Germies are folks who cannot stand the thought of drinking out of the same bottle as someone else, eating off of a public plate, shaking random peoples hands and any other number of things that would require the Germy to constantly be washing their hands. Some germies carry baby wipes and hand sanitizer in their purses or pockets to prevent the spread of bacteria. These folks also tend to be the folks who turn off public restroom faucets with their paper towels and wash their hands vigorously whenever they can find a sink. Orthodox Judaism is not place for a germy.
Kiddush at Shull:
I can only imagine what its like for a germy, all those unwashed hands trying to fiddle around with the little colorful toothpicks that have been haphazardly lodged into the shmaltz herring and fish balls. The thoughts of everyone coughing and sneezing into their hands, because you had just heard the orchestra of common colds entertaining you during the Rabbis sermon. To think that all of those hands are trying to fish the cholent spoon out of the pot and a few reckless folks deciding that they could do better with their own little plastic spoons in the cholent. Or the folks like myself that refrain from trying to weed through hungry old ladies and just shove our hands through the throng and grab a piece of kugel or rainbow cake without the proper use of the utensil. The of course there are the folks who like to pick with their hands out of the communal salad bowl or fruit platter. Frankly Kiddush must be a germies worst nightmare.
Kiddush at Home:
I don’t even like it when my host takes a huge swig of the becher with his probably bug infested beard dipping into the cup and his and everyone elses backwash at the table coming to meet my lips, imagine the thoughts of someone who wishes they made bubble suits for folks afraid of bacteria. Then even if you make it past the kiddush without having to swallow loose beard hairs and your hosts backwash, you may have to watch as every little kids hand touches your little grape juice filled cup that was just taken off of the wine fountain to be given to you, scary huh?
How exactly does one refrain from shaking someone’s hand that was just thrust out to them on their return from an aliyah? Or how do you refuse to hold the sweaty hands of someone while dancing the horah around the bima during one of those Carlebach shabbosim that orthodox shulls have tried to implement in order to lighten up the mood in shull on Friday nights. Hairy hippies will never take no for an answer, but how do you refuse to take their hands and do the frummy bima shuffle instead (dancing without hand locking) Then of course you have the guy in back of you who is just hacking away into his rapidly decaying tissue. And the random snuff box that is floating past you, tempting you to sneeze your guts out just before the Haftorah. Such complicated issues for a germy arise and what do they do?
Ever notice the few folks sitting out all the dances and just watching along? Well if they are not gorging themselves with excessive amounts of food, they are probably germies. Closet germies, but nevertheless they have no excuse other then their feet hurt and their back hurts, because there is nothing worse for a germy, save for eating cholent at Kiddush, then having to dance at a wedding or bar mitzvah. Think about it, you have all these drunk sweaty men, who probably did not wash their hands once the whole night, and they are rubbing up against you and touching you, transferring sweaty throw up infested bacteria onto you and eventually destroying your immune system. So these germies tend to get up for the frummy electric slide when everyone does the touch-less carpet slide on the dance floor, which never lasts more then a few minutes anyway.
Just like shull the same problem of unwanted hand shaking arises at simchas, but unlike shabbos there is one way to avoid this, in fact it was originally invented by frummies who were also germies. Instead of the traditional hand shake, people at simchas generally say Mazel Tov, and either continues talking or walk away. I have noticed many a time that Mazel Tov could be used as a way to stop a conversation and prevent unwanted hand shaking.
Buses and Sharoot’s:
Mechitza buses only make it worse for the germy. Men by nature are less cleanly then women and in this case it s a horrendous crime to force the causal Monsey Trails traveler to sit next to his own kind. Maybe there are some empty seats on the women’s side, but regardless he must deal with Yoilies noxious fumes and half eaten shawarma sticking out of his bag dripping its contents awfully close to your own lunch, that was neatly wrapped in many pieces of saran wrap.
I think the sharoot in Israel is a nightmare for any self proclaimed germy. I have been packed in solid with 10 people I didn’t know, while we shoved each other for air as we drove from the airport to Jerusalem, it wasn’t comfy for me, having big hairy ladies coughing on me, and I am the anti-germy. Actually I attribute my healthy self to being an anti-germy as I frequently impose the Ten-Second rule upon myself, even in questionable ground surfaces. The Ten Second rule can in fact be any number seconds that one would eat something that has fallen on the floor, of course it depends what type of floor and how dirty it was, but in most cases ten seconds is a nationally accepted time line in which one may eat something that has fallen to the floor and not be branded as disgusting. Seconds are added for instance if no one is around to judge your sickness rating.
I guess I am a germy when it comes to this, as I only use natural bodies of water far from human civilization, in other words I go to the mikvah whenever I go skinny dipping on a solo bike ride or hike.
Kissing the Torah:
Ok so if you do it with your siddur thats fine, but what if you have an old fraying artscroll or birnbaum that was undoubtedly touched by 20 million unwashed hands during its lifetime. Its almost like putting money in your mouth, bad thoughts swirling around kissing siddurim after they touch the torahs covering. You can use a shinew like your elbow- so you dont have to watch your contaminated hands, or maybe you are wearing your own talis, but still the tzitzis probably spent some time on the floor during shull.