Rabbi Dr. Tendler Calls Metzitzah B’Peh a “Hoax”


tendlerMonsey, NY – Rabbi Dr. Moshe Dovid Tendler, rabbi of Community Synagogue of Monsey, who has in the past led a crusade against metzitzah b’peh, has again reiterated his opinion on the matter. Most recently, he has stated that in the interest of public health, local officials should call together Rockland rabbonim who advocate metzitzah b’peh and ask them to order their followers to stop.

“They should use the carrot-and-stick approach,” Tendler told the Journal News. “Tell them, ‘If you don’t stop, we will do what New York City did and pass a law.’ ”

Tendler’s comments come in the wake of Thursday’s vote by the New York City Board of Health to require parental consent for metzitzah b’peh. Parents will have to sign a form acknowledging that the city Health Department advises against the practice because of risks of herpes and other infections.

The Journal News reports that Rockland Commissioner of Health Dr. Joan Facelle, a pediatrician, said there are no plans to outlaw or limit the practice in the county’s large Jewish community.

The frum community’s adherence to the age-old mesorah regarding bris milah will likely be unaffected by Rabbi Dr. Tendler’s statements, but his remarks may matter in respect to the frum community’s dealings with health departments and officials.

Six years ago, when Dr. Thomas Frieden of the NYC Health Department wrote in “An Open Letter to the Jewish Community,” in which he stated that “The Health Department recommends that infants being circumcised not undergo metzitzah b’peh,” it was Rabbi Dr. Tendler, a dean at Yeshiva University’s Yeshiva Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchonon and a professor of biology there, who was widely quoted as being opposed to metzitzah b’peh and who led a battle – one he ultimately lost – against a prominent and expert mohel, who was demonized and falsely accused of infecting babies.

“I’m convinced that many children have been infected and not diagnosed, and years later they are in special education in the schools and no one knows why,” Tendler told the New York Jewish Week at the time.

Tendler is now continuing his war against metzitzah b’peh.

“It’s a hoax perpetuated by some of the rabbis,” Tendler told the Journal News. “It’s a prefabricated lie.”

Tendler says that Jews who follow the centuries-old minhag don’t understand the risks it poses.

“They don’t appreciate the fact that this exposes the child to danger,” he said. “Danger that the child is being exposed to for no reason.”

{Andy Heller-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Very sad to see that during the Asseres Yemei Teshuva you are shamelessly trying to bait Jews into controversy and fights for cheap shock value. Matzav has become an Orthodox version of a tabloid. Hashem yeracheim.

  2. thanks for reporting this. it is important to know what’s going on.

    And even if people accuse you of all sorts of things, matzav, you guys are doing the right thing.

  3. [First of all there is no such a thing as metzitzah b’peh MBP rather bePheh [read beFEH] ????? ????? ]

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    ??? ?? ?????, ??? ?? ?????? ??”? ???”? ???? ?”??? ??? ????”, ???? ??????. ?? ??? ?????? ????? ?????? ????? ???? ????, ??? ??????? “??? ?? ????” – ???? “???? ????? ?'”, ??”?.

  4. All the people intimidating Matzav into not printing this have missed the boat.
    The report doesn’t say anything other than what Rabbi Tendler said. If you have a problem with that, take it up with the person who said it. Why the guilty complex on your part? What can’t Matzav report it? And what difference does it make if it is Aseres Yemei Teshuvah? You think rabbonim of old gave up their battles for mesorah and to protect Yiddishkeit during Elul and Tishrei? Give me a break.

  5. Its really disgusting: Aseres Yemai Teshuva.


    And this is what heis doing????? Thats how he’d like to begin the new year????

    I clearly remember his letter claiming that he had nothing to do with the health department in the Metzitza b’peh issue and rabbi Fisher. I also clearly remember then listening to the tape of his shiur at YU where he explicitly discusses how he invited the health department and its commissioner to his office and that “it will hit big”. How can a man who will so blatantly lie convince himself that he means anything other than his personal agenda?

  6. Matzav reports on the Chovevei Torahs et al. This is the same thing. Keep reporting it. We need to know who the eirev rav is. Moshe Rabbeinu didn’t stop fighting the Eiev Rav during Aseres Ymei Teshuvah and neither should we.

  7. Thank you Matzav for reporting this! Sadly, this is another self-hating jew type of story! He also went to court insisting that he cut Reb Moshe’s beard and that there is no need for Jew’s to have beards! We’ve suffered throughout the generations from people of this type! It’s shameful! If a problem exists with the hayliger minhag of Metzitza b’Peh’s execution because of one or individuals whay must the goyim be there to regulate how we do our mitzvos? This land is predicated on Freeedom of Religion and the government has no business is our religious practices! PERIOD!
    How can people like this Klaap Al Chaite having gone to the Goyishe media with ‘HIS’ age-old vitriolic hatred of Minhag Yisroel Kadosh!
    Shameful story!
    Please do teshuva! Stop this ridiculous craze to vilify the Am Kadosh whenever the moment presents itself!

  8. In Sefer Habris, written by R Simcha Bunim Piritinsky z”l he brings down all the shitos regarding MBP (pages 213 – 226) and starting with the Chasam Sofer,R Yitzchok Elchonon Spector,R shamshon Refoel Hirsch and the Chofetz Chaim (who told his son in law R Mendel Zaks ” anyone who thinks metzizah has to be done with the mouth (as opposed to with a tube) is naive “), there are many poskim who hold that metzizah does not have to be done directly on the wound. There are also many poskim who hold it does. Therefore Rabbi Tendler is within the mainsream of halacha to say its not necessary.

  9. Matzav, once and for all explain: Why when someone calls someone els “eirev rav” it passes, and saying someone is just “not very possitive” doesn’t?

  10. It is a mitzvah to be mefarseim those who attempt to destroy klal yisroel.
    and it is a mitzvah to battle those who have left our derech and spend their lives on the internet seeking to besmirch and destroy Judaism as we know it. Vehameivin yovin.

  11. The original reform also claimed that certain nuances of Yiddishkeit are a hoax. We all know where they ended up. At lease Matzav provides us a clear picture of what this man stands for. I am still clueless as to what MBP has to do with special education. I guess when you say lies about yiddishkeit you end up puting your foot in your mouth. Not to mention the blatant Mesira where he admits having to “inform the health dept”. Like R’ Hirsch writes in his Tshuvos, that it is not MBP that causes infection but rather certain Aveiros that cause it. See Shemesh Marpeh.

  12. #13 Anyone who believes that the Chofetz Chaim said that, is naive. The Chofetz Chaim never spoke like that. Only Talmidim of Doctor Tendler speak like that. The Biur Halacha brings both shittos. He didn’t make fun of one of the shittos. Doctor Tendler is not within the realm of halacha. When there is a machokes you are entitled to an opinion. You are NOT entitled to make fun of Gedolei Haposkim who considered MBP as part of the mitzvah. Btw, R’ Hirsch writes that one should do MBP if possible, and views using a tube as a Bedieved.

  13. Poshiter Yiddineh # 16,

    “He’s not a “dean” but a Rosh Yeshiva. Have some respect.”

    Please have some respect for real Roshei Yeshiva. Do not in any way equate this man with them. Listen to how speaks about Rabbis Shachter, Willig and Blech. He does not equate himself with them (he publicly claims to be “better”). Please, have some respect.

  14. Excuse me but as someone who is a special education teacher I have to say this- There are no studies what so ever correlating metzizah Bapeh with children who need special education

  15. metzitzah b’peh is part of our mesorah- there have been no cases in our community where it caused harm to a baby.In a recent case a sibling had herpees and shared a pacifier with his newborn brother. The whole goal of the secular world is to eventually do away with Bris Milah.You should hear what the secular world says- ” Bris Milah’s are cruel” ect..
    Secondly it is very hurtful why someone would speak to a vile anti-semetic rag like the Journal News.They mke the NY Times look like Tzaddikim.

  16. Thanx guy’s for printing this hit & run piece right by the Yom Hadin! If you are already printing this trash, why don’t you print child molestation cases? You can’t have it both ways!
    You little fools @ matzav are so immature, it’s pathetic! You are worse than everyone else! You have no sense of what’s right & wrong! Are you still covering up the internet Assifa? Of course you can’t report it because they assured all these shtus vihevel websites which includes “Matzav”!

  17. Thanks Brisker. Rabbi Pirutinsky was considered the best in his time. I remember that those who were able to secure his services for their sons were considered very lucky. I’ll stick with his opinions and those of my sainted grandfather, the Chasam Sofer.

  18. #13
    “Therefore Rabbi Tendler is within the mainsream of halacha to say its not necessary.”

    I checked your sources in Sefer Habris.. and I did not find any of the Poskim that you mentioned as saying that “Metzizah Bpeh is a HOAX, or that it is a PREFABRICATED LIE” as Tendler said.
    Therefore Mr Brisker Dude, dont put Tendler together with The Chasam Sofer, Reb Yitzchok Elchonon, Rav Hirsch or the Chofetz Chaim.
    “Your sentence is an affront to our Torah and an insult to our Torah Greats”

  19. Actually, the Mishnah Brurah (584:12) quotes the Taz that there was a mohel who did a bris milah on Rosh Hashanah and did not wash off his lips so that the blood of the milah should “mix” with the tekios.

    The Chofetz Chayim certainly did not belittle or dismiss metzitzah b’peh as a “hoax” or a “prefabricated lie.”

  20. #4 & #7 say it all…
    Why Why Why on Aseres Y’mei Teshuva all this
    My children have it right, B”H…they refuse (365 days a yr.) to listen to anything I read online….Time for me to move on; because those who read are as guilty as those who say it….
    Gmar Chasima Tova to all~

  21. Hey Brisker dude- Sefer Habris was written by R MOSHE Bunim Piritinsky z”l NOT by R Simcha Bunim. I guess you skipped over the part of the sefer where it says his name.

  22. He’s just saying what Rav Herzog zt’l said before him:

    ????? ?? ?? ??????? ????? ????? ???, ??? ??? ????? ???? ????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ?? ????

    Chazak Ve’ematz Rav Tendler! Keep up the fight to save Yiddishkeit

  23. Dear Rabbi Moshe Tendler, Shlita

    Can you please explain this Rambam?

    Rambam: Hilchot Milah 2:2

    Afterwards, one should suck the place of the circumcision until all the blood in the further reaches is extracted, lest a dangerous situation arise. [This step is referred to as metzitzah.] Any [mohel] who does not perform metzitzah should be removed from his position. After one has performed metzitzah, one should apply a bandage, a compress, or the like.

  24. I am somewhat at a loss. According to studies one of the complications of breastfeeding is the possibility of an infant being infected by the hsv 1 virus of the mother has a cold sore. Mr. Bloomberg has had the hospitals stop providing formula samples to new mothers in the hospital in order to aggressively promote breast feeding. The risks are not at all lower than any alleged to exist with MbP yet one he aggressively promotes and one he outlaws.

    Hypocritical? Yes. Surprising? No.

  25. the real question is if it is halachically required or not. R. Tendler is of the opinion that it is not required by halacha.

    Step 2, since it is not halachically required and since there is a danger of infection, should the custom be stopped. On this is the makloches: R. Tendler prefers not to endanger a baby for a unnecessary custom; others look at customs differently and fight for them till the end.

    I respect R. Tendler for his halachic opinion and I respect Matzav for printing it and I respect those who differ (in a respectful manner).

  26. Actually, the Mishnah Brurah (584:12) quotes the Taz that there was a mohel who did a bris milah on Rosh Hashanah and did not wash off his lips so that the blood of the milah should “mix” with the tekios. In other words, it is a ZCHUS!

    The Chofetz Chayim certainly did not belittle or dismiss metzitzah b’peh as a “hoax” or a “prefabricated lie.”

  27. To 52

    The mishna berurah often cites minhagim that were not the litvish or yeshivish minhag, even in Radin itself…

    So to correct your comment:
    The student in the yeshiva in Radin who wrote the Mishna Berura on Siman 584 certainly….

    Lets keep our comments accurate … mmkay?

  28. 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 now for you people who write those insults. Please, a little bit of respect

    Shana Tova and Gmar Chatima Tova to everybody.

  29. I have yet to see any one capable of articulating any decent response on this site.
    The Chofetz Chaim in Biur Halacha 331:1 s.v UPoarin states clearly that Peh is inferior to kli.

    What Rabbi Tendler is concerned about is the fact there ones who are deciding this issue are not knowledgeable both in lomdus & halacha and are ignorant of science except for what they can find on the web.

  30. Brooklyn, NY-The Sanz Klausenberg rebbe shlit”a early Sunday morning in a speech before a packed shul of mispalellim at selichos, spoke out forcefully against NYC Health Department’s plan to regulate Mitzvas Milah al pi mesorah, the rebbi cried out, “There hasn’t being a gezeirah against mitzvas milah as this since the Spanish Inquisition.”

    The rebbi continued this kind of gezeirah only can only originate from yidden that strayed away from their Jewish heritage.

  31. The above-mentioned Rav from Monsey is known to involve himself with his unique style.

    This has happened with his walk on the Har Habayis and other instances.

    May We be Zocheh to a Shana Tova U’Msuka and that it be a Shana that our Tefilos Are Accepted Upstairs.

  32. The Chasam Sofer only gave a heter in a certain specific situation he was asked a shaila about, that as a bdieved they could do metzitza without bpeh, since it may have not been done altogether otherwise. The C”S never gave a blanket heter to skip b’peh on brisim, in general.

    See the Maharam Schick (a talmid muvhak of the C”S) on the Chasam Sofer.

  33. #48: I believe the Chasam Sofer addresses that Rambam. You can see it in the sefer Bris Avraham, by R’ Rami Cohen.

    The Chasam Sofer says that there were many parts of bris milah that were done for the safety of the child – including metzitzah. He says that as medicine improves, these parts change to improve on the safety. For example, they used to sprinkle cumin powder over the area. Nowadays we use antibiotics and bandages, because it’s better. The Chasam Sofer said that these items are not required for the bris itself, but for the safety of the baby. Skipping them does not mean the bris wasn’t good. The Rambam said a mohel should be removed for not doing it because it places the baby in danger.

    Nowadays, if it makes it safer for the baby, it seems clear from the Chasam Sofer that metzitzah should NOT be done. R’ Tendler never said the metzitzah itself was a hoax. He said the idea that it is required is a hoax. This is clearly what the Chasam Sofer said.

  34. To #55:

    First of all, the Chofetz Chayim wrote the Mishnah Brurah BEFORE he was a Rosh Yeshivah. Secondly, He wrote it, not a talmid. Thirdly, you evidently have not seen that seif katan, because what you wrote is wildly off base and not applicable in any way to what he wrote. He did not write a minhag there, nor did he even agree with the practice. His point was ENTIRELY that it was a zchus and was done by one person to add that zchus to the zechusim of Klal Yisrael and arouse raschamim. Speaking of accuracy, you really should read what you’re writing about before stating opinions.

  35. #64: I never claimed the Chasam Sofer said it wasn’t needed. He said it’s done for safety reasons, not as an ikkur part of the bris. As medicine improves, the things we do for the baby’s safety can change – like not using cumin anymore.

  36. As rabbi Yisropel Belsky Shlita said last time around we will keep our mesorah no matter what and if we will have to we will do mbp in our bunkers. hashem yerachem from those who try to modernize klal yisroel.

  37. #58
    Here’s just one:


    The NYC Department of Health’s campaign to demonize metzitzah b’peh by blaming herpes infections in newborns on the mohel, has taken a new hit, according to an article in this week’s Yated.

    Twice in the past two months, the DOH has been embarrassed by evidence shattering its myth about the so-called life-threatening dangers of metzitzah b’peh.

    In two of the five herpes cases continually cited as showcasing these “dangers,” new evidence backed by medical records has pointed to family members with active herpes sores – not the mohel – as the most likely source of the infection.

    The discovery of this evidence, published in the Yated, based upon live interviews by its reporter Debbie Maimon with parents of the affected babies, has prompted sharp criticism of the Department’s policy of attacking the practice of mbp, and groundlessly targeting mohelim as the source of infection in every case.

    In a third case, a baby with a rash on his knees was diagnosed as having herpes even though lab results were negative. Nevertheless, the DOH mounted a hunt for the mohel who performed mbp.

    Now, for the first time, a mohel blamed for transmitting herpes to a Kiryas Yoel baby in May has submitted to blood tests to determine if in fact he carries HSV-1 antibodies.

    A positive finding, while not proving claims that mbp caused the baby’s illness, would not disqualify the mohel as a potential source. In rare circumstances, someone who has herpes antibodies may “shed” the virus in his bloodstream and possibly transmit it to another party.

    Contrary to Department presumptions, however, the mohel tested negative. That is proof positive that since he never had the HSV-1 virus, he could not possibly have transmitted it.

    In an exclusive interview with Yated, the mohel, Rabbi G., said he chose to be tested a second time, to be absolutely sure.

    “On the advice of my lawyer, Mr. Yerachmiel Simins,” he said, “we took the precaution of not only taking the test twice, but arranging witnesses and a legal affidavit signed by a doctor and two nurses, testifying to the results.”

    The mohel said he felt these measures were necessary to protect himself from false attacks by health officials.

    “I and other mohelim feel that when it comes to mbp, the truth no longer matters to the Health Department. They are after mohelim and are not interested in the facts.”

    Rabbi G. said he didn’t need the test for his own peace of mind, that he had been a mohel for over a dozen years and had performed thousands of brissen. Of these thousands of circumcisions, he said, every single one had been done with metzitzah b’peh, and never once had a baby he circumcised fallen ill with herpes.

