Thursday, August 11, 2011

Was Baba Elazar a con-artist?

Baba Elazar advising someone,
 surrounded by wealth
I am not going to address this question head-on, at least initially. I would prefer to start with a story, which happened to some close family friends of mine, a few years back.

The family was a couple, with a single daughter in her late 20's. They were concerned about the daughter's marriage prospects, and when this 'renowned' kabbalist from Eretz Yisrael came to Kew Gardens Hills, and was hosted at one of their friend's homes, they (husband, wife, and daughter) joined the throng of people to have an audience with the kabbalist.

He asked a bit about the situation and then declared that the problem was either that they had done construction, and had blocked off a window, or else that the daughter's name was spiritually problematic. He could fix the name for them. It was only $500 for the renaming, plus an additional $300 for meditating on the proper new name to give. The wife of the couple did not fall for this, saying that there was nothing wrong with the name, and that they were not going to change the name.

After a bit of cajoling which did not work, he rolled out his second package. A better deal, perhaps. Instead of a total of $800, it would only be $500 dollars. For that sum, he would arrange to have a group of talmidei chachamim pray for some number of days for the daughter at the kever of Shimon Hatzadik. But, he added, with this package, he could not guarantee success. The wife: If we are going to shell out $500, it should be for a guaranteed success. And she was not willing to pay the money. The kabbalist then tried to undermine the wife and introduce discord between husband and wife, saying to the husband, 'are you going to listen to her?' He asked the wife (in the presence of the daughter), "Do you hate your daughter? If you don't do this, then she will never get married.'  (I think there was also the explicit statement, or allusion, to the presence of a curse which could be removed via this mechanism.)

The husband eventually wrote a $500 check, not because he believed it, but because he was worried about the placebo effect, the psychological effect it would have on the daughter. And who knows? It might even have a positive psychological effect. They regretted this, shortly thereafter, and canceled the check. But other friends of theirs fell for the scam, and paid the $800 for a name change.

They called a prominent rabbi in Kew Gardens Hills and told him this story. (He will remain anonymous.) They asked him what steps the rabbonim of the neighborhood could take to stop these con-artists from operating in the neighborhood. His reply was that, indeed, these are con-artists, but he did not want to step in. He had done so in a case several years back, publicly coming out against a kabbalist con-artist, and was visited shortly thereafter by a group of burly thugs who threatened to break his kneecaps. These are not just con-artists, but thugs.

What did this teach me? First, that there are these con-artists coming from Eretz Yisrael and preying on the innocent and trusting folk in New York. Second, that the rabbis are not stepping up to the plate, for whatever reason, and one should not take their shetika as hodaah.

Now what about Baba Elazar, who was recently murdered by Rabbi Asher Dahan? (Read the link.) Was Baba Elazar a con-artist, or the real deal?

On the one hand, he was the grandson of Baba Sali. On the other hand, he visited New York and charged for his consultations. In 2011, his assets were estimated at $80 million dollars. So what? People are allowed to have, and accumulate money. But the details mentioned in this Haaretz article I found telling:

Ellowich first heard about Abuhatzeira in 2004 through a friend, Chezkel Roth. "I didn't know a thing about him except that his grandfather was the Baba Sali," Ellowich said.

The rabbi told Ellowich that to receive the desired blessing, he would have to bring him $100,000 within five days. "You have to believe in me," Ellowich quoted the rabbi as saying. "I'm a great righteous person and I promise you your daughter will have children and grandchildren. Her luck will change. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Don't tell anyone, just bring the money."

"I don't know how he does it, but I felt I had met an angel, or God Himself," Ellowich said. "I don't know how he hypnotized me. He probably makes a million dollars a day with that magic."

Ellowich said he borrowed money from friends, one of whom demanded $7,000 in interest. "Then I came to him with the check and he said: 'You're late, but I'll do it for you anyway.' With the check in his hand, he stood up with this hood over his face where you see only his lips, and said in a loud voice in Hebrew: 'I say to you, as you are standing here, that I, Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira, in the presence of Hezkel Roth and Menachem Ellowich and God, attest in the name of God that your daughter will be healed and will have children. You have nothing to worry about, it's in my hands now.'"

