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New York, NY - Agudah Urges NYC Mayor To Work With Jewish Community On New Bris Regulations

Published on: September 4, 2012 06:36 PM
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New York, NY - In an impassioned plea to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, top level officials at the Agudah appealed today to City Hall to reconsider a proposed vote on new regulations that would, for the first time ever, impose governmental regulations in the United States on the practice of metzitza b’peh.

The vote by the Board of Health is slated to take place on September 13th, just four days before Rosh Hashana and if the new regulations are passed, would require parents to submit written consent before metzitza b’peh could be performed.

The letter obtained by VIN News, signed by Rabbi David Zweibel and Rabbi Gedaliah Weinberger, expresses concern that written consent is just the first regulation that could be imposed on the centuries old religious practice, and could potentially be part of a larger move to not only ban metzitzah b’peh outright but also require a mohel to wear surgical gloves, a practice suggested by the recently published “Before the Bris” pamphlet that is being circulated by the Health Department in city hospitals.

Rabbis Zweibel and Weinberger also stated their concerns regarding the way the issue is being handled by the Health Department, which has not been working in conjunction with the Jewish community on an issue that is integral to the Orthodox community.

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“Compounding the problem is the fact that the Health Department has acted unilaterally in pursuing its agenda,” reads the letter, which is dated September 4th.  “It informed community leaders of its decision to issue an official statement recommending against metzitzah b’peh and to publish its ‘Before the Bris’ brochure, only on the very day the statement was issued and the brochure published. It gave us exactly one day’s notice of its plan to propose a new regulation requiring written consent.  It allowed the community no opportunity to review drafts of its statement, brochure or proposed regulation, or to have any meaningful input into the process.”

Given the gravity of the proposed regulations, the Agudah is requesting that the vote be postponed to a later date, giving them the opportunity to discuss the matter at length with the Health Department.



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Read Comments (44)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Sep 04, 2012 at 07:34 PM ALTERG Says:

Who cares, we will anyway do the bris like we do in the past 5000 years, we will NOT listen to him anyway & he CAN'T do anything, waste of time

2

 Sep 04, 2012 at 07:43 PM Pereles Says:

how is anyone going to know that your kid is having a bris??

3

 Sep 04, 2012 at 07:56 PM Pro Lifer Says:

According to DOH statistics, one in 4,098 babies that has mbp contracts herpes. This rate of disease is far too high for mbp to be permitted. Any practice (even a full-fledged mitzvah d'oraisa) that causes disease at a rate of of even "one in tens of thousands" is halachically forbidden.

The only response I've heard so far is that the DoH hasn't *proved* that mbp is linked to herpes. Well, how much proof is required? There is plenty of evidence: the location of lesions in the genital area, the timing of infection soon after the bris, patterns of infection associated with a given mohel, etc. The only think lacking is DNA evidence. But it's absurd to wait until a DNA link is established because mohalim refuse to give DNA samples (I wonder why ...).

Furthermore, the halachah does not require 100% evidence. Even where doctors disagree whether something is dangerous, it is forbidden!

Some rabbonim have come out and said this (search for Rabbi Moshe Zuriel's teshuvah), but some seem to be more concerned about not getting rocks thrown through their windows.

4

 Sep 04, 2012 at 08:01 PM wsbrgh Says:

Once more- Not ONCE is "b'peh" mentioned in Shas, Yore Deia, Rambam, Kol Bo, Maharsha, &c. &c.! Shas DOES say that metzitza is for HEALTH.So make metzitza MORE healthy.

5

 Sep 04, 2012 at 08:09 PM Pro Lifer Says:

The Agudah is afraid that the consent requirement is the first step towards banning mbp, which is the first step towards banning milah itself.

That is silly.

The last thing the politicians of NY city wants is a fight with the city's large orthodox Jewish population. They have nothing to gain from it and everything to lose.

So why is the NYC's dept. of health getting involved?
Perhaps the reason is exactly as they say: They have seen the evidence that mbp is dangerous, and so -- in keeping with their task to protect the lives of this city's citizens -- they are trying to inform the public of this danger.

6

 Sep 04, 2012 at 08:12 PM Pro Lifer Says:

This is the p'sak of Rabbi Moshe Zuriel:

"I would suggest that every conscientious father or mother take every true consideration for the benefit of the newborn infant, and ask the Mohel in advance to use the tube. And if he denies or objects, they should find another Mohel willing to accede to the psak of the Chasam Sofer, Rabbi Kook, Rabbi Herzog, or Rabbi Frank. True chassidus is not to be belligerent but to be intelligent and thoughtful, to be precautious within the limits of Torah Law."

