[The brackets in the quotes below are in
the texts quoted.]
"There are three stages required
for the performance of a ritually correct circumcision in Jewish
law: the removal of the foreskin; the tearing of the underlying
membraene so as to expose the glans completely; and the sucking away
of the blood, m'tsitsah." Roger V. Pavey. The Kindest Cut of
All. Bognor Regis, W. Sussex: New Horizon. 1981. pp. 87-88.
"The method to be adopted is
laid down thus: 'One excises the foreskin, [that is] the entire skin
covering the glans, so that the corona is laid bare. Afterwards, one
tears with the finger-nail the soft membrane underneath the skin,
turning it to the sides until the flesh of the glans appears.
Thereafter, one sucks the membrane until the blood is extracted from
the [more] remote places, so that no danger [to the infant] may
ensue; and any circumciser who does not carry out the sucking
procedure is to be removed [from his office].' . . . The operation
itself, then, consists of three distinct acts: the excision of the
prepuce; the laceration of the mucous membrane covering the glans;
and the sucking of the blood from the interior of the wound."
Immanuel Jakobovits. Jewish Medical Ethics: A Comparative and
Historical Study of the Jewish Religious Attitude to Medicine and
Its Practice. New York: Bloch Publishing Company. 1959. pp.
"The baby cried, blood flowed on
to his penis and - as the rabbi had predicted - Graham [the
godfather] did not faint. The rabbi then bent over the baby and
sucked the wound. I know this sounds awful, but it is part of the
Jewish tradition. It's supposed to help the healing." Jack
Shamash. "My Son on the Cutting Edge." Independent
(London), no. 3,797 (Thursday, December 17, 1998): p. R8.
"And what of the practice of
sucking the bleeding penis? While condemning the procedure, some
physicians contend that it was used to stop bleeding.47 Not only is
there little evidence for this theory, but it was also a largely
ineffective method. Furthermore, even in antiquity, surgeons had
better methods to stop bleeding, such as pressure, instruments, and
medication.48 According to Dr. H. Speert (1953), Maimonides
'staunchly supported this procedure [sucking the bleeding penis] as
a prophylactic measure against inflammation.'"49 Edward
Wallerstein. Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy. New
York: Springer Publishing Company. 1980. p. 160.
"mezizah -- Hebrew term
for the third step in the Jewish circumcision ritual, in which the
mohel applies his mouth to the freshly circumcised infant's penis
and sucks up the first drops of blood. In more recent times this
procedure has been carried out via a tube, as infections, venereal
disease, and tuberculosis, sometimes resulting in the death of the
infant, have occurred due to contamination of the wound. Most Jewish
circumcisors today have eliminated this step from the circumcision
ritual. Critics have attributed sadistic and homosexual implications
to this practice, while defenders claim that this was simply all
that was known during ancient times to stop the bleeding."
Rosemary Romberg. Circumcision: The Painful Dilemma. South
Hadley, Massachusetts: Bergin & Garvey, Publishers, Inc. 1985.
"The traditional practice of
metzitzah b'peh, which has its roots in the earliest history of the
Jewish people and has survived unchanged to the present time, should
be viewed with great respect. It is spoken of very positively in the
Jewish literature on circumcision both as an essential part of the
ritual and as a health measure which prevents infection and promotes
healing." Henry C. Romberg, M.D. Bris Milah: A book about
the Jewish ritual of circumcision. Jerusalem/New York: Feldheim
Publishers. 1982. pp. 57-58.