Jan. 28, 2006 21:08 Updated Jan. 28, 2006 22:38
Rabbi Yitzhak Kadouri, leading kabbalist, dies
By JPOST.COM STAFF
Rabbi Yitzhak Kadouri, one of the best-known rabbis in Israel, and the leading Sephardic kabbalist of his time, died Saturday night at Jerusalem's Bikur Holim Hospital.
Rabbi Kadouri had been hospitalized in Jerusalem's Bikur Holim Hospital for the past two weeks, initially due to a severe lung infection. The rabbi was initially sedated and respirated, but his condition had stabilized until a fungus was discovered in his bloodstream last week.
Zaka reported his funeral will begin Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in Jerusalem's Bokharim neighborhood, with the procession beginning at the Rehov David yeshiva which the rabbi led.
When Rabbi Yitzhak Kadouri was 16 years old Rabbi Yosef Haim, known as the Ben Ish Chaim, the most important Sephardi rabbi of the 19th century, blessed Kadouri with a long life. Apparently the blessing worked.
Nobody knows precisely how old Kadouri was as the time of his death. Estimates range between 106 and 113.
Kadouri arrived in Israel from Bagdad, Iraq at the age of 17 and studied under several legendary kabbalists, including Rabbi Yehuda Pedaya, author of Beit Lechem Yehuda and Rabbi Efraim Cohen, head of a group of kabbalists who studied at Porat Yosef Yeshiva. Other rabbis include Rabbi Ezra Atia, head of Porat Yosef, Rabbi Mansour Ben-Shimon, and Rabbi Salman Eliyahu, father of former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu.
Kadouri later studied at Rabbi Yehuda Hadaya's Yeshivat Beit El in Jerusalem's Makor Baruch neighborhood. Rabbi Shmuel Darzi, one of Kadouri's
last students/study partners passed away in January. Darzi was in his eighties.
Kadouri s close circle of friends and family say he was one of the few known living kabbalists who use 'practical kabbalah', a type of Jewish magic aimed at affecting a change in the world.
They say Kadouri learned from the great kabbalists of previous generations the practice of writing amulets which heal, enhance fertility, and bring
Also, according to his son David, Kadouri was involved in the removal of at least 20 Dybbuks, lost souls that stray into the hapless bodies of living people to torment them.
However, according to sources close to the ancient mystic, even Kadouri never dabbled in the most dangerous types of Kabbalah that included forcing oaths on demons and evil spirits.
Kabbalists believe that it is possible, in
theory, to use holy names to trap demons and harness their powers. But the father of modern Kabbalah, the type learned in all the Kabbalah Yeshivot of Israel, Rabbi Yitzhak Luria Askneazi [the Ari], forbid the use of practical Kabbalah that involves forcing oaths on demons and evil spirits.
More rational schools of Judaism are skeptical about Kadouri's powers. For instance, haredi Lithuanian yeshiva heads and halachic authorities were conspicuously absent from the list of hospital visitors and rabbis who called to pray for Kadouri.
In contrast, in certain Sephardi circles Kadouri is considered a miracle worker. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of testimonials by Kadouri's faithful
back up this claim to supernatural power. But even in the Sephardi yeshiva world rabbis such as Ovadia Yosef belittled Kadouri s ability to work
Nevertheless, few doubted Kadouri's righteousness. For most of his life Kadouri was unknown to the general public. He led a modest life of study and
prayer. He worked as a bookbinder.
Kadouri s became known as a supernatural mystic began during and after the Yom Kippur War. Families of soldiers missing in action came to Kadouri to ask him to use his powers to determine whether their loved ones were dead or alive.
Kadouri s popularity reached an all-time high in the 1996 elections when the centenarian kabbalist s amulets helped Shas achieve an amazing electoral success.
At the time Shas was at an electoral low point. It's long stint with Labor, which led to the Oslo Accords, had repelled Shas's predominantly rightwing constituency. The haredi Ashkenazi rabbinic establishment had blackballed the Sephardi party for bucking Rabbi Elazar Menachem Man Shach, the undisputed spiritual leader of Lithuanian haredi Judaism. Polls were forecasting that Shas would drop from six to four mandates.
The idea to use Kadouri s spiritual prowess to help Shas win the elections belonged to Shas chairman Aryeh Deri. Deri told the haredi weekly Bekehila that God showed him the light when he joined the annual Rosh Hashana pilgrimage to the gravesite of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav at Uman, Ukraine.
Shas managed to distribute 100,000 amulets before Chairman of the elections committee Theodore Or prohibited their use. Soon after Ofir Pines-Paz drafted a bill ratified by the Knesset that anchored Or's prohibition in legislation. But the amulets did the trick: Shas mustered 10 mandates.
In the 2003 elections Kadouri's grandson Yossi, who had demanded, and been refused, a realistic spot on the Shas list, attempted to use his grandfather to rekindle the electoral success of 1996 with his own political party called Ahavat Yisrael. But the party failed to gain the minimum votes needed to enter the Knesset.
Kadouri's son David claims his father passed on to him the secrets of amulet-writing. However, others claim that Kadouri's metaphysical powers cannot be inherited.
"He is the last of a lost generation," said one source close to the Kadouri family.
I hope he is the last of his generation. People love being made fools of and there's more than enough people willing to oblige.
