Monday, August 17, 2009

Rabbis vs. swine flu

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Looks like a boring job. But somebody has to do it, . . . right . . . ?

Behind the glass doors, you put your bag through the X-ray machine and then walk through the metal detector. Then you're free to enter the Western Wall Plaza and approach the Wall.
Well, unless you are wearing pants or skirt or sleeves that are too short. Then this [what I call] "prayer police" woman will nab you and have you put a "modesty scarf" over the offending bare skin. Orders of the Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Places.
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Some other rabbis in Israel have been busy coming up with highly interesting ways to fight swine flu before it reaches biblical proportions. We already have over 2,100 verified cases and nine have died.
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1. The top Sephardic rabbis urge us to start a 24-hour fast tomorrow at sunset. If you can't last a whole summer day without water or food, they say half a day is OK.
And if that is too hard, you should a ta'anit dibur. I had never even heard this term before. Literally translated, "a fasting from talking." Jews taking a vow of silence??
More about it here.
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2. Some fifty rabbis and "kabbalists" armed with ceremonial trumpets took to the skies over Israel a week ago to battle the swine flu virus . They circled Israel chanting prayers and blowing shofars ( rams' horns) in an Arkia airplane.
Full story here.
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3. Many people touch the mezuzah on the doorpost when they enter a building (even a hospital) and then kiss their fingers. (See my earlier post for more about mezuzot.)
Doctors are being asked if this is wise right now. Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar said "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."
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4. The Alter Rebbe of Ger has told his Hassidim to stop their old custom of toasting from one communal cup. Anything to discourage the spread of what rabbis prefer to call H1N1 (swine--feh!).
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Sei gesund! Be well!
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Believe it or not, this is the state of my world these past few weeks and I dare to share it at That's My World Tuesday.
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20 comments:

Denise said...

Very interesting post today. I am not familiar with any of these customs, so it has been a learning experience. Thanks for sharing.

Martha Z said...

Interesting.

cieldequimper said...

Let us know if any of these work! I'm interested, I don't want to catch it before or during my upcoming holiday over the big pond!
P.S.: I had to laugh so hard at the fumier story... I stumbled backwards into a fumier pit when I was small!!!

Leora said...

Loved the idea of a "ta'anit dibur" - now that made me smile.

Not kissing a mezuzah but blowing a kiss in the air sounds very practical (and one I've heard before).

I always say if you eat lots of fruits and vegetables you are less likely to get sick.

CathM said...

Hmmmmmm... interesting post, Dina!

Dimple said...

I wonder how many people out of 2000 would be expected to die from any other sort of flu...
My hunch is that the risk of dying from this disease is played up. But maybe I'm wrong, it has happened before!

SandyCarlson said...

Well, I hope those anti-swine flu strategies work. Those numbers are staggering.

You have me thinking about modesty. I have been quite immodest these past few hot summer days. I don't know how covering up is accomplished in warmer climates!

James said...

That must have been a sight and sound to behold. Very interesting stuff.

Robin said...

The flying thing really takes the cake. What will they come up with next...

Pietro said...

Interesting, Dina. A Cebion effervescent tablet a day in a glass of fresh water is thirst-quenching and could be of help.

mirae said...

Hello beautiful Dina, It is great to hear about the psychic healing with ceremonial trumpets that is so not like the western world, I believe it has power.

There are cases of the swine flu in Canada and in my city but the medical experts have decided that so far it is behaving very much like our usual flu.The people that are dying have other complications that have contributed to the death and it is stated that people die of the flu every year so why treat this flu anymore seriously.Well at this point this is the medical advice.

These nine people that died may have had other complications and again people die every year of the flu. Ofcourse, I can't speak for your region but that's the news from here.

So far it has just been much ado about nothing which is great we are not complaining we are releived.

Arija said...

Put it all together and what do you get?....A remedy for swine flu???? :)

I love this post.

Abraham Lincoln said...

I hope somebody keeps score on this one. I don't think it is possible on all the points. Let us know the outcome.

Jack and Joann said...

Jews refraing from talking. Oh, that is too funny. But I have some of same concern about receiving communion in the Catholic Church. No communal cup for me. And what about the priest spreading germs by giving communion on the tongue?

Jenn Jilks said...

Quite entertaining!

spacedlaw said...

I like the idea of the rabbis in the sly blowing trumpets to defeat the disease...

Cloudia said...

You educate my soul, Dina

Maggie Ann said...

Very interesting! I didn't realize the swine flu was so prominent. Recently I read an article in one of our newspapers that questioned the safty of the newly developed swine flu vaccine. On television here in the U.S. they showed volunteers receiving different doses of the vaccine to test it.

Jew Wishes said...

Thank you for this interesting and informative post. I like the idea of blowing a kiss in the air, and not kissing the mezuzah. I also think it is a good idea not to toast from a communal cup. All this...until the flu subsides.

I found the statement about ta'anit dibur a bit comical. I see the reasoning, though.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I love this kind of stuff on how people mix their faith with their life.