Philadelphia, PA – With several recent cases of neonatal herpes putting the custom of metitza b’peh back in the proverbial spotlight as previously reported on VIN News, a prominent rabbi has spoken out strongly against the custom saying that if oral suction puts babies at risk then the practice should not be performed.
In a phone interview with The Jewish Week, Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzky, the rosh yeshiva and co-founder of the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadephia said that to the best of his knowledge, metitza is done using a sterile pipette, in order to prevent any contact between the Mohel’s mouth and the wound.
When asked if there were those who believe that metitza cannot be performed using a tube, R’ Kaminetzky stating unequivocally, “Nobody holds likes that” and expressed disbelief when told that there are rabbis who insist that metitza must be done by mouth saying, “I don’t think there is any response to them.”
R’ Kaminetzky expressed surprise that any Mohel would perform metitzah b’peh, given the links between the practice and transmission of certain diseases to infants, saying that under the circumstances, performing metitzah b’peh would run counter to halacha.
“Chas V’shalom, if [children are] getting sick [from oral suction, you] wouldn’t do it,” under Jewish law, ruled R’ Kaminetzky, saying that since the act of doing metzitza via a sterile tube is completely risk free, the suctioning should clearly be performed in this fashion.
R’ David Niederman, executive director and president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, insisted that the September death of an infant was completely unrelated to metitza b’peh, telling The Jewish Week that the custom has never caused either death or an infection.
“We will continue to make metzitzah b’peh,” said R’ Niederman.
R’ Kaminetzky is a senior member of the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah of Agudath Israel of America and serves on the board of Torah Umesorah, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, Chinuch Atmai and the Association for Jewish Outreach Professionals. One of the most prominent rabbonim outside of Israel, his opinion is frequently sought on a wide number of topics.
Finally someone speaks out saying what makes complete sense thank you Rav!
If there is no basis to doing it with the mouth then where does the thing “metzitza bpeh” come from?
The good Rabbi is gonna have to retract his stament after the terror mafia ASKUNIM will threaten him. give it a few days.
kol hakavod to rav kaminetzky. he will get a lot of flack for this.
“Chas V’shalom, if [children are] getting sick [from oral suction, you] wouldn’t do it,” under Jewish law, ruled R’ Kaminetzky, ……………….
note: only “IF”………………. no one thinks different even satmar
Fact – The very issue if its to be done b’peh has been on the debate for the past century plus, and most poskim were for it, as it is clearly stated in Sdei Chemed vol VIII. The only thing that might have changed is the risk and knowledge, etc.
Rav Kaminetzky shlit”a sees the reality. Putting one’s mouth on an open wound is a very potent way to transmit disease. This is especially harmful to a baby, whose immune system is weak. Babies have died from this.
I was a a teenager back in the UK in the 60s . The Satmar Rebbe ZTL was visiting London and at someone’s home the issue of Metitzah b’peh came up. There was a certain hospital which forbade it and insisted that only a sterile tube be used . At that time most Brisin were performed in hospitals as mothers stayed more than eight days after giving birth .
The tzadik ZTL clearly stated that in a case where the mohel cannot preform metitzah b’peh the Bris should rather be postponed till mother and baby returned home , and that the Mohel should preform Metitzah b’peh even if it meant postponing the Bris. .
Doesn’t Agudath Israel of America support metzitzah b’peh? If a remember correctly they were at the forefront of condemning Rabbi Tendler for taking a position just like this – I guess we will have to see how this plays out
for over 3000 years all Jews made Metzitza be’peh with full trust in Hashem. Between the time of Avraham Avinu and our generation, Trillions & trillions of jewish kids were geyidisht in the same way & No one ever ever said that the mouth of a Mohel can cause an infection.
Also todays time are over 100,000 jewish newborn babies geyidisht the same way and less then 1 out of 100,000 are even taken in such question.
Imunizations that is required by government has a much higher rate of risking a side effect.
The mohel that made the metzitza b’peh for the baby that passed away about 3 weeks ago. was tested for herpes was found to be negative. so it did not come from metzitza b’peh. why don’t they investigate and stop it where it came from ?
Unfortunately, the headline is misleading and the alleged statement by Rabbi Kaminetzky is consistent with his pattern of other ambiguous,unclear, and double meaning statements he has made in the past on other important issues. Here is what he should have said, “In light of our modern,scientific, understanding of microbiology, It is forbidden by Halacha to endanger the life of the Rach HaNimol by performing Direct Metzitza BePEH without a sterile pipette acting as a sanitary barrier. Period,End of Story.
With all due respect to Rav Kamanetzky…-he’s NOT a POSEK
And though I fundamentally agree with the Rav, I applaud his courage (?) in taking a stand on this issue.
However I feel there needs to be some clarification:
The Gemara and the Poskim ALL agree that following the Cutting and retraction (Chituch and Periah) there needs to be a curative measure done. In the times of the Gemarah it was metzitza, (sucking) or SQUEEZING of the blood to remove it so as to prevent infection. Traditionally it was done by mouth because it was believed suctioning would remove the blood adequately. The Mekubalim subsequently attached mystical significance to the act of Metzitza by mouth.
This is NOT what is meant by ‘Hatafas Dam Bris’ in which there is a requirement that there be blood during the Bris. This is usually satisfied with the cutting of the foreskin.
The question is: What is the practice in Yeshiva Philadelphia when one of the Kollel men makes a BRIS? Furthermore What was done to Rav Kaminetzky grandchildren? did they have Metztza bePeh? or will this be another issue where leniencies and dispensations are for everyone else except the posek who is always machmir..?
I trust that Rabbi Kaminetsky upped his home insurance coverage. They will get him and they are vicious.
The Rabbi is very well versed in other aspects of Hashkofe and we all admire him a lot but when it comes to הלכה lets not forget he is a Rosh Yeshiva NOT A RAV so please Rabbi stay away from something u have knowledge
First let us see a letter from rabbi kaminsky– i do not believe the jewish week, they probably just misconstrued his words.
If r’ shmuel did in fact hold like this we would have heard about it before..
Rabbi Kaminetzky is a gadol hador and a great posek and I believe that he didn”t just say what is mentioned in this article without thinking it through and discussing it with other great rabonim and poskim of this generation.
Please be respectful in your comments.
Great. And I was wondering about the practice if we are forbidden to drink blood how could the mohel have done this anyway in the past? Let the suction be done by a steralized tube, that is the answer in a world where germs are everywhere and babies are especially suseptible to infections. I think we have a solution here. Thank you Rabbi Kamenetsky!
I have one big question to all, why wouldn’t a mohel go test himself every few months to make sure he is not infected with any disease that could C”V harm the baby by the bris? The same torah that says we need to do a bris on our kinderlach also states that we have to protect our life.
Wow what intolerance and chutzpa!! This is how you speak about a gadol?
What ever happned to writing Halachic T’shevas? Did Reb Moshe disseminate his opinions through the media? (and the Jewish week at that) Did RebYacov do telephone interviews? Maybe a press conference is a good idea?
Or evern better maybe Rabonim should be using Twitter to let the Oilom know of the newest chumra or the latest ban? There is a lot to keep up with these days. Just wondering are concerts and circuses mutar this chol hamoed?
I assume that the practice of metitzah b’peh is not done on adult male converts. I would be screaming mad if it had been done to me when I converted (and it wasn’t), and I’m sure I would have heard from other converts if it had been done to them. So if it is not required for converts, why should it be required for an infant?
In Vienna bal peh was not allowed and the rabbonim were great talmidi chachumim
Talk is cheap.
Does Rav Kaminetzky preside over Bris that are done without Metzitza bePeh?
What is done in the Yeshiva Philadelphia??
# 15, Do you read?
I said, I agree with Rav Kaminetzky but he is NOT known as a Posek.
What other Pesakim has Rav kaminetzky given??
ץראה םע התע םיבר-ןה
םידהיתמ ץראה ימעמ םיברו
Seems to me that R’ Kaminetzky’s words were twisted.
According to The Jewish Week article, R’ Kaminetzky was asked about believes against the “validity” of milah done with metzitza thru a tube. His answer, of course, was that no one questions the validity of such milah ex post facto.
This is not the same as saying that no one holds that metzitza should not be done thru a tube l’chetchilah.
Indeed, regardless of his Daas Torah on whether metzitza should be done thru a tube or by mouth, such renowned Gadol as R’ Kaminetzky is not so ignorant to the well known p’sak of many Gadolim that metzitza may only be by mouth.
Kol Hkoveed Rav Kaminetzky, but how can we say “Nobody holds likes that”?
Not that I have any particular right to make a comment as I am not from the charedi community and clearly my values must be skewed. (I posted a few times on this topic and my comments were not shared). I must remark that the idea of a suction from a mouth to either the genitalia or even to a tube is remarkably unorthodox in terms of simple biological cleanliness. If there is a suction procedure indicated, why not just get a rubber bulb and add it to a glass tube and then apply suction in a clean and efficient way. Is there spiritual issues I am missing? Let do something that does not partake a negative light to our communties. When I had not yet heard of this procedure, I came to being told about it from the antisemities who hate our faith. I was appalled at first and assumed that this type of suction by a mans mouth to the genitalia was completely fabricated by the antisemities to make certain that the jews were portrayed in a horrible light.
Its hard to understand why any frum parents would even consider allowing a mohel to use this practice when there are obviously much safer ways of doing milah that don’t incure the risk of infection. Now that one of the great poskim has said it shouldn’t be done, it would be lunacy to allow mohels to continue doing this to babies. We also risk inviting those who oppose milah on principle to renew their efforts to ban milah entirely.
Lack of Kovod Hatorah as well as Kovod Habrios Looks like another Nissan without the Geulah
do you really believe the jewish week is quoting rav kamenetsky accurately?!?!???!!! im sure he will deny it
Ah yasher koach and ashreinu that we have a leader like R’Shmuel.
So they sucked out a statement from his mouth – THAT’S what I call מציצה מן הפה
I will again re-post a comment from earlier:
For all ‘scholars and posters’ who claim to absolutely know the true halacha, what is considered b’Pah’ below is a ruling/ proclamation of the most prominent Rabbis/Bet din i.e Rabbi Samuel Salanter, The Torat Chesed of Lublin and The Simcha Le’Ish R’ Elyasir (one of the most prominent Sephardi chacham, in Jerusalem, in the early 1900s)
Note, “IF”there is any of the slightest danger involved, as in any Mitzvah; it of course overrides the commandment.
א ז ה ר ה ג ד ו ל ה
מאת הרבנים הגאונים הגדולים שליט”א דפעה״ק
ירושלם ת״ו ומשני בתי דינים מק״ק
ספרדים ואשכנזים יצ״ו
נח ׳ תשרי שנת התרס״א
ובהיות כי יצא איש אחד לשנות המציצה של ברית מילה לע ש ו ת ה בפיו ע״י כלי זכוכית
וע ״ פ הדין המציצה היא ר ק ב פ ה ל ב ד ולא ע״י דבר אחר כלל,
והיא נהוגה כן בקרב ישראל משנות דור ודור רבותינו הקדמונים ז״ל.
לכן באנו עתה להזהיר בכח תוה”ק כי אל יהיו שום איש ישראלי עוד לעשות המציצה באופן אחר מכפ י הנהוג עד עתה בשום שינוי כל שהוא וכל המשנה ידו על התחתונה. וענוש יענש המוהל ואבי הבן וכל המסייעים לפרוץ גדרן ומנהגן של שראל.
ולהשומע יונעם ותבא ברכת טוב .
יעקב שאול אלישר חכם-באשי ירושת”ו
שנאור זלמן לאדיער, אב”ד דק”ק לובלין
(שדי חמד ח”ח)
1- The hospital could have killed the baby, which in my opinion is most probably the case, since they do all kind of tests to see whats happening to the baby.
2- the vitamin K shot given to newborns , can shut down the organs, but noone looks there because we must look for a guinea pig, not the medical establishment.
3- the Hep b vaccine has killed lots of babies ,too.
4- Maybe we should stop vaccinating these small babies until they are 6 months old ,so that we cant blame the mohel.
Very simple fix: periodic full spectrum viral screening for mohelim. Not a big deal, not worth discussion.