Kaduri's divulging his dream of meeting the Moshiach is scandalous. Anyone can make up stuff and get it right part of the time. Enough already with these phony kabbalists and Moshiach greeters.
I found a whole bunch of people looking for Moshiach as well! Why can't we all JUST GET ALONG and go looking for this guy together?
'Hot line' set up to usher in Shiite messiah
By Scott Peterson
The Christian Science Monitor
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 01.08.2006
advertisementQOM, Iran — Have a quick question about when the Mahdi is coming to save mankind, according to Shiite Muslim adherents? Need to know the signs?
Just call the new messiah "hot line." Or log on to Bright Future News Agency to get the latest religious readout — all part of the effort by freshly rejuvenated true believers in Iran to spread their message of the imminent return of the Mahdi, the 12th imam who is expected to return to impose justice and spread peace.
"People are anxious to know when and how will he rise; what they must do to receive this worldwide salvation," says Ali Lari, a cleric at the Bright Future Institute in Iran's religious center of Qom.
"The timing is not clear, but the conditions are more specific," he adds. "There is a saying: 'When the students are ready, the teacher will come.' "
Paving the way is a renewed commitment to "Mahdaviat" beliefs by the ultraconservative government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who lives so modestly that declared assets include only a 30-year-old car, an even older house and an empty bank account.
These ideologues see the creation of the Islamic Republic in 1979 and efforts to rekindle its revolutionary ideals as critical to paving the way for the Mahdi's return.
That return — which they believe will happen soon — will prompt a global battle between good and evil (not unlike biblical "Armageddon" interpretations), and herald an era of justice, peace and the ultimate triumph of Shiite Islam.
The Bright Future Institute is preparing the ground, a leaflet explains, by developing the "true culture" of waiting for the Mahdi, "reject(ing) wrong ideas and preparing scientific answers to respond (to) superstitions," while working to "accomplish an ideal society which Imam Mahdi wants."
While he waits, Morteza Rabaninejad sits at a computer with a telephone and headset, answering five calls and 10 letters a day.
Started in 2004, the institute is the eighth of its kind in Iran to study and even speed the Mahdi's return. But it is the largest and most influential, with 160 staff, a growing reach in local schools, children's and teen magazines, and unlimited ambition to spread the word.
The blend of modern technology and ancient prophecy echoes efforts of U.S. evangelicals who use 45 categories — from liberalism to natural disasters — to predict the "end time," when holy people will experience rapture and go to heaven. For them, the Rapture Index is at 151; anything higher than 145 means "fasten your seat belts," because of what they deem a high level of prophetic activity.
Critics in Iran and outside dismiss end-of-timers as unscientific, traditional followers of myths. To counter those critics, the institute's news agency began churning out reports in Arabic three months ago.
"There is a gap between us and the popular media," says editor-in-chief Sayed Ali Pourtabatabaie. "We started the idea of a messiah news agency of the Mahdi (because) we thought we needed a news agency to publish his news."
This is really important for anyone who ever committed sexual sins
Kabbalists hold prayers to rectify sexual sins
By MATTHEW WAGNER
Kabbalists and their followers in dozens of Kabbalah yeshivot across the country this week began a six-week regimen of special prayers and fasting, known as Tikkun Shovavim or Tikkun Habrit, to rectify the spiritual damage caused by sex-related transgressions and, more specifically, nocturnal emissions.
"These six weeks are particularly propitious for the expiation of these sins and for raising up sparks of holiness trapped as a result of these transgressions," said Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri of Yeshivat Shalom in Jerusalem.
Batzri explained that the six weeks of prayers and fasting coincide with the six weekly public Torah readings in synagogues of the first half of Exodus. These readings tell the story of the Jewish nation's bondage in Egypt and conclude with the revelation on Sinai and the giving of the Torah. Shovavim is an acronym for the names of these six weekly portions.
"Just as the children of Israel went down into Egypt, a place of impurity and defilement, to raise up holy sparks, so too can we rectify what we have damaged in the spiritual world and raise up holy sparks," Batzri said.
Every day during these six weeks select kabbalists, such as Rabbi David Batzri and Rabbi Benayahu Shmueli, fast and pray. However, mass prayers are normally said on Mondays and Thursdays. These prayers, which include special kabbalistic intentions or "kavanot," last for several hours.
Batzri said that evil demons from "the other side" use nocturnal emissions to create more demons.
"Most of our troubles are caused by these demons," said Batzri. "They hurt us, they hurt our children, they cause poverty." Batzri said that the special prayer, which includes the reading of portions of the Zohar, fasting and repentance can destroy these demons.
At Yeshivat Nahar Shalom, headed by Rabbi Benayahu Shmueli, in addition to the prayers said for rectifying the damage from nocturnal emissions, prayers are also recited for other sexual transgressions such as having relations with a married women, homosexual intercourse, and having relations with a gentile woman.
"Even if someone never did one of these sins, he might have done it in a past life," said Dror, one of Shmueli's aides, expressing the kabbalistic belief in reincarnation.
Sephardi Jews are more likely to take part in Tikkun Shovavim prayers, although there are a few Ashkenazi yeshivot for the learning of Kabbalah, including Sha'ar Hashamayim and Anshei Ma'amad, both in Jerusalem. Many hassidic sects also take part in the special prayers.