Refuting Red Bendels


David Fischbein





Dear Mr. Perelman:


I saw the mini-movie about the red string on, 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 I am merely trying to engage you in a debate about certain modern practices in Judaism.




Yours Truly,


David Fischbein