Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Manipulative Lies of Kupat HaIr

Today I was stunned to see the full-page advertisement from Kupat HaIr, "the Tzedakah of the Gedolei HaDor," in Mishpachah magazine, which can also be found on their website. It says that this coming Friday is a once-in-28 years opportunity to take advantage of the ninth hour of the ninth day of the ninth month of the ninth year in the Birkas HaChamah-cycle. This full house of nines, according to "ancient sources," is an auspicious hour for prayer. But why pray yourself, when other people can pray on your behalf? No less than thirty Gedolei HaDor will pray for you - provided that you give money to Kupat Ha-Ir! As it states on their website, "you can win the jackpot: Parnassah, children, nachas, Torah, wealth, shidduchim, good health and happiness! Don't wait another 28 years for a yeshuah!"

This is utterly astonishing for a number of reasons. Most striking is that they ran the same campaign not 28 years ago, but three years ago! And at that time, they declared it to be a once-in-fifty years opportunity, basing it on Yovel! Here's the ad from 2013:



"Don't wait another 50 years for a yeshuah!" they said at the time. But just three years later, we are told that we have the same rare opportunity!

Now, don't think that this is just due to sloppy research, or poor communication between campaigners. After all, on their website, Kupat HaIr says that they addressed this "sceptically" (sic). And back in 2013, Kupat HaIr told us about all the effort that went into these calculations:
"...Before Kupat Ha’ir set out to mass publicize this, we investigated and verified every detail related to this segulah from a halachic standpoint... You know the type of person who just never gives up? There are those who try to find the tcheiles of the chilazon, the shamir worm, the lost Shevatim on the other side of the Sambatyon. At Kupat Ha’ir, someone set out on a feverish search for that fateful yovel year. Finally, the stunning truth came to light. This year, 5774, is the first time since the “Ninth of the Ninth” segulah became known to the public, that all the factors are coming true! This is the first time, and also the last in the next fifty years. Because this year, according to many Rishonim, is the ninth year of the yovel! ...Maran Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlit”a, writes in his peirush, Derech Emunah (siman katan 137) that the year 5756 is the 40th year of the yovel, and 5765 is yovel. If so, we have an astounding revelation here! If we know when yovel is, we can count nine years and know precisely which year is the ninth year of the yovel, the most unique and auspicious year of all! And when you count nine years from 5765, you see that we are truly fortunate! The ninth year of the yovel, so auspicious to receive G-dly shefa, is this year, 5774! This year, for the first time, everything is valid. All details have been verified; everything is in place. The last time this special eis ratzon occurred, your grandparents were parents and you – maybe you hadn’t even been born yet. The next time will be fifty years from now."
And yet the next time was not fifty years later. It was just three years later!

Nor was 2013 the first time that they ran this campaign. They also ran it in 2011 and 2009 (when it was declared to be a once-in-seven years opportunity)! Here are the ads:



How can they so brazenly contradict themselves so often?! Don't the editors of Mishpachah notice, and haven't they got anything to say about it? Why isn't anyone calling them out on this?

And this is far from the only falsehood in the Nines campaign. The alleged "ancient sources" for all this are in fact a single work, Brit Menucha, that isn't all that ancient - it was written in the 14th century by R. Avraham of Grenada. And it doesn't even say what they claim it says! It does not say that the compound of the ninth hour of the ninth day of the ninth month of the ninth year in the Yovel-cycle is particularly auspicious. What it says (see it online here) is that in every Yovel cycle, the ninth year is auspicious, and in every year, the ninth month is auspicious, and in every month, the ninth day is auspicious, and in every day, the ninth hour is auspicious. One might infer that the compound is even more auspicious, but R. Avraham does not say that. According to R. Avraham, there are auspicious times all the time!

But the most bothersome aspect is the manipulation involved. "Don't wait another 50 years for a yeshuah!" The subtext is clear: You are desperate for salvation from your problems, and you need to give us money in order to attain it, or you'll be stuck for fifty years! Forget about Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur - it's this once-in-fifty-years opportunity that counts. As the Kupat HaIr website states: "Doesn’t it make sense to overextend yourself for nine minutes for the sake of your entire life? ... Your life depends on these 9 minutes. Will you be happy? Will you have money? What will your health be like? How will you be spared unfavorable decrees?"

