Monday, June 11, 2012

Some Jews in Jerusalem believe their rabbi's chair possesses spiritual power

As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets.
Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us.
Jeremiah 2:26-27

Superstition can be found anywhere, as reported by Kobi Nahshoni of Ynet News, June 10, 2012:

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's beloved chair, which some believe has special powers, mysteriously disappeared from a Jerusalem synagogue last week but eventually found several days later.

Worshippers at the Tiferet Yerushalaim synagogue were recently shocked to discover that the wooden chair that had served Shas' spiritual leader for years, and which some would pay tens of thousands of dollars for, was not in its place.

"We so carefully guarded it and now it's gone," one of the synagogue's administrators said. The news was first reported by Shas journal Yom LeYom.

The mystery was eventually solved when one of the synagogue's managers confessed he had loaned it to be used in a circumcision ceremony without telling anyone, but said it will be returned soon.

He said that the baby's parents, members of a well-known rabbinical family, thought that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef would attend the service as the baby's godfather and wanted to surprise him with the chair. The rabbi did not attend the ceremony but the chair remained in the couple's house since.

The synagogue in question became popular after Rabbi Yosef first started giving his weekly sermons there. In recent years, he has relocated the weekly gatherings to a synagogue nearer to his house in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood.

However, the synagogue's chair is still very special to Rabbi Yosef's disciples, some of whom believe it can make wishes come true. This has served to boost the chair's value.

Several years ago, it was almost sold to a buyer for tens of thousands of dollars when the synagogue experienced financial difficulties.

"According to my estimates, the missing chair could have been sold for $100,000 or even more," one source told Ynet. "One would have to be not only a thief but a truly heartless person to steal something like this, which is so sacred and valuable for so many people."

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