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November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
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Is Consent for Metzitza B’Peh Really about Banning Circumcision?

Metzizah b'peh is not even required by many Orthododx poskim. In fact it is actually discouraged by some.
Jews perform a brit mila in the French Jewish Community in Paris.

Jews perform a brit mila in the French Jewish Community in Paris.
Photo Credit: Serge Attal/FLASH90

Satmar and Agudah disagree with DOHMH and have challenged the constitutionality of the regulation on church/state issues. But they failed to get an injunction against implementing this regulation until after the court’s decision. So this rule is now in effect.

The question is, whether those who insist on using MbP will purposely avoid signing the consent forms. Agudah has no position on this, although they have implied that one ought to follow the rules. Interestingly, Satmar officials have said pretty much the same thing. Although they hope that their appeal to the courts will succeed.

That is where the issue stands now.

What is troubling about all this to me is that opponents of this regulation are calling this an attack against Bris Milah itself. That is how I constantly see them characterizing it. That kind of hyperbole conjures up the anti-Semitic governments of the past who tried to outlaw Bris Milah entirely. Accusing the government of trying to outlaw circumcision is the height of Chutzpah . MbP is NOT circumcision. MbP is not even required by many Orthododx poskim. In fact it is actually discouraged by some.

Signing a form saying that one has been informed about the dangers of a procedure that is not even universally required is hardly a fight against circumcision. New York’s health department officials are not Nazis or Czarist Russia. Nor are not they Greek Hellenists of Hasmonean times who also tried to abolish it.

No one is abolishing circumcision. In fact it is now once again being recommended for its health benefits.

How dare they make such comparisons! Doing so does not help their cause. In fact it does the opposite. Calling well-intentioned medical professionals anti-Semites is a Chilul HaShem – even if they would be wrong about their fears. Which in my view, they are not.

But this is how they insist on characterizing it. Someone ought to tell them to cut it out!

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


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7 Responses to “Is Consent for Metzitza B’Peh Really about Banning Circumcision?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is just the tip of the problem. Boys need to be allowed to give consent to circumcision at the age of consent, not forced onto them as children.

  2. Why does this question even arise? Doctors have said that oral suction is dangerous, so if the health of the individual is above just about all else then surely the practice should be discontinued!

  3. Why does this question even arise? Doctors have said that oral suction is dangerous, so if the health of the individual is above just about all else then surely the practice should be discontinued!

  4. Why does this question even arise? Doctors have said that oral suction is dangerous, so if the health of the individual is above just about all else then surely the practice should be discontinued!

  5. Why does this question even arise? Doctors have said that oral suction is dangerous, so if the health of the individual is above just about all else then surely the practice should be discontinued!

  6. Rebecca Fine says:

    It concerns me that there are a minority of extremists on this issue in the Orthodox community. I support the right of parents to have their boys circumcised, whether it is Jews for religious reasons or Christians for medical reasons, but performing what is essentially oral sex on an infant boy with all the risks and inappropriate associations that carries, is not appropriate.

  7. This makes no sense: why is touching a penis with one's mouth worse than touching it with a blade? Circumcision is a monstrosity by itself, the subsequent vampirism is just a detail.

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