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September 13, 2009

Rabbi: Traveling Overseas To Graves Of Tzaddikim Idol Worship

Rabbi Yuval Sherlo "This is the way faith is perceived today. Some sort of a deal, which only requires visiting the tomb of a righteous one accompanied by a rabbi, for money, an inner feeling of something secret and hidden…"

Rabbi Sherlo: Traveling to overseas tombs – idolatry
Prominent religious-Zionism figure slams flight of businessmen, celebrities to Bulgarian grave. 'These days faith is perceived as a convenient deal' he says

Kobi Nahshoni • Ynet

Rabbi Yuval Sherlo is not impressed with the recent phenomenon of hundreds of businessmen discovering their 'Jewish sparkle' upon visiting tombs of righteous rabbis.

Following the travel of millionaires and celebrities to a famous grave sites in Bulgaria with Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, Rabbi Sherlo, a leading figure in the Religious-Zionist camp releases a short article in which he implies that the act amounts to idolatry.

Sherlo cynically describes relations between the participants of the event and God as "not a bad deal," going on to write, "What are they ultimately required to do? They travel overseas to throw themselves on righteous tombs and with an important rabbi."

Sherlo also stated, "This trip requires nothing from them – not a change of devotion to halachic law, not conducting their businesses on the values of charity and law; they donate a certain sum to a righteous rabbi; they are forced to endure a flight for several hours and say prayers. That is all.

"And look what they're getting in return: Godly consultation and business advice; they are overcome with a deep connection to faith for having uttered prayers on righteous tombs; and they get free publicity for the media-covered travel; their public image is boosted with a air of mystery; they manage to get God 'on their side' and from now on the path of business is paved for them. Worth it, isn't it?"

Rabbi Sherlo further wrote, "This is the way faith is perceived today. Some sort of a deal, which only requires visiting the tomb of a righteous one accompanied by a rabbi, for money, an inner feeling of something secret and hidden, involving media, culture and government, all wrapped up in a package of faith, mysticism and secret. Is that not the definition of idolatry?"

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No need to fly overseas. Plenty of VIP's and bigshot wannabees at the Schneerson gravesite in Queens, NY.

There is nothing wrong with visiting the grave of a tzadik and saying some prayers at the grave. This is a form of giving respect to a great man and a way to connect with your heritage. Just like when one goes to the grave of ones parent is a sign of respect and a feeling that he/she is on a higher plane and asking of them to intercede on your behalf on personal issues or challenges that you are facing. To see this as anything else is being foolish and paranoid.

Yes, when my child was ill I went to the grave of the Lubavich Rebbe (I am not Lubavich). It gave me great comfort, it made me feel that I, as a parent, am doing everything in my power to help my child, that I am leaving no stone unturned - and as they say – it can’t hurt. Cost me a dollar donation and I got cookies and a hot cup of coffee.

The problem is that when many people visit the tomb of the undead messiah, they pray to him and not to G-d.

ultra orthodox "judaism" is a death cult with taboos against illogically restricted foods and period blood.
They worship at the graves of dead rabbis and get erotic pleasure from the singing of young boys.

They worship at the graves of dead rabbis and get erotic pleasure from the singing of young boys.

How sick! Yech!

Harold 4:04, I agree with everything you said.

It is up to the individual visiting the gravesite to be doing so for the right reasons and in the proper way, as you described your visit. We can only control our own actions and not those of others at the Rebbe's Ohel.

I have been to the Lubavitcher Rebbe's Ohel a couple of times, and found the visit to be inspirational. Seeing the names on nearby tombstones reads like a history of the Chabad movement in the USA.

The hospitality area there is excellent; I visited the men's mikvah (very clean and warm water), and enjoyed the cookies and coffee.

Taking to far it is the same as visiting the saints in catholithism. It is plain a simple idol worship.

However, taking in moderation it is good and inspirational.

Sherlo is right. Nowadays we observe this custom moving to an extreme and becoming in many cases similar to idol worship.

If a Catholic visits the gravesite of a saint, why is that idol worship? Can a Catholic visit a saint's grave for inspiration, to pray for heavenly intercession if they have a serious personal problem, and as a sign of profound respect for the saint's legacy?

Orthodox Judaism is also a recent thing going back to Luria and Luzatto and not much beyond that. MO is so new they see ibn Maymun as almost as old n authoritative as ole Moishe R.

If you ain't familiar with ibn Maymum then you can't speak as an educated Jew. Sorry.

Catholics and nonCatholic tourists visit churches where the bodies of saints are alleged to be interred. However, these Churches also contain great works of art. I know of no Catholics who travel thousands of miles to the middle of nowhere to specifically pray at saints grave sites. The only thing some what analogous is Lourdes, France. However, the idea that the water will cure anyone is pure superstition and a pathetic racket. But, Lourdes does have a huge basilica at the site. And let's be honest: a pilgrimage to the south of France (mmmm - French cuisine) will always beat out a pilgrimage to Bulgaria or the Ukraine.

the chasidim have these tours where they pray at the graves of tzadikim in europe. they have no interest in anything else in the country, just graves. no interest in art, history, culture, and the people of the country.
they go from grave to grave, zipping around, skipping everything else in the country. Its a mad, mad, mad world.

Effie, I visited Assissi in Italy. St. Francis is entombed in the basement of the church. People go to pray in the church upstairs, then go downstairs to visit the shrine where he rests. Very inspirational for Catholics. Beautiful little town, too. Amazing views of the valley below, and the area is known for chocolate, olive oil, and wine.

C_M, very true of how pointless a chasidic 'tour' of Europe is. Running around to the graves and completely overlooking the world around them. Sort of summarizes everything about their lives.

WSC: I've been there but I forgot he is entombed in the church. I went to see the famous frescos.

critical minyan: yes, they are really losing out on the wealth of art found in rural Ukraine. What the heck are you talking about?
As far as the other elements of culture, they certainly have preserved the music. The people they preserve in their memories of porgroms.

Let the businessmen go to the graves of the rabbis.

I'm going to worship at the tombs of J.P. Morgan and John Rockefeller.

the graves that should be visited and revered are those of heroes like the ramon family. ilan and his late son a'h were true men of courage and sacrificed their lives for the people of israel. dead charedi rabbis and their followers who dont serve in the army deserve far less respect.

visit the geaves of MEIR feinstein and Moshe Barazani. or eli cohen .. or Jonathan Netanyahu.

it is only through the twisted prism of religious ideology where those that acted heroically and lived and died helping bnei yisroel are ignored, and rabbis who did little but study ancient books are revered and respected. shameful.

However, taking in moderation it is good and inspirational.

Sherlo is right. Nowadays we observe this custom moving to an extreme and becoming in many cases similar to idol worship.

You can't have it both ways - either he is correct, which I believe, or he is not. There is no such thing as idol worship in moderation. Visiting the graves of ancestors is an exercise for the living to focus memories and thoughts, not to ask/pray to the "souls" - an entirely later Jewish concept - so that "they" will ask/pray on behalf of the living. Despite Qabalistic/Chasidic claims to the contrary, these concepts are borrowed from other religions and this behavior is forbidden.

The reality is that this was a tradition in Sephardic lands going back to the middle ages at least.
It is a tradition in Western countries as well, at least with regards to Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix.

It is a tradition in Western countries as well, at least with regards to Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix.

A tradition of those who have taken too many drugs. Nothing to emulate.

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