From a Torah perspective, this is simply false. No, your entire life does not depend on these nine minutes! But aside from the falsehood, it is sick, manipulative, and predatory. There are many people who truly can't afford to give, but who do so out of sheer terror that Kupat HaIr might be right, and that they might be losing their one chance to get married, to have children, to be healthy. I personally know of someone who themselves fell into dire straits because of this. And Rav Mattisyahu Solomon of Lakewood has decried the fact that single women desperate for a yeshua had contributed all their savings to Kupat HaIr, and turned to him when they didn't get married. He described Kupat HaIr's modus operandi as "absolute theft."

This sick, manipulative behavior all occurs, according to Kupat HaIr, with the backing of the (charedi) Gedolei HaDor. One wonders if this is actually true; there are quotes from various charedi Gedolim which indicate otherwise. If it is not true, then one wonders how the Gedolim can be so unconcerned and ineffectual about major campaigns that are run in their names. You don't see this happening with non-charedi leaders.

(Fortunately, however, there are other rabbinic voices. Rav Shlomo Aviner delivered a lecture in his yeshivah in which he condemns the Four Nines as an attempt to use magic and shortcuts in place of genuine spiritual growth. As he points out, if it is so important, why is it not in the Torah? In the Gemara? In any of the major works of Judaism? Why didn't any of the famous rabbis of history mention it? And what's so special about the number nine, anyway? We need, says Rav Aviner, to focus on the truly important things, such as improving our characters. We should not be attempting to invent new magical shortcuts to salvation.)

At the end of the day, are all these lies at least in the service of a good cause? Many people I know (including rabbonim and charity professionals) would say if they are perpetuating the charity trap and national catastrophe of the mass kollel system, then it isn't even a good cause to begin with. But let's not take that view, or let's assume that some of the money is for the involuntarily poor rather than for people in kollel. Can we somewhat justify Kupat HaIr's actions in that light? Should we give them money anyway?

That is a difficult question to answer, for three reasons. First of all, in light of all the falsehoods that they spread, how on earth can anyone be sure that the money is even going to the poor? These campaigns don't exactly inspire confidence in the organization's claim of "absolute integrity" and responsible rabbinic oversight. Indeed, a similar huge Gedolim-endorsed chareidi charity, Vaad HaRabbonim, recently got into major trouble over serious financial irregularities and millions of shekels that were unaccounted for.

Second, regardless of where the money goes, surely it's wrong to support an organization that is harming people. And tricking people out of large sums of money by preying on their fears with lies is harming people!

Third, there is no shortage of charitable organizations that work in the right way, without trying to take advantage of people's fears. My personal favorite charity is Lemaan Achai, whose "gimmick" is not some mystical mumbo-jumbo, nor false promises of salvation, but rather that they practice charity in accordance with the highest ideals: working to wean people off charity. Lemaan Achai doesn't raise anywhere near as much money as Kupat Ha-Ir - but what they do raise, is raised honorably.

(Hat-tip to those who sent in the links. See too my post on The Ring Of Power)

51 comments:

  1. "[...]let's assume that some of the money is for the involuntarily poor rather than for people in kollel. Can we somewhat justify Kupat HaIr's actions in that light? Should we give them money anyway?

    That is a difficult question to answer[...]"


    Difficult? How can it be difficult? Is this not the most basic definition of מצוה הבאה בעבירה?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is Reuven's aveira and Shimon's mitzvah, hardly the definition of מצוה הבאה בעבירה

      Delete
  2. it is Ona'ah. plain and simple

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  3. Akiva Weisinger had some very good comments about this segeulah on reddit here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Judaism/comments/1qgo7n/about_that_kupat_hair_campaign/

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  4. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  5. But to be more serious about this, I think that "sceptically" is a valid spelling.

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    Replies
    1. Quite. www.merriam-webster.com defines it as a "chiefly British variant." Unless the Briton in question has made aliyah. :-)

      Delete
  6. OK, now I'll really be serious.

    The biggest problem I see is the notion that need a "Yeshua" unless you have "Parnassah, children, nachas, Torah, wealth, shidduchim, good health and happiness!". I certainly don't wish health problems or poverty on anyone, but should you think that you are lacking if you don't have children or wealth, great Torah knowledge or even happiness? Everyone has problems to one degree or another and imagining that there is something wrong with you if there is something lacking in your life by the standard set here is a perverse notion, IMO. If you don't have this conception, then the ad's appeal falls away even if believed in the mumbo jumbo.

    Also, excellent job of catching them in their confidence game and providing the documentation.

