Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is Dreaming of Moshiach unwittingly promoting idolatry?

When people who are not so knowledgeable start making up their own theology and practices on the basis of dreams, there is a real danger of not only going off the deep end but straying into idolatrous practices. And I am worried by some of the suggestions and ideas recently mentioned in posts at Dreaming of Moshiach.

Nava at DreamingOfMoshiach had a dream about 3 years ago where the Abir Yaakov, zatza"l, asked her to visit him. And so recently, she did. Then, in a post titled "Dreams Do Come True", she writes (emphasis mine):
Last night, exactly a week since being at the Tzion of the Abir Yaakov, zs'kl, my husband dreamed that the Abir Yaakov appeared to him. The Tzaddik Kadosh Elyon told my husband that all the prayers I prayed at his Tzion for all the people around the world, including my personal prayers, reached him.

The Abir Yaakov also told my husband that Miriam HaNevia was at his Tzion in the image of a white dove and he also told my husband that together with Miriam HaNevia, a'h, are judging all the bakashot to b'h fullfill them.

If you would like your judgment to be sweetened, I humbly sug
gest you light 2 candles, one for Rabbi Yaakov Abuchazera and the other for Miriam HaNevia, a'h, and ask that your bakashot be fullfilled for the good, amen.
The evidence that "dreams do come true", I suppose, is that her husband also had a dream. Sure.

Meanwhile, see what I stressed above. Praying at the kever of a tzaddik is somewhat questionable, but the reason it is most commonly allowed is that the tzaddik is just a meilitz yosher, who brings the tefillot to Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Yet here she writes that the tefillot reached him, meaning the Abir Yaakov, not Hashem! And who is the one to judge bakashot to fulfill them? Not Hashem! Rather, the Abir Yaakov together with a female consort, Miriam haNeviah. (This is a theme.)

Also, Miriam has apparently returned and taken corporeal form, of a bird (depicted above), who moves about in our world, rather than just being a tzaddekes who might help argue on our behalf in Shamayim. These elements make me extremely wary. And then, by lighting two candles, one for the Abir Yaakov and one for Miriam Haneviah, asking that the bakashot be fulfilled for good, there is more than a slight possibility that someone will have in mind that these are offerings, chas veshalom, to these spiritual entities.

Miriam is not the only dead tzaddekes to come back and take avian form. Apparently, Rachav haZonah has done so as well, as a white raven. And so we should light candles for her as well:
My husband was very surprised in the dream that Rachav is in Paris and Rachav HaTzaddika told my husband that in the zchut that she made it possible for Am Israel to capture Eretz Israel, she was given the important task of gathering Am Israel from all over the world to Eretz Israel.

Rachav HaTzaddika, a'h, asked my husband that we light candles for her neshama because it helps her and gives HKB'H much nachat. Please light a candle in honor of Rachav HaTzaddika and b'h, ask that in her zchut you will b'h be zoche to make Aliya, amen.
This grabbing of random Biblical female characters, even though some of them are neviim, promoting them to important roles in the coming of mashiach, and recommending offerings of sorts towards a specific purpose seems rather iffy to me. (And we don't see the same for Shmuel HaNavi, Yosef, Moshe, Aharon, Calev, Betzalel, Shlomo, Chizkiyahu, etc.)

It is not just Miriam and Rachav. It is also Devorah HaNeviah, who has been DreamingOfMoshiach's mainstay. She is hoping that on Shabbos Shirah, people will participate in a special meal in Devorah's honor, and in gratitude for what Devorah has done for us. In a post titled "Importance of Gratitude":
Devorah HaNevia is so humble and cares so much about Am Israel - she humbly transferred her promised miracles, 3,000 years later, to us, TO US!!!!!!

In gratitute to Devorah HaNevia's song of praise to HaShem, we also need to show Hakarat Hatov (gratitude) to Devorah HaNevia for transferring her promised miracles to us for the redemption to come without pain....

If you would like to show your gratitude to Devorah HaNevia, join us for Seudat Shabbat Shira in honor of Devorah HaNevia at the Chabad Shul in Ramot Aleph, Jerusalem, or you can participate by sending a donation in this tremendous Mitzvah.
If you cannot attend the scheduled upcoming Shabbat meal or contribute, I'd like to propose to light a candle in memory of Devorah HaNevia and remit a donation to another organization this week to help the Jewish needy in Israel in her memory and honor
Making a meal in gratitude to a deceased individual for miracles -- it is more than possible that this is idolatrous. I discussed this a while back in terms of "setting a table of Eliyahu". The defense listed there, for why it was not idolatrous, would not seem to apply here.

I say this before this Shabbos arrives, so as to warn anyone who may be considering participating in such a seudah, to first consult your local Orthodox rabbi.


Anonymous said...

None of what Devorah suggests is out of line with several Sefardic customs. You really need to research your stuff before you contend somebody's avodah is avodah zara, chas v'shalom

joshwaxman said...

custom, or *belief*? i know the practices, but the belief casts the practices in a different light. if you believe otherwise, please elaborate.

Anonymous said...

I seriously question Nava's legitamcy regarding her posts and always have. Her dreams and her interpretations just dont sit with me . It's almost like she is a self procalimed prophetess. I have to say I 100% agree with you on this one Josh! I have been asking myself the EXACT SAME questions and observations as you have bought up in this post. The bird thing is very iffy to me too as is lighting a candle. I was taught that one should only ever light a Ner Neshama on the Yahrtzeit of the deceased and it is idolatrous ways to have a flame burning at any other time (of course besides Shabbos & Yom Tov whre it is a Mitzvah)Occassionally there are legitamate posts by her tho but it just isn't the Derech Torah. In Pirkei Avos it states "Asay L'Cho Rav".I'm with you Josh ALL THE WAY on this one!

You got this one right!

Riva - Australia

Yosef Greenberg said...

She is probably unaware of the hashkafic implication of her ideas.

The epitome of what R' Chaim Brisker called "nebach an apikorus".

Yet he said that such a person is still a full-fledged apikorus.

And he has a Rambam backing him!


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