Another Circumcision Illness?

At this point it is only an unconfirmed rumor, but GrossBlogger is reporting (and also by email correspondence with me) that another case of metzitza b’peh-transmitted illness, presumably neo-natal herpes, has been spotted in haredi Brooklyn. According to GrossBlogger, the family and community are covering up the illness. If true, this again shows why any agreements reached with haredim are worthless.

UPDATE: I asked GrossBlogger via email how he knew about this. He told me he:

“I heard it from a chosuve mohel who performed the bris” of a relative this morning. “I don’t want to give his name,” GrossBlogger writes, “but he is also extemely upset” with the state’s new circumcision protocol and the way it was brokered. GrossBlogger adds the mohel warned the father against doing MBP, but the father, who GrossBlogger describes as a “naive” soul, insisted on MBP. The mohel replied, “fine if you want it done you will have to do it yourself.”



Filed under Circumcision Controversy, Crime, Haredim

14 responses to “Another Circumcision Illness?

  1. Anonymous

    Shmarya was the mohel.

  2. KIM

    As I’ve posted on UOJ, there is no question in my mind that any mohel who performs metzitzah b’peh which results in harm to the infant, is, with all the information available now, guilty of second degree assault on a reckless theory and if, chas v’shalom, the baby dies, of reckless manslaughter. The time has come for Joe Hynes to come out of the pocket of the charedim and do what he has been elected to do — enforce the laws of the state of New York without favor to anyone, especially those to whom he owes his recent re-election.

  3. KIM

    Oh, I misread the report. Sorry. It seems to me that, as painful as it would be, the father needs to be punished. This is especially so in light of the warning he actually received from the mohel.

    Frankly, this is the worst kind of child abuse imaginable — with knowledge that one is putting his child in danger, he does so anyway.

  4. Gross,

    You said he was a “chashuve mohel”. Do you know if R. Moshe Bunim Pirutinsky is still mahling? He’s pretty elderly at this point but I’m pretty sure that he qualifies as a “chashuve mohel”. His book, Sefer HaBrit has haskamot from guys with names like Shmulevitz, Hutner, Ruderman, Gifter, Feinstein and Kotler. R. Pirutinsky cites a number of leading Litvishe authorities as saying the MBP is not obligatory and that other means of drawing the blood may be used, including sponges and tubes. In particular, R. Pirutinsky quotes R. Chaim Berlin: “I wonder at your efforts to gather rabbinic opinions approving the new method of meẓiẓah via a tube, since does one need to permit the permitted and to proclaim pure that which is pure? Nowhere is it recorded in Ḥazal that meẓiẓah needs to be performed exclusively by oral suction. Nevertheless, one should not change the old practice of oral suction except when there is any possibility of any danger.”

    And, as far as the possibility of any danger, R. Pirutinsky cites Rabbi Elyakim Shapiro, the Chief Rabbi of Grodno, “I remember when I was young that there were many unfortunate episodes caused by MBP from one with an unclean mouth. To substitute direct oral suction by utilization of a tube is clear to us to be totally permitted without any hesitations.”

  5. gross

    I met this mohel (a tzaddik!) at a previous bris too. That other bris was for the baby of a close friend of mine. I educated my friend and convinced him to refrain from using R’ Belsky (original plan) who insists on MBP. This was against the wishes of my friend’s father (baby’s grandfather) who claimed MBP was a minhag and k’halacha(!) The issue got so hot that my friend told his father “if you give me a hard time with hiring a non-MBP mohel I will have the bris performed by a doctor in a hospital!”

    Needless to say his father took him seriously and this choshuve mohel was hired.

    So it was at that bris where I first discussed the issue at length with him.

    His anger is not only directed at the “new agreement” but he has been anti-MBP from the beginning. He admitted that Satmar et al wants to control every aspect of Judaism and he said “if it was up to them, they’d make me wear white stockings and a shtreimel when performing a bris milah!” He was outraged.

    This mohel and others like him are fighting an uphill battle from two sides – one evil (the likes of Satmar and kanoim like R’ Orbach from Monsey, essentially a nobody who is using this issue for some free “kanoishe” [I made up that word] publicity – and one naive.

  6. gross


    I did not make up the word “Kanoishe.” I don’t know why I thought I did.

  7. Rowan Berkeley

    May I enquire, as one become rather used to the nature of political infighting : is it possible that this whole dispute has been exacerbated by the in-charge faction of the Satmar leadership clan wanting to show it can be more bloody-minded than the challenger factions? In this sense, could it relate to attempts by the challenger factions to soften Satmar’s anti-zionist stance? I am hypothesising with this last idea, but that is where politics proper would enter the picture, if my guess is right.

  8. gross


    You make an interesting point. I heard a theory from someone very close to to the political fight between the Agudah and Satmar. He suspected that Niederman’s (Satmar mouthpiece) MO was to deflect attention from the humiliating Satmar politics that had reached mainstream media.

  9. Here’s my proposal to R. Orbach:

    We find subjects with a history of oral herpes lesions. Have them follow the watered down guidelines that completely ignore the fact that herpes is a virus. We swab their lips and mouths. We then apply the swabs to the mucous membrane on Rabbi Orbach’s penis.

    Of course this doesn’t exactly reproduce the in vivo conditions for transmission, but I think it might be hard getting R. Orbach’s consent to using a lancet to prick his penis so we could apply the swabs to a fresh, bloody wound.

    Would Rabbi Orbach put his own health at the same risk that he considers to be appropriate for newborns?

  10. BTW,

    I call that the Buchanan Test Method after Pat Buchanan, who claimed that the Nazis couldn’t have used mobile gas vans because “diesel exhaust won’t kill you”. I suggested that Pat test his own theory.

  11. sounds like you guys are hoping it’s true!

  12. Anonymous

    Sounds like Orbachk needs a good shake up.
    BTW where is his shul located?

  13. I’m responding really late, but to the Bozoer Rebbe’s question about R’ Pirutinsky the answer is that no, R’ Pirutinsky is no longer practicing milah and hasn’t for YEARS. He’s well into his 80’s (Baruch HaShem) and, unfortunately, has Parkinsons. I don’t know if you were implying the mohel was him, but I hope you weren’t.

  14. cnn

    I would give my right testicle for my foreskin back. Circumcision is worse than genocide.

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