Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Yaakov Avinu Was Right!

{Update: Welcome, Haveil Havalim readers! Why not check out some other posts while you are here? In particular, I would recommend the following post: The Difference A Friend Can Make? A Jewish "Kyle" about a new Jewish spin on an old urban legend.}

According to midrash, Yaakov did not want to be buried in Egypt because the Egyptians might make him a deity. Especially as his coming ended the years of famine early. Similarly, we do not know the location of Moshe Rabbenu's grave, and this is good, because this way no one will worship him.

And this has now happened to the mystic monk Padre Pio. According to Reuters,
The body of the mystic monk Padre Pio, one of the Roman Catholic world's most revered saints who died 40 years ago, has been exhumed to be prepared for display to his many devotees.


A Catholic magazine once found that far more Italian Catholics prayed to Padre Pio than to any other icon of the faith, including the Virgin Mary or Jesus.
Even the former is idolatry in my book, but this (saint worship) strikes me as even more idolatrous and more polytheistic than just referencing the Trinity, in which at least they consider three to equal one. Of course, they can offer the standard answer we see by people who hope that dead tzadikim will act as intercessors, and address them. But it is useful to point it out by another religion, such that members of our own faith can recognize the inherent difficulty therein.

He seems to have been a type of Christian mekubal:

Padre Pio is also said to have predicted future events, to have been seen in two places at once, and to have been able to tell people their sins before they confessed them to him.

Pope John Paul II made him a saint in 2002 at a ceremony that drew one of the biggest crowds ever to the Vatican after the Church said it had found evidence that the miraculous cure of a sick woman was due to the dead monk's intercession.

But Padre Pio was dogged during his life and even after his death by accusations that he was a fraud.

A new book last year suggested he was a self-harming man who may have used carbolic acid to create wounds in his hands mimicking those of Christ when he was nailed to the cross.

I would agree that he was a fraud, and I think that many readers here would agree. But if such fraud, in e.g. telling people their sins before they confessed them to him, is possible to perpetrate, then how sure are you that the practical kabbalist visiting your neighborhood is not using similar tricks?

I don't know enough about Padre Pio to know whether he would be pleased to have people praying to him after his death. But we see here how easy it is for someone to be made into a deity when there are miracle stories floating about about him.

Indeed, perhaps it would have been better if there were no Ohel in Cambria Heights, with the location of that particular grave unknown and unmarked. For even Jews could potentially give this treatment to even Yaakov avinu, saying Yaakov Avinu lo meis, etc. BeEzrat Hashem, in the somewhat near future I intend to consider some of the sources about doresh el haMeisim, visiting and praying at kivrei tzaddikim, and how it relates to gemaras in Sotah and Taanit, and to Zohar and the Bach. Roughly, Rabbi Moshe de Leon admits that praying to gentile dead is doreish el hameisim, but holds that doing so to Jewish dead is not, and this opinion has held considerable sway despite dissenting opinions. But I want to look into it a bit more and give a more concrete post on the subject.


b said...

Three can't equeal won if worship of the father isn't the same as worship of the son.So it's avodah zorah.

b said...

Please,do you think lubaitcher's pray to icon of the rebbe's pictures as these goyim do?

b said...

I have yet to see lubavitch put up a statue of the rebbe or bow to one.

b said...

i was thinking about this.Did you ever see a chabad chassid daven to a picture of the rebbe?or hold a bead to pray to it?i'm not chabad but i know them and they don't do that.p.s. were you ever in 770?

joshwaxman said...

i don't have time to go into this at the moment, but it is often difficult for outsiders to gain a true appreciation of Chabad theology.

i'm sure you know about the Boreinu-niks, who say Yechi Adoneinu, Moreinu u-Boreinu.

but they are fringe crazies.

here is someone promoting mainstream Chabad theology. read this post, with the quote from the real shliach, followed by the lengthy exchange in the comment section.

the quote:
"From moshe rabbeinu until our rebbe it's one rebbe, one moshiach, one Aibeshter. What happened 13 shevat 5710? The Rebbe told a story, it's been edited already, you'll never find it, the Rebbe said, "Atzmus Ein Sof came down in a body, who speaks Yiddish, english, Russian, in order to be mekarev yidden to yiddishkeit."

this from an anti-meshichist!

i don't know that this will convince you, but at the least it may give you pause.

there is stuff in mainstream Chabad theology to support this, and indeed, many do believe this, in various forms, though they don't often speak overtly of it. which may may it difficult to drink any Lubavitch wine, as a practical matter of halacha.

ask your Chabad friends about "atmus umehus melubash beguf", and memutza hamechaber, which the Rebbe described himself as (or perhaps it was his father-in-law). inquire of them just how they understand this, and decide for yourself whether this touches on idolatry.

kol tuv,

b said...

Sorry in my first post it should say one not won.

b said...

You brought a smile to my face.I know much more about lubavitch than you'll ever know.And i'm no friend of them at all.As for that post you qouted.I know all about such incoherent talking at chabad drinking affairs.Did you read the whole thing?it's clearly one big rant.There's alot of things the radicals hide and make sure the normal ones don't say in public.Do you know all 3 main gabbiam of the lubavitcher rebbe who were with him day and night are anti meshchist?The ones who knew him best.And are not popular by many meshicistin?Moreover that bit of saying that it was edited etc.. is stamm nonsense,with no proof and doesn't show they are idol worship people.As i pointed out in my posts showing they don't do at all,what the notzrim do to their you know the ry of yu went to a event in honor of the late rebbe?

joshwaxman said...

alas, i don't have time to revisit every post i've ever made and jump right back into the thick of it.

but re:
"Did you ever see a chabad chassid daven to a picture of the rebbe"


regarrding a practice of children looking at a picture of the Rebbe prior to Shema.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin