Philadelphia, PA – Leading Charedi Posek Says ‘Metitza’ Should Not Be Done Orally


    FILE - Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzky(R) with Rabbi Yaakov Perlow  Novominsker Rebbe. Shimon GifterPhiladelphia, 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.

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      • בכל הדורות נהגו המוהלים לבצע את המציצה בפה, היינו המוהל מוצץ בפיו דם ממקום פצע המילה. אמנם מציצה בפה דווקא הוא דבר שאינו מפורש בתלמוד, אך כי יש מהפוסקים שדייקו בלשון הגמרא, שהכוונה בפה אכן מציצה בפה מוזכרת בפירוש במקורות הקבלה, וכן כתבו כמה ראשונים
        שבלי הלקט הל’ מילה סי’ ח; ספר העיטור שער ג, הל’ מילה ח”ד; מחזור ויטרי הל’ מילה סי’ תקה; אבודרהם הל’ ברכות ריש שער ט; רמ”א יו”ד רסה א;. וראה באריכות בשד”ח מערכת מילה, קונט’ המציצה. וראה בשו”ת באר משה ח”ב סי’ פ, שהביא דברי הגאונים ר’ יצחק אלחנן ספקטור, ר’ חיים עוזר גרודזנסקי, ור’ אליעזר סילבר, שבמקומותיהם נהגו כל החרדים למצוץ בפה דווקא

      • I am of course not a posek (ask your Rav), but it does not seem to me that Rav Kaminetzky says there is no basis to doing it with the mouth. In particular, it seems to me that metzitza with the sterile glass tube is still metziza b’peh.

        The mohel uses his mouth (peh) to suck (limtzotz) through the glass tube, hence metzizah b’peh. This way just avoids the sakanah for the baby since germs won’t go from the mohel to the baby (they could go from the baby to the mohel, but the mohel is an adult and his immune system will be better able to deal with it than an 8-day old).

      • look in the gemorah it never mention “bpeh” just metzitza.

        it was done bpeh because that was the slandered practice recommended by the medical profession at that time

        people who do not know or learn history think that metzitza bpeh is some type of anomaly that as practiced only by yiddin and during a bris because it is strange to us . however at that time it was normal to do to ANY opened wound

        • Again with your ignoramus arguments that you stumbled upon some site..The issue has been explained to you many times; MBP is NOT ONLY for medical purposes, all who argued for it, uphold that it is indeed an essential part and adjoined to the very Mitzvah of the Horachomon indicates:

          הרחמן היא יברך המל בשר הערלה ופרע “ומצץ” דמי המילה איש הירא ורך הלבב עבודתו פסולה אם ש ל ש אלה לא עשה

          I feel like just copy/pasting the already repeated comments …

          • moron I found it in the gemurah when I was in beis medresh I do not need to go to any web site I can go and open a gemurah and see for myself

            later on people said there where other reason BUT Rav Puppu clearly stated it was for medical reason and so does the rambam. The rambam even says if it not done the bris is still valid. Look it up if you do not believe any web sites that I may have looked at again anybody can just open up the rambam and see for themselves no INTERNET is needed

            yes and even in your case it say suck. so if one can use a pipe and suck (it does no mention phei) and not come into contact with the wound thereby avoided any harm to the baby one would think it should be done in a safe manner

            in your example does it say with the mouth? no it does not. Think before you copy and paste

            You can bring whatever you want it does not change the fact what the gemurah or the rambam clearly says.

            If you think MP does no harm, the next time you or someone in your family gets and open wound wound you suck it and say it cannot do any harm?

    1. “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

    2. *suprised*

      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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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. .

      • I find what you are saying very very hard to believe!!! Anyway I love R Kaminetzky, He is like his father was. Very honest , very straight. Not scared of what is politically correct!!
        Kol Hakavod!!

        • some people claim that it is an vital part of the bris.

          of course it is not and even the rambam says if it is not done the bris is ok but he does admonish the mohel not because he did not preform the bris correctly or left or a major part of the bris. No he says because he is putting the baby at risk medical risk

      • I agree, The Satmar Rov was one of the greatest gedolei hador of the generation. I don’t chas vesholom mean to belittle Rav Kamenetzky or The Novoseller, but, they are not of the caliber of the Satmar Rov.

        • You are entitled to your wrong opinion. Both Rav Kamenetzky,shlita and the Novoseller Rebbe, shilta, are equal to or greater in lamdus than Rav Yolish, Z’tl or either Zalma/Aaron. But why do we have to compare? . The Satmar was still highly regarded by many yidden of all chassidus.

        • The Novoseller is a godol? He’s a great guy, great sense of humor, but a godol? He’ll crack up when he hears this.

          By the way, you mean the Novominsker.

    5. 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

    6. 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.

      • When you use hyperbole like, trillions and trillions of Jews, you lose ALL credibility. The total number of Jews that have lived through all of history probably numbers no more than in the hundreds of millions.

