The Future of שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם Handshaking with Social Distancing
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- This topic has 22 replies, 14 voices, and was last updated 2 years, 11 months ago by Reb Eliezer.
April 13, 2020 7:23 am at 7:23 am #1849107
What does the indefinite future hold in store when giving your fellow Yid a hartzige שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם and handshake in the new age of social distancing where elbow bumps replace the traditional handshake?
Is a six-foot separation the new normal henceforth?April 13, 2020 9:28 am at 9:28 am #1849163lowerourtuition11210Participant
I hope not!April 13, 2020 10:09 am at 10:09 am #1849165Someone in MonseyParticipant
Coronavirus or no coronavirus, the reality is that shaking hands is inherently unsanitary. Not only that, it may not even be a Yiddishe minhag. It’s something the goyim do and not even all goyim, at that. Look at the way Gedolim and Chassidishe Rebbes greet each other – it’s with minimal hand contact. It may well be that even that is something that is rooted in goyishe culture. Can’t be certain about that, but it’s entirely possible.
If you start to think about all the things you do with your hands, and all the things you touch, you realize hands can be quite unclean. Then, if you start to think about those same things on other people’s hands…it’s unpleasant, to say the least. I began washing my hands as soon as I entered my house years ago, long before today’s troubles. It’s because I realized that the outside world is filthy and was the last thing I wanted to allow into my home. I hadn’t graduated to avoiding handshaking, as it was socially rude, but now, the rules have changed. It’s for the best, I think.April 13, 2020 11:38 am at 11:38 am #1849168
SiM: Many Yidden, especially Sefardim and Chasidim, kiss the godol’s hand rather than shake it.April 13, 2020 11:38 am at 11:38 am #1849170ubiquitinParticipant
“Look at the way Gedolim and Chassidishe Rebbes greet each other – it’s with minimal hand contact.”
You obviously don’t spend time with Sefardim or ungarisher Rebbes. I cant wait to kish di Rebbe’s Hant when this is all overApril 13, 2020 11:39 am at 11:39 am #1849176rationalParticipant
“Not only that, it may not even be a Yiddishe minhag”
Ouch. Shaking hands is quite Jewish and is as old as the earliest Rishonim and possibly the Gemara. See the Rosh’s quotation of Rabeinu Hananel on BM 74a. We mention it in hatarat nedarim. It is a symbol of agreement and often has far-reaching contractual obligations associated with it. As a Jewish social gesture, it affirms religious solidarity. It would be quite unfortunate if it becomes extinct.
וגם הנעשה בתקיעת כףApril 13, 2020 11:39 am at 11:39 am #1849186Old Crown HeightsParticipant
Instead of a handshake people should say sholem aleichem along with two tenuos of the yeshivishe thumb. The respondant says aleichem sholem with two slightly larger tenuos of the thumb.April 13, 2020 11:45 am at 11:45 am #1849205RashbiJrParticipant
Actually the minhag in Sanz and other galitzian shtetlach were not to shake hands at all (except for specials times like erev yom kippur, etc.)April 13, 2020 1:11 pm at 1:11 pm #1849230
Reb Yosef is correct: Kissing the Rebbe’s hand is a lot more efficient way of spreading any infectious disease rather than simply shaking hands.
