Kissing the Mezuzah (Coronavirus)

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Dear Rabbi Simon
My family have asked about the practice of kissing the mezuzah, in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. What are your thoughts on this?
Many thanks in advance.

Dear Malka
TY for your question.
The Israeli Chief Rabbi David Lau has ruled/advised that one should refrain from kissing the mezuzah due to the threat of COVID-19. His reasoning is that there is no mitzvah per se to kiss the mezuzah–at most, there may be a Talmudic basis for the pious practice of simply touching it (see Rema Darchei Moshe YD 285). For this reason, in a situation of potential risk (however remote) this minhag should be eschewed. Incidentally, the popularity of touching the mezuzah and then kissing one’s hand may be traced to the teachings of the Holy Ari (16th c. Tzefat) whose practices have exercised a vast (frequently unrecognised) influence on Jewish life.
Read more about this minhag here:
Best wishes and stay safe
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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