Monday, February 25, 2013
Looking for Shidduch? Rabbis hope you’ll blow it
They had come to harness the power of a dead rabbi, Yonatan ben Uziel, a man they believed would intercede on their behalf in heaven, granting any Jew a match within the year — as long as they prayed at his tomb or paid a fee.
“This is the bringing-together of all the strengths in the world,” said Meir Levy, a 40-year-old bachelor who had come to join the prayer service on Jan. 27. “This is a very holy place.”
A man in a light blue robe, red velvet hat and paisley sash approached the building’s courtyard. Volunteers distributed standard-issue shofars to anyone they thought could blow. Cardboard boxes full of the rams’ horns emptied as the men stood at the ready, waiting for the robed man — the kabbalah master Rabbi Yechiel Abuchatzeira — to begin the prayers.
“The Abuchatzeira family is a family with many miracles,” said Eliyahu Hazan, 32, as he waited for the rabbi. “Their reputation speaks for itself. Everyone who goes to them gets results.”
But the ceremony on this Sunday afternoon was no ordinary service. It was, in the words of a website dedicated to the event, a “rare and unique” occasion in which the kabbalah masters would perform an “extraordinary corrective measure [to open] all the seven spiritual gates that block your luck and enable you to find your soul mate and get married THIS YEAR!”
“Answer us, shield of David,” sang Abuchatzeira into the microphone, using a phrase usually reserved for the penitential prayers recited in the weeks leading up to Yom Kippur. “Answer us, He who answers at a time of mercy. Answer us, God of the chariot. Answer us, Yonatan ben Uziel.”
The men holding the shofars repeated every line, following the rabbi as he walked in a circle through the tomb. Together they chanted the 13 attributes of God’s mercy. Then, on command, they raised their shofars and blew. It was a dissonant sound, the noise of hundreds of untrained shofar blowers. Some blew in staccato, others held the final note until they lost their breath. To the side, young boys in black hats, bused in from Safed, smirked at the proceedings.
They repeated the ceremony six more times, then moved on to prayers specifically directed toward finding a match. These prayers of the “brokenhearted” asked for “a sensible match able to give birth,” for a “woman of valor, fearing God, possessing intelligence, with good values and good deeds.”
Following the recitation of the Mourner’s Kaddish, the ceremony ended.
“It’s not that you understand what’s happening, but it’s the fact that you’re participating, that you’re ready to take part and do the right thing,” said Andre Levy, an anthropologist at Ben-Gurion University and an expert on the tradition of praying at the graves of the righteous. “In this model, you’re not supposed to understand. Your participation will make everything be accepted.”
Times of israel