Circumcision Suction

I was at a Bris Milah ceremony and the mohel used his mouth to draw blood from the infant's wound. Is this oral contact sanctioned by Jewish tradition?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

The process you describe is called "metzitzah," whereby the mohel suctions out some blood from the wound area, so that it does not become infected. This process is considered essential for the baby's health, and may be performed even on Shabbat (Talmud – Shabbat 133b). Further, there are kabbalistic reasons why this suction is part of the circumcision process. ("Orach Chaim" to Leviticus 12:3, echoing "Tikunei Zohar")

However, when there is a problem of health risk (AIDS, VD, etc.), which is contagious and transferable through an open wound, the suction is done through a glass tube. (source: "Har Tzvi," by Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank, Y.D. 214)

More Questions


Due to limited resources, the Ask the Rabbi service is intended for Jews of little background with nowhere else to turn. People with questions in Jewish law should consult their local rabbi. Note that this is not a homework service!

Ask the Aish Rabbi a Question

See More

Receive the Aish.com Daily Features Email

Sign up to our Daily Email Jewsletter.

Our privacy policy