The OU has published an article on the medical halakha rulings of the late haredi leader Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv that contains a defense of metzitzah b'peh (MBP), the dangerous mouth-to-bleeding-penis sucking done primarily by haredi mohels after cutting off the baby's foreskin. Perhaps worse than that, it has also published at least two other glowing articles about Elyashiv – a man who openly tried to destroy Modern Orthodoxy.
The OU has published an article on the medical halakha rulings of the late haredi leader Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv that contains a defense of metzitzah b'peh (MBP), the dangerous mouth-to-bleeding-penis sucking done primarily by haredi mohels after cutting off the baby's foreskin.
But perhaps worse than that, it has also published at least two other glowing articles about Elyashiv – a man who openly tried to destroy Modern Orthodoxy.
The supposedly Modern Orthodox OU has published a series of articles by haredi writers that glowingly endorse various aspects of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv's life and work.
The articles provide no context, no scholarly or other criticism, and no evidence of the very real evil Elyashiv did, especially to Zionist Orthodox converts to Judaism.
The articles read almost like ArtScroll hagiography, rather than a typical scholarly (or semi-scholarly) article.
The articles appear in the Summer 2013 issue of the OU's magazine Jewish Action. (Only two of the articles are online.)
But Steven I. Weiss of the Jewish Channel scanned the article on Elyashiv's medical halakha and posted it online. He also transcribed the section on MBP:
Recently, the practice of metzitzah b’peh, oral suction, has been making headlines. The question at the heart of the debate surrounding this issue is whether the practice can possibly infect the baby with the disease of herpes. In the past, many different objections to the performance of oral suction have been asserted. Among halachic authorities there is a consensus that suction must be performed, but they disagree as to wehther the suction can be performed via a tube (thereby avoiding direct contact with the mouth) or via oral contact. Rav Elyashiv ruled that it is obligatory to continue the tradition of oral suction, for there is no conclusive scientific proof that a herpes infection would result from this procedure, unless the mohel had some sore or bruise in his mouth. In such a case, it would be forbidden for him to perform oral suction and another person should be assigned to perform it in his stead.
Weiss notes that "there is in fact no study suggesting that the ritual is any more or less likely to result in a herpes infection when the mohel has or is lacking a sore or bruise in his mouth; in fact, investigators for the New York City DOHMH have not been able to examine evidence approaching that level of detail, as they have been consistently denied in their requests to obtain even the identities of mohelim whose circumcisions have led to infection. The article provides no citation of medical and rabbinic authorities who disagree with Elyashiv’s position…"
Worse that that, since Elyashiv made that idiotic ruling, more cases of infant deaths and maiming from MBP-transmitted herpes have been documented in New York, New Jersey and in Israel, and a shocking israeli study found that almost 1/3 of Israeli cases of neonatal herpes came from MBP. Israeli doctors also documented a case of delayed reaction MBP-transmitted herpes, which if substantiated could explain what some see as increased cases of learning disabled children in haredi communities.
Elyashiv was an evil man on many levels. He spent 40 years trying to destroy the chief rabbinate and corrupt the state's rabbinic court system, and was hurtful, hateful man who even when he was relatively young did not even know many of his own children by sight or name, and who did not know the vast majority of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren at all, even though most lived with a couple miles of his home.
He was a vile individual by any objective measurement.
But ArtScroll and Yated Ne'eman will never tell you that.
Neither will the OU.