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Why do rabbis suck the wound on babies after circumcision?

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    In the US around 100 infants die per year as a result of circumcision. I've always thought of this as being weird because circumcision for infants is a relatively straightforward procedure. Apparently this is due to the practise of metzitzah b’peh (oral sucking) which is when the rabbi performing the circumcision sucks the blood from the wound on the penis after circumcision has taken place. As the human mouth is full of bacteria, this can infect the wound and result in the baby dying. The practise of oral sucking was criticised in New York City after it emerged that a baby died and several others contracted herpes from a rabbi who had the disease after he performed the act on them. Should this act be banned? Should circumcision only take place in hospitals? Should circumcision for infants generally be banned?



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    Can't they see it's killing innocent babies. I think it should be made illegal.
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    (Original post by JackE5)
    Can't they see it's killing innocent babies. I think it should be made illegal.
    Just the oral sucking part, circumcision outside of hospitals or circumcision generally? Banning it won't make a difference imo because in the article members of the Jewish community have said they will continue to do it anyway because it's an integral part of their faith. There needs to be a more creative solution.
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    huh, I did not know that. well the oral sucking should certainly be banned, that is unhygienic, dangerous and just plain wrong. circumcision itself, I have nothing against it, although I don't understand why you would actually want that done, religious reasons aside
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    It might not be wise to tamper with traditions (even if they seem so alien to everyone else), but perhaps there could be some sort of middle ground, such as sterilising the mouth, or using antiseptics afterwards?

    EDIT: Seemingly because I haven't condemned rabbis as paedophiles and demanded that it stops I'm the bad guy...and seeing as nobody has really quoted me explaining why they think my post is objectionable I'll just have to stick with this conclusion.
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    Hang on.. is this mentioned in the Torah??
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    I was thinking earlier about how I know quite little about many religions, I then thought to myself it is because whenever I do any little research I come across something that disgusts me and puts me off continuing.

    This is horrendous, makes me feel sick. A lot of acts and rituals can rightly be justified because they are 'religious', but this surely cannot.
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    I think it should be illegal for anyone to perform a circumcision (or any such procedure) without sufficient medical qualification. If it must be a Jew/rabbi who performs the circumcision, they must find a qualified one who is able to do it safely.
    I've never heard of this tradition of sucking blood from the wound before. Is this an actual part of Judaism, or is it just some tradition? Might be a good idea to stop doing that
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    Is this common practise or just a minority thing?
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    (Original post by Manitude)
    It might not be wise to tamper with traditions (even if they seem so alien to everyone else), but perhaps there could be some sort of middle ground, such as sterilising the mouth, or using antiseptics afterwards?
    The stupid thing is, the tradition probably is the way it is because that used to be the safest and most effective way of removing the blood from the wound. It seems to me that's the case with a lot of traditions. Being so dogmatic about carrying on traditions like this exactly the way they are, despite advances in technology and knowledge, defeats the point of why the tradition exists in the first place. It's kind of a shame god wasn't more forward thinking when he made these rules

    I personally think that infant circumcisions for non-medical reasons should be banned entirely. But that's a losing battle, so for now I'll just accept that parents have the right to remove their child's body parts because some old books tell them to.
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    If this was being done by anyone other than someone religious, they'd be locked up and considered mentally ill.
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    (Original post by Brutal Honesty)
    Just the oral sucking part, circumcision outside of hospitals or circumcision generally? Banning it won't make a difference imo because in the article members of the Jewish community have said they will continue to do it anyway because it's an integral part of their faith. There needs to be a more creative solution.
    Oh no, I didn't mean it all together. Just the sucking part. Could they not possible create an artificial sucker, a sterile one. One that maybe still was in their faith but did not risk innocent lives.
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    Genuine question- is this common practice? Do many Jewish people do this?
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    I think it should be illegal for anyone to perform a circumcision (or any such procedure) without sufficient medical qualification. If it must be a Jew/rabbi who performs the circumcision, they must find a qualified one who is able to do it safely.
    I've never heard of this tradition of sucking blood from the wound before. Is this an actual part of Judaism, or is it just some tradition? Might be a good idea to stop doing that
    I've never heard of it before either. If this actually happens then it's disgusting.
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    It should be banned full stop - doing this for non medical grounds is mutilation (there is no other word it should be given), serves no useful purpose and reduces sensitivity later in life (and can cause serious sexual problems in some people).

