced.

Jeff - I now know more than I ever wanted to about the intricacies of Bris Milah. Honestly, I could have done without the extensive, detailed knowledge. (The yuck factor is getting to me here.)

Jeez, there it is. I obviously didn't look very hard, did I?

Years ago, I read Michener's The Source, in which a character undergoes such a procedure and is murdered by his father in a fit of rage (but at least he didn't throw a dirty diaper at him). I wondered how a restorative procedure could be performed if there was no more foreskin. It makes sense that it would have been doable if only a portion had been removed.

Thanks a lot for this information. I wonder if there are any mohels doing it this way today, or who would be willing to. I also wonder what the halakhic implications would be in the Conservative movement (among the Reform and Reconstructionists, there's no need to ask).

I once told the MO rabbi that I would have made a better Greek than a Jew (I don't think he was happy to hear it, but I think he just brushed it aside). I'm more convinced of it now than ever (the frummies reading this will no doubt conclude that I lack a Jewish neshamah - but they undoubtedly think that of all of us, anyway.)

Disney is coming out with a new movie about chareidi mohelim. It's called "Herpe the Love Bug."

Heh!

The rabbi said "Just drink lots of whiskey and vodka before- and gargle with mouthwash after."

Oh, the comedy material available here!

Tri-State area (NW Kentucky, SE Illinois, SW Indiana) coverage of MBP.

Link: Ritual in some Jewish circumcisions raises herpes infection risk

I just wanted to thank everyone for the detailed description of the history of the brit milah. This (despite the obvious yuck factor) was very informative. I wish I myself had known about MBP before hiring a mohel. My husband assures me it was not done but from what I've read some mohelim are so fast that even those around them might not notice. I whish I had been given the pamphlet they are now proposing! Long overdue. (and this coming from someone who grew up with a fairy right wing yeshiva education, or maybe its just the girls they keep in the dark.)????

sorry that should have been "fairly" right wing although fairy right wing might actually be a better description of my education

Dr. Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and pathology at New York University Medical Center, said the sucking practice is a "bad idea."

"There are about 500 different microorganisms in the human mouth," he said. "So, I think it's insanity. It's not only unhygienic, but it can potentially kill the child. So, for the protection of children this is a practice that should be discontinued."


"This sucks more than anything that's ever sucked before."

Butt-Head, "Beavis and Butt-Head Do America" (1996)

Tri-State area (NW Kentucky, SE Illinois, SW Indiana) coverage of MBP.

Link: Ritual in some Jewish circumcisions raises herpes infection risk

Posted by: Nigritude Ultramarine | June 08, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Great. For half the fundies, this will confirm what they always knew: "Them Jews ain't right." The other half will accuse the liberal Jews who they just know control the media (along with the banks, because that's what their pastors tell them, and they wouldn't lie because they're men of God) of attempting to slander their more religious brethren.

This is not going to be pretty.

People, you CANNOT acquire HIV from kissing on the mouth, even with open mouths, tongue-wrestling, etc., UNLESS BOTH people have open wounds in the mouth, and blood passes from the HIV+ person to the HIV- person, AND they're very unlucky. You're much more likely to catch other bloodborne diseases, like hepatitis B or C than HIV in this situation: "The risk of infection after exposure to infected blood varies by bloodborne pathogen. The risk of transmission after exposure to HIV-infected blood is about 0.3%, whereas it is estimated to be up to 100 times greater for hepatitis B virus (30%) and could be as high as 10% for hepatitis C virus."

In the 19th century the practice of MBP was known to cause an epidemic of syphilis (fatal, due to antibiotics not being invented yet) among Jewish baby boys. It's not new news that MBP is extremely dangerous. Don't these people believe in pikuach nefesh? Don't they know that it supersedes other mitzvot, let alone this repulsive, creepy minhag? There's already halachah that *prohibits* circumcising a baby if his mother has previously lost two sons as a result of circumcision (I think; can't find the reference). As Blu Greenberg has said, where there's a Rabbinic will, there's a halachic way.

Maybe in ancient times, especially in places where water was scarce, circumcision actually had some health benefits. It does seem to have been more common in hot climates:
http://www.circinfo.net/what_caused_many_cultures_to_remove_it.html

Anyway, regardless of what was believed in 140 CE, peri'ah doesn't remove the possibility of "foreskin restoration", although it does make it more difficult. I have read that some men did it successfully during the Nazi era, as depicted in the film "Europa, Europa". Here's how it works with modern devices: http://www.circumstitions.com/Restore.html

So why not go back to the old style of brit milah?

there are plenty of other problems with circumcision not related to MBP....infections, pain, damaging cuts, Rabbi's who tweet about penis size...it's genital mutilation of babies.

"There are about 500 different microorganisms in the human mouth,"

To be fair, most of them are "good" ones. In fact, the number of bacteria in the human body outnumber human cells by ten to one.

Of course, MBP is still a VERY BAD and FOOLISH / INSANE thing to do.

I wonder if it would constitute an offense if a mohel went ahead and did MBP anyway despite a specific request from the parents? Assault? Would the mohel claim that no such instruction was received? Should it be put in writing? And if the mohel was known to be infected would it be "assault with a deadly weapon" or "wreckless endangerment"...

Is there any claim that a bris made without MBP is not kosher? I have never heard of such a claim so what is the problem with dropping this late medieval addition to the bris?

The belief is that if a circumcision is performed by a doctor - as it is for many (most?) Jewish children - it doesn't count as having fulfilled the mitzvah. When a secular Jew becomes frum, they get a mohel (again, there are apparently a few who specialize in this) to perform the ritual, which consists of making a small incision and drawing a drop or two of blood.

Posted by: Jeff | June 08, 2012 at 04:15 AM

OK, I misunderstood. I thought you were talking about a second bris. If a man only has a medical circumcision then that doesn't count as the mitzvah. A drop of blood has to be then drawn from the place where the foreskin was attached and the appropriate brachot said to qualify as having fulfilled the mitzvah. MBP is not required in that case.

Posted by: David | June 08, 2012 at 09:09 PM

The interesting thing is that they aren't all out there bitching that we aren't circumcised (except for that one lunatic who keeps claiming Shmarya isn't) - at least, not insofar as I'm aware.

MBP is not required in that case.

Posted by: David | June 08, 2012 at 09:09 PM

To clarify - as far as I am concerned it is NEVER required. I was talking about frumma malpractice speifically.

Posted by: David | June 08, 2012 at 08:57 PM

That's false. Most of the organisms in the mouth are "bad" or have the potential to be "bad" when the immune system is weak.


And if the mohel was known to be infected would it be "assault with a deadly weapon" or "wreckless endangerment"...

Posted by: David | June 08, 2012 at 09:01 PM


According to a recent New York State ruling, if he knew he had HIV, he could not be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

NY high court rules that HIV-positive saliva is not 'deadly weapon'

I wonder if the Mohel's should have to undergo regular and intensive screening and blood work to be sure they are disease free (with transparent oversight). Afterall, a lot of people undergo regular drug screening for jobs that are far less sensitive.

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