Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Holy Remains, Worldly Gains

Sarah Pardes

Organizations make money off them, PR firms treat them like regular clients, and the masses seeking personal salvation liberally disburse funds in their merit. What’s behind the mounting popularity of kivrei tzaddikim in Israel and abroad that has made them into the latest marketing gimmick?

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

You can hear it before you see it. As Jews of all stripes stream to the anonymous side street by the little-known, improvised Sheikh Badr cemetery, next to the government complex in Jerusalem, the buzz gets steadily louder. Pleas to save a sick child (“expenses exceed half a million dollars”), to help a disabled widow, or assist a destitute family, jumble together with solicitations for yeshivos and cries of others who have hit hard times. The few dozen meters leading to the kever of Rav Gedaliah Moshe, the Zvehiller Rebbe who passed away in 1950, are dotted with colorful stalls hawking various and sundry wares for sale, from seforim and Judaica items to oil paintings of Rav Ovadiah Yosef, Rav Yitzchak Kadouri, and Rav Mordechai Eliyahu. At the tziyun, masses of people are davening fervently. The accepted ritual is that one should come to the site on Monday, Thursday, and Monday, consecutively; recite a series of specific chapters of Tehillim together with the name of the tzaddik in Chapter 119; light a candle, and give tzedakah for his soul. Then one uses his left hand to place a stone with on the grave, specifies the request, and adds a promise that if the prayers are answered, he will visit the site again to express gratitude. How did this gravesite — although belonging to a revered tzaddik, but relatively unknown until just six years ago — become a popular “yeshuos center,” even surpassing the gravesites of tzaddikim of centuries earlier? 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you