Thursday, September 15, 2005

Columbus, Kaduri, and the lunar eclipse

*Updated below*

While anchored off Jamaica in 1504, Christopher Columbus found himself in dire straits. Though his supplies were running low, the Jamaican Indians refused to sell him any more food. Consulting his almanac, Columbus noticed that a lunar eclipse was due a few days later. On the appointed day, he summoned the Jamaican leaders and warned them that he would blot out the moon that very evening if his demands for food were not promptly met. The Jamaicans only laughed at him - until later that night when the eclipse began. As the moon disappeared before their eyes, they visited Columbus in a state of terror, whereupon he agreed to stop his magic in exchange for food. The offer was accepted and the moon "restored."

I bring this up, because Yitzhak Kaduri has announced that "It is incumbent upon [diaspora Jews] to return to the Land of Israel due to terrible natural disasters which threaten the world."

There are so many ways to interpret the Kaduri announcment.

(1) He knows what he's talking about
It's possible Rabbi Kaduri has a kabbalistic almanac, which lists natural disasters like Columbus's almanac listed eclipses. But then why won't the Rabbi go on the record and name the disaster? Let him say exactly what threatens us, and I'll be glad to listen.

(2) He's lying - l'shem shamayim
According to this theory, the theory of the noble lie, Rabbi Kaduri has no idea what the future holds, but because aliya is an affirmative Jewish value, the Rabbi is willing to capitilize on recent events, (not to mention his reputation as a seer) for the purpose of encouraging more Jews to move to Israel.

(3) He's an accidental fraud.
A closed medium, is a psychic or miricle worker who actually believes in his or her powers, and does not purposely lie or perform trickery. Perhaps, Rabbi Kaduri believes his own hype, and is convinced that his ability to see the future is real. If so, he's telling us what he really believes, based on his learning and observations, but the information is still false.

(4) He's a deliberate fraud
Who's most likely to take this announcment seriously? Religious Jews, of course. And more religious Jews in Israel, means more power for the religious Jews who are already there, and more power still for their leaders. Though I do not embrace this possibility, the small cynical part of me must acknowledge that it's possible the Rabbi is attempting to strengthen himself politically by capitalizing on Katrina, and other recent events.

(5) UPDATE: The best explanation yet