A guest post by JS:
You can all breathe easy, at least if you live in Israel, the swine flu pandemic is over. A group of courageous rabbis have flown over the country, blown the shofar, and said some prayers. Skeptical? Don't be. As one of the rabbis involved said, "We are certain that, thanks to the prayer, the danger is already behind us." Read more about it here.
It's a shame this wasn't done earlier as there are over 2,000 confirmed cases of swine flu in Israel and I believe 5 people have already died. I also wonder if those who have the disease have been suddenly cured by this ritual. Someone should check up on that.
What bothers me the most about this, is that so much of religion is already hanging by a thread to any semblance of rationality. Do you really need to do something like this and make me wonder if everything else I do is in the same category? How am I supposed to differentiate flying in a plane, blowing a shofar, and saying a prayer to stave off disease from sitting in a shul, blowing a shofar, and saying some prayers to stave off punishment for sins?
Flicking blood onto altars and tapestries? Swinging a chicken/money over your head? Sitting in a hut? Waving a bunch of branches and a lemon?
Is there anything that makes these people crazy and a "normal" religious person sane?
Search for more information about mystical cures at 4torah.com.