11 thoughts on “Spare A Qvater

  1. Are folks out there familiar with this mouth-on drawing of the blood? I’ve never encountered it. The coworkers and nonjewish friends have started with the questions already, so I’m going to have to read up on this one.

  2. most modern day mohels use a straw, to perform the act of the “sucking” (the blood needs to be sucked) the straw is sanitary so his mouth doesnt touch the baby and the blood won’t touch his lips so its a safegaurd for both. Some say that that isnt good enough and that actualy mouth on is needed.

  3. This is not a “media frenzy” – this is a real medical danger which most young parents are not familiar with, and maybe if the media talks about it enough, it will make parents more educated about their options and prevent further tragedies like this news story.

  4. here is the story. It used to be, based on the Talmud, that a Mohel would suck the blood with his mouth. The Talmud claimed that this stopped the flow of blood and thus allowed for healing. However, in the 19th century, in part because of an incident similar to this one, many Rabbis decided that this was no longer necessary. Their decision was based in part on lack of medical evidence that this worked, and second that the only purpose is healing, thus we don’t want to do this to create more health problems. However, there were some that claimed that this was absolutly necessary and continued this practice. Some however, came up with a way to fulfill both of these positions. They fashioned a tube that would allow for the sucking but not contact of the mohel with the baby. The majority of mohilim today use some form of this. But, as is evidenced by this case, not all do.

  5. I’ve written a little bit about this on my own meager blog (with credit to JewSchool) properly extended.
    In fact if you hit the link to the Talmudic source, you’ll land right in the middle of a discussion of the precedure – and all the diseases it’s alleged to have helped spread – syphalis and TB among them.

  6. This “sucking” is a means of cleaning a wound of the blood without wiping it with a cloth, which could, of course, add new contamination. We have sterile bandages nowadays, which they did not use to have. It’s quite possible the the sucking of the blood did prevent disease in the past. With the new tubes, it certainly doesn’t do any harm at least.

  7. “What do you guys think about little mechanical sucking machines. I think someone should go into biz. with that.”
    I think a lot of men have tried that already- usually ends with an embarressing trip to the ER from what I hear from my Doctor friends….

  8. Recently had Son. Mohel used small glass tube containing sterile bandage which absorbed some blood. Said didnt do mouth-to-um . . . penis because he feared his own health.
    Regardeless, in Orthodox circles mouth-to-penis is very common, the fact that this story id the only one we are familiar should tell you something about the health hazards of this practice. Namely – avoidable.
    Question: IS herpes hereditary?

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