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Feb 17, 2010

a bracha with a money back guarantee

Baba Elazar, Rav Elazar Abuchatzeira, was always known as a great man. He is mystical, a kabbalist, he has an empire but he himself supposedly lives very simply, he wears a hood so as not to see anything "not tzanua". I never heard a bad word about him.

As somebody else said to me, these are people who we grew up only hearing great things, and we were brought up believing in the integrity.

The NY Post reports that he is under investigation for running a con by making divine promises in exchange for bucketloads of cash.

The Brooklyn DA is investigating whether a shadowy, Israel-based Kabbalist rabbi bilked vulnerable New York Jews out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by offering divine promises for cash, The Post has learned.

A stream of alleged victims from Borough Park, Brooklyn, to Englewood, NJ, said Rabbi Elazar Abuchatzeira, of Beersheba, Israel, demanded money from them during annual visits to Orthodox Jewish communities in the tri-state area.

"This man is hurting people," said Borough Park businessman Menachem Ellowich, 53, who signed over a check for $100,000 -- shown to The Post -- in exchange for a guarantee that his barren daughter would be able to conceive a child.

She never did.

"He ruined my life. He ruined my finances by making these promises."

"We know about him," said Brooklyn Assistant DA Eileen Ayvazian. "It's an active investigation.

No matter how desperate a person is, I don't know how anybody can give over $100,000 for a promise that he has no gaurantee will come true.

I would suggest that instead of making promises to people, these kabbalists and mystics should be offering brachos and prayers on behalf of people, explaining that there is no guarantee of success.
But he was making promises! A promise that was sold for $100,000 better come true, or else what good is the promise and how can you call it anything but a scam?

I don't know how this fits with the adage "a tzaddik decrees and Hashem fulfills", but clearly these promises were not being fulfilled.

The way they work normally is they get a certain percentage of people where the promises "came true" - the couple who received the promise had the baby, their finances turned around, their disease disappeared, whatever. Those people then go around making a lot of noise, praising these miracle workers.

What nobody realizes is that only a percentage of the promises came true - and who says that had anything to do with the promise? Maybe it is just a matter of statistics that a certain percentage of people will have their issues resolved in an unexplainable way. Nobody hears about the majority of people who received promises and nothing happened.

People - go get brachos from great rabbis, but don't accept promises that cannot be guaranteed. Unless the mekubal is offering a money back guarantee.

10 comments:

  1. The way they work normally is they get a certain percentage of people where the promises "came true" - the couple who received the promise had the baby, their finances turned around, their disease disappeared, whatever. Those people then go around making a lot of noise, praising these miracle workers.

    What nobody realizes is that only a percentage of the promises came true - and who says that had anything to do with the promise? Maybe it is just a matter of statistics that a certain percentage of people will have their issues resolved in an unexplainable way. Nobody hears about the majority of people who received promises and nothing happened.


    It's called the Jean Dixon effect.

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  2. watch out rafi, or yaak is gonna come after you. you are questioning his tribesman! :)

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  3. Sounds like a great business model.

    They should refund the money if the promise does not come true, only keep the money if they fulfilled their obligation.

    Sounds like they have little to lose, even if only 5% of the "promises" come true, at 100,000 a shot they'd be making good money.

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  4. Wait a sec! Who said it was a promise, the Baba Elazar or Mr. $100K? And who says money was "demanded" as opposed to suggested, the Baba Elazar or Mr. $100K? And who came up with this amount, the Baba Elazar or Mr. $100K?

    And how long has it been since Mr. 100K's visit? Maybe the bracha will come true next year, or in 5 years. Did the Baba Elazar say anything like, "By next year this time, your daughter will have a baby?"

    "They should refund the money if the promise does not come true." Come true by when???

    "and only keep the money if they fulfilled their obligation." To do what, force the hand of G d?

    I think those of you who are ready to jump to conclusions ought to gather some more information first.

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  5. wanna - I would suggest that your questions is, at least in part, what is under investigation.

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  6. I'm sure, Raf. But there was already one comment saying "They should return the money," and I wanted to head off other comments and leaps to conclusions that often occur here on Life In Israel.

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  7. "A fool and his money are soon parted"

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  8. Who to go to for a Bracha

    1. The best person to go to for a bracha is: a true Cohen.

    Hashem passes His Beracha to the Kohen. And only a true Kohen can pass the full Bracha from Hashem to all of Am Yisrael - for material and spiritual blessing.

    In ancient times, where there would be a difference of opinion between the Melech and the Cohen, the Melech, the King, would always have to defer to the Cohen.

    This demonstrates the extremely high stature of the Kohen.

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  9. 2. The Cohen has a specific function to act as an “interface” between Hashem and the Jewish People – and to bless them.

    This is done through the, “Birchat Cohanim”. No one else, other than a true Kohen, is permitted to recite the, “Birchat Kohanim.”
    (Parsha of Nasso – 6:22-27)

    The Cohanim are specifically commanded to bless the Jewish People, “Be’ahava” - “with Love”. The Shechinah, the Presence of Hashem, is only able to rest on the Cohen, as he is a true descendant of Aharon HaKohen, the first Cohen HaGadol.

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  10. 3. Concerning:
    (a) Rabbis who are clearly not Kohanim and
    (b) Rabbis who are not true Cohanim, but who claim to be (this includes many of the ‘rabbanim’, ‘dayanim’ and ‘mekubalim’ of today) and
    (c) The ‘layman’ who is not a true Cohen, but who claims to be:

    Take note:-
    There are numerous people who fall into the above 3 categories. These people are regularly pronouncing the, “Birchat Kohanim”, or giving ‘brachot’ to the Jewish People.

    They have no right whatsoever, to do this.

    And they are actually “taking over” the role of the Cohen - for themselves.

    • This should be corrected speedily, so that the role of the Kohen to give brachot, is returned to him, and is no longer usurped by others.

    • Rabbis and rabbonim should have the humility to direct a person in need to a true Cohen.

    4. Those who need a brocha would be well advised to find someone who is known to be a true Cohen.

    Those seeking a bracha should be made aware, that the full Bracha from Hashem can only pass from Hashem, to His true Kohanim, and then to the Jewish People.

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