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Why does a mohel suck the blood after circumcision?

by Rabbi Yosef Loschak

  

Library » Mitzvot » Circumcision | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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This practice is part of the ritual of circumcision and it is called "Metzitza".

The source for Metzitza at a Brit is from the Talmud1 and is stated as the practiced law in the Code of Jewish Law.2

It is explained that drawing out blood prevents the blood from clotting and coagulating under the skin, which may result in inflammation and swelling.

The Code of Jewish Law does not explicitly mention how Metzitzah is to be performed. There is actually great debate amongst the Rabbis (today, as well as throughout the ages) regarding the details of Metzitza. As a result, some Mohelim use a tube, and some do it by mouth. Either way, to prevent possible transmission of diseases or infection, it is customary for the Mohel to cleanse his mouth with a disinfectant before Metzitza or before the Brit.

Footnotes

  • 1. Talmud tractate Shabbat 133B
  • 2. Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah Hilchot Brit 264:3

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Circumcision » The Customs

Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Brit
[Lit. Covenant] Circumcision. The act of removing ones foreskin 8 days after birth, perpetuating a covenant with G-d originally established by the Patriarch Abraham.
Mohel
One who performs ritual circumcisions.