According to what I have read, there are problems with ingesting human blood. Questions like this indicate that mar'is ayin applies.

During metzitzah in a circumcision, the mohel takes some blood into his mouth but then spits it out. However, according to some scholarly sources, there was a practice in the middle ages of mixing that spitted out blood with wine and having the parents and/or the baby drink some.

Here is one quote (and I don't know his sources, but I will also quote a corroborating historian)

After the mohel performs metzitzah, he traditionally spits the child's blood into a goblet of wine or sloshes the blood and wine in his mouth and expectorates into a cup. Then the mohel dips his finger and gives the child a taste. The boy's parents next take a sip, followed by the mohel. . . Today, most Jews sip only wine. But they once drank blood. . . Sipping the circumcision wine as wine rather than blood also dilutes the symbolic potency of the rite. The Torah , to repeat, firmly prohibits the consumption of blood, one of the premier laws incumbent on all of humanity and not just Jews. Yet paramount ritual remembrance of the covenant, with all its promise of progeny, requires participants to violate this decree by drinking a child's "life force." Eric Kline Silverman, From Abraham to America: A History of Jewish Circumcision, p. 138.


In Germany in the high middle ages additional customs arose concerning the blood: the circumciser would spit the blood of metzitzah from his mouth into the cup of wine from which the baby would be given a few drops to drink Shaye J. D. Cohen, A Brief History of Jewish Circumcision Blood (from, The Covenant of Circumcision: New perspectives on an Ancient Jewish Rite, edited by Elizabeth Wyner Mark).

And there are a few others. Now, I haven't checked these texts to see if their scholarship is right. They might all be extrapolating from a single anecdote in a single medieval text. But if the claim is even remotely true, wouldn't it have presented a halachic concern? Is there any source for this practice or discussion of its halachic status? Are there any sources which debunk these claims?

  • 1
    Sounds like a modern day blood libel.
    – user6591
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 13:53
  • High middle ages isn't so modern.
    – rosends
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 14:00
  • Modern day meaning this libel is being spread now, by the authors, and by you. Until any real evidence shows up like an actual Jewish source, this is a libel. About ingesting blood. Hence a modern day blood libel.
    – user6591
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 14:04
  • We can also discuss if there are or aren't sources which discuss whether or not there really is an assembly called the Elders of Zion running the world.
    – user6591
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 14:05
  • Except that my question is asking for "actual Jewish sources" which would either support or confront what the various scholarly sources claim as fact. We could discuss the Protocols and I could cite a variety of scholarly sources which analyze and refute the claims. That, however, is not a matter of halacha so it seems off-topic.
    – rosends
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 14:19

1 Answer 1


I've never, ever heard of such a thing (yuck!) and it wouldn't surprise me if the sources are distorted. But nonetheless, let's look at this from a halachic angle.

Kesubos 60a:

הוא טמא ואין דם מהלכי שתים טמא אלא טהור ואמר רב ששת אפילו מצות פרישה אין בו לא קשיא הא דפריש הא דלא פריש וחלופא בדם כדתניא דם שעל גבי ככר גוררו ואוכלו שבין השינים מוצצו ואינו חושש

Blood from animals is not kosher, but blood from humans is kosher. Furthermore, Rav Sheishes said there's not even a rabbinic prohibition to avoid it! However that all depends on whether the blood has been separated or not; human blood has the reverse laws [compared to human milk: an adult is allowed to drink a bottle of human milk, but not to suck it directly from the source]. As it was taught: If [your mouth has a cut and] you see [your] blood on a piece of bread, scrape it off before eating the bread. Blood between your teeth, you're allowed to suck it without any concern.

Rashi explains: the prohibition on human blood is that if people see you drinking a cup of blood, they may think it's from a non-human. But sucking blood is permissible as it never "separated" and fell under that prohibition.

Thus: human blood is never biblically prohibited; and in the circumstances discussed, probably doesn't fall under the rabbinic prohibition either.

  • Assuming the hallachik lenient opinion found in siman 66 that the blood is only disallowed because of maaris ayin (unlike Ramam), there is still room to say if it was mixed into something on purpose it would stay disallowed as Shach there #11 says about certain egg blood which was only assur because of maaris ayin.
    – user6591
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 13:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .