Sunday, February 03, 2008

Mickey Mouse Rabbi

I just found out recently about this guy on the left. I was by my friend's house and a small picture of him was taped on the wall. Apparently he, the Grand Rabbi Yeshaya Steiner of Kerestir, has the amazing ability to bless homes that display his likeness with a segulah to keep away mice! (Though ironically while I was there - I actually did see a mouse!)



How this is foundationally different from Catholics and their semi-avodah zara patron saints of whatever is a distinction lost to me.

17 comments:

Epicentre said...

Agreed - this "tzadikim" business really gets to the borders of avodah zarah sometimes. The Jewish concept is more of "get yourself into a position (by mitzvoth etc) that you can ask directly (e.g in shmoneh esreh)" - no intermediates needed.

Baal Habos said...

>Though ironically while I was there - I actually did see a mouse!)

You saw a real mouse or a Mickey Mouse?

Orthoprax said...

Actual mouse. The way the whole conversation started was that we saw the mouse flit around a corner and my second visiting friend says, "Why don't you get the picture of so and so?"

And my hosting friend says, "I already have one, here it is..."

Then I proceeded to be amazed at the whole idea and I made fun of them saying mouse traps are much more efficacious.

Miri said...

What about mezuzot? the whole concept of the mezuzah protecting a house isn't so different, just more halachically mandated....

Orthoprax said...

Miri,

People who believe so are superstitious. But it's not as close to avodah zara as believing in the segulahs of rabbi posters.

M-n said...

Adderabbi wrote about it:
http://adderabbi.blogspot.com/2007/10/ratrabbi.html
http://adderabbi.blogspot.com/2007/10/ratrabbi-ii.html

Orthoprax said...

MN,

Go know. I guess I'm late for the party.

Miri said...

Orthoprax-
it's less avodah zorah bc it's halachically mandated. Other than that, what's the difference?

Orthoprax said...

Miri,

It is not Halacha to believe the mezuzah is a protective amulet.

resh lakish said...

Interestingly, the word "phylacteries" comes from the Greek phylaktērion, which means amulet.
http://m-w.com/dictionary/phylactery

Anonymous said...

>>the whole concept of the mezuzah protecting a house isn't so different, just more halachically mandated

That's incorrect. The WHOLE CONCEPT of the mezuzah is not about protecting the home. The whole concept of the mezuzah is that it is a mitzvah to serve God. The protection thing came about later on and has no bearing on the commandment itself and is not mentioned in the Torah. But you are right, putting such juju into mitzvos degrades them in peoples' eyes, because they don't always work the way that people hope they will.

Anonymous said...

>>Interestingly, the word "phylacteries" comes from the Greek phylaktērion, which means amulet.

Then it is incorrect to use the term. Gemara Shabbos discusses the term "totefet" in discussing jewelry that can be worn/carried on Shabbos. The term means "ornament" not amulet.

Jeff said...

Here's an intersting quote I found from Maimonedes:

"It is not enough that these fools have set a mitzvah aside but have converted a great mitzvah - the unification of God, blessed be He, and His love and worship - into an amulet for their own benefit imagining, in their stupidity, that this has an effect in terms of worldly vanities."

Also along similar lines, you see a picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe hanging shrine-like in most Chabad homes and offices. To take this further along, I actually have a coin with his image *engraved* on it. This takes it beyond prohibitions against superstition into more of a ten commandment issue.

Miri said...

Anonymous-
"he WHOLE CONCEPT of the mezuzah is not about protecting the home. The whole concept of the mezuzah is that it is a mitzvah to serve God. The protection thing came about later on"

Yes, I think that was Orthoprax's point and why the thread was dropped. It wasn't a particularly strong question to begin with, just something that was nagging at the back of my head....I've heard so many stories about robberies that were the result of mezuzot with cracked lettering or a torn klaf, I guess it sort of got absorbed into my spiritual consciousness as a religous concept....anyway, it's not particularly important.

frumskeptic said...

LOL LOL...
I read about putting that Rabbi's pic up as a segulah against mice in the Yated!

In case anyone was wondering why there was still a mouse, its because you're supposed to say Tehillim #92 as well...
lol lol.

I would definitely agree on the mouse trap though :)

Baal Devarim said...

"Though ironically while I was there - I actually did see a mouse!"

Obviously, that was a blind mouse!

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