7

 Sep 04, 2012 at 08:41 PM Pro Lifer Says:

Reply to #4  
wsbrgh Says:

Once more- Not ONCE is "b'peh" mentioned in Shas, Yore Deia, Rambam, Kol Bo, Maharsha, &c. &c.! Shas DOES say that metzitza is for HEALTH.So make metzitza MORE healthy.

Allow me to add that the Mishnah Berurah cites an opinion that alternative methods of metzitzah are BETTER than metzitzah bepeh (and he is not even talking there about avoiding transmission of disease).

8

 Sep 04, 2012 at 10:37 PM judith Says:

Can anyone tell me what's wrong with gloves????????

9

 Sep 04, 2012 at 10:47 PM duhh Says:

The same goal can be accomplished by having the mohel get tested for herpes as opposed to banning metizah. Any mohel that would readily do metzisah bpeh with a positive herpes test is not a decent person should be banned from doing it . But for you New Yorkers Nanny Bloomberg knows best and untill you get rid of the Anti Everything self hating jew guy you will continue to be oppressed . You could always go to New Jersey for a Bris .

10

 Sep 04, 2012 at 11:24 PM sechelyoshor Says:

I'm just wondering what people would say if every mohel did give a DNA sample and then we proved that there exists a small percentage of babies who get herpes even if they had mezitza with a pipette. Would we then say no more metzitza under all cicurmstances?

11

 Sep 05, 2012 at 12:19 AM A doctor Says:

The data cited by the Department of Health is flawed.
The risk seems to be miniscule. For some, MBP is an absolute requirement.
Governmental regulation of a purely religious act may have unforeseen consequences.
By the way, will the government require J. Witnesses to sign informed consent forms when they or their loved ones are admitted to the hospital re: blood transfusions? Will Shiite Moslems, who flog themselves with whips during a religious ceremony, be required to sign informed consent forms? How about Catholics who drink wine as part of their service: will they be required to sign informed consent about the dangers of alcoholism?

12

 Sep 05, 2012 at 01:05 AM Not_just_that___ Says:

Reply to #4  
wsbrgh Says:

Once more- Not ONCE is "b'peh" mentioned in Shas, Yore Deia, Rambam, Kol Bo, Maharsha, &c. &c.! Shas DOES say that metzitza is for HEALTH.So make metzitza MORE healthy.

You contradict yourself. Please restate.

13

 Sep 05, 2012 at 01:13 AM Adam_Neira Says:

I repeat...

Metzitzah b’peh should be banned. End of story. Circumcision itself is not under attack. This is a simple halakhic issue to solve. The sucking ritual as part of the bris is not mentioned in the Pentateuch and even if it is a custom that has been passed down from mohels through the centuries does not make it right in this day and age. We don’t push goats off cliffs anymore to absolve our sins etc. etc. Sometimes it amazes me that in 2012/5772 the thinking of various “sages” and “scholars” is so medievil.

People should also not confuse the MBP practise which is a custom that should be banned and brit milah which is a mitzvah. Disingenuous people are trying to confuse others. On small matters of principle do empires thrive or collapse.

14

 Sep 05, 2012 at 04:21 AM bewhiskered Says:

Reply to #4  
wsbrgh Says:

Once more- Not ONCE is "b'peh" mentioned in Shas, Yore Deia, Rambam, Kol Bo, Maharsha, &c. &c.! Shas DOES say that metzitza is for HEALTH.So make metzitza MORE healthy.

And, once more, no, that is not true! In משנה ברורה, we find in הלכות שבת סימן של"א, the ביאור הלכה saying that מציצה through a sponge is better than מציצה בפה. And, one could even be מתיר a sponge for this purpose on שבת.

מתיר למצוץ בספוג דבדוקה דיותר טוב ממציצה בפה ואפילו בשבת יש להתיר בספוג

15

 Sep 05, 2012 at 04:38 AM Wise-Guy Says:

1) Metzitzeh B'peh is Takeh not a must according to Halachah, but is very important according to Kaballah.
The Ari Z"l says so. And I think most people would agree that the Ari is a "reliable" source. No less than the Chasam-Sofer Z'L and the Mishna-Brurah Z'L.

2) Today there are still a myriad of Posskim that rule M'BP is important enough to practice in spite of the risk, because the risk is so very minute.
These Rabonim are from Chassidish and Litvish and Sfardish backgrounds, and I believe they are as competent and numerous as the Rabbis that oppose the practice.