Shortly after the blessing, his daughter met a young ultra-Orthodox man. "When they got married, Rabbi Abuhatzeira sent a message through his sexton that the miracle would take six months," Ellowich said. But the months passed and nothing happened.
It gets worse, with asking for more money, and the implications of a curse. And this was just one person. There are others who corroborate, with similar stories. They sound quite similar to what the fake kabbalist, one of many kabbalist con-men, did to my friends.

Am I going to trust the anti-chareidi, anti-religious, HaAretz? Look, I don't trust them for spin. But they are referring to a known, named person, whose story rings true, and who has documentation. And they did not just make up all these other people.

In 2009, a 47-year-old man was indicted for going to the rabbi's house with a knife and threatening to kill him. That man said he was angry because the rabbi made him a medical promise that hadn't come true.

That same year, a prosecutor in Brooklyn, New York began investigating Abuhatzeira on suspicion of defrauding dozens of people who sought his advice by demanding money in exchange for promises that they or their loved ones would recover from a terminal illness or have children.
Where there is smoke, there is often fire. He was indeed finally done in by someone who was upset at his marital advice. And a prosecutor has access to real, dozens of people. This does not strike me as something completely baseless. It sounds like he was a con-man.

This is perhaps a slight criticism of the rabbis who did not step in. Why didn't the rabbonim of the community step him from defrauding their constituents? Why didn't the rabbis in Eretz Yisrael monitor such a public situation and condemn such behavior?

In terms of the latter, I have my suspicions. It would be against "Achdut" for an Ashkenazi to condemn. He was inspiring thousands of the superstitious / quasi-religious, so it is a positive influence. He is the grandson of the Baba Sali, so how could one say he is doing wrong? He has many miraculous-seeming stories, and conducts himself like the Baba Sali. If one sets about debunking him and showing how he pulls off his successes, wouldn't we shatter people's emunah. For how could we expect them to draw the distinction between this fraud and the Baba Sali? Or, they did not know of the allegations, because they did not read secular papers. Or, if the secular papers reported it, we will assume that it is false, because they have an agenda against the religious. Or these rabbis are paragons of honesty, heard the stories of his miraculous successes, did not see how an unscrupulous person could manage this, and so determined that he was for real.

There are all sorts of possible reasons they did not speak up while he was alive. But I would not take the rabbis' silence as proof that Baba Elazar was for real, especially when up against dozens of people with similar stories, credible enough for a NY prosecutor to set up a case against him, such that he wisely chose not to come to the US this year.

What of the fact that they eulogized him? For instance (as someone noted in a comment on a previous post):

His brother, R' David Abuhatzeira:

And, Rav Ovadia Yosef cried when he heard the news.

It is a good question. One possible answer is the saying, אחרי מות קדושים אמור. This is a sequence of parshiyot in the Torah, and taken together refer to the fact that often, after someone's death, everyone says that he is a tzaddik.

Do I find this list impressive? Not really. Rav Shteinman, for instance, did not know who Schwecky is, when Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak came to him to get him to ban him. What is a Schwecky?! Before paskening on credit cards, people had to explain to him how credit cards work. So was he up on what the secular press was saying about a specific rabbi?

As to the others, I don't know. But a similar reason could exist as to why they eulogized him as to why they did not speak up when he was alive. Unless I know that they made their own investigations, interviewing the dozens of people who accused Baba Elazar, and concluded that the allegations were false, I see no reason see their hespedim as evidence that Baba Elazar was innocent, and that the many accusers are the no-goodniks.

I want to speak a bit about toelet, but I think I have enough at this point to respond to a representative comment objecting in a previous post:
Dear Reb Josh

I am very surprised on the tone of your comments knowing that you usually approach things with a critical Torah analysis.

