New York, NY – City Approves Metzitzah B’Peh Consent Form (full video NYC DOH debate)


    The board of health before the vote on Sept 12 2012. Photo: Stefano Giovannini for VIN NewsNew York, NY -New York, NY – The New York City Department of Health (DOH) voted today to require parental consent when metzitzah b’peh is performed as part of a circumcision.

    The measure passed by a vote of 9-0. The written consent must be obtained from the infant’s parent or guardian, and will obligate parents to acknowledge that the Department of Health recommends against the performance of metzitzah b’peh because of the risks associated with the practice, including the transmission of the herpes simplex virus and other infections.

    Since 2004, there have been 11 confirmed cases of the herpes simplex virus in newborn boys, all of which occurred following circumcisions that likely involved direct oral suction, according to the DOH. Two of the infants died. But defenders of the practice remain undeterred by the DOH’s ruling, and say they will ignore the new rule on religious grounds, secure in the knowledge that metzitzah b’peh has been performed “tens of thousands of times a year” throughout the world.

    Below video, the debate at NYC board of health on Sept. 13 2012. Video By Stefano Giovannini for VIN News

    “This is the government forcing a rabbi practicing a religious ritual to tell his congregants it could hurt their child,” Rabbi David Niederman, executive director of the United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg, told “If, God forbid, there was a danger, we would be the first to stop the practice.”

    Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) and New York State Senate candidate Simcha Felder also weighed in on the ruling, saying, “This attack isn’t just on metzitzah b’peh—a tradition practiced by most Orthodox Jews; it is an attack on Judaism as practiced for 3300 years. Telling parents that you require written consent from them before performing religious rites that the mayor finds objectionable thrusts the city deeper into a nanny-ocracy that has dubious implications. . . .The mayor has allowed his personal agenda to impact the lives of these Jewish children forever. This is how he enters the New Jewish Year.”

    “After Mayor Bloomberg finishes his third term, he should become the chancellor of Germany since these are the only two places that have a problem with circumcision,” remarked Isaac Abraham, a Jewish community leader in Williamsburg. “The Jewish community-at-large will continue to do what it has done for thousands of years without fear of German law coming to New York,” he added.

    The Charedi organization from Williamsburg Hisachdus HaRabunim (Central Rabbinical Congress of the United States and Canada) also issued a statement condemning today’s decision, and called the DOH’s decision “an unforgivable affront.”

    “The Orthodox Jewish community is outraged by today’s decision of the NYC Board of Health to regulate a sacred, foundational religious practice that has been observed for over 3,000 years,” the statement read. “We believe today’s action, which is based on the thinnest of contested anecdotal evidence, to be plainly unconstitutional and will be aggressively litigating this shocking governmental overreach. . . .The basis of Jewish law, the Torah, holds even a single life above all other concerns. No practice spanning thousands of years, undertaken by thousands annually, would be allowed in Jewish law if it were life-threatening.”

    Photos: Stefano Giovannini for VIN News

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    1. There’s gonna be a whole lotta mohelim and babies sitting in jail. Bloomberg better start ordeing from Meal Mart as soon as possible. Also, they will need mikvahs, sukkos, and esrogim and lulovim.

        • there is a minhag which dates back 2 the Mahril, that a sandek & mohel should go 2 a mikvah prior 2 the bris. this custom is generally practiced by chassidim who generally go 2 the mikvah everyday anyway

      • “Some rabbis have said that they will oppose the law on religious grounds, insisting it has been performed ”tens of thousands of times a year” worldwide. They say safeguarding the life of a child is one of the religion’s highest principles.”

        1) More kids cross the street each day than there Brisim performed in a year, but we still teach our kids to look both ways before crossing.

        2) They say the words, but they don’t mean them.

        • evry body entering a ny hospital shold have to sign a consend there 10m time more danger to have an infaction in hospitol than from Bbp the wold not tuch peapel with bee with children… they are more for agenda to take out god than the safty our children no coment .time for mesiros nefes the helenics tried the romans tried. m. blumberg the yewish did not start with blumberg news wee out lived them wee wil outliwe you chazak J.F

          • Everybody having even the most innocuous medical/surgical procedure whether in a hosptial, outpatient clinic, or doctor’s office has to sign a form indicating informed consent. I recently had an examination which was 100% visual–I was not touched in any way, but I still had to sign a consent form listing numerous possible negative outcomes, even though in fact nothing dangerous could come from a mere visual inspection. So it’s not SHOULD have to sign a form, but DOES have to sign a form.

