06 August 2007

Oy Vey! The Dangers of Mezuzos

Rabbi rules against kissing mezuzot
Neta Sela Published: 08.05.07, 16:12 / Israel Jewish Scene

Conservative rabbi issues ruling stating that kissing mezuzot must be avoided in order not to contract an infectious disease

A Conservative rabbi has recently ruled that kissing mezuzot should be avoided, in order to avoid the risk of contracting an infectious disease.

Rabbi Simcha Roth issued the ruling after he was approached by members of his congregation who expressed concern over the possibility that kissing a mezuzah which has been kissed by other people may constitute a health hazard.

Roth stressed that kissing mezuzot should be particularly avoided in public places and hospitals, where the risk is even greater.

The mitzvah of affixing a mezuzah to the doorpost appears in the Bible, Deuteronomy 11:20: “And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates.” The mitzvah aims at reminding the Jew of the mitzvot of the Torah upon entering his home. According to the Conservative Movement, the mezuzah also reminds the inhabitants of the house that God protects them at all times.

Rabbi Roth explained that in both cases, the mezuzah’s role is to be looked at, not touched or kissed. He said that the custom of kissing the mezuzah has developed in later years with the goal of giving the observant Jew a sense of intimacy with his God.

According to Rabbi Roth, “The only mitzvah related to the mezuzah is to affix it to the doorpost and to check it to make sure it is not damaged. The other customs, such as touching or kissing it, are merely traditions and not mitzvot from the Torah.

“Therefore, in such cases it is not only permitted, but even recommended, to avoid kissing the mezuzah.”

Absurdity. Don't hold the hand rails on staircases or even more importantly, wear surgical gloves at Shul (especially in Conservative congregations) because you never know who held that siddur before you did, wore that talis before you did or oy vey, wore the kippah before you did. By all means, don't shake hands with the Rabbi, (especially younger rabbis) because he shakes everyone's hands and who knows where those hands have been.

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therapydoc said...

Ah, but you can kiss a woman in shul, right?

aprpeh said...


only behind closed doors. :) just remember to use purell.

What Words Offend Arabs? The Truth.

Children's Poetry Booklet Recalled After Arabs Complain
(Israeli censorship kowtows to Arabs.
When Will We Tell The Truth Without Fear)

(IsraelNN.com 7 Sivan 5768/June 10, '08) Ynet's web site and Arab complaints against a ten-year-old boy's poem about terrorists has resulted in the recall of all of the Nes Ziona municipality's children's poetry booklets.

Ynet boasts that its coverage of the poem resulted in its being recalled.

The text of the poem (Ynet's translation):

Ahmed's bunker has surprises galore: Grenades, rifles are hung on the wall. Ahmed is planning another bombing!What a bunker Ahmed has, who causes daily harm.Ahmed knows how to make a bomb. Ahmed is Ahmed, that's who he is, so don't forget to be careful of him.We get blasted while they have a blast!Ahmed and his friends could be wealthy and sunny, if only they wouldn't buy rockets with all their money.

Poetry competition director Marika Berkowitz, who published the booklet, was surprised at the protests and told Ynet: "This is the boy's creation and this is what he wanted to express. Of course there should be a limit, but I think the there is no racism here. 'Ahmed' is a general term for the enemy. These are the murmurings of an innocent child."

The Education Ministry told Ynet: "The local authority that published the booklet should have guided the students in a more correct manner through the schools. The district will investigate the issue with the local authorities."
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