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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777
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Mother Blames Mohel for Baby’s Herpes after Circumcision

The question of the safety of the controversial ritual of sucking the baby’s blood after the foreskin is cut in a circumcision has again been raised following another case of Herpes.

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Circumcision of a Jewish baby boy

Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90



This year’s second case of herpes resulting from the “metzitzah b’peh” custom immediately after circumcision was reported in New York, and the mother of the baby has blamed the mohel for performing to rite without her consent.

The baby survived after contacting the disease following the ritual of the mohel sucking a bit of blood after the circumcision, a custom that is practiced mainly by the Haredi orthodox community in the United States but which is common throughout Israel.

Controversy over the procedure and numerous reports of Herpes prompted the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to require parents to sign a consent form before the procedure can be performed.

The mother of the baby said she the mohel did not ask her for permission.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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  1. BarbaraElizabethBrownJohnson says:

    Surely the mohel knew he had herpes. It demonstrates a huge lack of integrity and possibly worse than that for him to agree to do the bris with that extra part knowing that he has herpes himself and will quite probably pass such on to the child. Since this mohel did not have the common integrity to not take such a chance, he should be disallowed from doing the bris at all anymore since he is not fit and can’t be trusted to tell the parents that he is not fit to do the extra part that some may want.

  2. MarkPacoSlosky says:

    OY OY OY!!!!!

  3. Surely the mohel knew he had herpes. It demonstrates a huge lack of integrity and possibly worse than that for him to agree to do the bris with that extra part knowing that he has herpes himself and will quite probably pass such on to the child. Since this mohel did not have the common integrity to not take such a chance, he should be disallowed from doing the bris at all anymore since he is not fit and can't be trusted to tell the parents that he is not fit to do the extra part that some may want.

  4. AlanSeltzer says:

    I had no idea that this ritual is part of the bris, never having been to a bris other than my own.

  5. Alan Seltzer says:

    I had no idea that this ritual is part of the bris, never having been to a bris other than my own.

  6. BarbaraElizabethBrownJohnson says:

    I’ve read some of the controversy about it before. It’s somewhat rare when all are taken into account and is only still practiced by SOME Haredi Orthodox — not all.

    The practice puts off a lot of people for a lot of reasons, this reason not being the least needless to say. Some old practices maybe should stay in the past. But, if they are allowed to come into the present, it doesn’t say good things about a mohel who would knowingly expose the babies to his own health problems. I would be very upset also if I were the mother, particularly if I were not asked if I wanted that part of the ritual as this mother says that she was not.

  7. BarbaraElizabethBrownJohnson says:

    People should not take some things for granted.

  8. RodrigoGirão says:

    Even if the mother did not request the blood-sucking, she did request for the child’s genital mutilation. There is no possible moral justification for that.

  9. I've read some of the controversy about it before. It's somewhat rare when all are taken into account and is only still practiced by SOME Haredi Orthodox — not all.

    The practice puts off a lot of people for a lot of reasons, this reason not being the least needless to say. Some old practices maybe should stay in the past. But, if they are allowed to come into the present, it doesn't say good things about a mohel who would knowingly expose the babies to his own health problems. I would be very upset also if I were the mother, particularly if I were not asked if I wanted that part of the ritual as this mother says that she was not.

  10. People should not take some things for granted.


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