The Metzitzah B’Peh Controversy

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6 Responses

  1. Ben Chorin says:

    >In late December, 2004, a New York State Supreme Court judge issued an order requiring the mohel to (among other things) submit to certain Department-controlled medical tests to determine if he was a carrier of HSV-1

    Why would the mohel not have voluntarily submitted to such tests the moment suspicion was raised?

  2. HILLEL says:

    I’m concerned that Rabbi Zweibel may be a bit naive in ascribing good intention to Commissioner Freidan.

    This is the same Commissioner who routinely supports the wholesale murder of babies in the womb up-to-and-including partial=birth abortions, when the bay is halfway out of the womb.

    This is the same Commissioner who refuses to implement standard public health measures in the face of the raging AIDS epedemic.

    It seems-to paraphrase Orwell–that some health problems are more equal than others.

    No, Rabbi Zweibel, the Commissioner is not attacking Metzizah BePeh because of his great concern for children and his sense of responsibility for public health.

    He is attacking Metzizah BePeh because he considers it a useless and grotesque procedure, a throwback to the dark middle ages, which has no place in the progressive modern world.

    For political reasons, the Commissioner must couch his opposition in the language of public health. But, make no mistake about it, he means to, gradually, do-away with this practice, bit by bit.

    If, heaven forbid, he succeeds, the floodgates will be opened for banning this procedure in all “progressive” cities all over the world.

  3. Steve Brizel says:

    This article was an excellent depiction of Agudah’s efforts. Yet, why couldn’t readers of the JO be afforded a survey of the halachic issues on MBP which are not as settled as implied in the article?

    Yet, Section II is contradictory. It offers a disclaimer of any psak, yet notes those Poskim who maintain that MBP is an essential element of Bris Milah . It does not acknowlege that many Litvishe Gdolim such as R Chaim Ozer and R A Kotler Zicronam Livracha are quoted in Sefer Habris as opposing MBP. IIRC, R Meir Simcha ZTL also opposed MBP. RHS quoted RYBS as stating that R Chaim Brisker also opposed MBP. While the article was not meant to be a survey of the Poskim on this issue, it implied that MBP was part of Bris Milah, especially the references to RSRH, R Elyashiv, R Wosner, R N Karelitz ,R C Kanievsky and RSRH as to Bris Milah in Mitzrayim. In contrast, not a single Posek of this generation or the Gdolei Acharonim were mentioned as opposing MBP. If RHS’s sfarim are not PC enough for the average JO reader, why wouldn’t the POV of those Gdolim cited in Sefer HaBris against MBP good enough to be considered in a discussion of what is a machlokes lshem shamyim-is MBP a minhag or an essential part of mitzvas milah?

  4. Bob Miller says:

    Whether Hillel’s suspicions about the commissioner are true or not, it still pays to treat the authorities as if they were acting in good faith. That’s assuming we want to achieve a positive result and not just to strike a pose.

  5. mycroft says:

    “Agudath Israel, as an umbrella movement created by Gedolei Yisroel from a wide variety of backgrounds, has adhered to its longstanding policy of encouraging each community to follow the halachic guidance of its own rabbanim and manhigim”

    That is a true statement but does Agudah and its Gdolim follow that concerning non Agudah rabbanim who follow their own Gdolim?

    Fortunately, in general in the Rabbi Shafran, Zweibel leadership I believe they are in general much more polite to those who follow non Agudah gdolim. But do they even today believe that?

  6. Moshe Podolak says:

    My comment is really more of a question. The article says “It is for this reason that contemporary Gedolei Yisroel – Torah giants like Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, Rabbi Shmuel Halevi Wosner, Rabbi Nissim Karelitz and Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky – when asked to once again consider the practice of metzitza b’peh in light of the Pediatrics study and the other recent reported cases of post-metzitza HSV-1 infections, have remained firm in their halachic insistence that the mesorah must be maintained.” This seems to contradict a teshuva of Rav Elyashiv to Rav Klein (Kovetz Teshuvos vol.1, number 102) where he says the the gedolim of the previous generation have ruled that “in a place where there is the smallest hint of a suspicion of a doubt on a doubt (sfek sfeka) of danger then we need not be strict in following the custom of our fathers”. Wouldn’t that apply in this case, where there is at least a hint of a suspicion of a sfek sfeka?

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