Rabbis Need to Be Careful When Dispensing Advice
I am sure my long time readers remember the immigration hell I went through after I married the KoD.
Things were really bad at the time, and we were getting no answers from the immigration people.
A friend suggested that the next time I was in Monsey I should go and see a certain Rabbi, he will give me a bracha (blessing) and some advice on how to proceed. (For a fee – of course). Desperate times call for desperate measures. The KoD wasn’t really on board with it, but we figured what could it hurt.
We met with the secretary / assistant and gave our Hebrew names, and a synopsis of what the issues were for which we were seeking advice and brachot. Eventually we were ushered in to the room where the Rabbi sat, with several of his minions. He did not speak English, so all the conversation was conducted through the assistant.
What was his solution? We should have a baby together, me and the KoD, and the zechut of bringing a new soul into the world will solve our immigration issues. He didn’t ask me if I could have more children, if we wanted more kids, if we could afford more kids or if it was even on our radar. Nope. Have a baby and your troubles are over. He repeated this advice three times.
I could not get out of there fast enough. Seriously – babies solve everything? How on earth would having a baby fix my immigration issues?
I get that there are Rabbis and Mekubalim who are helpful – I did not go to see this guy for anything but a bracha that life could get better. I didn’t want a bracha that I should have more kids! Where is the responsibility? What if it was dangerous for me to have a baby, but I got pregnant anyway because the Rabbi said I should, and after giving birth I died from complications. Would the Rabbi look after that child? Would he help my husband and my other kids who lost their mom? Would he take responsibility?
This experience was about money for this particular Rabbi. Pay for a bracha, and some mumbo-jumbo ridiculous advice, and on the way out, they hit you up for more money, so they can have someone daven at the kotel for the soul of your unborn baby. Or something.
I am angry that I was taken in, I am upset that I was that desperate that I put even a little bit of faith in the power of a Holy Man to give us a bracha. My prayers are now between me and God, no middlemen. I think maybe my faith should have been stronger back then that things would work out. And they did. Not smoothly, but eventually we moved down, got our Green Cards and have continued on with our lives.
Have you had similar experiences? Have you been to religious / spiritual leaders for advice - was it useful?