Question: I am concerned about the safety of circumcision. Wouldn’t it be safer to have a doctor do it in the hospital? Many people ask us this question, but have come to find that a kosher Brit Milah is simply the safest and best option.
The rabbinical procedure for Brit Milah (circumcision) has been established for centuries and has been flawlessly executed for millions of Jews in every era. Further, today each Orthodox Mohel (ritual circumciser) undergoes extremely precise medical training. It is safer to use the services of a trained Mohel than a doctor because Mohalim perform Britot Milah far more frequently than do physicians, making them naturally more proficient -- many Mohalim routinely perform as many at 10 Britot Milah on a given day, hundreds per year, and several thousand over a career -- as specialists... there is no other procedure which they are trained to perform. Brit Yosef Yitzchak's Mohalim are required to have performed hundreds of Britot Milah flawlessly before they may participate with our organization.
A Mohel performs a Brit using a Magen shield, and a Izmil (scalpel), which severs the skin safely, quickly, and efficiently --- within fifteen seconds, resulting in a minimum of pain. Doctors use a clamp, which takes several minutes, causes unnecessary pain, and can have serious health consequences. A letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued in August of 2000 states,
“...although research suggests that circumcision is generally a safe procedure, we are concerned that some device-related complications have occurred. We have received 105 reports of injuries involving circumcision clamps between July, 1996 and January, 2000. These have included laceration, hemorrhage, penile amputation, and urethral damage.”
Note that it is precisely the clamps to which the FDA objects -- We at Brit Yosef Yitzchak couldn't agree more. Not only does the clamp not conform to the strictures of Jewish law, but it really isn't safe for any type of circumcision. Under the best possible circumstances, the use of a clamp makes the circumcision a far more lengthy and painful procedure.
Using the Jewish shield, the results are precisely the opposite from those of the clamp: The foreskin is completely, safely, and painlessly isolated from the glans, so that inadvertant damage is impossible.
Every parent should also realize that Brit Milah is not simply a medical procedure. It is also a religious practice. The words “Brit Milah” convey both spiritual and physical significance. the term 'Milah' refers to the act of circumcision itself. The term 'Brit' means covenant, and refers to the assurance that G-d gave our Patriarch Abraham that his descendants would be G-d’s chosen people.
Any properly trained physician may perform a 'circumcision'. But when a circumcision is performed without the proper religious elements and ceremony, the child does not fully enter into this covenant. The procedure is meaningless in the religious sense. To seal the Covenant, another ceremony has to be performed, in which all the blessings and prayers are recited. A drop of blood is also taken from his member (as is done with a convert who was circumcised previously).
The religious ceremony surrounding a Brit is very festive because it brings the child into the ancient Covenant with Abraham. The ceremony enables him to receive the higher spiritual elements that are a part of the Jewish soul.
Both of these aspects, medical and spiritual, should be given adequate consideration. As we've explained, the kosher Brit Milah is superior in both regards.