      • If they refuse to comply with such a common sense directive which protect everyone’s interests, they deserve to sit in jail without any of the amenities you describe, beyond an occasional can of tuna fish with eida hashgacha.

        • It is not a common sense directive, and an honest perusal of the anecdotal evidence will show it is more a personal feeling by some liberals rather than a true medical issue.

          • “an honest perusal of the anecdotal evidence”

            You clearly have no idea of the meaning of “anecdotal evidence”. Put in simple language that you might understand it means ‘bubba meises’.

            Only hard, factual, evidence is worth anything.

        • Why with an eida hashgacha? An OU is just fine. The jails do not have to give you items or kosher food that fits your standards- just what fits basic HALACHA. The minimum standards for what kosher is. It does not have to be chasidish hashgacha or shechita. Just basic kosher standards.

          • But wouldn’t this be a case of New York City seeking to impose its judgement on what is an otherwise religious practice…having proper hashgacha for tuna fish at Rikers Island versus MB’peh regulations..

          • freedom of religion is not basic halachah – anyone with a sincere religious belief is to be respected regardless of whether you agree with it or not – if your idea was true then they could go to a reform rabbi and tell you it’s jewish and good enough (as they once did and still do in some places)

      • Why would they need a mikveh? As far as I know, women do not tend to be mohelim. Only women’s use is required by halacha (if married). Any use by males is purely minhag, not required. And the penal system does not need to abide by minhag- only to provide the prisoners with BASIC needs that do not infringe on HALACHA.

    2. If in the future H’KB”H gives me the Bracha & the zchus of having a son and allowing me to make a Bris on him I will not sign a thing. The first person they “prosecute” for not signing a from will make Bloomy look even more stupid than he already does.

      Is it a coincidence that this anti-Orthodox verdict came down right before R”H? We ALL have what to work on.

      Bloomy will certainly have his verdict handed down within the next few days.

    3. It’s unenforceable, except in hospitals. Hopefully the Agudah will change their mind and drop the lawsuit, because the lawsuit will make it a national issue and then all the antisemites (Jew & Non-Jew) will come out of the woodwork seeking to outlaw MBP & Milah itself!

      • Non-jews look upon us like we are fools, pretending like the well-known medical facts of germs don’t exist.

        Do we really think that hashem will make a perpetual nes so that no jewish boy becomes infected? He has not done so yet. Why not tell children to just run across streets without looking? I mean, hashem will protect, right?

        Common sense, lacking here.

    4. There will be 0 compliance in Wsbg, BP, Crown Hts etc and Bloomy will go down history as another Jewish Born “soine yisroel” who wanted to destroy klal yisroel, he will not succeed, our forefathers had mesiras nefesh for yidishkeit and so is our generation determined to have mesiras nefesh

      • It is not banning MBP!!! It is not banning MILAH! It is just saying parents have to sign a legal waiver saying they know the risks and do not hold anyone responsible. It is just a way to cover their backs legally. Nothing is banned here. Nothing. So stop your whining and crying out that we will be mesiras nefesh. There is nothing to be mesiras nefesh for- what is so hard about signing your name on a paper???

      • And there will be nearly zero compliance in Baltimore too if ever Baltimore government becomes as anti-Semitic as New York’s and passes something similar. I want to see them try and enforce it.

        Still hoping for the outcome of the Agudah’s lawsuit.

    5. The Haredi rabbis are in the dark ages. Of course mouth to wound contact is dangerous. According to a top disease specialist who wrote on the issue, we don’t know how many infants contracted infection from this procedure because medical personnel are not required to report it.

    6. So sad that it took the government rather than Rabbonim to enact this perfectly sensible matter.

      So sad that people are so ignorant that they trust Rabbi Dovid Niederlander for information about disease transmission more than they trust infectious disease specialists.

    7. Whats everyone crying about? Sign the form so you know the risks so if Chas V’shalom something happens no one can claim they didn’t know and no one can get in trouble or sued over it.

      For all of you saying that you will not sign the form, whats the reason for not signing?

    8. I think people are missing the point. If you believe as many do that MBP is integral to mila then the fact that it poses some danger is irrelevant. Mila itself poses some danger and klal yisroel is praised for having mesiras nefesh in mitzvas mila. So it is an integral part of the mitzva then the danger doesn’t chnange anyting.
      The danger is not new only our knowledge of it.
      If you hold its not part of the mitzvah then of courde the danger plays a role.
      So it really boils down to a halach shaila.
      Incidentally for this time of year see the MB who brings from a gadol who would blow shoifar with the blood still in his mouth.

    9. I dont understand the hoopla surrounding this.
      Why can’t you take 10 seconds before a Bris and sign a piece of paper saying that I understand that there might be evidence that it’s dangerous but I would still rather do it because I believe in its importance.
      We could even add the reading of this as another Kibbud like Krias Kesuba by a Chuppa…

      • In a vacuum, it is not a big deal to take 10 seconds to sign a paper. However, it sets a very dangerous precedent when the government mixes in with how to practice religion. It can go very quickly downhill from there. They could start looking at other things that are done and decide to regulate them. This is not something that we want. Just as an example, if you want to see how the government can intrude with more and more regularity just look at the trajectory of Bloomberg. It all started with taxing cigarettes. They just banned big soda. They are telling us how much we can drink. They want to regulate what we should feed our kids (formula). It is never a good thing when government starts regulating religious practice because the potential for disaster is great.

        • I never knew smoking and drinking was a religious matter. The problem is most of the community doesn’t understand the consent form. It is to protect the provider from a possible lawsuit. I don’t see how that is government intrusion. Look, honestly for all those saying doing the brit poses some danger, you should get that consented too. Mohelim think they are protected because they belong to the community and no one will sue them for a brit complication. Trust me enough redos are seen in our offices, lets just say real serious complications. Lets defend the defenseless. I propose a consent for even for the brith, for the protection of the mohel.

      • I think the rabbis are worried that some parents after reading the consent might just change their mind and not allow MB to be performed on their child. Thank you Board of Health for looking out for the safety of children.

    10. I really don’t understand people who poo-poo the risk as being too small to care about. Do they not follow the same Torah that states that saving one (Jewish) life is equivalent to saving the world? They would uphold a Minhag instituted to save lives even after its known to have at best a neutral, and at worst a fatal, effect?

      We are supposed to be an Ahm Navon V’Chacham! What happened?!

    11. Why the protests? What’s all the crying and bickering about? B”M and MB”P have not been outlawed. All the BOH want is that we sign to consent to mb”p, in fact it’s in favor of all. If ch”v something were to happen only the parents can be blamed. Parents should anyhow always thoroughly investigate mohelim b4 bris and mohelim Must be responsible to inform parents if they have an issue.

      in other words is all about being responsible and not suing other parties.
      basic common sense.

    12. All Hasham wants is, to test our strength.
      We had showed it to him in the past we will show it to him now again, I’m ready to be the first one. We won’t sell our torah of thousands of years to Michael Bloomberg. How low is this lowlife? BRIS MILAH IS NOT A SODA BOTTLE…

    13. To those who oppose the new law….Once again you are overreacting. There is no banning of anything. There is a consent form that is to be signed by the parents. Why are you so opposed? Is it because you want to show who is boss, or is it some geuine concern? So far, noone has written cogently about a real concern. There is truly nothing wrong with informed consent. Hate the mayor all you want. Call him an anti-semite. You have freedom of speech in this country. BUT PLEASE state what your problem is with the law that has passed. Don’t tell me mbp is needed for a Bris. People can argue that, but noone is stopping it.

      • If, indeed, you are a “clear thinker”, you will understand that the “real concern” here is the involvement of government in religious practice. It’s been said countless times, but it seems that some refuse to see the handwriting on the wall. Once any government interference in religious ritual is tolerated, more regulation will undoubtedly follow. The DOH doesn’t know or care that this is only a מנהג. If, tomorrow, they decide they don’t like the way we do פריעה, they will try to “fix” that as well. And if they determine that the entire procedure of ברית מילה is dangerous, they may decide to control it; first, perhaps, by imposing a “consent form” – and ultimately, by banning it חס ושלום.

