Bris rite case could hinge on mohel’s First Amendment rights and procedure’s degree of risk.
Special To The Jewish Week
Seventy years ago, an ordained Jehovah’s Witness minister named Sarah Prince sent a 9-year-old girl in her care to preach and distribute literature in exchange for donations on the downtown streets of Brockton, Mass. For her actions, Prince was convicted of violating Massachusetts’ child labor laws.
Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein (1866-1934) was widely considered to be one of the more impressive Talmud scholars of his generation. In his “Levush Mordechai” (Ch. 30) he writes, “If anyone were to suggest doing metzitzah with the mouth, we would say the worst things about him because there is nothing more disgusting [than] placing a wounded [bleeding] organ into the mouth. Especially that organ.” His conclusion, however, is that “since it is a mitzvah, there is justification.”