Brazilian dybbuk: an update

November 24, 2016 22:53

Our old friend, the Dybbuk allegedly possessing the body of a Brazilian yeshivah student, has put in another appearance.

Israel's Channel 10 has produced a half-hour report on the "incident" and the successive attempts to exorcise him/it. If you speak Hebrew, watch it in full - it includes some very clear footage of several of the exorcism attempts. For the rest of you, here are the highlights / new information:

-- The dybbuk (do I have to keep on saying allegedly?) claimed to be from the Second Temple period, called Petachyahu the son of Chava. (No explanation of how he got to Brazil or what he was doing in the intervening 2,000 years.) The sin for which he was denied entry into the next world was breaking into a house, murdering the man of the house, raping and murdering his wife, and sacrificing the son to an idol / foreign god. (Does not sound like a nice guy by whom to be possessed.)

-- The dybbuk claimed to be possessing the Brazilian yeshiva student for seven years (funny his wife never noticed until three months ago, but anyway)

-- During the second exorcism attempt by Rav Batzri, witnessed by hundreds of his followers, the Brazilian man had his head covered by a balaclava "in order to protect his identity" (I assume he doesn't want to ruin the shidduch chances of his children).

-- A third exorcism attempt by an even more senior kabbalist, involved the rabbi trying to speak to the dybbuk through a stethoscope.

--  Channel 10 unearthed a video of a Batri exorcism from 10 years ago. In this case, a woman claimed to be possessed by the spirit of her husband, who had died two-and-a-half years earlier. He was apparently a drunk who never said kaddish for his parents or dead sister. During the alleged exorcism, the woman started speaking in a deep voice. At some point, the rabbi declares that the spirit has left through her little toe (apparently the only way for a dybbuk to exit). On tape, interviewed by Channel 10, the woman claims that the whole thing was a set-up and she re-enacts the "dybbuk's voice". According to a journalist following the case, she alleged that the rabbi paid her NIS 15,000 and had also agreed to pay her royalties from the copies of the tape of the exorcism which were widely distributed after the fact, but that he never did so. The rabbi's representatives hotly deny it was a set up and claim the woman has apologised for lying about making up the dybbuk.

-- Is this all a big scam by the rabbis, a way of building up their following and ultimately making money through the tapes of the exorcism and gatherings in which they star? Or are they genuine people with primitive beliefs? A couple of journalists disagree (interestingly, the religious journalist believes Batzri is a charlatan and Avishai Ben Chaim, Maariv's secular correspondent for Charedi affairs, thinks he really believes in what he is doing).

-- A curious ommission in the documentary: there was still no final word on what happened to the Dybbuk. This thing could run and run... 


November 24, 2016 22:53

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