        • I thank you for a cogent statement of your point of view. I don’t agree that a consent form will lead to all of the ills that you foresee but we can disagree.
          The government often, constitutionally, is involved in religious practice. Every tax exempt dollar we give to Shule means that the government is involved. If a Shule isn’t charged taxes the government is involved. Using a tax exempt certificate to buy items for Shules means the government is involved. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea.
          It is not a slippery slope. It is not regulation. It is the signing of a consent form that the parent and mohel understand the procedure, including the risk. If the government goes further I will be on the barricades with you, but until then this is much ado about nothing.

    14. The New York City Board of Health voted today to regulate Bris Milah and specifically Metzitza B’Peh. And like the Jewish community has been warning (and the apologist were until now denying), this is only a first step in the government attempting to outright ban this vital part of Bris Milah. Joel A. Forman, professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai, one of the nine members of the NYC BOH who voted to regulate Bris Milah specifically said after the vote today that he wants the government to outright ban MBP. He is quoted in the N.Y. Times (currently on their website) as saying “It’s crazy that we allow this to go on.”

      The new NYC DOH regulation will be widely ignored, in any event. As the N.Y. Times reported today, more than 200 Orthodox Rabbis have ordered their adherents not to comply with the regulation because they believe it is a mandatory part of the practice of the Jewish religion.

      And it is utterly uneforceable, as the BOH doesn’t have the legal ability to station inspectors in shuls to witness Bris Milahs. And no one from the Chareidi and Chasidic community will maaser anyone. So the BOH won’t even know 1) who the mohel was and 2) whether or not MBP was performed

      • I don’t understand whats wrong with banning a procedure that risks transmission of HSV, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphillis, HIV and many bacteria that resides in a human mouth. Don’t be shocked the best of us can also have secret lives or their partners having secret lives, so be forewarned. If you do not see anything wrong with m’bp why does it necessarily have to be the mohel why not give the koved to one of your guest with bad breath and rotten teeth to do mbp.
        Many neonates have died in the past and we do not know why but we don’t need to add mbp as a reason to the list. Just do it with a sterile pipette if you believe its essential for the brith

    15. 1. The DOH regulation isn’t even a law. It is just a regulation passed by the local directors of the city health board. Even if it is violated, it is not breaking the law. It will result in getting a “ticket” with a monetary fine. It is similar to getting a parking ticket or a restaurant getting a health violation fine. Except the city can tow the car or take away a restaurant’s license if it doesn’t pay the fine. Here the city cannot stop a Mohel from continuing to perform his religious function even if he doesn’t pay the fine(s).

      As the N.Y. Times is reporting today, “failure to comply merely may result in warning letters or fines to the mohelim. Enforcement, though, will be based on investigation of specific complaints and herpes cases, not spot checks or raids, and there are no mandatory punishments, said Dr. Jay K. Varma, the city’s deputy commissioner for disease control.”

      2. It is illegal as it is unconstitutional. The government is constitutionally prohibited from regulating a religious ritual. And the Agudas Yisroel is preparing a lawsuit to overturn the regulation.

    16. 3. It is unenforceable. The government cannot place department of health inspectors in synagogues to observe if the mohel performs MBP or not. At most, they need to ask the parents or mohel. And they generally won’t even know who the mohel was. And even if they ask, neither the parent nor the mohel have to answer or even talk to the DOH or any government officials (it is called the Fifth Amendment) unless the city bothers to get a court subpoena every time they want to investigate. And they need to demonstrate to a judge they have good reason; they cannot simply subpoena hundreds of mohelim.

    17. This is not just about signing a form. Any parent that signs the form, and if there C’V is a problem after the Bris, the City Social Services will come in and take all of the children away, Hashem Yishmor, because they will have evidence that these parents agreed to do something dangerous. This sets a horrible precedence.

    18. Congratulations to the BoH for taking this courageous action and for showing restraint.

      To the sliver of the Jewish people for whom MbP is essential, the ruling is meaningless, since no one will report violations and there is no other enforcement mechanism. For most of the rest of us the regulation is also meaningless, since the vast majority of Jews living outside the chareidi/chassidish world are not likely to engage the services of a mohel who performs MbP (and such a mohel is unlikely to seek customers from outside his community anyway.)

      This ruling protects unaffiliated Jews who want to do the right thing for their sons and have little knowledge of milah or mohelim. These people deserve to know what their prospective mohel intends to do in order to make an informed decision.

      Playing the antisemite card here is senseless. By playing the antisemite card every time someone does something we don’t like, we dilute the evil of antisemitism and dishonor the memory of our people who have fallen to true antisemitism.

    19. Sad day! The point is, it never happened before the secular government should push their nose into religious practices, no matter if it’s “only” signing a consent form, we all know where this is heading, he wants to start with “only” a consent..
      Klal yisroel will not bow, like we didn’t bow for past thousands of years, not for Paroh, not for Haman, nor will we bow for Bloomie, when it comes to religious matters we will do what our “TORAH” authorities say, not what a secular apikores has to say.

    20. After this debate, every death of a jewish child from a frum family from a viral infection during the first month or so will be screened by the DoHealth to determine any possible linkage with M’Peh. Pediatric nurses will be alerted to monitor for this possibility. Don’t be surprised if the number of suspect cases climbs dramatically within the first year. The next step will be to post the name of any mohel suspected of causing such infections.

      • i hope so and they should protecting the children is more important than protecting the mohel.

        that would be common sense but as we see the robbonum protected the molesters over the victim.

        and they are doing that again

        Mp was never part of the bris

        the Talmud even asks if M (it never says pei) can be done on shobbos, if it was an integral part of the bris as many claim today or halacha moshe mesina why are they asking that and why does it give an answer yes since if we do not do the baby will be in danger

        maybe the robbnum today need to learn a little medical history and they they would know that M was common practice to help with the would at the time of the talmuld. another words the Talmud was just following what the medical knowledge was at that time. and if they would be alive to day they would ban it

        • You point out a worrisome trend. Now we are seeing rabbonim who won’t protect our children from molesters and won’t protect our children from disease. Where is this heading?

    21. Thank you Mr. Bloomberg. My neighbor’s son got herpes from this and he was so sick you’d never seen anything like it before. He’s doing fairly well now, but will always have this virus in his system. If this law protects just one of our kinder, it will be a fair law. Thank you again and L’shanah tova.

    22. So many people posting here, are acting as if MBP is being outlawed. All that is being asked is that parents sign a consent indicating that they are aware of the potential health problems.

      Would someone please explain what is wrong with signing this form?

      I would also like to know the origin of the custom of the mohel making oral–genital contact.

      Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

      • Can u explain to me pleae what is the idea of signing the form? Who’s being “protected” or “covered” by signing this form? Don’t u get it? There’s much more behind it.

    23. William (Hillel) Handler, a Neteurei Kartanik is a shakran who defended Yisroel Moshe Weingarten (Yimach Shmo) even though this man confessed giluy arayos with his daughter to Chida Weiss. On the Zeb Brenner show he was mevazeh talmidei chachamim including R. Bezalel Rakow zatzal rav hair of Gateshead, R. Chaim Duvid (Chida) Weis Satmar Gavad of Antwerp, R. Benzion Wosner, R Benzion Wosner, R. Chaim Leibish Rottenberg, R. Chatzkel Gold (former satmar dayan of Monsey). He called them all “Lightweight rabbonim” He also singled out r. Chaim Leibish Rottenberg to say he was a rebbele with a shteeble. R. Rottenberg is Mora d’asra of Beis Hamedrash Netzach Yisroel of Monsey, a renowned scholar, and posek of Bikur Cholim and Hatzalah.

      So I ask you, why should we now start trusting him. He is just looking for an excuse to get on a TV camera and maybe get arrested so he can scream Zionist Nazis.

      • Don’t mix no kugel here, (especially when u blend in an ‘extremely controversial” issue, YMG had many rabbonim on his side, cuz they claim they know his ex and daughter way too well), one subject has noone to do with another..

    24. It’s another breach in the wall of Torah. To require yidden to acknowledge that following halacha might kill you is certainly not a benign request. I’m sure that many anti-Semitic edicts started out small, like this. This is a classic example of a slippery slope.

    25. They are very clear that they plan to re-evaluate over time, which in Government means that they will further regulate and restrict.

      They were also very clear that they would like to ban it altogether, its just because it’s so “sensitive” that they are starting with a consent form. Once the consent form is a fact, they could advance to demand more regulation in a “sensitive” way.

      We all know where this is heading to.

    26. The Chutzpah of this law is dictating us how to do and how to prepare for a mitzvah!!! Before a mitzvah you DON’T sign consents!!!

      Imagine soon a ba’al toke’ah will need to sign some stupid consent before blowing Shofar because maybe the one who used the shofar before had hurpies!!! The same goes for Esrog since many people touched it and it wasn’t sanitized afterwards!!! This is insane!!! Shame on all who understand this!!!

    27. Dr. Joel A. Forman, a member of the DOH, said that “it’s crazy that we allow this (MBP) to go on in my opinion”. Also said that he wants something stronger, and received a commitment that this is only the beginning.

      Dr. Sandro Galea, a member of the DOH, tried comparing it to an unnecessary life threatening medical procedure, sarcastically suggesting that we are allowing this to be preformed to a child under the cover of just a consent form.

      With that approach from the DOH, do we even stand a chance?

    28. So what is wring with signing the form you ask ? …

      Mazel Tov ! you had a boy … now sign the form and we will allow the mohel to make a bris ( infringing on religion) same as i cant practice being a muslim without signing that i understand eating humus is not healthy

      but let forget about that a minute , the bris goes thru all is fine and 10 years later by mistake your child burns himself with pot of hot water .. DCS comes and says we want to take away his children .. you say . ARE YOU NUTS .. it was a accident ..CITY says no it was not .. He is a danger to his Kids and we have proof of it … your LAWYER says go ahead proof you case ..CITY says you see this form he signed …he KNEW that MBP is dangerous ..and yet he signed to do it on a New born baby … He is a DANGER to his kids
      Judge says let me see that paper .. Reads it for 2 minutes … RULES that the CITY has more then probable to take your kids AWAY

      DONT YOU ALL SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING !!! this is a mitzva that if not done correctly means you have to do it again .. so you want your kids to wait 18 years for that .

      As for DR.. who is a RUSHA …. his GREAT FATHER IN LAW must be turning in his kever

      • You’re twisted. The consent is not for the bris. The consent is for metzitza b’peh, if you decide to let the mohel put his lips on your infants open wound (which 100% has a RISK of infection) might be a very tiny risk, but there’s still a risk. You’re just signing that you understand there is a very tiny risk that the baby can get an infection by doing this.

        • you just made my point

          “The consent is for metzitza b’peh, if you decide to let the mohel put his lips on your infants open wound (which 100% has a RISK of infection)”

          so when you go in front of a JUDGE and the CITY says that you put your children at RISK …and therefore you are a UNFIT parent and we have proof , since he signed a consent for MBP knowing full well that it is a health risk

          WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO ANSWER THEN ? don’t you see how DANGEROUS signing such a document is !!!!

          OPEN YOUR EYES !!!

    29. Simple summary as to what’s wrong with this law:

      1) The DOH is likely not going to stop meddling with the affair of Milah.
      Even if this new regulation was 100% sensible, it’s still a breach. And that usually is the prelude of “The dam bursting”. (“A crack in the dyke”.)
      Give it a year, decade or score. They’re not done with Regulating” circumcision.

      The fierce opposition to this law may forestall future (completely unacceptable) interference into Bris-Milah practice.
      Therefore the anti-regulation crusade inadvertently benefits ALL Torah Jews.

      2) It’s hypocritical.
      There are many other “activities” out there that pose a greater risk of injury and death to children.
      As I asked in the past, why aren’t they requiring a “permission form” from parents before they allow their kids to ride bikes? And that’s a FREQUENT activity!
      The answer is: they are both statistically low enough a risk to permit. Except that MBP is a much lower risk.
      And yes, precautions (such as wearing a helmet) should be taken.


      • Exactly!

        Dr. Joel A. Forman, a member of the DOH, said that “it’s crazy that we allow this (MBP) to go on in my opinion”. Also said that he wants something stronger, and received a commitment that this is only the beginning.

        Dr. Sandro Galea, a member of the DOH, tried comparing it to an unnecessary life threatening medical procedure, sarcastically suggesting that we are allowing this to be preformed to a child under the cover of just a consent form.

