Israel's newest "hot" kabbalist and outreach guru, Rabbi Shimon Dahan, is a man worth paying attention to – not because he should be followed, but because he should be monitored. Here a few choice quotes from an interview the "tzaddik" recently did. The comments in square brackets are mine:
Question: Rabbenu, who are the Netunei Karta that meet our enemies?
Answer: In Aramaic, Netunei Karta means 'the guards of the wall'. They are originally from Hungary. I believe that their thinking will break and we will be united into one Degel (flag) - Degel of HKB'H. The government of Israel also meets with the enemies, although they do it in secret. Netunei Karta do this to attract attention. They love the Jews but want attention - it doesn't mean they are not good. If you go to their homes, they will invite you in, open their homes and hearts.
[The "tzaddik" clearly equates the government of Israel with Neturei Karta. He also believes NK are good Jews.]
Question: Is it true that there are treasures of the Bet HaMidash in Rome, Italy?
Answer: Yes. They are placed in the Roman Pope's dungeons. A Roman Ceasar wrote in a bood that they took the treasures of the Bet HaMidash, and the proof for it is the picture embedded in Rome's gates of the Romans carrying the Menorah (there were many Menorot in the Bet HaMikdash). In Tripoli, Libya, there was a family friend who was friendly with the Pope and once, when they played Chess, he won him. The Pope told him he can ask him for anything. The friend said "I want to see the treasures of the Bet HaMidash". The Pope agreed and he went down to the dungeons to view the treasures of the Bet HaMidash, he saw what he saw but a tremendeous light blinded him, till today.
[For a sane, scholarly approach to this long-running urban myth, please see here. In short, the vessels are not in the basement of the Vatican.]
Question: What about the virus that recently got exposed?
[This is the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that has killed many imunosuppressed people in Israeli hospitals over the last few months. It is unrelated to Influenza A or Bird Flu. The story of this terrible outbreak was just published last week.]
Answer: I spoke about the virus 30 minutes before it reached the public ear thru the media*. The fears will be cancelled when Moshiach comes. The fear comes from lack of fear from HKB'H. If you fear HaShem, there is no fear of atomic bombs or flus. For instance, a shepherd - why does a shepherd take a dog to help him to take care of the sheeps? The dog gives the sheep fear, and the fear causes the sheep to stay close.
*"...Today, there is danger of deadly bacteria flu plagues, it is worse than the atomic bomb. It can kill minimum 30, 40 million people - it is very quickly transferred from person to person. Sometimes virus plagues are hidden and people die without explanations in less than a minute. Scientists are more afraid of flu plagues than atomic bombs. Saying the Ktoret Samim prevents all virus plagues".
[Here the "tzaddik" is clearly speaking about infections like Influenza A and Bird Flu, not the antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections plaguing Israeli hospitals. Yet in a clear bait-and-switch he conflates the two and takes credit for "foreseeing" these antibiotic-resistant infections.]
Question: Rabbenu, how did you get the knickname "The Rav who foresaw the Tsunami"?
Answer: For almost 20 years after Shabbat Mincha, I've been giving a shiur. Probably, thru the Limud (learning), it came in to my mind thru the Kedusha of Shabbat. I said what I said, and that's how it became popular.
Here is another choice quote from his English language website:
The autistics were asked how can this generation be saved? They all unanimously answered "Do Chesed" - this will be your link to be saved.
[This is clearly a reference to the discredited "facilitated communication" scam that took in many haredim during the 1990s. Rabbi Dahan apparently believes this facilitated communication is real.
Here is what Britain's National Autistic Society says about FC:
…Nevertheless, experimenters have over recent years built up a useful body of research. Howlin (1997) in her review of 45 controlled trials of FC involving over 350 subjects found confirmation of independent communication in only 6% of subjects. In more than 90% of cases the responses were found to be influenced unwittingly by the facilitators rather than the clients.
Bebko, Perry and Bryson (1996) found some evidence of independent communication in nine (of 20) subjects. However, among students who were capable of responding independently, their responses were worse under facilitated conditions than they were unsupported.
Meanwhile in the United States, in an unprecedented move, five major national professional bodies have now adopted a formal position of opposing the acceptance of FC as a valid mode of enhancing expression for people with disabilities. These bodies include The American Association on Mental Retardation, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
The research review on educational interventions commissioned by the Department for Education and Employment (Jordan, Jones and Murray 1998) concluded that it would be hard to justify further research on FC. There has already been a large number of anecdotal and ethnographic case study reports detailing the technique's supposed benefits, followed by an even greater number of controlled scientific studies, all showing that the phenomenon fails to materialise once facilitator effects have been controlled.
Mostert (2001) in his review of studies into FC since 1995 confirms that their conclusions support those of earlier studies that claims are largely unsubstantiated and that its use as an intervention for people with communication impairments should not be recommended.…]
Is this guy a fraud? I think Rabbi Dahan is himself mislead (or delusional) and really believes his own PR. What do you think?