Rabbi Tendler Calls Metzitzah a ‘Prefabricated Lie’

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In the wake of recent news in New York City regarding Metzitzah B’peh, Rockland County officials are debating if this is a law that is necessary in their region as well. Rabbi Moshe Tendler, voiced his opinion and publicly opposes this ritual – in comments he made to the Journal News. He claims that in the interest of public health, it is imperative that Rockland officials gather the rabbis who support this practice, and demand their congregations and followers end it.

And if they choose not heed his advice, Tendler says “we will do what New York City did, and pass a law.”

This past Thursday, NYC became the first place in the United States to regulate Bris Milah. It has become a requirement in New York City for parental consent when performing Metzitzah B’peh. It is now mandatory that parents sign a form stating they are aware this practice includes a risk of herpes or other infections. According to Rockland Commissioner of Health Dr. Joan Facelle, there are no plans to outlaw or limit this practice as of right now. However, booklets warning parents about the risks are being provided to parents, so that they are aware of the dangers involved. “As a first step, we want to educate so people understand why there is concern about this practice,” Facelle said.

Tendler argues that metzitza b’peh is not a requirement for circumcision, and is a “prefabricated lie.” Others remain staunch in their belief that Metzitzah B’peh is an integral component of Bris Milah.

Tendler says he understands and even agrees that the government should not get involved, but he also predicts that if religious leaders do not act fast to ban the practice, the government will have no choice but to get involved. “The fact is that the child is exposed to danger,” he says. Danger that, in his eyes, can easily be avoided.

(Hadassa Blaustein – YWN)


50 COMMENTS

  1. Why does anyone take this moser seriously? Other than the fact that he fights against the Torah community by attempting to get the government to stamp out our religion.

  2. I am shocked. I thought Rabbi Tendler was more traditional & mainstream than this (I’m being polite, I’m very tempted to say something not nice.) What did Rav Moshe ZT”ZL pasken? Personally, I expect the Mohel to perform Metzitzah B’Peh on my einiklech,just like it was done for their fathers & zeidys. I guess it’s according to one’s mesorah but that shouldn’t mean if you don’t follow my mesorah the government should arrest us or whatever “punishment” is fitting for breaking YOUR law. Because it isn’t mine.

  3. To Computerbubby and RSG: I don’t think you understand what this “Rabbi” said. He is more than just not being tolerant of other people’s minhagim. He is saying that this accepted minhag for generations by our greatest Gedolim, is a “prefabricated lie”! His only claim to fame is being Rav Moshe’s son-in-law. That is the only reason that he is tolerated and thought to be “traditional & mainstream”. He is far from it. By the way, Shein’s descriptions of him as a “moser” is not without some basis.

  4. Tendler, concerned that he might be forgotten or just ignored, launches from time to time crusades against Yiddishkeit. Two of his favorites are metzitza ba’peh and going spatzieren on Har HaBais. If he will be remembered it will zachur le’rah.

  5. It would be prudent during the Aseres Yemei Teshuva to pause before criticizing others, especially talmidei chacomim. Students of the rishonim find machlokes among their positions; achronim, too, differed in their piskei halacha. Is it beyond understanding that the origins and reasoning underlying metzitza b’peh can be viewed from different perspectives, and that when measured against health-related risks may result in a p’sak that disfavors your inclination? L’havdil bein ha’havdolos, there are opinions that would shield child abusers from civil authorities – and those who argue that doing so violates all constructs of halacha.

    Rather than engage in name calling, perhaps this conversation can develop the source and origin of metzitza b’peh, and then work through the shailos that attend it.

    That is a conversation that might bring the Ribbonoh Shel Olam nachas during these aseres y’mei teshuva. I’m not sure that name calling will.

  6. computerbubby, Rav Moshe is quite clear in Iggros Moshe (Y”D chelek 2 end of siman 223) that “it is obvious that (lack of) metzitza does not disqualify the mitzva (bris) since it is only needed for health reasons.” While Rabbi Tendler does not claim to be quoting his father-in-law, there is no proof that Rav Moshe would disagree with a different means of obtaining this “health” benefit.

  7. The reality is that the attacks on Bris Milah are all coming from secular (largely Jewish, at least in the USA) liberals, who routine see nothing wrong with chopping little babies into pieces if they inconvenience the mother. The issue has nothing to do with public health and everything to do with antisemitism. A Jew who collaborates with these people is no different than a “kapo” (a Jew who collaborated with the Nazis).

    If Rabbi Tendler has a problem with some of our minhagim in some communities, he should go to the rabbanim of those communities and present his arguments. However he should not be applying for membership in the “ban bris milah” movement. That he has done so, suggests he is an apikores or a fool.

  8. He is not accepted in Monsey Lakewood Passaic or anywhere in the real Torah world——– only in the MO comm. He who walks on Har Habayis is not a member of the real Klall Yisroel. “They” have been suffering with this clown in the family for years nebech an ousvurf.an ocher yisroel ,unt a groise Dokter unt profffesser oich. Offor bepumai

  9. Shein,
    you are correct. I thought this “Rabbi”, who is thought of as a Talmud Chaimim, would remember Jewish history well enough to never go to the non-jewish government with a Jewish issue, especially Bris Milah!! In Monsey, he is a person non-grada and never included in anything of leadership. This article should never have been printed so he can go away into the dust bin of history without any note. I hope this is not a cheap attempt to get his name out there again.

  10. Can a link to the Jornal News article be inserted into this “news” item so that the readers can form their own opinions about what rabbi tendler may have said, instead of the snippets provided by the obviously anti rabbi tendler writer of this story?

  11. 40 years ago the same Tendler went to court and testified under penalty of perjury that there is nothing wrong with trimming a beard, and there’s no reason for the state to allow a frum prisoner to grow his beard untouched. He claimed that the Tzemach Tzedek’s opinion is irrelevant and nobody follows it, and the Zohar is irrelevant, and the state should just force this yid to trim.

    And 60 years ago the same Tendler convinced the whole frum world that all the Mediterranean Jewish communities had for centuries or milennia been eating treif, and should give up their mesorah in the face of his alleged scientific discoveries.

  12. im sorry to say something not nice against such a person, cause im sure he is smarter than me, im just a woman, BUT, does he realize what he is doing by saying this? he is giving bloomberg and all the other nuts a leeway to NOT have metzita bepeh, and to say that its okay not to have freedom of religion which is written in the constitution and the basis of the american democracy!!! it really doesnt matter what we hold, if the rabbonim and gedolim say we should do this then this is what we do!!! dont we want all the suffering to stop and moshiach should come??!! what is tendler trying to accomplish by saying something so stupid??

  13. if not for ayt i would have what to say to this despicable chilul hashem and his so called regard for ” halacha” etc.hopefully hashem will straighten him out or stop him before he does more harm to klal yisroel

  14. I actualy read the article in its original (just type Journal news, Tendler) and although Rabbi Tendler’s words were clearly intemperate (hoax, prefabricated lie)the article also quotes Avi Shafran (Agudah spokesman) saying that many rabbis agree that “metzitza be’peh’ is not required but that the Monsey community will not be swayed by this”.
    The posters are using intemperate language-just like Rabbi Tendler- but there clearly are plenty of acharonim who do not require “mertzirz be’peh”

  15. the point is that we do the metzitzah bepeh and this is our minhag, so why did he even open his mouth, what did he gain by doing this? its a chillul hashem to say the least!!!

  16. Rabbi Tendler is a well known talmud chacham. If he states an opinion it would mean he knows what he is talking about.
    I think all those who express words against him speak to their rov about their requirement for doing t’shuva for speaking out in public against a Torah based rav who expresses a Torah based opinion.

    There should be no room in the feedback column for this anti-Torah defamation!!

  17. I would suggest to each commenter above to think what would happen if HKB”H could attest nice & not so nice things about him/her, but based on the opinion above, would judge that person the same way. Frightening. A simmilar thing happened when Natan Hanavi posed a question to David Hamelech & from the answer D”H gave, N”H told him – you have judged yourself, because the question I asked applies to you. LETS TRY DAN LECHAF ZECHUT – at least UNTIL AFTER YOM KIPPUR & MAY WE ALL HAVE A GEMAR CHATIMA TOVA.

  18. He’s saying the idea that MBP is required for milah is a lie. And he has the Chasom Sofer to back him up. And his goal is to save the lives of babies, so I’m not understanding all the vitriol and name calling here.

    When I was a kid, nobody talked about herpes. This seems to have become epidemic since the 1980s, connected to the sexual revolution I’d imagine. This is why we may need the ‘change.’ But it’s not a change to fundamental halacha or tradition. It’s less of change than girls studying Maharal in seminary. And it’s less of a change than people living off the community to study Torah.

  19. Many mohelim use a pipette or tube as pointed out. Another gadol (who I’m sure will be mocked by this am haaretz crowd) rav shlomo zalman auerbach Ztl said that using a tube covers the minhag of metzizah bpeh without any danger factor and should be encouraged. When asked why he wouldn’t publicize this ruling he said “I’m an older man and I don’t want people to break my windows”. I see the crowd on this comment section are the type to break rav shlomo zalmans windows.
    Will all the ignoramuses in the peanut galleries at least print your names and addresses (for shidduchim) next to your comments about a rabbi who may have some controversial stances but still knows a lot more than all of you combined.

  20. Any one of the gedolim here stop to think that maybe Rav Tendler, (who was considered a tremendous talmid chochom by R’ Moshe ZT”L and is a well respected doctor of biology),is taking into account the fact that there are reliable dayos that allow the use of a sterile tube for metzizah and the fact that some doctors feel there IS a risk to the baby, and therefore it becomes a safeik pikuach nefesh?
    Being that there is that safeik, perhaps he is correct in coming out against it. But, of course, the posters here know much more about halacha and biology than Rabbi Dr. Tendler, so it is perfectly okay to call him all kinds of names and state definitively that he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  21. Listening to and accepting lashon hara involves several dozen mitzvos asey and lo sasy. Does anyone know whatRabbi Tendler actually said, or are they basing their comments of “moser”, rasha” and the like off those of a reporter who could do herself a favor and learn the halachos that govern lashon hara and rechilus as should her editors, her bosses.

  22. he should encourage the gov’t to advise those in the “rainbow” community to understand the risks involved in that behavior where std’s are far more prevalent. But that would also take courage

  23. There is a tshuvah of Rav Samson Refoel Hirsch z.l. where he writes quite clearly that metzitze bapeh should be done and he writes that any illnesses that ch.v. are caused through it, is caused by the fact that that particular Mohel is a menuval and uses his mouth for pritzus!!! I gather he too was advocating a lie????????????

  24. #31- Talking about ignoramuses…. Will YOU print your name and address after making a major Psak Halacha from Rav Shlomo Zalman, which was never written or recorded?

  25. All you idiots out there, don’t seem to grasp this issue.

    Noone is denying that this is a Machlokes in Mesorah. To call it a “prefabricated lie”, is expected from a M-O-S-E-R like Tendler (yes, he said he ratted the Mohel out HIMSELF in a RECORDED Shiur in YU…the tape was then pulled off, but it is still available….)

    The issue is that no part of Bris Milah should EVER be regulated by the government.

  26. To #1 to Shein:
    Please don’t insalt this great choham and rightious man, Rabbi Tendler. I had a life threatening situation, and his psak saved my life. Somehow R’ Tendler is good enough for Rav Feinstein to be his son in low, but all you people who insult him somehow think that you understand better than Rav Feinstein did. Shame on you for calling this great godol names.

  27. This Yom Kippur, all the davening and crying and mikva going won’t help one iota to those of you who are chayev misa for the ratzicha committed above. You are all Garbage Mouths and will pay dearly! So keep it up; the one whom you are m’vaish will have will have the last laugh because you will lose all of your z’chusim to him.

  28. Ferd is a very fitting name I was told the psak of rav shlomo zalman by the very famous mohel rabbi Zimmerman, my name is tzvi traube by the way ferd. Nice to meet you. I guess you don’t eat gebroktz on pesach

  29. Please stop insulting this great Choham and righteous man. Somehow Rav Tendler was righteous and Choham enough for Rav Feinstein ZT”L to be his son in low but not for you people who write those insults. Please, a little bit of respect for Godolim. Who gave you right to call him names. Why do the moderators allow insulting comments to be posted.
    Shana Tova and Gmar Chatima Tova to everybody.

  30. #26, of course there are many poskim who hold that metzitza may be done through a tube; the Sdei Chemed lists the opinions on each side, and there are heavyweights on both sides. And everybody on the pro-direct-suction side knows this, which is why absolutely nobody is trying to force those who use a tube to use direct suction instead. We all know Brisk uses a tube, and nobody is trying to stop them. If Tendler wants to use a tube, let him, and nobody has a word to say against it.

    The problem is that this recognition is not mutual. Tendler is not fighting for his right to use a tube, he is trying to force everybody to use one, and he has no compunctions about using the force of the state to do so. He is saying “accept my opinion or I will send armed men to arrest you“. There is no recognition, on the pro-tube side that many heavyweight poskim forbade it in the strongest terms possible. Again, look at Sdei Chemed, who lists the names and the arguments on both sides. Calling it a “prefabricated lie” is itself a piece of rank dishonesty, and that is why Tendler is being excoriated for it.

  31. Wow. People throw around such hate and vitriol as if they were throwing out garbage. No wonder my rav called sites such as ywn the biggest problem with the internet.

  32. #1) The American Academy of Pediatrics just came out with a statement recommending circumcision for all American newborn baby boys. There’s no chance that any time soon there will be any government regulation of Bris Milah itself. May I remind everyone that Rav Moshe Feinstein ZTz”L called America the Medinah Shel Chesed?

    #2) I have spoken with Rav Tendler in person on this issue. He stated the Gemara is clear that Metzitzah was instituted because it was considered dangerous for the baby if suction was not applied to the wound. We know today that suction has no medical benefit to the wound and since there is a real risk of infection with Metzitzah b’Peh then it should not be done.

    The prefabrication Rav Tendler mentioned is the lie that Metzitzah b’Peh is an integral part of the Mitzvah of Bris Milah. It’s clear from Chazal that it was only done for Refuah purposes. Since it accomplishes the opposite of Refuah now it should be discouraged.

    #3) This should be a simple issue of Pikuach Nefesh. It’s basic biology. Many people have herpes or related viruses without knowing it. There are many ways of getting viruses without illicit behavior so we are not motzei la’az on Mohelim when we are concerned they may be infected.

    We should be Machmir on Pikuach Nefesh and make sure none of Hashem’s precious children are put at risk.

  33. My family sent me this posting as Exhibit A in support of their argument that I should avoid YWN as it more often than reflects discourse that is an afront to intelligence. Three Cheers for Rav Tendler.

  34. Rav Moshe did NOT choose Tendler as his son-in-law. He met Rav Moshe’s daughter at the public library and became friends. Rav Moshe didn’t hear about it until it was too late to stop.

  35. Hashem should have rachmanus on all of you fools who speak with such hatred against a Gadol Biyisroel- You really need to ask Him Mechila- I fear for your judgment this Yom Kippur- I hope this extra “zchus” of Motzie Shem ra on a big Rav stands you well! Think before you speak- its Aseres Yimei Teshuva-Its because of people like you that we are still in galus- such sinas chinam! for shame!!!!!!!!!!