3) I for one resent the implication that the Chareidi Rabbis care less about their children's safety than the other Rabbis . Or that the city officials care more for our children than we do.
(Note: MBP is not as convoluted or complex an issue as reporting child-molestors to the police without first consulting a Rav. Many Rabbis messed-up regarding the latter. But that issue does have a very "Gray area" because it deals with issues of "Messirah" and trusting the testimony of minors and recognizing and determining who is in fact a true "Rodef".
Whereas M'BP is more clear-cut. (Continued in next posting.)

16

 Sep 05, 2012 at 04:57 AM Wise-Guy Says:

Regarding MBP the question is simply: does the importance of this Mesorah and Kabbalistic practice outweigh the risk which is minuscule.)

4) It infuriates me how disingenuous these government regulators can be!
There are so many "practices" that are not related to religion and carry a much higher statistical risk.
Many more children are hurt, maimed and even killed by such activities as bike-riding, swimming, skating or certain sports.
Why doesn't the city demand parents sign a consent-form before allowing their children to ride bikes?!
Ask any pediatrician about how many children have been seriously injured when biking or skate-boarding or scooter-riding, even with a helmet...
I knew a teen that was killed in a bicycle accident.
Why is our "concerned" irreligious city-officials "picking on" the religious customs?
Is it because they deem our "antiquated" traditions less important than riding a bike?!

17

 Sep 05, 2012 at 05:24 AM No More מלך Says:

Zwiebel and Weinberger are being less than truthful. The protocols agreed to in 2006 were not complied with and babies died. Who knows how many more got sick and how many are now suffering permanent brain damage.

When have any of us heard any of our rabbonim darshen on the dangers of MbP?

Agudah's letter is disingenuous. It's time to stop thinking about the mohels and Agudah's and UJO's political power and start thinking about the safety of our infants.

Klal Yisroel abolished the worship of מלך a long time ago. Shame on Zwiebel and Weinberger for trying to resurrect it.

18

 Sep 05, 2012 at 06:35 AM OccupyAgudah Says:

Reply to #5  
Pro Lifer Says:

The Agudah is afraid that the consent requirement is the first step towards banning mbp, which is the first step towards banning milah itself.

That is silly.

The last thing the politicians of NY city wants is a fight with the city's large orthodox Jewish population. They have nothing to gain from it and everything to lose.

So why is the NYC's dept. of health getting involved?
Perhaps the reason is exactly as they say: They have seen the evidence that mbp is dangerous, and so -- in keeping with their task to protect the lives of this city's citizens -- they are trying to inform the public of this danger.

Where did you see that statement? In this article they state that they are worried it is the first step to banning "metzitzah" altogether. It does not say "bris milah" altogether.

This should be internally handled by the rabonim as every jewish life is precious and priceless. I would normally be very opposed to the state of NY becoming so involved in this case. However why are safety procedures not being mandated by our leaders? Have we lost the value for human life? I don't care what the statistics are. People sound like monsters rather then yidden when they throw around numbers callously. This is a babies life and health we are talking about!

19

 Sep 05, 2012 at 08:01 AM Davethemave Says:

Reply to #3  
Pro Lifer Says:

According to DOH statistics, one in 4,098 babies that has mbp contracts herpes. This rate of disease is far too high for mbp to be permitted. Any practice (even a full-fledged mitzvah d'oraisa) that causes disease at a rate of of even "one in tens of thousands" is halachically forbidden.

The only response I've heard so far is that the DoH hasn't *proved* that mbp is linked to herpes. Well, how much proof is required? There is plenty of evidence: the location of lesions in the genital area, the timing of infection soon after the bris, patterns of infection associated with a given mohel, etc. The only think lacking is DNA evidence. But it's absurd to wait until a DNA link is established because mohalim refuse to give DNA samples (I wonder why ...).

Furthermore, the halachah does not require 100% evidence. Even where doctors disagree whether something is dangerous, it is forbidden!

Some rabbonim have come out and said this (search for Rabbi Moshe Zuriel's teshuvah), but some seem to be more concerned about not getting rocks thrown through their windows.

It's not that they haven't proved it conclusively, the Mohel in question has offered to do a DNA test, the DOH has refused.
So if one should err on the side of caution, it aught be the DOH before it breaks the separation of church and state, when they are refusing to fully investigate.

