Right-wing activist Baruch Marzel wipes his eyes at the grave of Baruch Goldstein. / Getty Images
These days, you can order almost anything by phone. Books. Movies. Food. Sex. Salvation?
Sure, why not. Salvation. And not just any old kind, but the kind you can only get by virtue of an appeal to one of Israel’s most notorious killers: Baruch Goldstein.
Goldstein murdered 29 Palestinians in Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs 20 years ago, and to this day right-wing Jews still flock to his grave in nearby Kiryat Arba. They go there to pray, hoping that proximity to this “holy man” will help get their prayers through the pearly gates.
But since not everyone can afford to make that pilgrimage, Baruch Marzel — a right-wing activist and Goldstein devotee — has organized a telephone service allowing Jews to outsource their prayers, according to a Walla report cited today in Yeshiva World News.
Call Marzel’s service and you’ll be invited to “Push 1 for a Yeshua,” a salvation. That salvation, which will come by way of a prayer to be said on your behalf at Goldstein’s grave, includes everything from financial and romantic success to improved health and victory in court cases.
If you’re worried about the spiritual credentials of the person who will be praying on your behalf, don’t be: Only “Jews who are Yirei Shomayim,” God-fearing, will be entrusted with this important task.
If you’re thinking that this whole prayer-by-proxy thing sounds kind of weird — well, it’s nothing new. Thanks to Western Wall Prayers, you can now pay $38 and “a Torah scholar will pray on your behalf at the Kotel for 40 consecutive days ($95 value).” Give a “minimal donation” to a group called Protection on the Road, and “close to 2000 children in our schools will recite Tehilim (Psalms) and additional special tefilos (prayers) of protection for you daily.” Log onto SayKaddish.com, and for the low-low price of $300 rabbis in Israel will recite the mourner’s prayer for your deceased loved one three times a day, every day, for a whole year.
Generally speaking, though, these pay-to-pray deals are transparent moneymaking schemes. What’s new about Marzel’s telephone service is that he doesn’t seem to be interested in turning a profit.
Instead, he’s doing this out of the goodness of his heart.
A heart that genuinely believes routing prayers through a mass murderer’s grave will make them more pleasing to God.
Sigal Samuel is the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not writing for the opinion section, she’s hunting down her Indian Jewish family’s kabbalistic secret societies . Her novel “The Mystics of Mile End,” available in Canada and forthcoming in the U.S. , tells the story of a dysfunctional family with a dangerous mystical obsession. Her writing has also appeared in The Daily Beast , The Rumpus , BuzzFeed , Tablet and The Walrus , among others. Contact Sigal at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter at @SigalSamuel .