Thursday, January 24, 2013

Three Famous Rabbis Reject Segulahs... but not in the way I would have wanted them to

Three famous Brooklyn Rabonim took a mighty swing for the fences... but what should have been a home run landed slightly short...

As appreciative as I am to see someone with stature finally go on record in opposition to the charlatans and con men who prey on misfortune, this letter is not as strong as it should have been. My specific issue is with the words, "We urge you to consult your Rov before responding to these ads."

Why are we being urged to consult our Rabbis prior to tossing our money into the gutter? The ad says the claims are false, so what's to discuss? The segulahs don't work, the claims on their behalf are bogus, and the people behind them are bunko artists. This is what I gather I am supposed to understand from the words "These claims are not true" and the words "Ads which [promise] yehuos should be ignored." So what's with the hedge? Why send us to our Rabbis if you're already told us not to send the crooks our money?

I also dislike that helping Torah institutions is given more prominence than helping poor people. Keeping the lights on so people can learn is nice, but feeding the hungry and clothing the naked is more important. Even granting a poor kallah the dignity of a slightly nicer wedding ranks higher than making a contribution to the Rosh Yeshiva's salary fund.

So I guess you can summarize my objection as follows: Though we must lament that it took this long, its still wonderful that three (out of what? 3000?) Rabbis took a stand for truth. I only wish it might have been done without also reinforcing establishment charities and institutional prerogatives.

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