20

 Sep 05, 2012 at 08:51 AM shredready Says:

Reply to #10  
sechelyoshor Says:

I'm just wondering what people would say if every mohel did give a DNA sample and then we proved that there exists a small percentage of babies who get herpes even if they had mezitza with a pipette. Would we then say no more metzitza under all cicurmstances?

the question should be do you and others still say it is safe/

of course it was done before with no gloves there where no surgical gloves back then

maybe the mohel should not be allowed to go to the bris with a car and only with a horse and buggy since that the way it was done

21

 Sep 05, 2012 at 08:54 AM shredready Says:

Reply to #19  
Davethemave Says:

It's not that they haven't proved it conclusively, the Mohel in question has offered to do a DNA test, the DOH has refused.
So if one should err on the side of caution, it aught be the DOH before it breaks the separation of church and state, when they are refusing to fully investigate.

you need to reread the story

in all cases the parents refuse to say who the mohel was and the cases where they did know like fisher he refused the test.

the robbonum have failed to protect children in the case of molestation and they are failing now again

they have a very bad track record

22

 Sep 05, 2012 at 09:05 AM Pro Lifer Says:

Reply to #19  
Davethemave Says:

It's not that they haven't proved it conclusively, the Mohel in question has offered to do a DNA test, the DOH has refused.
So if one should err on the side of caution, it aught be the DOH before it breaks the separation of church and state, when they are refusing to fully investigate.

"... the Mohel in question has offered to do a DNA test, the DOH has refused"

That's a bubbe maaseh.

23

 Sep 05, 2012 at 09:19 AM I WANT TO KNOW Says:

Reply to #3  
Pro Lifer Says:

According to DOH statistics, one in 4,098 babies that has mbp contracts herpes. This rate of disease is far too high for mbp to be permitted. Any practice (even a full-fledged mitzvah d'oraisa) that causes disease at a rate of of even "one in tens of thousands" is halachically forbidden.

The only response I've heard so far is that the DoH hasn't *proved* that mbp is linked to herpes. Well, how much proof is required? There is plenty of evidence: the location of lesions in the genital area, the timing of infection soon after the bris, patterns of infection associated with a given mohel, etc. The only think lacking is DNA evidence. But it's absurd to wait until a DNA link is established because mohalim refuse to give DNA samples (I wonder why ...).

Furthermore, the halachah does not require 100% evidence. Even where doctors disagree whether something is dangerous, it is forbidden!

Some rabbonim have come out and said this (search for Rabbi Moshe Zuriel's teshuvah), but some seem to be more concerned about not getting rocks thrown through their windows.

How many babies in the general public contract herpes without having a bris? That's what should be made public. Babies of all types, girls, boys, whatever religion - How many of them get herpes after birth? I want to know!

24

 Sep 05, 2012 at 09:26 AM DavidCohen Says:

I'm glad that Agudah is urging the NYC Mayor to work with the Jewish community on Bris regulations. Now I'd like to see them urge the mohelim in the Jewish community to work with medical experts so as to benefit from advances in medicine and medical knowledge.

25

 Sep 05, 2012 at 09:42 AM Pro Lifer Says:

Reply to #15  
Wise-Guy Says:

1) Metzitzeh B'peh is Takeh not a must according to Halachah, but is very important according to Kaballah.
The Ari Z"l says so. And I think most people would agree that the Ari is a "reliable" source. No less than the Chasam-Sofer Z'L and the Mishna-Brurah Z'L.

2) Today there are still a myriad of Posskim that rule M'BP is important enough to practice in spite of the risk, because the risk is so very minute.
These Rabonim are from Chassidish and Litvish and Sfardish backgrounds, and I believe they are as competent and numerous as the Rabbis that oppose the practice.

3) I for one resent the implication that the Chareidi Rabbis care less about their children's safety than the other Rabbis . Or that the city officials care more for our children than we do.
(Note: MBP is not as convoluted or complex an issue as reporting child-molestors to the police without first consulting a Rav. Many Rabbis messed-up regarding the latter. But that issue does have a very "Gray area" because it deals with issues of "Messirah" and trusting the testimony of minors and recognizing and determining who is in fact a true "Rodef".
Whereas M'BP is more clear-cut. (Continued in next posting.)

Part 1

I appreciate your articulate and sensible post. I’d like to respond to each of your points:

1) “MBP … is very important according to Kaballah. The Ari Z"l says so. And I think most people would agree that the Ari is a "reliable" source. No less than the Chasam-Sofer Z'L and the Mishna-Brurah Z'L.”
The Chasam Sofer addresses this very issue. He writes that we ignore kabballah if there is even the slightest chance of danger (אין לנו עסק בנסתרות היכא דאיכא למיחש לסכנה כל דהו). It’s very possible that the Ari z”l would agree with this. He was talking about an ordinary case, in which there is no danger.

26

 Sep 05, 2012 at 09:44 AM Pro Lifer Says:

Reply to #15  
Wise-Guy Says:

1) Metzitzeh B'peh is Takeh not a must according to Halachah, but is very important according to Kaballah.
The Ari Z"l says so. And I think most people would agree that the Ari is a "reliable" source. No less than the Chasam-Sofer Z'L and the Mishna-Brurah Z'L.