In reality, there will obviously be real changes in salutation and recognition behaviors, at lease for the near-term. There are many ways to show kovod for your rebbe, w/o direct physical contact. That is just as much for the Rebbe’s well-being as your own.April 13, 2020 1:59 pm at 1:59 pm #1849251
Perhaps some will adapt the Japanese system of giving the person a bow.April 13, 2020 2:00 pm at 2:00 pm #1849246Reb EliezerParticipant
My rebbi, the Matisdorfer Rav, when kissing the hand, pushed it away from humility.April 13, 2020 3:12 pm at 3:12 pm #1849294ForshayerParticipant
Sfardim, when they greet each other hold up their right hand with the palm facing them. When I travel overseas and daven with the Sfardim and offer my hand they look at me as if I’m from outa space.April 13, 2020 3:19 pm at 3:19 pm #1849303
Forshayer: The minhag when greeting the Rishon L’Tziyon (as well as other Sefardic gedolim) is to kiss their right hand.April 13, 2020 4:44 pm at 4:44 pm #1849326BillyweeParticipant
In most cultures it was used as a sign of peace. Most people are right handed and carried a sword. By extending an empty right hand you were showing you meant them no harm. By responding with your empty right hand you showed you were also not a threat.April 13, 2020 5:05 pm at 5:05 pm #1849331ForshayerParticipant
Joseph: Your original post was about shaking your fellow Yid’s hand not the Rishon L’Tziyon or a Sfardy Gadol. I do admit that the first time I would arrive into the Shul in Kowloon HK and I would see Harav Meoded I would give him a big hug, but that’s not what my post was talking about. Here in Forshay a lot of people will have to think twice about kissing the Rebba’s hand, not sure what the future will hold with regards to that practice.April 13, 2020 7:07 pm at 7:07 pm #1849359
Forshayer: I suspect that for the indefinite future, we would be showing MORE kovod to our rabbonim and gadolim (as well as one another) by foregoing handshakes, kissing the hands, hugging etc. and simply engaging in a slight bow of the head or other non-contact recognition.April 13, 2020 7:07 pm at 7:07 pm #1849360couch potatoParticipant
Once it’s over why should I be getting different than beforeApril 13, 2020 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm #1849408
Couch: You say “once its OVER”….I’m not sure what that means since the virus is not going away. It will be substantially MITIGATED once we have both a vaccine with high efficacy (about 15-18 months away according to every expert except the Trumpkopf) and a real time ability to test and contact trace. Right now we have tested less than 1 percent of the population and public health officials acknowledge they the resources to do meaningful contact tracing.)
Yes, b’yh, we will return to some degree of normalcy but there will be some common sense changes in our behavior even after we have vaccines and testing.April 13, 2020 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm #1849438yehudayonaParticipant
Couch potato, what makes you think this is the last pandemic? Even when there’s a COVID-19 vaccine and everybody (except anti-vaxxers) gets it, there’s always a chance that another pandemic will pop up. I kind of like the idea of hand shaking becoming a relic of the past. It eliminates the problem of people of the opposite sex extending their hand expecting you to shake it.April 14, 2020 8:51 am at 8:51 am #1849489
YY: That’s (opposite gender) a non-issue among Yidden giving a שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם handshake.April 14, 2020 9:59 am at 9:59 am #1849505
New minhagim on “greetings” will be the least of our problems going forward. I think many are underestimating the changes that will be necessary for the near term in many aspects of our daily lives, some of which may be temporary changes and others, long-term. Does anyone really anticipate 80,000 yidden packing into MetLife stadium later this year to hear about the evils of the internet? Maybe they could do a “virtual asifah on Zoom”.
More seriously, there will be substantial challenges to many Mosdos that will have to deal with newly imposed costs at a time that revenues and fundraising will be challenged. More spacing and social separation, even in the short term, will require physical changes to facilities and possibly lower limits on attendance in schools and Simcha halls. New protocols in medical and dental offices will have costs as will more frequent testing and vaccinations (assuming we have one available next year). Even grocery stores may limit their “fresh” produce options and salad bars and move towards more pre-packaged foods and produce to limit handling. These all come at a cost.April 14, 2020 10:09 am at 10:09 am #1849513🍫Syag LchochmaParticipant
I’m talking purely from my impression of humanity and nothing else – i don’t see anything changing when these barn doors open. People will have an emotional need to put this fear laden time behind them and continuing a fight with a microbe that may or may not still be a threat won’t cut it for most people.
The high risk people will probably live more fearfully, but most people who probably already had it and moved on will be chomping at the bit to pretend life goes on. And i believe it will. Our insides might have matured but on a societal scale i would be shocked if anything looks different.April 16, 2020 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm #1849839Reb EliezerParticipant
The word ידיד friend is יד to יד which is כח strength.April 17, 2020 1:36 am at 1:36 am #1849853LightbriteParticipant
I vote no more handshaking, period.
No alternative fist bump or elbow bump.
No heel of the shoe touch.
Just personal boundaries.
Professional boundaries without touching.
Also no kisses on the cheek even if it’s the same sex.
I’m not a fan of forced social touching.
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