        With that approach from the DOH, do we even stand a chance?

    30. (For MBP I think the best precaution is to check on recently circumcised babies that the Mohel performed. If after approx. a month the baby is symptom-free, then the risk is below minuscule.)

      It’s only because MBP has the appearance, to the secular mind, as primitive and/or vulgar (much like circumcision itself, or using chickens for Kaporos) that they are “picking on” MBP.

      Btw, I’m still frequently shocked at how many children (and adults) ride bikes without helmets.

      3) The arguments and debates going on for months, especially in the comments of VIN, have made me realize the crux of the problem. It’s almost amusing.

      Those (serious Jews) that hold that MBP has no real basis in Halachah, and have concluded that MBP is an archaic and unnecessary practice that has remained from the times when people didn’t know better, are opposed to it’s practice even if the risk was 1 in a million. I would tend to agree with them. (But I would still be opposed to government meddling.)

      Those that have incorporated in their lives a strong adherence to Kabbalah and the writings of the AriZal and Mesorah in all things, consider MBP extremely important and integral.


      • So you’re advocating waiting until babies start to contract oral herpes as a “precaution”? Are you aware that neonatal herpes involves and extremely high risk of brain damage and/or death? That’s not a “precaution”.

        • No no, My dear genius.
          That’s not at all what I said.
          If you are using an active and busy Mohel then he most likely has ALREADY performed MBP a week or fortnight or month ago.
          What’s done is done. But now we have the possibility to ascertain the Mohel’s health-status to an almost precise degree. How? Get the phone-numbers of his recent Brissim (call it “getting references”) and ask the parents how their baby is doing. If their baby is symptom-free then the Mohel’s chance of posing any danger is near nil.
          Any questions?

    31. It’s as important as not eating Kitniyos on Pesach or Cholov-stam and practicing Tvillas-Ezra, and more stringent than Gebrochts or Kapporos.
      To them having MBP eliminated is much worse than prohibiting Bike-riding or wearing Shtreimlech!

      Why do so many people not have the common-sense to look at this issue with this view-point in mind?!
      Isn’t it practical and prudent to always put yourself “in the other person’s shoes” before engaging in argumentation?

      As the saying goes, “The problem with common-sense is that it’s not too common”…

    32. Say baby born first day of sukkos. Next question to “ask the rabbi”, am I allowed to sign this consent form on chol hamoad? And if I didn’t for some reason, and my within walking distance mohel is refusing to do mbp what now?” Just pointing out that even if we were to follow this directive, it’s not always that simple as some are suggesting.

      • Halachah is NOT “The end”.

        Halachah is the basis. It’s the minimum.
        I know that for many Modern-Orthodox it’s only Halachah that matters.
        But for many others there’s so much more.

        Did you ever hear of Mesorah, Kabbalah, Kisvei-Ha’Ari, Chumros, Minhagim etc.?
        Just because they are of secondary importance doesn’t mean they are not still extremely important!

        Therefore we zealously guard and fight for our customs and traditions!
        And it takes more than an infinitesimal risk for us to give them up!
        The risk of Salmonella from eating meat and eggs are higher. Should we all become immediate vegetarians? Should we have to sign a form before feeding them to our children?

        When will you guys get it into your heads that MBP is not just an incidental formality?!
        If you don’t want MBP for your sons, then DON’T. But stop meddling in religious matters that you don’t understand!

    33. Maybe we should also sign a consent form for:
      Eating matza
      Lighting menorah
      Yom tov meals
      Burning chometz
      Dipping challah in salt
      Drinking arba kosos at the seder
      Eating honey on rosh hashana
      Staying up all night learnng before shavuous

    34. Don’t be naive.
      Those who talk about the form protecting the mohel or anybody from liability-there wasn’t a problem of anybody being sued and why would the BOH want to protect a mohel ? Secondly, those who feel MPH is dangerous-don’t do it to your kids. The bottom line is the BOH is interfering in religion and it’s a slippery slope from here.

    35. Funny. I looked in the Yoreh Deah, and while the Mechaber mentions Metzitzah, nowhere does he mention the word ‘Peh’. Neither does the Rama. Or any other of the commentaries. So. Anyone want to tell me exactly WHY this is against halacha or torah or whatever it is?


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