I am generally a fairly liberal guy when it comes to religion. People believe all sorts of weird nonsense and fantasies but so long as they keep their beliefs to themselves and do not impose upon others then what’s the harm? Well, of course, that the problem, isn’t it? Especially when those others are not capable of making their own decisions about what to believe and practice.
So I was both shocked and saddened to hear about the death of an infant boy last September who contracted herpes after his circumcision by a rabbi using the ultra-Orthodox ritual known as metzizah b’ peh where the rabbi removes blood from the wound with his mouth. Where was this medieval ritual performed? Can you believe it took place in Brooklyn Hospital, New York? It’s unclear who performed the circumcision but it is not the first time infants have contracted herpes in this bizarre ritual. In 2004, three infants circumcised by Rabbi Yitzchok Fischer were determined to have contracted herpes, city officials said. In 2005, there was another infant death following this practice.
I am all for the importance of tradition as Topol would say, but enough is enough. No doubt the parents are distraught at losing their child but this ritual needs to be criminalized. Needless to say, the rabbi who is responsible for this is beyond contempt. He must have known that he had herpes at some point and he also must of known of the risk. I can’t really see any justification for allowing this practice to continue.