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“A man who has sex with his wife during menstruation will be reincarnated in a gentile woman. A man who has sex with a married woman will be reincarnated in a donkey. A man who has sex with his own mother will be reincarnated in a she-ass. A man who has sex with his father’s wife will be reincarnated in a camel. A man who has sex with a gentile woman will be reincarnated in a Jewish whore.”
And then he clarifies: We don’t have to do any of the above acts to be reincarnated as a she-ass or a Jewish whore. Nope. God, he says, will bring us back to life as a donkey if we simply imagine sleeping with a married woman, or in a camel if we just dreamt about a little romantic affair with our father’s woman.
This all is terrible news for me. Not only am I not going to save the world, but also I now cannot even save myself.
Fortunately, we soon learn, Rabbi Batzri had an audience with God and the angels Gabriel and Rafael just before the event, and the three of them came up with a brilliant plan: fasting pay. He explains to us how this all works: We pay instead of fasting — 101 shekels a month for 26 months, and we will be cleansed of all our sins.
The people around me listen and immediately take out their credit cards.
But just before they are charged, a new ceremony starts. Those about to be cleansed of their bank and Visa accounts are told to tie their feet with special cords. This is to purify the soul, because God won’t take money from those who are not humble.
The people follow the orders to the letter.
Being the weak man that I am, I leave Jerusalem and go to Safed. I calculate that I could purify my soul more cheaply by immersing my sinful body in the famed ritual bath of the Holy Ari, a place known among the mystics of many generations as being capable of purifying all sins.
At least it’s worth a try.
At the entrance to the ritual bath, I read that women are not allowed to bathe here and that anyone who breaks this rule will be “bitten by a snake.”