2) Today there are still a myriad of Posskim that rule M'BP is important enough to practice in spite of the risk, because the risk is so very minute.
These Rabonim are from Chassidish and Litvish and Sfardish backgrounds, and I believe they are as competent and numerous as the Rabbis that oppose the practice.

3) I for one resent the implication that the Chareidi Rabbis care less about their children's safety than the other Rabbis . Or that the city officials care more for our children than we do.
(Note: MBP is not as convoluted or complex an issue as reporting child-molestors to the police without first consulting a Rav. Many Rabbis messed-up regarding the latter. But that issue does have a very "Gray area" because it deals with issues of "Messirah" and trusting the testimony of minors and recognizing and determining who is in fact a true "Rodef".
Whereas M'BP is more clear-cut. (Continued in next posting.)

Part 2

2) “Today there are still a myriad of Posskim that rule M'BP is important enough to practice in spite of the risk, because the risk is so very minute.”

This is not true. A rate of one on 4,000 (which the DoH claims) is substantial according to halachah. If one yid lived in a town of 4,000 nochrim, and one of them was trapped under rubble on Shabbos but we don’t know whether he is a yid or a nochri, we would be mechalel Shabbos (yes, that’s right – chilul Shabbos!) to save the trapped person. The most pro-mbp Poskim would agree that if it causes death even at a “miniscule” rate, it must be modified or stopped altogether. Even Satmar agrees with that. Their argument is not that the alleged rate is “miniscule,’’ but rather that it doesn’t exist at all. In their view, mbp is completely safe and never spreads herpes or any other disease.

27

 Sep 05, 2012 at 09:45 AM Pro Lifer Says:

Reply to #15  
Wise-Guy Says:

1) Metzitzeh B'peh is Takeh not a must according to Halachah, but is very important according to Kaballah.
The Ari Z"l says so. And I think most people would agree that the Ari is a "reliable" source. No less than the Chasam-Sofer Z'L and the Mishna-Brurah Z'L.

2) Today there are still a myriad of Posskim that rule M'BP is important enough to practice in spite of the risk, because the risk is so very minute.
These Rabonim are from Chassidish and Litvish and Sfardish backgrounds, and I believe they are as competent and numerous as the Rabbis that oppose the practice.

3) I for one resent the implication that the Chareidi Rabbis care less about their children's safety than the other Rabbis . Or that the city officials care more for our children than we do.
(Note: MBP is not as convoluted or complex an issue as reporting child-molestors to the police without first consulting a Rav. Many Rabbis messed-up regarding the latter. But that issue does have a very "Gray area" because it deals with issues of "Messirah" and trusting the testimony of minors and recognizing and determining who is in fact a true "Rodef".
Whereas M'BP is more clear-cut. (Continued in next posting.)

Part 3

3) “I for one resent the implication that the Chareidi Rabbis care less about their children's safety than the other Rabbis . Or that the city officials care more for our children than we do.”

I, for one, do not believe that for a moment. Obviously, what has happened is that some Chareidi rabbis are so much in favor of mbp and have such a strong distrust of scientists, that they are biased against the scientific evidence regarding mbp. Modern rabbis and city officials do not have that bias.

28

 Sep 05, 2012 at 09:46 AM Pro Lifer Says:

Reply to #16  
Wise-Guy Says:

Regarding MBP the question is simply: does the importance of this Mesorah and Kabbalistic practice outweigh the risk which is minuscule.)

4) It infuriates me how disingenuous these government regulators can be!
There are so many "practices" that are not related to religion and carry a much higher statistical risk.
Many more children are hurt, maimed and even killed by such activities as bike-riding, swimming, skating or certain sports.
Why doesn't the city demand parents sign a consent-form before allowing their children to ride bikes?!
Ask any pediatrician about how many children have been seriously injured when biking or skate-boarding or scooter-riding, even with a helmet...
I knew a teen that was killed in a bicycle accident.
Why is our "concerned" irreligious city-officials "picking on" the religious customs?
Is it because they deem our "antiquated" traditions less important than riding a bike?!

Part 4

4) “There are so many "practices" that are not related to religion and carry a much higher statistical risk. Many more children are hurt, maimed and even killed by such activities as bike-riding, swimming, skating or certain sports … Why is our "concerned" irreligious city-officials "picking on" the religious customs? Is it because they deem our "antiquated" traditions less important than riding a bike?!”

Your last point carries some merit. Obviously, the city’s health regulators see no benefit in
mbp because they do not understand the religious benefits. On the other hand, elected politicians (though not the unelected bureaucrats) are very reluctant to pick a fight with an important voting bloc. The reason why they differentiate between mbp and bike-riding (for example) is that in their opinion, mbp is like shooting a loaded gun at a child. It is intrinsically dangerous for someone to insert his saliva into a baby’s open wound. In hospitals and other medical settings, it’s completely against all regulations. Doctors can and have been sued for doing such things.

29

 Sep 05, 2012 at 09:55 AM Pro Lifer Says:

Reply to #18  
OccupyAgudah Says:

Where did you see that statement? In this article they state that they are worried it is the first step to banning "metzitzah" altogether. It does not say "bris milah" altogether.

This should be internally handled by the rabonim as every jewish life is precious and priceless. I would normally be very opposed to the state of NY becoming so involved in this case. However why are safety procedures not being mandated by our leaders? Have we lost the value for human life? I don't care what the statistics are. People sound like monsters rather then yidden when they throw around numbers callously. This is a babies life and health we are talking about!

The fear that banning mbp will lead to banning bris milah itself was expressed in a recent kol korei signed by 200 (mostly chassidish) rabbis. You can read about it here
http://www.vosizneias.com/112847/2012/09/02/new-york-rabbis-say-theyll-defy-state-law-on-metzitzah-bpeh

I fully agree with your second paragraph. It's very powerful. יישר כחך

30

 Sep 05, 2012 at 09:59 AM Pro Life Says:

Reply to #23  
I WANT TO KNOW Says:

How many babies in the general public contract herpes without having a bris? That's what should be made public. Babies of all types, girls, boys, whatever religion - How many of them get herpes after birth? I want to know!

The CDC report addresses that very point. It says that babies who had mbp are THREE times more likely to contract herpes than other babies.

31

 Sep 05, 2012 at 10:19 AM Pro Lifer Says:

Reply to #10  
sechelyoshor Says:

I'm just wondering what people would say if every mohel did give a DNA sample and then we proved that there exists a small percentage of babies who get herpes even if they had mezitza with a pipette. Would we then say no more metzitza under all cicurmstances?

"I'm just wondering what people would say if every mohel did give a DNA sample and then we proved that there exists a small percentage of babies who get herpes even if they had mezitza with a pipette. Would we then say no more metzitza under all cicurmstances?"

Yes.
As another poster has said several times, the Gemara mentions only metzitzah. It does not say bepeh (with the mouth). The Rambam and others explain that the purpose of metzitzah is to draw blood from the wound (this was considered necessary to prevent the baby dying from the wound). It was usually done with the mouth because that was the most effective method. But many Poskim (most famously the Chasam Sofer) have said that it is not necessary to use the mouth, either directly or with a pipette; any method that has the same effect is also acceptable. In fact, the Mishnah Berurah cites an opinion that the "new" methods are BETTER than metzitzah bepeh.
In any event, if it is proven that *any* mitzvah is dangerous, the halachah would say that it must be stopped (at least temporarily). The yidden in the midbar did not do milah itself for 40 years because it was dangerous to do milah in the course of travelling.

32

 Sep 05, 2012 at 10:38 AM Childbirth is risky too Says:

I am willing to take the risk and have my children's milas done with MBP. Childbirth is also risky. Mothers used to die (and some still do) during childbirth, so should women stop having babies?

33

 Sep 05, 2012 at 11:52 AM NoMan Says:

Reply to #12  
Not_just_that___ Says:

You contradict yourself. Please restate.

He did not contradict himself. You missed the obvious distinction between metzitzah and metzitzah bepeh. There are other methods of metzitzah, such as the pipette recommended by that famous MO posek the Chasam Sofer.

34

 Sep 05, 2012 at 12:26 PM Pro Lifer Says:

Reply to #32  
Childbirth is risky too Says:

I am willing to take the risk and have my children's milas done with MBP. Childbirth is also risky. Mothers used to die (and some still do) during childbirth, so should women stop having babies?

The Gemara Yevamos 12b raises a similar question and answers that Hashem protects people who are doing normal, regular activities (שומר פתאים ה). The question is whether this extends to mbp. The Chasam Sofer and others say that it does not.

35

 Sep 05, 2012 at 12:29 PM chaim14 Says:

You can send an email directly to Commissioner Farley here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/maildoh.html.

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 Sep 05, 2012 at 12:37 PM Shtarker Says:

Those who are not in favor of MbP have no need for a secular law restricting it. Those who are in favor of MbP will ignore a secular law restricting it, just as they ignore other secular laws they don't like. Regardless, the Board of Health has a mandate to protect the general population from communicable diseases, and for this reason they don't need the advice or consent of the Agudah. It has nothing to do with banning a religious practice, it's a matter of protecting the public. Even if individual parents choose to accept the risk that their child may acquire a serious disease, that same child may one day pass that disease on to someone else. The BoH could have banned the practice altogether. Instead they showed restraint.

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 Sep 05, 2012 at 02:18 PM DavidCohen Says:

Reply to #32  
Childbirth is risky too Says:

I am willing to take the risk and have my children's milas done with MBP. Childbirth is also risky. Mothers used to die (and some still do) during childbirth, so should women stop having babies?

Ok, so let's continue your comparison. Are you advocating that women deliver babies today exactly as they did 1000 years ago? That would be no modern prenatal care, no epidurals, no modern pain medication, no ultrasounds ...

Or is that not what you meant to say? Because, again using your own analogy, if women take advantage of medical advances because they want to be safer and want their babies to be safer, why the heck would the same not apply to a bris? Truth is we have *already* updated how a bris is performed. We use sharper blades, we use antibiotics and modern gauze, etc. Why is this any different?

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 Sep 05, 2012 at 02:36 PM ShmuelG Says:

Reply to #1  
ALTERG Says:

Who cares, we will anyway do the bris like we do in the past 5000 years, we will NOT listen to him anyway & he CAN'T do anything, waste of time

I am with you (except that it is less then 4000 years): we will no more obey this government making antisemitic laws than we obeyed to the government of Soviet Union making antisemitic laws, and b'ezras H' will keep doing mitzvahs the way our ancestors did, mtzitza b'peh most certainly included. Let these Democretes try and enforce their antisemitic laws, better yet I want to see them try to deny that antisemitism was their motivation.

39

 Sep 05, 2012 at 02:38 PM ShmuelG Says:

Reply to #8  
judith Says:

Can anyone tell me what's wrong with gloves????????

For starters, how would you manage to put a glove over your mouth?

40

 Sep 05, 2012 at 03:30 PM Pro Lifer Says:

Reply to #38  
ShmuelG Says:

I am with you (except that it is less then 4000 years): we will no more obey this government making antisemitic laws than we obeyed to the government of Soviet Union making antisemitic laws, and b'ezras H' will keep doing mitzvahs the way our ancestors did, mtzitza b'peh most certainly included. Let these Democretes try and enforce their antisemitic laws, better yet I want to see them try to deny that antisemitism was their motivation.

"I want to see them try to deny that antisemitism was their motivation.”

I want to see you prove that antisemitism *is* their motivation!

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 Sep 05, 2012 at 03:51 PM Matzoslocal101 Says:

This is the part of Dr Tendler's 40 year old war to control Milah in NY. It began with the Mt Sinai school of circumcision in 1968, continued with Brith milah board of NYC, and now he has resorted to fabricating information in order to get the DoH to do his bidding. In his Pediatric's article Tendler lies and says that Semmelwies (who died in 1865) discovered disease transmission after a baby got tuberculosis from an infected Mohel (first case in the literature- Lindemann 1883), as result of this discovery the Chasam Sofer (who died in 1839) permitted the tube (that was created in 1887.) Likewise Rubin and Lanzkowsky quote articles in their Mar PIDJ and then write the opposite. Julia Schillinger also contradicts every paper she ever wrote on HSV. The Woman is an idiot.

42

 Sep 05, 2012 at 04:20 PM YoineKohen Says:

Reply to #15  
Wise-Guy Says:

1) Metzitzeh B'peh is Takeh not a must according to Halachah, but is very important according to Kaballah.
The Ari Z"l says so. And I think most people would agree that the Ari is a "reliable" source. No less than the Chasam-Sofer Z'L and the Mishna-Brurah Z'L.

2) Today there are still a myriad of Posskim that rule M'BP is important enough to practice in spite of the risk, because the risk is so very minute.
These Rabonim are from Chassidish and Litvish and Sfardish backgrounds, and I believe they are as competent and numerous as the Rabbis that oppose the practice.

3) I for one resent the implication that the Chareidi Rabbis care less about their children's safety than the other Rabbis . Or that the city officials care more for our children than we do.
(Note: MBP is not as convoluted or complex an issue as reporting child-molestors to the police without first consulting a Rav. Many Rabbis messed-up regarding the latter. But that issue does have a very "Gray area" because it deals with issues of "Messirah" and trusting the testimony of minors and recognizing and determining who is in fact a true "Rodef".
Whereas M'BP is more clear-cut. (Continued in next posting.)

1) The issue is not which posek is more reliable, the issue is if there is a minute chance of danger, what is the halachic course of psak. The halachic approach in all similar matters is to rely on those who are lenient when there is even a remote chance of danger. Of course we strive to to be machmir, but the baby did not agree that you should be machmir on his account!

2) Wrong, there are no poskim who say that minute risks are OK; that is false, even if it is proven 100% that there is only one chance in 10,000 of dying from MpP halacha forbids such risk taking. You are confusing a "chance" of a baby before you which might be minute, with the absolute danger to one child per 10,000. The first is a case of doubt, the latter is 100% for sure. No posek will say; let 5 out 30,000 babies die, that is crazy. We can only argue that it was not proven that those 5 died as a direct result of the MbP.
Question: If a million people drove today without seat-belts and nothing happened does that prove that seat belts don't save lives? No, because it can be scientifically proven that the minute number of dead victims would be alive if they had been belted. Kapish? Your reasoning!

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 Sep 05, 2012 at 05:59 PM Wise-Guy Says:

Reply to #28  
Pro Lifer Says:

Part 4

4) “There are so many "practices" that are not related to religion and carry a much higher statistical risk. Many more children are hurt, maimed and even killed by such activities as bike-riding, swimming, skating or certain sports … Why is our "concerned" irreligious city-officials "picking on" the religious customs? Is it because they deem our "antiquated" traditions less important than riding a bike?!”

Your last point carries some merit. Obviously, the city’s health regulators see no benefit in
mbp because they do not understand the religious benefits. On the other hand, elected politicians (though not the unelected bureaucrats) are very reluctant to pick a fight with an important voting bloc. The reason why they differentiate between mbp and bike-riding (for example) is that in their opinion, mbp is like shooting a loaded gun at a child. It is intrinsically dangerous for someone to insert his saliva into a baby’s open wound. In hospitals and other medical settings, it’s completely against all regulations. Doctors can and have been sued for doing such things.

Finally! Unfortunately, an intelligent non-belligerent reply (such as yours) is so rare nowadays...

I am taking your view-point under advisement.

A few closing (?) comments:

1) The Chasam-Sofer is clear. But I assume that the pro-MBP Rabbonim are well-aware of his Psak. So I'm guessing that if they have taken the Chasam Sofer into consideration and still advocate for MBP, they must have good reason. And reliable alternate sources.

2) Your comparison to Chilul Shabbos has a counter-argument: Why not discontinue Milah altogether since every Milah carries a risk? (Just like they suspended Milah for 40 years in the desert.)
That kind of Chilul-Shabbos is a one time thing which might enable a Yid to keep more future Shabbosim.
MBP has Ruchniyos "health benefits" that is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. (Not to mention the importance of Mesorah)
Combined with the EXTREMELY low risk, we feel it's worth it.
Note: It is my understanding that the statistic are not 1 in 4,000. Based on the report that "only" 5 children in 11 years (across the U.S. and, I think, Canada) have not recovered (Nebich) I would estimate it to be 1 in about 20,000. Or better.

Continued:

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 Sep 05, 2012 at 11:54 PM Wise-Guy Says:

Reply to #28  
Pro Lifer Says:

Part 4

4) “There are so many "practices" that are not related to religion and carry a much higher statistical risk. Many more children are hurt, maimed and even killed by such activities as bike-riding, swimming, skating or certain sports … Why is our "concerned" irreligious city-officials "picking on" the religious customs? Is it because they deem our "antiquated" traditions less important than riding a bike?!”

Your last point carries some merit. Obviously, the city’s health regulators see no benefit in
mbp because they do not understand the religious benefits. On the other hand, elected politicians (though not the unelected bureaucrats) are very reluctant to pick a fight with an important voting bloc. The reason why they differentiate between mbp and bike-riding (for example) is that in their opinion, mbp is like shooting a loaded gun at a child. It is intrinsically dangerous for someone to insert his saliva into a baby’s open wound. In hospitals and other medical settings, it’s completely against all regulations. Doctors can and have been sued for doing such things.

3) Without going into lengthy discussions, I think there is a valid basis for the Rabbis distrust of the average secular scientist.
(One small arguable and debatable "evidence" is the typical scientist's fanatical denial of "creationism". Plus the contradiction of how the DOH formulated their "statistics".)

4) Your explanation is succinct.
We all know that most people do things in their private lives that carry greater risks than MBP. (Including bike-riding....)
Risks that are greater than 1 in 20,000 or even 4,000.
As long as they don't (and can't?) address those topics, or explain the differences, their arguments and motives remain unpersuasive.

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