Roy Tov – Roy Tov.com November 27, 2010
A Great Teacher said once you cannot build a strong house on soft ground. This is the first thing that came to my mind after reading one of the most bizarre news about one of the most bizarre societies ever. On November 25, 2010, two rabbis, a mayor and a beauty queen (a lizard was in standby) used a balloon to reach the remarkable altitude of a thousand feet above Kibbutz Ruhama in the Negev Desert. Once there, watching over a dichotomy of blue and yellow, Menashe Malka and Reuven Der’i prayed for rain. Nearby, doves laughed quietly. Underneath them, the lizard was getting tanned under the relentless sun.
In parallel, additional prayers took place on land, near the grave of Honi HaM’agel in Hatzor HaGlilit, and on Sea of Galilee (actually a lake) on a ship belonging to Kibbutz Ein Gev. This year is the driest since 1860; in Jerusalem rained 7mm in November as compared to an average of 60mm. Similar statistics apply elsewhere in Holy Land.
It is difficult to understand the problematic nature of the event without emphasizing some basic assumptions of Pharisaic–rabbinical Judaism. In the first century BC, during a draught, Honi HaM’agel (Honi the Circle-Drawer in Hebrew) drew a circle in the dust, stood inside it, and informed God that he would not move until it rained. When it began to drizzle, Honi told God that he was not satisfied and expected more rain; it then began to pour. He explained that he wanted a calm rain, at which point the rain calmed to a normal rain. Back then, he was almost put into herem (excommunication) for showing dishonor to God. However, Shimon ben Shetach, Queen Shlomtzion’s brother, excused him, saying that he had a special relationship with God. Things have changed since then. Once the Talmud was sealed, the attitude of the rabbis changed to meet the blasphemous one of Honi HaM’agel.
What Honi HaM’agel implied was that God was subordinated to him. This bizarre, very bizarre attitude was adopted by subsequent generations of rabbis. It is implemented in many aspects of modern Judaism; I’ll comment here on two of special interest.
The Lamed Vav Tzadikim (36 Righteous Ones, also known as Tzadikim Nistarim, hidden righteous ones) are 36 righteous people whose role in life is to justify the purpose of humankind in the eyes of God. Tradition holds that their identities are unknown to each other and that, if one of them comes to a realization of their true purpose then they may die and their role is immediately assumed by another person. This Pharisaic interpretation contradicts the Bible, which even in the Old Testament emphasizes all humans are sinners; imperfect. Pharisaic Judaism (all main currents Orthodox, Conservative and Reform are included here) claims the prayers of these people can change God’s designs. Many Yeshivot (Judaic colleges) claim their rabbis are within the 36 righteous ones and thus can change reality in special prayers in which the Tetragram (the four letters forming God’s name in Hebrew; namely a future pi’el conjugation of the Hebrew verb “to be”) is pronounced (Rabbi Ovadia Yosef performed this ritual more than once).
The most infamous application of this weirdo interpretation is known as Pulsa diNura (or Pulsa Denoura, Aramaic for “lashes of fire”), a kabbalistic ceremony in which the angels of destruction are invoked to block heavenly forgiveness of the subject’s sins, causing all the curses named in the Bible to befall him resulting in his death. Since the Torah prohibits praying bad things on someone else, there is no better testimony of Talmudic Jews being blasphemous. On the night of October 6, 1995, Avigdor Eskin, a member of the Gush Emunim (Block of the Faithful – settlers in the Occupied Territories) claimed to have recited the following maledictions of the Pulsa diNura: “Angels of destruction will hit him. He is damned wherever he goes. His soul will instantly leave his body… and he will not survive a month. Dark will be his path and God’s angel will chase him. A disaster he has never experienced will befall him and all curses known in the Torah will apply to him. I deliver to you, the angels of wrath and ire, Yitzhak, the son of Rosa Rabin, that you may smother him and the specter of him, and cast him into hid, and dry up his wealth, and plague his thoughts, and scatter his mind that he may be steadily diminished until he reaches his death. Put to death the cursed Yitzhak. May he be damned, damned, damned!” Rabin was assassinated next month. In July 2005, the Israeli media reported that opponents of the Gaza pullout plan recited the Pulsa diNura in the old cemetery of Rosh Pina, asking the “Angel of Death” to kill Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Next April, Sharon suffered a stroke and left office.
Of course, such prayers are never accepted. We are dealing here with something else. After this dramatic aperture with archaic curses, it is of special seeing the backstage. Avigdor Eskin was bold, obscene and public in his curse. More subtle in their actions were three other rabbis. Yigal Amir – Rabin’s assassin – was being pushed by Avishai Raviv (a Shin Beth provocateur known as “agent champagne”) to kill Rabin. Roughly at the same time Eskin cursed Rabin over dark graves, Amir wanted rabbinical approval to this action. He went back to his Yeshiva – Kerem B’Yavneh – and consulted one of the lecturers, Rabbi David Kav. He consulted also Rabbi Nahum Rabinovitch of Ma’ale Adumim Yeshiva and Rabbi Shmuel Dvir of Har Etzion Yeshiva. Apparently they had sanctioned the killing, though no charges were pressed against any of them.
Looking below the tanned and dry faces of the ballooners, one discovers not the behavior of Men of God, but those of Mafiosi acting for the material benefits of their gangs. It’s raining rabbis, avoy!