Metzizah B’Peh – a Dangerous Ritual With Potentially Life-Altering Consequences to Children – Well Documented in 2013, No Different than Spreading STD
On March 30, 2013, FailedMessiah reported on a potential link between learning disabilities in the Haredi community and the ritual of Metzizah B’Peh. He published a study conducted as well as noted a “cause and effect” between the ritual and increased birth defects noted by Rabbi Dr. Moshe Dovid Tendler of Yeshiva University several years before the 2013 article. Yet, the ritual continues. New York politicians have done nothing to criminalize what is, among other things, a risky practice performed on 8-day-old infants, likely pandering to those who financially support them. There is no legitimate basis in Judaism for the practice, if anything Pikuach Nefesh (the safety of the soul) should dictate quite the opposite.
And then there’s the measles hypocrisy.
In 2018/2019 when many of the Haredim were refusing to vaccinate children for measles, and numerous religious schools and yeshivas were unwilling to bow to the whims of legitimate vaccination concerns, one of the many reasons given was a nonsense study which linked the measles vaccine to autism. Setting aside that the studies on that connection were debunked eons ago and ignoring the dangers that contracting the measles poses to immuno-suppressed individuals, rabbis were calling for civil disobedience on the subject. So, on one hand, they ignore medical wisdom and on the other, disavow it. Does this sound reasonable?
The same Haredim refusing to vaccinate for measles due to a farcical link between the vaccine and autism are many of the same parents who are allowing the Metzizah B’Peh ritual to be performed on their infant children, despite a very real and well-documented link between the procedure and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 and a potential link between HSV-1 and learning disabilities.
It is our opinion that if a child gets sick, parents, rabbis, mohels and anyone else involved should be held criminally negligent, in direct correlation with the laws regarding the spread of an STD. There is little difference between spreading Herpes through a misguided and unsupported method of performing a ritual with one’s mouth and an HIV infected person having unprotected sex with an unknowing sexual partner. “Under criminal law, a person with HIV is criminally liable for prosecution if they have intentionally transmitted the virus to their partner without informing them of their status.” (Wikipedia, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention article)
The following are some of the passages from the FailedMessiah article,
Israeli Doctors Find ‘Delayed Reaction’ Herpes Infection Caused By Dangerous Haredi Cicumcision Rite
including a link to one of the studies:
Penile Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Infection Presenting Two and a Half Years After Jewish Ritual Circumcision of an Infant
Orit Yossepowitch, MD,* Tamar Gottesman, MD,* Orna Schwartz, MSc,Þ Michal Stein, MD,þ§ Francis Serour, MD,þ§ and Michael Dan, MD*§ • [Journal of] Sexually Transmitted Diseases, publiched by the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association
The association between Jewish ritual circumcision and genital herpes simplex virus type 1 infection has been well described. We report a case of genital herpes that first presented at the age of 22 years. We believe that the infection was acquired asymptomatically through direct orogenital [mouth-to-penis] suction performed during circumcision [by the mohel]…
If correct, these doctors may have also found the cause of what many believe to be the noticeably higher number of learning disabled children in hasidic communities – sub-clinical MBP-transmitted
HSV-1 infections. This cause and effect was first suggested by Rabbi Dr. Moshe Dovid Tendler of Yeshiva University several years ago.
Here’s the case study as a PDF file:
Here’s a brief history of the rise and fall of metzitzah b’peh — the blood-sucking circumcision ritual
The New York Jewish Week