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Bidding Information
Lot #    17452
Auction End Date    3/13/2007 1:09:37 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Kuntres Mezizah
Title (Hebrew)    קונטרס מציצה
Author    [Circumcision - Polemic] R. Joseph Schlesinger
City    Pressburg (Bratislava)
Publisher    Abraham Alkelei
Publication Date    1900
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition. 16 pp., 8 vo., 205:140 mm., usual age staining, some chipping, bound in modern full cloth boards.
   An anti-Reform polemic and halakhic proof that the Meziza part of the circumcision ceremony is Mosaic Law. Much controversy has been generated in recent years in the performance of mezizah ("suction") during circumcision. Throughout the ages this was done by suction by the mouth in order, according to Maimonides, to remove the blood from the distant parts of the wound (Maim. Yad, Milah, 2:2). It continues to be the recognized method of mezizah among Orthodox Jews. A mohel who refrains from performing it is considered to be endangering the life of the child, and has to be debarred from practice. The Modern Orthodox method is for mezizah to be performed either by a swab or through a glass tube, preferably containing a small piece of absorbent cotton. The rounded end of the tube is placed firmly over the penis, pressed firmly over the area of the pubis, and suction by the mouth is carried out through the flattened end of the tube or through a rubber attachment. Toward the middle of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century cases of syphilis, tuberculosis, and diphtheria occurring in infants were ascribed to infection from mohalim using this method of suction. This has been contested by a few Jewish doctors, and some communities still follow the original practice. The Paris Consistoire abolished mezizah in 1843 and is no longer practiced by Reform and Conservative Jewry. Nevertheless, the observance of the ritual by the Orthodox has consistently generated heated debate, polemics, even court cases and charges of child abuse by the non-observant.

R. Israel David ben Mordecai Margolies Schlesinger Jaffe (c. 1802–1864), a descendant of R. Mordecai Jaffe (Levush) and a student of the Hatam Sofer, was rabbi in Senice-Szenc in Slovakia, and after 1832, rabbi and av bet din of the Bazin-Pezinok community in the Bratislava (Pressburg) district. He was a leader in the fight against Reform and is the author of responsa.

Paragraph 2    קובץ מש"ס פוסקים ראשונים ואחרונים שהמציצה... מצוה בפני עצמו... בפה ולא בספוג וכדומה, מאת יוסף... בן... מו"ה מרדכי מרגליות יפה נ"י בן... מו"ה ישראל דוד זצ"ל... העומד למשמרת בק"ק ראגענדארף...
   CD-EPI 0170357; EJ
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Other:    Hungary
History:    Checked
Polemics:    Checked
Responsa:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica