Thursday, August 13, 2009

H1N1 Health Alert: Stop Kissing Mezuzot

"Wednesday morning, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center announced it would limit visits to maternity wards for fear of having patients and newborn babies infected with swine flu, and now, one of the hospital's doctors has also recommended people refrain from kissing mezuzot in public places.

A mezuzah is piece of parchment inscribed with a Jewish prayer affixed on doorframes of Jewish homes as a mitzvah.

Israel's Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar also addressed the issue, saying, "If a specific order is given in the matter, the mezuzah must be kissed from the air, to ensure that the custom is not forgotten."

The H1N1 epidemic is a cause of major concern worldwide, and ultra-Orthodox media has not overlooked it. Haredi reporter Ozel Vatik interviewed seven doctors - including Emergency Room directors and specialists on infectious diseases – on the risks of contracting the virus from kissing a mezuzah – a custom that is highly common among religious and traditional Jews.

The doctors unanimously agreed that bacteria leave high levels of residue on such objects, but six of them refused to comment on mezuzot in particular, "so as not to get in trouble with the rabbis"."
I remember as a child hearing someone ask the Rabbi, "Why are you telling me not to kiss the mezuza, it's a mitzva?"

(edited by Jameel due to annoying comment) The Rabbi answered, "Not every "mitzva" needs to be kissed."

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


M.B.P. said...

I remember as a child hearing someone ask the Rabbi, "Why are you telling me not to kiss the mezuza, it's a mitzva?"

The Rabbi answered, "Brit Milla is also a mitzva"

That's what I told my girlfriend.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

MBP: Thats crude.

realRightWinger said...

Jokes aside - this is what it says in the Torah. When our forefathers asked people to swear to something, it says "Sim Yadcha Tachat Yarechi" (put your hand under my thighs) - i.e. they considered the place 'holy' and valid to swear bye -

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

RightWinger: That doesn't mean you kiss it as part of an oath!

btw - the same Rabbi replied about Tzitizs. One kid asked him why he doesn't keep his tzitzis out.

He replied, why should i?

Kid answers - it's a mitzva.

He answers...So is brit milla - I don't display that for everyone to see either.

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