Please do not judge a Rav and Tzaddik from some lawsuit from a party who has self interest
How do we know that he is a tzaddik? Yes, this is from some lawsuit, but that person had given a donation check to Baba Elazar, or there would be no lawsuit. He has self-interest? Yes, to win the lawsuit because he thinks Baba Elazar wronged him. It is amazing how only one side is seen, and the other side is dismissed.

Meanwhile, it is not just the one party. It is dozens of people (that means at least 24) who tell similar stories of being ripped off by Baba Elazar. And these stories were credible enough for a New York prosecutor to open up an investigation, and enough for Baba Elazar to avoid traveling to the US this year.

And meanwhile, Baba Elazar has $80 million in assets.

Why make the assumption that this is NOT being approached in a similar spirit of critical analysis? (See a criticism of kabbalistic charlatans, including various unspecified Babas, by Rabbi Yaakov Hillel. And see this blogpost by Mekubal.)

The commenter continues:
take into consideration that you are speaking about the son,grandson and descendant of some of the greatest Tzaddikim.
So am I and so are you. Are we not descended from Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov? Wasn't Moshe grandson a priest for Avoda Zara? Look, I certainly am not going to malign Baba Sali. But that does not mean that a descendant cannot know a good racket / opportunity where he sees it, and take advantage of it.
Take into consideration the thousands of testimonies by Jews from every sector of this man's greatness
I do take this into consideration. I assume that these thousands of testimonies are true. Here is how it works. I call up 10,000 people on the phone and tell them stock X will go up, and 10,000 other people that stock X will go down. Stock X goes up, so I discard 10,000 people I told the wrong information to. Then, I call up the first 10,000 people. To 5000 I tell them stock Y will go up; to 5000 I tell that stock Y will go down. Stock Y goes down. Stock Y goes down. I then call the 5000 people and ask them for money for my stock advice. And since I have given accurate advice in the past, they are all willing.

There are other factors. There is regression towards the mean, where situations can improve simply on average. And people tend to focus on successes and ignore the failures. And one can be ambiguous, or can take several tries (and money) before something works. Or one can blame the victims for the failure, saying that they didn't do random thing Z right. And recall that it is typically only those who believe it worked who will breath

This is how non-Jewish con-men work, and how some Jewish con-men work as well.

So I do take into consideration those thousands of Jews from every sector.
take into consideration what the greatest Rabbi's of our generation have to say about his awesome holiness knowing him first hand.
I do take it into consideration, but I don't find this persuasive enough, given what I have written above.

For further examples of even Gedolim erring in matters such as this:
Rabbi Lipa Yisraelzon, grandson of Rav Elyashiv, affirmed before the students, as one who has accompanied Rabbi Tropper on his Israel trip, on the warm connections he has merited in the homes of Gedolei Yisroel.

So, on his trip, Rabbi Tropper came to the homes of Gedolei Yisroel. Aside from the Halachic questions that he placed before Gedolei Yisroel, he received their blessings for his holy work.
This was after the sex scandal. And recall Rabbi Elior Chen?
You may remember that leading haredi rabbis – including haredi leader Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, haredi number two Aryeh Leib Shteinman, and Chaim Kanievesky – wrote a letter endorsing Chen, calling him a talmud chacham and insisting on his innocence – despite the reams of evidence and eyewitness testimony against him, and despite the fact that one of his tiny victims lies in a persistive vegetative state to this day with little hope for recovery.
What is the point of writing all this, though? There are issues of lashon hara about the dead, just as there are about the living. (See here; though it being widespread public knowledge, mitigates it.)

Well, I am just sickened by the response of the frum world in this case. We don't have our heads on straight. Some yeshiva bachurim smuggle ecstasy into Japan and are caught, and the lesson is not 'don't smuggle', and 'respect dina demalchusa', but rather that we are all guilty because we are not tznius enough, and that Japan is an evil country who was punished by the tsunami.

