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"No Clamp"
By: Rabbi Zalman Gansburg

The instrument most preferably used for ritual circumcision is called “Izmel”. A well-polished razor sharp surgical knife. When using this instrument in accordance to Halacha – Jewish law, the actual circumcision is instantaneous and almost painless.

The clamp method was designed primarily for physicians and Mohelim untrained in the skillful surgical procedure performed by a traditional Mohel at ritual circumcision. Some may prefer the clamp method because it is easy to use, and can be performed by a non-skilled individual.

The most commonly used clamps are the Gomco and Mogen types. They are employed in a lengthy procedure that completely crushes and severs the skin, the nerve endings and the blood vessels in causing extreme pain and trauma to the child. This may even cause the child to withdraw into a state of neurogenic shock in response to the sudden and massive pain.

The Jewish law

Jewish law prohibits the use of a clamp for ritual circumcision, because an essential part of the ritual is ‘dam bris’ - blood of the covenant. The clamp however tends to cause complete homeostasis as it crushes the skin. Another reason for this prohibition is that the clamp itself causes much undue pain to the child.


In the August of 2000 the FDA issued a warning about circumcision clamps, which it said can cause laceration, hemorrhage, penile amputation, and urethral damage.

The circumcision debate

On one side there are those medical experts that provide evidence to the medical benefits of circumcision such as a significantly lower risk for penile cancer and urinary tract infections.

However, others say that the extreme pain and trauma caused to the child at the time of circumcision can cause the child to withdraw into a state of neurogenic shock. And that they claim outweighs the medical benefits that circumcision has to offer.

Reason for circumcision

The circumcision debate is valid if the sole reason for circumcision is a medical one and the procedure for circumcision is done using the clamp method.

However the reason for performing circumcision by the Jewish people is a ritual one (although there may be medical benefits to it as well) it is preformed as a commandment by god and acts as a sign of God. Therefore Jewish law governs the procedural method of ritual circumcision, this prohibiting the use of a clamp but rather requires a quick and almost painless method for the circumcision.

As many urologists and trained surgeons consider the traditional method of circumcision: “A simplified and expeditious method with excellent results and low complication".