    “If I have the slightest cold or infection of any sort, I would never touch the baby,” Rabbi G. said. “I also take precautions by sterilizing my mouth before doing metzitzah like all mohelim I know do.”

    Rabbi G. said that in the aftermath of the discovery that the Kiryas Yoel baby was treated for a serious herpes infection, health officials apparently told the media that the mohel was to blame. The unfounded allegations were repeated in a spate of news articles that reported on the tragedy. Determined efforts were made by health officials to uncover his identity.

    “Knowing how some of my colleagues have been hounded by the DOH over metzitzah b’peh, I was afraid that I too would be singled out,” Rabbi G. said. “One mohel was bashed in the press and hounded by the health department and reporters. His life was made miserable.”

    Rabbi G. said he spent weeks living in fear of being the victim of such a media lynch. “Many in our community no longer trust the Department. Instead of working for the public good, they are using their authority to push their own personal agenda. Their tactics don’t fit in a democracy.”

    Mr. Simins confirmed Rabbi G.’s testimony regarding the negative findings of the blood tests, the presence of witnesses and the legal affidavit. He said the DOH’s shabby research and fixation with metzitzah b’peh have caused it to stumble in its mission.

    Instead of working to educate the public about real dangers to be on guard against in the transmission of herpes, he said, “we are looking at an obsessive preoccupation with a religious practice, and a campaign of demonization that has hijacked the Department’s true function.”

    He said a culture of fear has been spawned by the Department’s assault on the time-honored practice of metzitzah b’peh.


    Jewish groups have slammed the DOH for pushing for the adoption of an amendment to the Health Code that would limit mbp, force parents to sign incriminating waivers before the ritual can be performed, and coerce mohelim to speak disparagingly of their religious beliefs.

    Should the DOH choose to continue in this direction, Agudath Israel warned in a letter to the Department, “the result will clearly be litigation and more confrontation. In the end, whether the department’s regulation survives will be decided by a judge.”

    “At the end of the day, the letter said, “the resulting perception in the Orthodox Jewish community will be an extremely negative one; a perception that the Department is not interested in working with the community, simply in imposing regulations on a time-honored practice.”

    Agudath Israel urged the DOH to take another path, the path of consultation and cooperation:

    “That is the path that the NY State Department of Health [not to be confused with NY City Dept. of Health] chose in 2006. Instead of unilaterally promulgating regulations, the State Health Department chose to work together with our community.”


    In 2006, the Rabbinical Council, a group comprised of representatives from the spectrum of Orthodox Jewry in New York, entered into a Circumcision Protocol with the NY State Health Department. The terms agreed upon called for an unbiased investigation in exchange for rabbinic and community cooperation.

    This included banning the mohel from performing mbp if he’s found to be DNA-matched to an infected infant.

    The State Health Commissioner lauded the agreement, praising “the participation of the Rabbinical Council of the State of New York, and the good faith that was put forth with the Department of Health to protect the public health, and at the same time, respect religious freedom.”

    The Protocol was reviewed by nationally renowned neonatal infectious disease experts and the National Institutes of Health, and was unanimously passed by the NYS Public Health Council.

    It was adopted by every health department in the State of New York – except New York City’s.

    On the rabbinic side, it was entered into by the Central Rabbincal Congress of the United States and Canada, Rav Feivel Cohen, Rav Hillel David, leaders of Koshau, Satmar, Skver, Belz, Bobov, Pupa and Vien. It was subsequently adopted by the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudath Israel, and the rabbinic leadership of the National Council of Young Israel.

    It was also endorsed by many gedolei Eretz Yisroel, including Rav Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv, zt”l and ybl”c Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman and Rav Chaim Kanievsky.


    If the Protocol had been adopted by the DOH in 2006, all 5 cases it claims arose since then could have been thoroughly investigated with the full cooperation of the community. Had such an investigation taken place, the issue of mbp’s relation to HSV-1 in each of these cases might have been put to rest. This valuable opportunity, however, was squandered.

    The Protocol was terminated when a new administration came into office. It was recently raised by representatives of the Jewish community with the State Department of Health, as well as city officials. The hope was that this carefully negotiated agreement could be resurrected to benefit all concerned parties.

    The officials declined to revisit it.

    It is not the Orthodox community that refuses to cooperate; it is the DOH that has steadfastly refused to conduct unbiased investigations. It has adopted an intransigent and adversarial stance that has left the community no choice but to close up.

    To read the entire article from this week’s Yated, click here.