Thursday, August 13, 2009

Swine Flu Alert: Stop Kissing Mezuzot

A Guest Post by Jameel

From YNET:

"Wednesday morning, Israel's 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.

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, isn't it?"

(edited by Jameel due to piousness and respect for the blog) The Rabbi answered, "Not every "mitzva" needs to be kissed."

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