Judaism.com supports the notion that the Red String has been infused with mystical, Kabbalistic powers at the tomb of Rachel, promising the protection of the Evil Eye. Judaism.com wants to reclaim this Red String as Jewish tradition, when if fact they admit they are ignorant of its source. It is actually heathen and idolatrous. Judaism.com also displays a video claiming the Red String becomes blessed with special authentic and proven qualities; to remove pain, defend against the Evil Eye, to bless children, and to afford easier pregnancies. Mesora intends to reveal each of these views as falsehood, and contrary to true Torah ideals.

Chananya, Mishael and Azarya risked life, and refused to bow to idols. Mordechai refused to bow before to Haman’s idolatry, even placing himself at risk. Today, idolatry is tempting misinformed Jews. How much more must we take action when no one's life is at danger and what is at risk, are the beliefs of our fellow Jews, deceived that Red Strings protect, and that they form part of Judaism? Idolatrous ideas are being spread. We must do as Mordechai exemplified in his deep concern for others, and take action. Red Strings violate Judaism's fundamentals. This is no small issue.

Judaism.com and other websites are selling Red Strings as "protective, Judaic devices". These sites listed are taking peoples money. The Rabbis teach: “Your friend’s money should be as beloved to you as your own.” Mesora, the public, and many Rabbis are taking a stand against this destruction of Torah, and abuse. We ask you to join. Please read further below, and our arguments at the right.

Mesora has long protested idolatrous practices, prohibited in the Torah so many times, and specifically in Tosefta Sabbath, chapter 7. Our objective is to save innocent and ignorant Jews from falling prey to foolish practices, when the Torah commands against them, and when reason proves they are useless. We initially wrote this to Judaism.com:

  • “Dear Judaism.com,
    Red String sales violate Talmud Shabbos, Tosefta, Chapter 7: “Red Strings are the way of the Emorites” and are prohibited by Torah. Please remove this idolatrous film from your site and cease your sale of Red Strings. God alone protects the Jew: Someone righteous will not be harmed if he does not wear these Red Strings, and a wicked person will not be saved if he does. Red Strings are foolish and prohibited. I thank you in advance for acting in line with true, Torah principles. I will look forward to seeing your immediate removal of this Heathen, idolatrous practice from your website.”

Judaism.com did not respond, so we wrote again:

  • “Many others seek to learn the truth of Torah, while you are perpetuating a fraudulent Judaism, only for the sake of making sales. I see you are not interested in reading this source, for yourself. Had you already read it, you would have removed your red strings. If you are an observant Jew, or a thinking individual who knows that God need not contend with red strings when rewarding or punishing, you would admit the following: a righteous person earns reward without the red string, and a Rasha will be punished, even if he does were this twined, dyed object. Study the Rishonim, see Rambam’s 13 Principles and Hilchos Avodah Zarah. Also understand that deceiving others, in the name of Torah, is of the worst sins.
    This Red String is prohibited, period. If you decide to keep this violation on your website, that is your decision. But we will take all actions to make certain no one is misled by your deception. If however you remove it, we will have nothing but praise for your commitment to Judaism.
    Additionally, now that you know of this Tosefta, if you do not inform your website visitors of this Tosefta, then you desire to keep them blind to an open Tosefta of Gemara Shabbos.”

Judaism.com has finally responded citing these sources:

  • The Debriziner Rav said: "This has been the custom, and everyone engaged in it. Likewise, they were careful to tie a red thread on the carriage or on the crib of the infant for protection against the evil eye. All these three customs are included in the 'customs of the elderly women', which upon them the Rashbah (on of the greatest of the early Halachic authorities) wrote: One must not denigrate their words and customs because their (words and customs) are certainly founded upon the 'hills of sanctity. Even if the reason is concealed from us.

    The Ohav Yisroel Said: "In the Rabbinical journal 'Otzros Yerusalayim' Vol 36, a letter is published which was written by the son of the Alexander Rebbe, "And now I request of you in as much as we know from our uncle the holy author of the 'Yismach Yisrael', that it is a segula for a pregnant woman to ensure that she will carry her pregnancy to term that you should 'measure round' the Tomb of Rachel our matriarch – that you should please 'measure round Rachel's tomb and send me the string in order that it should be a 'segula', that she should complete her pregnancy to term.

    And so have we heard from residents of the holy city of Yerushalyim, that they have a tradition regarding this segula, and they wrap the string around the hand and it is effective for all sorts of salvation

    Please take down your ill-informed statements.”

Judaism.com refers to the Tosefta as a source that "ill-informs" us. However, a Tosefta is on par with the Oral Law that Moses, amd is more credible than any Rabbi. With their accusation that we are "ill-informed" by a Tosefta, Judaism.com exposes their ignorance of Torah. And their failure to post the Tosefta compounds their crime.

Clearly, the Debriziner Rav argues on a Tosefta, but he has no authority to do so. King Solomon stated, "For man is not righteous in the land who does good and does not sin." (Ecclesiastes, 7:20) King Solomon teaches that no man is free from error, not even Moshe Rabbeinu. A reputation of someone being a "Rav" must not cause us to accept all he says...he too may err. The Debriziner Rav is wrong.

What is dangerous about Judaism.com's approach, is their reliance on anything a Rabbi says. Perhap a Rabbi will support Jesus...does this mean it is acceptable? Then by what standards do we accept or refute a position as authentically Torah? The answer is, by Judaism's Fundamentals. This view of a string protecting us, is the result of Yeshiva's that disregard the education of the Yesodei HaTorah, "Judaism's Fundamentals" such as Rambam's 13 Principles. As such, we urge all Torah educators to engage in the study and education of those ideas most central to Judaism and our knowledge of God. Practices like wearing red strings to save one's self are absolutely alien to Torah principles recited each day in Ashray: "Close is God to all who call upon HIM, who call upon HIM in truth."

What we hope will come from this debate, is that Judaism.com and all other Red String peddlers recognize that red strings, rabbit feet, 4-leaf clovers, horseshoes, broken mirrors and the like, have no affect on our lives, or on reality. God alone rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked...whether or not they wear red strings.

Judaism.com omitted the Tosefta from their website, that we and other rabbis sent them. This omission reveals their intent to hide from Jews this most authoritative source in the Talmud refuting their Red Strings.

Other websites violating Torah principles and misleading the public include these below. See our arguments at right, and Click above to write Judaism.com and others protesting their practice.


Do not support these websites, as your purchase will reinforce your error, you will help spread falsehoods about Judaism's fundamentals, and you will enable these deceivers to rob others. Click the links above and take action supporting authentic Judaism.

Violation of Tosefta Shabbos
Tosefta Shabbos is in par with the Oral law, the Mishna. In the Tosefta, we read many acts are the ways of the Emorites, idolatrous peoples, and included, is "wearing a red thread on one's finger."

Violation of Judaism's Fundamentals
The Red Bendel contradicts Maimonides' 13 Principles; that God rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked. Those defending the Red Bendel say this is not true, unless someone wears this string.

No proven evidence that wearing a string affects reality.

Denies Known, Medical Science
Maimonides, along with every doctor in history never treated the sick with red strings, but with medicine and surgery. The owners of Judaism.com have seen doctors in their lives, and have had surgery...they did not avoid these medically-sound procedures, using the Red Bendel instead. Judaism.com's staff contradicts itself.

Reason alone contradicts the theory of the Red Bendel offering protection.

An open Talmudic portion refutes the Red Bendel: "Sin is what kills". Not the avoidance of wearing the Red Bendel. (Berachos 33a)

Isaiah 45:22 Refutes Red Bendels
"Look to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else."

Rambam, hilchos mezuza 5:4 refutes them:
 "Those who write inside the mezuza names of angels or holy names or a verse or engravings, they are included with those who have no share in the world to come.  Because these fools, it’s not enough that they are nullifying a mitzvah, but they are making a great mitzvah—which is the Oneness of the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His love and His service—into an amulet for their own benefit as it occurs to their foolish hearts that this kind of nonsense thing can benefit them."

Rambam hilchos mezuza 6:13:
"The early Wise Ones said “Whoever has tefillin on his head and arm, tzitzis on his clothing, and a mezuza on his door, he is strengthened not to sin, because he has many reminders, and these are the angels that protect him from sin as it says (Tehillim 34:8) "The angel of the LORD encamps around them that fear Him, and delivers them".  
Nowhere in Tanach or in the gemara do people use a red string to protect themselves.

The Torah Refutes Them
he Torah says, "Teshuva, tefilla, u’tzedaka maavirin es roa ha’gzeira", "Repentance, prayer, and charity remove the evil decree". Nothing is mentioned that a red string is required.

Ironically.....No Protection from Our Accusations
Judaism.com's workers most certainly wear Red Bendels. Why then are their Red Strings of no help to them, shielding them from our accusations? It appears their subjugation to our refutations expose the red strings as lies.

Two sources "claim" the Red Bendel "shields one from the 'evil eye', protects children, and insures safe pregnancies".

Both positions cannot be true. One is false. Judaism is a system built on reason. You decide which position is reasonable, and which is lies.

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March 8, 2005: By Elliot Plotnik (sent to Judaism.com and cc'd to Mesora)

“Dear Mr. Perelman,
Having looked through your website, it dawned on me that there seems to be no need for any religious practices if mundane objects can be imbued with such power and promise.  Please explain the purpose of Tefilla if all we need to do is wear a red string on our wrist.  How does this help us?  And if you want to answer (as most do who ascribe to this practice do) that we don't need to know how it works only that it works, may I remind you of the Ibn Ezra who tells us that if we come upon a mitzvah that we cannot fully understand without the explanation within the works of Torah SheBal Peh, than we discount the mitzvah entirely as it cannot be a part of the Mesora!  I ask you, where is the Torah SheBal Peh for this practice?  Where is there any source for the Torah for this practice at all?  How do we know what this practice is if it is not discussed at all within the Torah.  If it is truly as powerful as you are stating, wouldn't it be included in the Torah as something for all to benefit from?  In fact, where is there any source anywhere in the Torah that tells us that regular physical objects can be imbued with magical powers for our personal benefit?  What is the point of perfecting ourselves and doing the mitzvot of the Torah if all we have to do is wear this "magical" string and we will be protected.  How can you honestly say that this is part of Torah Judaism.  Do you really believe that a religion with the massive intellectual works that Judaism has, (Mishna, Gemara, etc) and the Torah giants that we have would endorse a  practice such as this? 
In addition,  I have not seen your answer anywhere to the Rishonim (the Tosefta, the Rambam, etc) that so clearly state that this practice is wrong and and avodah zarah.  You cannot honestly answer that the sources you quoted from a few late achronim (who by the way do not seem to present logical arguments- just that this is the way its been done, therefore do not belittle it) can contradict the Rishonim.  These Rishonim present cogent logical arguments with clear sources from the Torah that this practice is wrong and destructive for the nation. 
One last point, What does this say about God's system of Justice?  Lets say I'm a Rasha, can I where this string and still be protected?  Are we rewarded and punished for our mitzvos and aveiros or because of a string that we wear?
It must be that you believe that Judaism does not have to make sense?  There is obviously no logic to the religion.  In that case, why stop at a red string?  Maybe I can draw a big sign on my forehead that says "protect me".  Is that really any different?  What about a lucky penny or a rabbits foot?
I understand that there is a strong emotional attachment to these types of beliefs.  They are easy and require almost no work.  That is not what Judaism is.  All I ask is that you look through the sources (the Tosefta, that Rambam, etc,) and really think about these ideas.  Because that's what Judaism demands.
Thank you.
Elliot Plotnick
Long Beach, NY”

March 8, 2005: By Rabbi Saul Zucker (sent to Judaism.com and cc'd to Mesora)

“Dear Sir:
I read with great fear and anxiety your response to The Jewish Times regarding the issue of the sale of red threads as a protective amulet.  The reason that I say "fear and anxiety" is that your letter seems to say that as long as there are opinions in print supporting a certain practice, that practice may be encouraged even if it runs contrary to towering Jewish authorities and texts.  It is as if to suggest that while authorities such as the Tanna'im, the Radak, and the Rambam may clearly prohibit in very strong terms the wearing of red threads, as long as two rabbis (who lived within the past hundred years and are recognized to be illustrious) say that it is all right, then there is no problem.  I beg of you, as someone who undoubtedly has the interest of fellow Jews in his heart, to please reconsider your position.  I appeal to your tzelem elokim in this request, based upon the following sources:
The Rashba, alluded to in the Be'er Moshe that you quoted, (presumably in Teshuvos HaRashba, volume 2, letter 268) states, "There are customs that the women observed on their own, and it is prohibited to violate (those customs) provided that they were observed based upon a correct issue..."  (There follows a list of customs observed by women as cited in Yerushalmi Pesachim, some of which are deemed appropriate, and others which are not).  To use this as a basis to say that since women established the custom of tying red threads, therefore it should be accepted, seems to be a distortion of the Rashba's explicit words.
But more...the Tosefta in Shabbos 7:1 explicitly states that wearing a red thread is a clear violation of a Torah principle, darkei ha-emori.  With that in mind, please see the commentary of the Radak on Yeshayahu 40:21, where he states, "...people thought that many things and certain actions would help or damage, sicken or heal.  These things are not based upon wisdom or medicine or natural forces, but rather they are based upon the repeated customs of people throughout the generations...and these are the darkei ha-emori."  Does not the "ancient custom" of the red thread fit exactly into what the Radak derides?
And worse...please see the Rambam's Moreh HaNevuchim 3:37, wherein he states unequivocally that the engagement by people of practices that constitute darkei ha-emori in order to protect themselves from danger will not only be ineffective, but on the contrary, will result in new dangers brought to them as a result of their sin.
If this is not enough to convince you, my dear brother, I beg that you at least consider putting something along the following lines on your website when offering the red threads for sale:
"The use of these threads that are for sale was mentioned by the Tanna'im as being a violation of Torah law.  The Radak and the Rambam clearly reiterate the sin involved in using them, and the Rambam in particular says that using them will bring about further calamity in your life.  There are, however, two rabbis who recently wrote that there is no problem with using these threads since their origin is based upon the established custom of numerous common, lay people in earlier generations."
At least in this way, you are practicing full disclosure and informing the people of both sides of the issue, along with the risks that they may be taking in choosing a particular side.
I invite you to join me in a continuing full study of the issue, to pursue our divine mission of avodash HaShem through chochmah, so that we may clearly and properly understand what it is that HaShem has designed for us.  I hope that you accept these words in the true spirit in which they are written and sent, with ahavas Yisroel, and with the hope that with the true path of Torah and mitzvos, and without the need of any external, tempting illusions, we may all merit to see bi'as goel tzedek bimhayrah veyameinu.
Sincerely yours,
Rabbi Saul Zucker”

March 7, 2005: By Ari Fischbein (sent to Judaism.com and cc'd to Mesora)

“Dear Judaism.com,

Oh, and I had 2 more questions:

1) Why have you not posted the Tosefta, informing your readers of ALL sources, and certainly the more central one?

2) Why do you say you were accused of "practicing" idolatry, when you were actually accused of "promoting" red strings for monetary gain?


Ari Fischbein

March 6, 2005: By Ari Fischbein (sent to Judaism.com and cc'd to Mesora)

“Mr. Perelman at Judaism.com,
I reviewed your letter on your website regarding the red string.  I have also read about it in the JewishTimes.  I am a little confused.  The Rishonim seem quite clear on this and your sources are Achronim (I am assuming so. I haven't heard of them - my shortcoming) Can Achronim argue on Rishonim?  Can a custom remove an Issur – a prohibition?
But even putting aside the source “battle” what about the logical arguments?  Does a red string have power? Is it justice for God to punish someone for not wearing a red string and rewarding one who does regardless of their merit?  Does it make sense to you?
What about the Shema, which tells us that the road to prosperity is keeping the mitzvos?  Why should one do Teshuva, Tefilla, U'tzedaka (repent, pray and give charity) if all it takes is a red string?  It would clear up a lot if you could address these arguments on your site.  Simply quoting sources that (at least seemingly) go against the fundamentals of Torah - of Ein Od Milvado – “There is none other than God” – only clouds the area.  Please explain how this practice of wearing Red Strings does not go against the fundamentals of Judaism, how infusing an object with power is not at least approximating idolatry.  Thank you.
Ari Fischbein”
March 6, 2005: By David Fischbein (sent to Judaism.com and cc'd to Mesora)

“Dear Mr. Perelman at Judaism.com:
I saw the mini-movie about the red string on Judaism.com, and I am deeply comcerned with what I saw. No object in the world is given innate powers of protection or destruction. I will quote a few sources to demonstrate my point.
The Mishnah in Rosh Hashanah (3:8) states: "And it came to pass, when Moshe held up his hand, that Israel prevailed..." (Ex. 17:11). But could the hands of Moshe make war or lose a war? It is rather to teach you, as long as Israel was looking upwards and subjecting their hearts to their Father in Heaven, they prevailed, and if not, they fell. Likewise, you may say, "Make for you a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass, that whosoever is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live" (Num. 21:8). But could the serpent cause to die, or could the serpent cause to live? Rather, when Israel looked upwards and subjected their hearts to their Father in Heaven, they were healed, and if not, they perished."
Furthermore, in reference to the incense that was used to stop the plague that God smote the Jews with after the incident of Korach and his assembly, the Gemara in Berachos 33a states: "Why with incense? Because Israel was jeering and complaining about this incense, saying, "It is deadly poison; Nadav and Avihu died through it, and two hundred and fifty people died through it." The Holy One, Blessed be He, said, "You shall see that it is a plague stopper, and sin is what kills."
One has to wonder how a red string which nobody ever heard of can be more powerful than Moshe's hands, the copper serpent, and the incense.
I also object to line in the movie that states that Jews have prayed to Rachel Emainu at her tomb for centuries. Such a practice goes against one of the thirteen essential principles in Judaism; namely, that God is the only existence that one may pray to. Chazal talk about Calev going to pray by the tomb of our forefathers, but they are careful not to suggest that he prayed to them. He only went there to gain chizuk for his prayers.
Please do not take this letter to be a personal attack on you or anyone who works for Judaism.com. I am merely trying to engage you in a debate about certain modern practices in Judaism.
 Yours Truly,
David Fischbein

March 4, 2005: By Rabbi Reuven Mann (sent to Mesora)

“Rabbi Reuven Mann
Rabbi, Rinat Yisrael, Plainview, N.Y.
Founder,  Mesoret Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies
“Judaism is based on emulating the ways of Hashem that He has revealed to us.  The Torah refers to G-d as, “abundant in compassion and truth.” Those who seek to spread Judaism must be scrupulously truthful and compassionate.  We therefore may not mislead people and take advantage of them by exploiting their fears and insecurities.  The idea that a “Red Bendel” or any other religious object affords protections is contrary to Torah, which teaches that Hashem is Absolutely Just and is “close to all who call upon him in truth.” (Ashrei Prayer)  Thus, it is clear that our well-being is not based on the imaginary powers of objects, but on achieving Divine favor through good deeds and sincere prayer. 
All religious leaders should seek to emulate G-d’s Ways of truth and justice.  We must dissuade people from projecting magical powers on to objects, for this is the path of idolatry.  We should encourage them to improve their ways and put all their trust in Hashem, to Whom, alone, they should direct their fervent prayers at all times.”

March 4, 2005: By Rabbi Steven Pruzansky (sent to Mesora)

“Rabbi Steven Pruzansky
Congregation Bnai Yeshurun
Teaneck, New Jersey
March 3, 2005

Dear Judaism.com:

I was distressed to view on your web-site “Judaism.com” something for sale called “the authentic red string”. On one level, we would have wished that modern man had progressed beyond the stage of belief in the magical powers of icons and amulets. But on a deeper level, it is extremely distasteful that such a borderline-idolatrous object should be offered for sale on what purports to be a Jewish web site - alongside traditional objects like challah boards and kiddush cups.

I assume you are unaware that these red strings constitute the very antithesis of Judaism and all that we stand for. We believe in the power of God alone, and have willingly martyred ourselves in sanctification of His name and in defense of that sublime notion of one, all-powerful, incorporeal God.

These red strings are a Jewish as the cross, and I would respectfully urge you to immediately remove them from your site, with an explanatory note as to the reason for their removal. And may together we bring the light of Torah to the world.

Very truly yours,
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

March 3, 2005: By Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman (sent to Mesora)

“Belief in the Red Bendel as a protective device is a idolatrous. God is the only source of protection. Divine Providence emanates from Him alone. Placing trust in or attributing powers to physical objects is repugnant and rejected wholeheartedly by Judaism. It is a shame that there are so many charlatans who are feeding on the misfortunes of others by ‘selling these so called protective devices’. Desperate people who face real life difficulties are compounding their troubles both practically and philosophically by failing to put their trust in the Almighty. It is precisely during these difficult times that we are put to the test to see if we will reject false but attractive quick fixes like the colored piece of wool. Those who succeed in doing so and embrace Hashem will be rewarded.

March 3, 2005: By Rabbi Saul Zucker (sent to Mesora)

“Rabbi Saul Zucker
Founder/Rosh Yeshiva - Mesivta of North Jersey
 “Since the wondrous day of the Revelation at Sinai, where the Jewish people were given the Torah reflecting the unbounded wisdom of the Creator, we have been given the mission of involvement in and appreciation of that wisdom. Attraction to fads, incantations, and seeming “shortcuts” to a life of meaning and depth are antithetical to the Torah way of life. The advent of wearing a Red Stringto ward off evil forces and influences can be traced to various pagan societies as evidenced by articles in any encyclopedia of superstition, and is prohibited by the Torah as reflected in Tosefta Shabbos 7:1. I myself have heard from Rabbi Herschel Schachter, Rosh Yeshiva at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, that wearing such strings constitutes a Torah violation.
My brothers and sisters of Israel, people created with the divine mission to live and learn Torah -- the Torah itself, as reflected in the Bible and in the Talmud and commentaries is everything that we need to live a life of truth. Let us enjoy the majesty and nobility of the depth of Torah, and not turn to illusions.