    If a guy at 18 is still stupid enough to want it done, then he can that will then be his choice. Also this is not the only reason babies die from this, a few die in hospitals every year as well and many more become seriously ill. The procedure is not simple on a baby. It is, relatively speaking, fairly dangerous and serious due to developmental reasons (the foreskin is attacked to the penis at this point in a different way and often requires ripping off).
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    (Original post by ihaveyourcat)
    Genuine question- is this common practice? Do many Jewish people do this?
    Among the Orthodox community, i.e. practising Jews yes. However, people who do it for merely tradition/culture and aren't part of the Orthodox community often use the facilities of those who are to get their son circumcised and therefore it affects the wider Jewish community. Quote from article:

    David Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel, an umbrella organization of Orthodox Jews, said that metzitzah b'peh is probably performed more than 2,000 times a year in New York City.
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    yes of course it should! if anyone else did this it would be child rape...
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    (Original post by 35mm_)
    I've never heard of it before either. If this actually happens then it's disgusting and is borderline child abuse :/
    As mentioned in the article the practise of oral sucking occurs >2000 times a year in New York City alone.
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    As to the OP, I'd agree with them being done in hospitals, as it's much safer over all. Ban circumcision? No. Not unless you also agree to ban bone lengthening, growth hormones, braces, etc.


    (Original post by Brutal Honesty)
    Among the Orthodox community, i.e. practising Jews yes. However, people who do it for merely tradition/culture and aren't part of the Orthodox community often use the facilities of those who are to get their son circumcised and therefore it affects the wider Jewish community. Quote from article:
    Interestingly, you appear to be wrong in that.

    "Traditionally, metzitzah was accomplished through oral suction, known as "metzitzah b'peh" ["via the mouth"], most likely as this was the best technique available. Beginning in around the 18th Century, however, it was known that this technique itself can spread infection (ironically, prevention of which was the very reason metzitzah was instituted) and harm the baby. Thus, it became quite common in the Jewish world to perform metzitzah via a safe method, such as a sterilized glass tube. This is removes all risk and is almost the universal practice today, although some ultra-Orthodox communities, most notably Hassidic Jews and some communities in Israel, continue to use the oral method.

    Less commonly practiced, and more controversial, is metzitzah b'peh, (alt. mezizah), or oral suction,[10][11] where the mohel sucks blood from the circumcision wound. The traditional reason for this procedure is to minimize the potential for postoperative complications,[12][13] although the practice has been implicated in the spreading of herpes to the infant.[14]

    A sterilized glass tube is now used.[15][16]...

    Because of the risk of infection, some rabbinical authorities have ruled that the traditional practice of direct contact should be replaced by using a glass tube between the wound and the mohel's mouth, so there is no direct oral contact. The Rabbinical Council of America, the largest group of Modern Orthodox rabbis, endorses this method.[29]"

    So really, it's a very small minority within the Jewish community who continue to use the mouth to sterilise. Hardly a reason to call for the outright ban of the practice.



    (Original post by Psyk)
    The stupid thing is, the tradition probably is the way it is because that used to be the safest and most effective way of removing the blood from the wound. It seems to me that's the case with a lot of traditions. Being so dogmatic about carrying on traditions like this exactly the way they are, despite advances in technology and knowledge, defeats the point of why the tradition exists in the first place. It's kind of a shame god wasn't more forward thinking when he made these rules

    I personally think that infant circumcisions for non-medical reasons should be banned entirely. But that's a losing battle, so for now I'll just accept that parents have the right to remove their child's body parts because some old books tell them to.
    Thankfully, the practice isn't as common as the OP would have us think.
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    Why do they have to suck the wound? Can't they just wipe it?

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Updated: March 31, 2012
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