I’m a little ashamed of this story, brought to you care of Haaretz. Apparently, Jerusalem’s Christian’s have been putting up with the ancient disgusting practice of projecting phlegm at a reasonable speed towards someone you wish to denigrate. Apparently, it’s mostly overly zealous Yeshiva bochers who are responsible and, I guess not surprisingly, “there are an increased number at certain times of year, such as during the Purim holiday.”
What happens as a result? Well, on Sunday an incident developed when a yeshiva student spat on an Armenian bishop during a procession. A 17th century cross was broken as a result. Two boys were banned from the old city for 75 days. Why does it happen? According to Shmuel Evyatar (advisor to the Mayor on Christian affairs and himself a victim of spitting) “I’m sure the phenomenon would end as soon as rabbis and well-known educators denounce it. In practice, rabbis of yeshivas ignore or even encourage it.” To make things worse, Evyatar says “A group of yeshiva students spat at us and their teacher just stood by and watched.” Do the Christians generally feel safe? Apparently, on Purim, when spitting is at an annual high, Daniel Rossing reports “I know Christians who lock themselves indoors during the entire Purim holiday.” (Daniel is the former adviser to the Religious Affairs Ministry on Christian affairs and director of a Jerusalem center for Christian-Jewish dialogue.)
Final Question: are the victims over-reacting? Well, one Archbishop Nourhan Manougian had the following to say:
When there is an attack against Jews anywhere in the world, the Israeli government is incensed, so why when our religion and pride are hurt, don’t they take harsher measures?
Ok, well, maybe he is over-reacting. I guess deep down its merely rude rather than really harmful and certainly not comparable to the type of attacks Jews suffer around the world. In fact, I’d be pretty damned surprised if Jews don’t get spat on around the world but I haven’t hear the Israeli government get incensed about any of these incidents.
Anyhow, to try to justify posting this ridiculous story on Jewlicious, I present a few talmudic passages on spitting. Hopefully the boys at the yeshiva who have an urge to spit will get to these passages eventually…
First: R. Bibi says in the name of R. Simeon b. Lakish that spitting at the temple mount is a pretty bad thing:
If one spits… on the Temple mount, it is as if he spat into the pupil of His eye, since it says: And Mine eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually
The reasoning is basically that wearing shoes in the temple is bad, so imagine how bad spitting is since:
…seeing that regarding a shoe, the wearing of which does not show contempt, the Torah has said, Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, must not the rule all the more apply to spitting, which does show contempt?
That beauty came from Berakoth 62b. But there is more…
Apparently, searching for spit is a fairly good way to detect intercourse. Yebamoth 24b states:
If spittle is found on the upper part of the curtained bed, since the thing is ugly, she must, said Rabbi, go.
Where must she go, you ask? Well, she must go from the man who had intercourse with her. What does spittle have to do with it? Well, according to footnotes from the Soncino Talmud,
Only the woman lying face upwards could have spat on that spot. Intercourse may. therefore, be suspected.
Weird. Why are women spitting on the upper part of curtained bed when in missionary position? Oh forget it…Anyways, take home point: spitting? Rude. Doing it to clergy of other religions? Even ruder! Watching your yeshiva students do it and saying nothing? About as rude as can be. So please, next time you have stuff in your mouth you could project at others, swallow, don’t spit.