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  7. They have a variety of cycles in the Jewish calendar to choose from. There's the 50-year Yovel cycle, the 28-year Sun-blessing cycle, the 19-year leap-year cycle, the 7-year Shmitta cycle. If you interpret the Brit Menucha very liberally, then you can say that each of these cycles has its own unique "auspicious" 9-th year, which won't come back again in a very long time.

    So from their perspective it's not a lie. And furthermore it can do no harm because *anyway* giving Tzedakka is always a good Sgula...

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    1. I want to know who the 20 gedolei haDor and 40 representatives that committed to pray on behalf of donors.

      They can't list them? Or are they afraid to list 60 non controversial, acceptable to (?) gedolim and reps?

      Delete
    2. They have a "farm" (as in a "server farm") of Gdolim in some basement or something, ready to pray at the shortest notice whenever one of these auspicious times comes in.

      Delete
  8. Continuing my previous comment, within each year you have four Rosh Hashanos to choose from. On the other hand, you don't want to repeat the campaign *too* often, or people will start getting suspicious...

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  9. This is such an important article.

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  10. "Before Kupat Ha’ir set out to mass publicize this, we investigated and verified every detail related to this segulah from a halachic standpoint... You know the type of person who just never gives up? There are those who try to find the tcheiles of the chilazon"


    All roads lead to Rome.

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  11. This entire post could be put very simply; why is your charity better or more important than people in my own city whose needs are just as great? Is it this cheesy and phony marketing campaign?
    I heard a story once about the Kotzker rebbe. A woman was seeking a brachah from him,one she desperately needed. But he was talking to somebody at that moment, and kept her waiting for a while. Finally, totally exasperated, she said to him,

    "Never mind, I'll ask on my own."
    The Kotzker answered,
    "That is exactly what I wanted you to do."

    Peretz Mann

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  12. It's a mixture of post-truth, the dumbing down of Judaism, the end justifying the means, and the best tactics of charity fundraisers everywhere. Progress and rationalism is dead, we have regressed into medieval mumbo-jumbo. And no wonder, if the Rabbis forcibly suppress anything that might lead to a weakening of the Da'as Torah hegemony.

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  13. As usual, this post mixes up two issues that are, indeed connected, but not in this causal manner.

    1) Paganism. Anyone who even entertains the suggestion that the ninth hour of the ninth day of the whatever provides a unique opportunity to get someone to make intercession on their behalf has no understanding whatsoever of the Torah and probably has no place in the world to come. He is also a nitwit. If that bothers you then take it up with the Rambam, he's a lot more categorical than I am. There's no need to explain why such beliefs have bad results, the beliefs themselves are the ultimate bad result.



    2) Suckers. Reading the entire link from which the quoted extract comes from, I was struck by how similar it was to the emails I used to receive frequently from a wealthy Nigerian who needed my bank details to smuggle untold riches out of the country. The wild tone, the crude overuse of persuasive vocabulary, the overuse of exclamation marks, the sheer overwhelming stench of hyseria that pervades every word.

    I would surmise that the most likely effect of teaching "rationalist" opinions to the people that pawn their fridge to give to Kupat Ha'ir's once in a lifetime opportunities is that they would pawn their fridge to buy some binary options or whatever.

    No-one who is even capable of reading this article is going to fall for this or equivalent scams, but there are literally hundreds of millions of people who do fall for scams like this or do other completely crazy self-destructive things like smoke meth or take their housing benefit to the race track etc.
    There are two conceivable solutions to this problem. One is to fix hopeless people through education or something (liberal/conservative), the other is to place them under the authority of someone who can stop doing crazy self-destructive things, which authority could either be exercised in a corporate (socialist/fascist) or personal (pre-liberal) form.

    Now, here's the rub, people think that inmates in the Haredi asylum are strictly controlled, but the truth is that (outside small Hassidic pokets) there is no authority structure of any kind whatsoever. The official structure consists of geriatric holy men who, even if they aren't actually senile, have no aptitude for or interest in social policy. The entire structure of social management consists of people first being under educated so they can't survive outside the Haredi world, then spending the rest of their lives trying to live up to community standards in order to get their children into a school, or find their son a shidduch etc. But these social standards aren't being set by anyone at all, it's just clueless people leading each other around in circles. One result is endless overlapping holiness spirals, the closest analogue of which I know is that which exists in Left-dominated universities. Another result is that the Haredi world is absolutely full of amazingly dysfunctional people doing amazingly stupid things, propped up by the community welfare system, but with nobody actually able to tell them to stop doing dumb stuff. The tendency in the wider world is for increasing liberalism/chaos, but, beneath all the freedumb rhetoric, there are still plenty of coercive methods employed to control hopeless and destructive people. The Haredi world successfully creates a bubble that insulates its inmates from the Liberal State and replaces it with .... nothing. Just nothing. "Evanston Jew" who wrote one of the better Jewish blogs, described Haredi Judaism as a "radicalism of the Left". He meant it mostly as a compliment, but it's not, really not.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "No-one who is even capable of reading this article is going to fall for this or equivalent scams, but there are literally hundreds of millions of people who do fall for scams like this"

      Do we actually have any reliable statistics for the number of people that donate to KH because of this rubbish? Maybe it is only one or two. I mean the readership of Hamishpocho are not that thick and that uneducated. They are not the peasants of Meah She'orim.

      And before somebody replies, they wouldn't advertise if it doesn't work, the advert could just be to keep their profile in the public domain. At no extra cost, throw in a vague segula. I am positive that the number of extra people that donate because of these alleged segulas can be counted on two hands.

      Delete
    2. I would hope (but not presume) that they are a registered charity and that their financials might be publicly available?

      Delete
    3. Fozziebear: I couldn't find them on guidestar.

      Do much for filing tax returns.

      Delete
  14. (part ii)
    Now, this is related to the paganism issue in the broad sense, because if you take out the paganism from Haredut there's not a whole lot left. But the specific cause is the attempt to set up a social system where piety is supposed to be a substitute for authority. Of course, Modern Orthodoxy also has no authority structure. It doesn't suffer from this specific problem because Modern Orthodox people are overwhelmingly from the right end of the bell curve and it suffers much less from analogous problems because, for the most part, MOs let the liberal state do their job for them. But, obviously, MO doesn't offer anything resembling a model of what a Jewish society would look like. What does "rationalist Judaism" have to say about this? Well, for a start, it says this:

    וַיִּבְחַר מֹשֶׁה אַנְשֵׁי-חַיִל מִכָּל-יִשְׂרָאֵל, וַיִּתֵּן אֹתָם רָאשִׁים עַל-הָעָם--שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים שָׂרֵי מֵאוֹת, שָׂרֵי חֲמִשִּׁים וְשָׂרֵי עֲשָׂרֹת.

    The Torah's a wild book.

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  15. Don't these Gedolim have anything better to do with their time rather than pray for my yeshua? Please tell me what time exactly they are praying on my behalf. I will then stop whatever I am doing so that they will not be disturbed.

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  16. The newest ad looks like they ripped off a "For Dummies" book. Hidden message?

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  17. As a Chabadnick who considers the Rebbe OBM a rationalist. The only relationship between Tzedaka and its effect in someone's life was purely based on the concept of Midah K'neged Midah. Hammer a Pushka to the wall of your house and transform your home to a place and structure of giving and perhaps kindness will be shown from above.

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  18. Paganism. Anyone who even entertains the suggestion that the ninth hour of the ninth day of the whatever provides a unique opportunity to get someone to make intercession on their behalf has no understanding whatsoever of the Torah and probably has no place in the world to come. He is also a nitwit. If that bothers you then take it up with the Rambam, he's a lot more categorical than I am.

    Actually, he isn't. He explains the prohibition on following the ways of the Amorite as a guard against witchcraft and idolatry:

    "In order that we may keep far from all kinds of witchcraft, we are warned not to adopt any of the practices of the idolaters, even such as are connected with agriculture, the keeping of cattle, and similar work. [The Law prohibits] everything that the idolaters, according to their doctrine, and contrary to reason, consider as being useful and acting in the manner of certain mysterious forces. Comp. "Neither shall ye walk in their ordinances" (Lev. xviii. 3). "And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation which I cast out before you" (ibid. xx. 23). Our Sages call such acts "the ways of the Amorite"; they are kinds of witchcraft, because they are not arrived at by reason, but are similar to the performances of witchcraft, which is necessarily connected with the influences of the stars; thus ["the manners of the nations"] lead people to extol, worship, and praise the stars."

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    1. You are looking at the wrong halacha.

      איזה הוא מעונן--אלו נותני העיתים, שאומרין באצטגנינות יום פלוני רע, יום פלוני טוב, יום פלוני ראוי לעשות בו מלאכה פלונית, שנה פלונית או חודש פלוני רע לדבר פלוני

      This segulah clearly falls into this category. Now what does the Rambam go on to say about believers in this stuff?

      כל המאמין בדברים אלו, וכיוצא בהן, ומחשב בליבו שהן אמת ודברי חכמה, אבל התורה אסרה אותן--אינו אלא מן הסכלים ומחסרי הדעת, ובכלל הנשים והקטנים שאין דעתן שלמה. אבל בעלי החכמה ותמימי הדעת, יידעו בראיות ברורות--שכל אלו הדברים שאסרה תורה, אינן דברי חכמה, אלא תוהו והבל שנמשכו בהן חסרי הדעת, ונטשו כל דרכי האמת בגללן.

      In any case, however, I was referring to statements of his in the Moreh.

      Delete
  19. Besides the chicanery involved in inventing propitious times for people to give money to them, they are guilty of distorting halacha for selfish reasons. The current ploy involving the 9th year of the Shmuel's birchat hachama cycle is only a matter of invoking a calculation that has no reality (the sun does not really occupy the position that it had on creation every 28 years). Their ploy in 2013 involving an alleged 9th year from Yovel appears to assume that Yovel occurs every 49th year. The view of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, apparently, to that effect is not determinative. It is a matter of Tanaitic dispute. The more evident understanding of the torah verses is that Yovel is a separate 50th year in the sh'mita cycles. In which case, their calculation is completely off - even assuming that Yovel has some relevance when it no longer has halachic significance. All of this begs the issue of the propriety of invoking some mystical significance to the succession of nines in order to extract money from the naive. I'm waiting for them to invoke a succession of sevens, i.e., the 7th day of the 7th month of the 7th year. Sevens are a more biblical theme, can accomodate the shmita cycle, and occurs just before Yom Kippur. If they do venture on such a ploy remember that a 'cynic' originated it.

    Y. Aharon

    Y. Aharon

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    1. My statement that the calculation used by the Kupat Ha'ir people assumes that Yovel occurs in the 49th year is inaccurate. Yovel in the torah is the 50th year in the sabbatical cycles (the year after 7 complete 7 year cycles). The issue, however, is whether Yovel is a year apart from the shmita cycles or is it also the first year of the next cycle. The Kupat Ha'ir people appear to pick the latter option in their calculation. However the Rambam rules to the contrary. He only accedes to the calculation of the Geonim that omits Yovel years after the churban and exile and just counts consecutive shmita cycles. According to the more evident reading of the Rambam, the Kupat Ha'ir calculation of when Yovel occurs is incorrect. As argued above, when Yovel occurs no longer has halachic significance and should not be assumed to have mystical significance - much less, following an invented series of nines scheme.

      Y. Aharon

      Delete
    2. According to the ad listed in Yeshiva World News (YWN - on line) the source of the nines 'rule' is the preface to Eitz Hachayim by R' Chaim Vital, considered the major student of the ARI. However, the statement there doesn't speak of prayer, but that the nines are an auspicious time for blessings. Such mystical notions don't appear to require prayer - just avoidance of things that might exclude the person. It's hard to see how the apparent 9 minute recitation of the names of people giving at least $144 by Rav Kanievsky, Rav Edelshtein, and 28 other rabbanim in 30 places helps. The auspiciousness of the mement is also written only in connection with the Yovel count. The ad this year cited in YWN, however, conflates the Yovel cycle with the Birchat Hachama one, and is deliberately misleading. They don't appear to have any source for using the 28 year cycle in this fashion - not R' Vital nor the Brit Menucha. I also don't see how their witching time comes out to 6:44 - 6:53 (or the alternative 1:44-1:53). It's sad that people with little means fall for such gimmicks.

      Y. Aharon

      While the ostensible purpose of the tzedaka campaign may have merit, the method used is that of con artists. One also wonders how much of the contributed funds goes to 'administrative expenses' including paying for these full page ads.

      Y. Aharon

      Delete
    3. Y. Aharon: Regarding 49 years vs. 50 years: At Kupat HaIr they are "machmir" and follow both opinions. That's why they run this campaign so many times...

      Delete
  20. Are not you misleading your readers? Their poster 3 years ago was related to yovel cycle. This year's poster is related to Birkas HaChamah cycle.

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    Replies
    1. Right, that was my point! They claimed three years ago that it is a once-in-fifty years opportunity - but then they claim that nine-years-from-Birkas HaChamah is equally powerful!

      Delete
    2. Well, maybe it is.

      Delete
  21. Actually, all these numbers 9 are of Beatles significance. Be on the lookout for previously unreleased studio sessions on that day.

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  22. But does the ninth comment on your ninth Kupat Ha-ir post get a yeshua?

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  23. perhaps someone can ask them and report back their reply if any

    Phone: 1-800-233-2188, Email: info@kupat.org


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  24. Sadly it has come to the point where we are made to believe that our own prayers are worthless. Swipe your card once a month, and you're good to go. Perhaps you no longer need to daven three times a day once you make that monthly installment (bracha levatala?).
    Rabbi Aviner is a brilliant person and spot on on most issues I've heard him discuss or read in his sefarim.

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    Replies
    1. I don't know the right way to say this, and do not mean to in any way understate R' Aviner's brilliance, but the sad thing to me is that many of his answers are blindingly obvious to those of the rationalist TUM persuasion.
      KT
      Joel Rich

      Delete
  25. http://www.bhol.co.il/forums/topic.asp?cat_id=4&topic_id=2990832&forum_id=771

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  26. TheKnish.com has to taken to shredding the campaign in its own satirical way: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=924676707667553&id=383079135160649&comment_id=924755214326369&notif_t=share_comment&notif_id=1480962243176842

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  27. Once people are convinced that supernatural being(s) can interact with this world see what can happen. In the USA there are 'Christian' ministers who fleece their flock or potential sheep with similar scams.

    Maybe Karl Marx was correct in his evaluation of religion.

    ANONACJA

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  28. Has anyone thought of including the names of the poor people for whom they are collecting in this special 9 minute tefilah? that should eliminate the need to collect for them since they will enjoy such awesome yeshuos

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  29. Kupat Ha'ir's research is incomplete.

    Here are some more nines, courtesy of http://www.ridingthebeast.com/numbers/nu9.php

    Bible

    Nailed on the cross, Jesus Christ expires at the ninth hour.

    Jesus appears nine times to his disciples and apostles after his resurrection.

    The nine spiritual gifts of God enumerated by saint Paul: wisdom, knowledge, faith, gift of healing, to operate miracles, prophecy, distinguishing spirits, to speak in different kinds of tongues and the gift to interpret them. (1 Co 12,4-11) Saint Paul enumerates also nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Ga 5,22)

    Jesus Ben Sira says in the Ecclesiastic: There are nine things I can think of which strike me as happy, and a tenth which is now on my tongue. (Si 25,7)

    The bed of Og, king of Bashan, incarnation of the devil, had nine cubits long. (Dt 3,11)

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  30. And some more ...

    The nine is often found in the superstitions, such as for example, nine salt grains means the bad fate. And if someone wants to get marry in the year will jump nine times over a fire of the saint John or will jump over nine different fires. The tradition wants that the drowned returns to the surface of the water after nine days.

    In the Greeks mythology: the nine nights of love of Zeus; the nine days and nine nights that Leto suffers when she gives birth; the nine girls of Zeus and Mnemosyne, named Muses, who governed the liberal arts: Clio, Calliope, Melpomene, Thala, Euterpe, Erato, Terpsichore, Polymna and Urana; the nine days of ansciety of the Ceres-Demeter goddess who went around the world in search of her daughter Persephone kidnaped by Hephaistos, the dark god of Hells; the tradition wants that Minos, in his cavern, spent nine years to receive the Jupiter laws; a legend says also that Minos had, every nine years, a meeting with Jupiter, after what it was possible for him to prophesy.

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  31. http://somehowfrum.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/fearless-flatbushers-fight-fraudsters.html

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  32. We should also remember the 1980s song "99 Red Balloons" which indicates that if you contribute based on the "nines" you will be worthy of ascending to heaven as the 99 Balloons do in the music video. On the other hand, if you do not contribute you might cry the "96 Tears" described by Question Mark and the Mysterians 50 years ago.

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  33. In the UK, Advertising Standard Authority (https://www.asa.org.uk) can ban certain adverts if they are lying in their description of the benefits of a product (or any offering) is questionable. Being that this lying organisation have their adverts published internationally including the UK, this advert and many of their other adverts, could be reported to the ASA and likely banned in the UK.

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  34. Wonderful to hear Rav Zev Leff calling them out!
    http://podcast.headlinesbook.com/e/122416-kabbalah-and-segulos-today-using-them-to-market-tzedakah-what-needs-a-hechsher/

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  35. Tangentially, the concept of Birchat HeChama, a once in 28 year event that occurs when the sun is in the same position it was during creation, is based on non existent science, and certainly false premises.

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