        • if you calculate the numbers of the Medrash of how many jews lived in the city “Elexandria she’ll Mitzrayim” and other areas after the Chorban Habayis. you’l proof that you are wrong

          • If you take the words of the Medrash as the results of a census, you are deluding yourself.

            I, too, contend that there have been fewer than 1 billion (1000 million for our British readers) Jews through out history.

      • False. MBP has NOT been done as long as Bris Milah has been done. MBP was NOT part of the tradition since Avraham Avinu. MBP is first recorded in the times of the Gemara, which is significantly later.

    7. 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 ?

    8. 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.

      • How kind of you to tell one of the gedolei hador how he should or should not posek – especially when you are sooo modest about it, too.

        Now, if you had had the gumption to tell us who you are and who granted you semichat dayanut that would have been a different matter entirely.

        But you haven’t, and it isn’t, you uberchochom.

        • Actually, I told him myself personally on another issue, that he was causing a Chilul Hashem. On that issue as well he played the same game with his words and put on a temimus act and quite frankly made me lose all respect for him. Due to the fact that many consider him Daas Torah, once he made a statement, no one could argue because after all Daas Torah. I confronted him on the issue and he played dumb. In my book he may be a Rosh Hayeshiva and a Talmid Chochom, but from what I saw with other Gedolei Poskim, he is not in that caliber and I don’t consider him to be Daas Torah.

    9. 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..?

        • Not every Gadol is a Posek. Rav Kaminetsky is known as a Gadol, but not as a Posek in the sense Rav Eliyashiv, Rav Belsky, Rav Yechezkel Roth, Rav Wosner, etc. are known as Poskim. Rabbi Niderman is neither a Gadol nor a Posek, but he is reflecting the Daas Torah of the Poskim that his community follows. #8 quoted the Satmar Rov, zy”a, who was considered to be Posek for his community, as is recognized as a Posek in other communities as well.

          However, is it possible that Rav Kaminetsky only said this because he knew who he was speaking to (i.e. the Jewish Week)? Also, he said “if” it is causing deaths. Satmar would also recognize that “if” it was really causing these deaths it would be assur under all of the circumstances that would cause death. The evidence is not clear enough that this is really the cause of these deaths. It is more propaganda against the Haredi community than real science.

      • As soon as Rav Kamanetzky will say something you personally like your gonna name him the Gadol Hador..

        Any Rav That says something to that person’s liking, he gets the stamp Of Gadol Hador.. if he says something that is not likable, he gets a stamp of a nobody.. this is how most of the Chasidic community has been operating in past 20 years.

        Every Rav has the right to state his opinion.. and they all have the right to debate. The Torah and halacha is not copyright to Williamsburg only.

        • this is how most of the Chasidic community has been operating in past 20 years.

          More Motzee Shaim Rah conversation (Lashon Harah). I suggest that you keep your comments to be accordance to Jewish Halachic vies. As you wrote ” The Torah and halacha is not copyright to Williamsburg only. ” but from your works one could take that that is the only place where it operates!! Guard yourself….. Chaim S ..Toronto

      • excuse me with all due respect harav hagaon rav shmuel kamenetsky is most definitly a posek and has been paskening halacha for over 60 years
        wont even bother commenting on the rest of your points since as you point out your much more knoweldgable then even harav kamentsky shlita

      • “What is the practice in Yeshiva Philadelphia when one of the Kollel men makes a BRIS?”

        There is no kollel in Philadelphia yeshiva. But don’t let that stop you from continuing your rants with capitalized words.

    10. 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

    11. 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..

    12. Calm down!
      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.

    13. 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!

    14. 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.

      • testing an individual for any disease is not foolproof ever for a myriad of reasons. In terms of herpes, the virus is ALWAYS in the body once it has been acquired. It may be dormant at times and there may be no signs of cold sore or impending cold sore, but the virus is there. Therefore it is impossible to know if the mohel is actually contagious at the time. Cold sore to skin contact (including prodromal symptoms meaning itching, tingling etc.. at the side of the mouth before a cold sore is actually present) is what passes the virus.

        But more importantly, as a generality, the mouth is full of bacteria and pathogens that no one gets tested for on a regular basis. An open, raw, bleeding wound is the MOST communicable in terms of receiving disease, pathogens, bacteria.

        Metzizah was done bpeh thousands of years ago bc that was all they knew. If you think babies did not die them from MBP you are deluding yourself, but we have no records.
        Anything that can so easily transfer ANYTHING that can potentially harm the life of a baby is against halacha – period. Why some can not accept this concept with or without a rav’s input is beyond me.

    15. 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?

    16. 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?

    17. 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

    18. 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.

    19. 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.

    20. 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.

    21. 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
      שמואל סלאנט
      שנאור זלמן לאדיער, אב”ד דק”ק לובלין

      (שדי חמד ח”ח)

    22. 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.


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