Dec 8, 2013

Proposed Law: selling amulets at cemeteries

On Wednesday the Knesset passed the initial reading of a law proposed by MK Ofer Shelach (Yesh Atid) by which, if passed, it would become illegal for the service provider or anyone else to sell in the confines of a cemetery, or within 100 meters of a cemetery, any product or service not directly connected to the funeral or burial. Exceptions could be made with the approval of the minister (I guess the Minister of Religious Services). In addition, the service provider would have to wear an identification badge.

The proposed law is intended to put an end to the selling of amulets, segulot, and other such items that are commonly sold in cemeteries. The sellers take advantage of mourners' emotional state to sell them these things that they don't need and many of them would not otherwise buy.

The identification clause would also assist mourners and others in properly identifying the appropriate service provider in the cemetery rather than other people with private interests who might be targeting mourners.

The proposal passed its initial reading with no opposition - 49 in favor, none opposed and 1 abstention. The bill will now be prepared for further voting.
(source: Bechadrei)

I wonder if this will only apply to regular cemeteries where people bury their relatives and friends, or if it will also apply to "national sites", such as Meron, Amuka, the cemetery in Tzfat, the Rambam's grave, among many others. Will a person be able to go to Meron, for example, and not have to walk through a bunch of kiosks peddling everything from candles to amulets to all sorts of mystical-type products that people don't know if they do anything or not?

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  1. Although I agree that it is wrong to sell amulets anywhere, especially in a cemetery, and these Amulets are probably forbidden by Halacha, I don't think that it is the job of government to micro-manage every aspect of religious services in this country.

    Selling anything at a cemetery (except for things like Yhartzeit Candles) is tacky, but if there are people who believe that a red string or whatever will make them feel better, I don't think that it's the government's gob to intervene. If the Rabbanut were to come out with a statement that such items a contrary to Halacha, that would be different.

    I wish that Yesh Atid would take a chill pill and try to stop micro-managing religious issues in this country.
    I agree with many of the laws that they have proposed in the past few months, however several of them are just trivial (like this one) and they are giving the impression that all they care about is trying to "put the Rabbanut in their place" by forcing the Rabbanut to do things their way.
    They would be much more effective if they focussed on one or 2 major issues (like Drafting Yeshiva students or making it easier to register a wedding), and then work with the Religious establishment to try to find a way to implement these changes as efficiently as possible.

  2. Someone selling amulets could easily claim that his wares are a part of the funeral service.

  3. If someone claims that it is part of the Funeral service, it should be the job of the Chevra Kadisha or Rabbbi conducting the service to put the record straight, and make sure that sellers don't bother the mourners.
    If the Chevra Kadisha are unable to do this, they should get training from the Rabbanut responsible,

    It is not the job of Government to micro-manage every religious service offered by the Rabbanut.

    Again, I think that ambulates are violation of Halacha whether sold at a cemetery, a hospital, the kotel, or anywhere else. I just don't want the government, or specifically Yesh Atid making halachic decisions for me.

    1. the problem is that we live in a country of nudnicks. by definition a nudnick can't simply get the important stuff done. he has to get under your skin. ANYTHING that bugs a nudnik has to go. the religious are just as guilty in the nudnik business.


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