So a con-man victimizes gullible and trusting religious people for years, as the rabbis stand idly by. Some victims are angry enough to even try to kill the con-man. Finally, an advisee actually does kill him, reportedly upset at his advice. (Though Asher Dahan is presumably also insane, as we may surmise from his killing someone and claiming that he is the gilgul of Pinchas.) Could it be that the thing we should learn from this is that one should not be a con-man, cheating desperate people out of their hand earned money, and often money they cannot afford? Or perhaps that we as a community should not stand by as these con-men operate. Or, we could learn from the act of murder itself, which was indeed reprehensible, even if Baba Elazar was a con-man. Collectively, it would be good to work on bein adam lachaveiro, as Rav Shteinman said.

But how are people viewing it? Well, they are assuming that the con-man was a tzaddik. Indeed, a lamed-vav-nik. Or that he was mashiach ben Yosef, such that his death was extremely meaningful. The apocalypse is surely upon us! Or that it is the fault of Jewish musicians, like Mordechai Ben David and Shwecky. Or that there was a gzeira on the tzibur, and he saved us, dying for our sins. They would not be drawing such broad conclusions had it been some other Jewish con-man who was murdered by a fellow Jew. By painting a likely con-artist as a tzadik yesod olam, they pave the way to being motzi laaz on Jewish singers, or on klal Yisrael in general.

Meanwhile, many con-men continue to visit and prey on suspecting Jews, as the rabbis, and the general populace, stand by.


yaak said...

I am voicing my very strong Meha'a to this post. This should not have been written and should be deleted ASAP. It is based on Motzi Shem Ra of the highest order.

Even lu yetzuyar the allegations are true, he definitely repented from it. This is what we as Torah-observant Jews need to believe, and if we don't, we have repaced Torah with gossip and halacha with our own need to bash those with a different approach to Judaism than us.


S. said...

Bravo for this post. Contrary to Yaak's mecha'ah, I think it is very important for someone to stand up and declare that the Emperor has no clothes. Remember, the skeptics of Shabbetai Zvi were the ones who were right. They may have had little faith, but they were the ones who were right.

As an aside, I don't get the whole "But he's Baba Sali's grandson" angle. Has no one ever heard of, oh, Baba Baruch - Baba Sali's son?

S. said...

>And, Rav Ovadia Yosef cried when he heard the news.

Another thing - I nearly cried myself too. There's nothing tragic and horrifying about this story? It's one of the worst things I've heard, and that's saying a lot. All of this is quite apart from whether or not the man who blesses and curses people and accumulates millions of dollars and sits in opulence is a tzadik or not. The story itself is worthy of tears.

joshwaxman said...


regarding that gemara, it reads:
It was taught in the school of R. Ishmael: If you see a scholar who has committed an offence by night, do not cavil at him by day, for perhaps he has done penance. 'Perhaps', say you? — Nay, rather, he has certainly done penance. This applies only to bodily [sexual] offences, but if he has misappropriated money, [he may be criticised] until he restores it to its owner.

No one is accusing Baba Elazar of sexual offenses, to my knowledge. This has to do with misappropriated money. And he had not returned that money at the time of his death.

yaak said...

Yes, I used a poor choice of a gemara there.

How about some of the sources here instead.

joshwaxman said...

Perhaps i'll analyze those later.

For now, did they criticize Geniva? Did they criticize Elisha ben Avuyah?

To pull one out at random, mevazeh talmid chacham as an apikores. Are the people who criticized Rabbi Leib Tropper, or Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, apikorsim?

Rabbi Asher Dahan was a talmid chacham. As you noted, he gave a gemara shiur. And yet you called him a rasha gamur, just because he murdered someone by stabbing them in the heart. Does this make you an apikores?

kol tuv,

yaak said...

Your comparisons are sickening.

The people you mention are admitted, well-known Resha'im.

yaak said...

And S's comparison to Shabtai Tzvi is just as sickening.

joshwaxman said...

Isn't it admitted public knowledge that Baba Elazar was a Baba, and that he charged for his services? If not, isn't this something easily determined?

In terms of the manipulation and threats, dozens of people = at least 24 people, making the same or similar charge. Rabbi Tropper denied the charges against him as well, even after the sex tape emerged.

Shabtai Tzvi is only 'sickening' in retrospect, because history has judged him to be false. The Donmeh don't think he was a bad guy, nowadays, though.

As to Rabbi Asher Dahan, he admitted killing Baba Elazar, but ain adam mesim atzmo rasha. And they were no kosher witnesses in the room at the time. There is only circumstantial evidence. How can one judge him, contrary to halacha? Shouldn't he have the chazaka of being a tzadik? (Yes, I am kidding, but am trying to illustrate how halachic categories sometimes conflict with common sense.)

Meanwhile, Rav Fish cites people who compare Baba Elazar to mashiach ben Yosef.

S. said...

>And S's comparison to Shabtai Tzvi is just as sickening.

I'm sorry you feel that way. I'm sure people said the comparison of Sh"z to Jesus was sickening. Maybe, but they were right. If Josh and me are right then as sickened as you feel, we are right. If we are wrong, we are not wrong that a number of people felt victimized by him and at the very least we are giving them a measure of nechama by showing that we are willing to take them seriously and the little guy doesn't always end up called a liar and a piece of garbage. And as Josh has shown, there happens to have been a lot of smoke around Baba Eliezer. Not a hundred other rabbis and kabbalists. Him. He was the one with the smoke. And as they say in the Chafetz Chaim story, they don't say stories like that about me and you. So if it is true that he was a fraud, then we are doing a good thing by not going along with the crowd and excusing it and raising a man who was not doing any good to the status of a tzaddik, to the detriment of truth as a value, and to the religion as a whole, as such things spreads cynicism and despair to people who are led to believe that Torah is all a pack of lies.

Still, the object of such discussions is not to make you feel bad, but has a great to'eles. Remember, we don't pick on random talmidei chachomim to call them frauds. (Frankly I don't know if Baba Eliezer was a talmid chacham or not, and how one should know as opposed to accepting that he was because an echo chamber keeps repeating it, but that's for another conversation.)

yaak said...


The difference between you and me is that when not intimitely involved in knowing all the facts, I like to err on the side of innocence. You and Josh don't. Now that he's dead, you want to stomp on his grave with unproven insults and blame.

I will not be part of this Moshav Leitzim.

S. said...

I think you are erring on the side of letting vultures pick apart victims and me and Josh are erring on the side of tzedek. But you are entitled to feel differently.

In the world of truth, lulei di-mistafina, I would even say that if Baba Eliezer is a complete tzaddik then he will forgive us for our misguided, albeit well-intentioned error. His well-being in the next world doesn't need us to say nice things about him. On the other hand, if we are right then we are right and doing the right thing.

yaak said...

S, you're obviously a bright guy, but that's about the most illogical argument I've ever heard you make.

Leshitatecha, you are erring on the side of defaming a dead man who cannot do anything any longer in this world.

Yes, let's defame the rabbis in all the previous generations because if they are complete tzadikim, they will forgive us anyways.


S. said...

I don't think I'm really erring. I think there is a lot of smoke, and Baba Eliezer seems likely to have been a con-artist, and it's good to say so. If I am wrong, that's really too bad, and that's why I said what I said. But I consider that to be the more remote possibility.

Actually, we're not talking about defaming "all the rabbis" but one or two people who were sitting there with signs and smoke all around them. The same logic you are espousing led people to defend the rebbe Kolko, yet what ended up happening was not the defamation and accusation of "all the rabbeim," but only a couple who it seems had a lot of smoke all around them. Same thing here. He seems to have been a charlatan. There is a remote possibility that he wasn't, and if that's the case then it's all too bad that we're saying that he seemed to be one.

joshwaxman said...

I suppose Baba Elazar cannot physically do anything in this world. On the other hand, by refusing to consider the evidence, and propping him up as a tzaddik yesod olam, it has the possible effect of propping up other Babas who do, or would, follow in his ways.

And I would **perhaps** consider it as a good idea to let sleeping dogs lie if he were not, for instance, promoted on your very blog (in a guest post) as a mashiach ben Yosef figure.

yaak said...

So, for flimsy evidence, you choose to defame someone who is considered a tzaddik by ruba deRuba of kelal Yisrael and gedolim just so that people don't cheat others? Maybe you don't understand the seriousness of Bizui Talmidei Hachamim. Perhaps you should read the link I provided earlier.

I could right now blog on my blog that Josh Waxman and S are in the Kat Mesaperei Leshon Hara uMotzi Shem Ra (in which I'd have more evidence than you do for your claim) so therefore, one should not learn from their ways and should not go to their blogs. I would be saving the masses from such Issurim. My motives would be full of virtue. (I won't do this, BTW.) It would be wrong to defame bloggers - let alone a Tzaddik. Again, maybe you don't realize the seriousness of defaming talmidei Hachamim. Woe to us if you don't and woe to us if you do.

Yes, many say he's MBY or MBY-like. So to counter that, you must defame him? What is so bad about saying he's MBY? Why CAN'T we say that? Even Rav Ovadia Yosef Shlit"a said that there was an aspect of MBY in this killing, according to reports.

joshwaxman said...

"flimsy evidence"

it seems that we have a different epistemology.

"just so that people don't cheat others"
just so that others in the same family, which frankly seems to have its share of crooks, don't cheat others and trade on Baba Sali's name. and that is only 1/3 of the consideration.

"Yes, many say he's MBY or MBY-like. So to counter that, you must defame him?"

to discuss this in all seriousness while **suppressing** serious evidence to the contrary as lashon hara seems a bit warped to me.

"Why CAN'T we say that?"
You can. But then expect an honest appraisal. Not a one-sided promotion of him as MBY while any negative info should not be told to the credulous masses.

DovBear said...

I think anyone who claims to wipe away curses, to fix names, and remove evil eyes is a con man until proven otherwise. And neither this man, nor his supporters have provided such proof.

A story: My friend who was down on his luck and in danger of losing his business went to this man, and was told "I've been waiting for you. Your name is known in heaven. It carries a tremendous ayin hara. But for 25,000 I can remove it" Can we speak plainly? An honest man does not speak this way. An honest man does not prey on fears and shake people down for huge sums to remove invisible ailments. And my friend is hardly the only one who had such an experience with this multi millionaire cure remover.

R.W. said...

In your own way, you're as worthy of condemnation as the Baba for recklessly implying that in this unholy game of criminal hocus pocus, there are "con men" as well as ligitimate players, thereby setting the stage for untold numbers of potential future victims who rely on a person of your stature when in desperate straits.

joshwaxman said...

There are certainly non-"con-men" out there.

Even if you don't think that they are ultimately right, there certainly are legitimate people out there with whom people consult, who and are not trying to rip people off.

For instance, the Kaliver Rebbe.

kol tuv,

Betzalel said...

I remember meeting the Kaliver Rebbe. Nice man, didn't ask for a dime. Gave me and my wife bracha.

G.A. said...

Re: אחרי מות קדושים אמור

You forgot the immediately preceding Parsha

Baruch said...

I am too small to give a inside opinion on Baba Elazar.
But a few comments I would like to make:
-talking about someone, despite how true it may be is called Lashon HaRa or (worse case when lying: Motzie shem Ra'). So, if writing an article, try to be neutral and not accusing without ever having seen the 100% evidence.
-Indeed there are so called "Tzadikim" that ask enormous amounts of money (NIS 200 or more for a single meeting), drive in very fancy cars (Mercedes 200SL series) while a really righteous and pious Jew does NOT want to acquire wealth but mainly focuses on spiritual issues.

The main point to all the people that would like to visit Tzadikim: use your brains and have a look how he behaves. If money or other things (except for a spiritual tikun you might have to make) are a requirement to meet such a guy, then he is a scam and should be avoided and any time and should be advised not to visit.
Your own prayer is in such a case 100 times better.

The real Tzadikim, like Mordechay Eliyahu, Lubavitcher Rebbe and Rav Kaduri did not charge money.

But, trust in Hashem only.

Anonymous said...

"On the one hand, he was the grandson of Baba Elazar?"

You mean Baba Sali.

joshwaxman said...

yes. thanks

S.Gad said...

wow so much motzei shem ra whats happening here is ure trying to justify what ure doing not gonna work i regret bumping into this blog dearly
but just for the sake of saving myself I too am protesting against every word you wrote may hashem help us all and i hope not come here ever again

truth and justice said...

"...I am just sickened by the response of the frum world in this case."


Great post, just saw it after following a couple of links. Great and so necessary.

שפתים ישק משיב דברים נכוחים

I am so pleased to see that there are some thinking Jews left among the 'frum' community, who care for truth and justice. That they are not all mindless, follow the crowd, see no evil, bury your head in the sand ostriches (an עוף טמא).

יישר כחך, bravo, and keep up the great work!

Kudos to commenter S. as well for his strong support!

truth and justice said...

Another reason why posts like this are important is because people have been put into a state of panic.

They have been told (in the בין המצרים mourning period prior to תשעה באב, to make it more ominous) that, first three ziknei Roshei Yeshiva passed away, all in the area of one hundred years old (R. Koppelman, R. Lefkowitz, and R. Stein), then the Kletzky tragedy, then this one.

It is a great aveira to panic Yidden (heard from R. Y. citing the words of Chazal, שלא להבעית את ישראל).

They can't understand why 'such a great tzaddik' had such an end.

So if it turns out that that he wasn't that, a great load is lifted from them, and a great threat to their emunah.


yekkishe bekishe said...

There is something that I don't understand. From what I remember of my visits to him, he did NOT receive women. The only women he spoke to were his wife & daughters. Furthermore, he never asked for money any of the times that I spoke to him.
Something isn't right.

joshwaxman said...

who said that he received women? (the story at the top is not about Baba Elazar, but about someone else.)

truth and justice said...

Yekkishe Bekishe

Some people are quite clever and can discern who has money. That could be the Rebbe or his gabbai. A well off person tends to dress differently than one who is less well off, just to give an idea of what I mean.

Obviously, such a person doesn't ask for $ or many $ from everyone. That would quickly ruin his reputation and sink his business. And it wouldn't be too profitable to target people without great assets, who don't have so much to give anyway, and would likely be alienated, warn others against him, and refuse to along with it. Just like organized crime and con artists tend to target people with more assets, but don't target everyone who crosses their path.

And maybe the targeting was focused on certain types, e.g. people who seemed desparate and more likely to go along with it, not people who just asked for relatively simple brachot, and were not as deferential. Maybe they discerned that you were a Yekke, despite the bekishe, and that also gave them pause. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with making this public. Daily phones ring in homes with singles guaranteeing a shidduch if you donate money to the cause, that Rabbanim will go to Amukah and daven for you personally. Rabbanim that we know don't leave their communities and never okayed their names to be used. What I find most telling is that you have to donate at least $180 - $18 just won't get you a shidduch.
Shame on them and us for letting them continue to prey on the pain of others.

Anonymous said...

if this is not called a con artist .. the father was very sick the son goes to elazar abuhetzeira please pray for my father.. elazar say.s want your father have a 100 percent recovery. you give me 36000.00 dollars i promise you in the name of G-D your father will be healed the son cries please here is 36000.00 dollars abuhetzeira goes to the house of the sick father tells to move the bed from north to south than from west of the room to north and you will see a myricle in 3 days so 3 days passes the father gets worse and more sick the son runs to elazar i gave you my last penny you promised in name of G-D he will be healed what going on elazar says listen my boy you must give me now 36000.00 again if you give me another 36000.00 dollars he will live but if you dont give you fathr will die . the end is the father died if you dont call this a con artist a ganav and evil person shame on him i have tears in my eyes ......

Anonymous said...

rabbi chaim konevsky knows all the crime of elazar abuhetzeira the letter he wrote says it should be kapura and it was a gezeira... he should die by 62 years.......... he stole over dollars .from broken hearted people. all this money left behind.... stolen.... the son must return this money. to all victims. a palace of propertys around the world .isreal. europe. and geneva. and ind u.s.a.. even in china

Anonymous said...

elazar abuhetzeira... was a crook a con artist. and a theive. look how much money he left.....the son rabbi pinchus... must give back this.. money.. return it to the victims of 30 years this money is ..stolen money it has blood ...on it.. give back all the golden rolexs watches.. he took .for a fake blessings. cash in 100 of millions of dollars.

joshwaxman said...

It would have more credibility if you would go by a real name; or even a pseudonym you consistently use on the web.

Is the son willing to come forward to tell his story?

Anonymous said...

The million dollar question.? How come so many people came to his funeral ? Did you ever hear a man come for a blessing and kills the rabbi. on the spot. I wonder ? what he did to asher dahan. a broken person with family problems. He must have said to him something very bad and probably stole his money. Causing this horrible tragedy on him self. You don't play with peoples. emotions. and you don't make them pennyless when a person comes for a blessing. By threatening a curse or pay cash.

Anonymous said...

Was elazar abuhetzeira a. Con artist. Yes. Was he crook. Yes. Was he liar yes was he thief yes was he fake yes did he take out money from you by.threathening. To curse if you don't give more yes did he give charity no did he talk to his brother no did he have a heart no was he a nice man no. Was he evil yes did he take his millions of dollars with him no. Did he go to heaven no. Till he pays back all stolen money. He took from victims. Victims victims

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Baba pinchus goes to rabbi chaim konevsky to get a brucha that he shoudl have d hatzlucha. rabbi chaim konevsky says to him. if you will follow the foot steps. of your father by conning people who come for a blessing you will end the same way. be carefull your are young. don't try all that you father did when a person came to him he took 36000 dollars and cursed the victim you give me now another 36000 dollars or you will die. The world should know he did this trick on evry one who came to elazar he made you broke.

joshwaxman said...

How do I know that you are not making this up?

If I wanted to, I also could post anonymously, and even make up stories involving Rav Chaim Kanievsky. A name would go a long way. So would some evidence -- who was present at the time, etcetera.

Anonymous said...

If you don't believe what reb chaim konevsky said. ask reb chaim konevsky yourselve. Ask rabbi eliyashiv and ask rav steinerman. Ask rab gamliel rabinowitz. Ask all the rebunim you know if they don't know about all the fraud that was done by elazar abuhetzeira. ask all the brothers from elazar. Evry one knows elazar was a con artist. And a evil man

Anonymous said...

Elazar abuhetzeira left only in isreal discount bank close to 100 million dollars and in geneva bank in switzerland another 100 million dollars. He was a one of the biggest thieves ever lived. He lived in a palace in beer sheva worth more than. 30 million dollars. He was a crook may he the betdin in heaven punish him. For all his crimes.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

why they called him a tzadik.. when elazar abuhetzeira.. was a rusha......... and a evil man

Anonymous said...

Let me tell my story that I had with elazar abuhetzeira. My daughter was married for 8 years she had no children I was told trough his agent to go to elazar for help so I went up to him and told him the problem he was dressed with a hood over his face. tells me something terrible will happen with you. the only way to have this evil tragedy removed you must give me 26000 dollars and in a year you daughter will have a child out of fear I gave him the money and I left. a year passed. nothing happened. no myricle the agent knocks on my door the mekubel elazar abuhetzeira wants to see you I didn't want to go to him any more. He the agent says I have a message from elazar if you don't come to him somebody will die soon. I had no choice but went to him as I came in he screams at me . now you must give me another 26000 dollars or as I told you. to stop the devil comeing after you. I just became scared of his curse I gave him the money and I cried. . No magic . No myricle she never had a child. only I lost 52000 dollars. I worked very hard for this money. But there is a beshever a god upthere and he will straighten him out.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin