Thursday 14 September 2017



Kupat Ha’ir is a Chareidi or Ultra-Orthodox charity which looks after twenty thousand impoverished Chareidim.

In my community, every few months a very fine, respected and mainstream magazine publishes a two-page advertisement which includes a ten-page pamphlet and an envelope – encouraging the readers to contribute to Kupat Ha’ir.

This is just a further example of how mainstream Judaism is leaning more and more to the right. The right knows this and takes advantage of it. And the mainstream is made to feel that they are inadequate and not as religious as the right and that the right holds the only keys to Judaism.

I will quote directly from the Kupat Ha’ir pamphlet in red – and add my commentary in black:

The Gedolei Hador will gather near the home of Maran Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky to pray on behalf of contributors to Kupat Ha’ir...Your name must be there.

The title ‘Gedolei Hador’ (religious leaders of this generation) is misleading because it implies that these twenty rabbis have been divinely ordained as the spiritual leaders of this generation. This is not the case. They are the leaders of the Chareidi community and do not necessarily represent all religious Jews. 

Many of these Gedolim do not allow their followers to work or study anything secular that could make them employable. See here. Many of them do not allow women to drive. See here, here and here. Many of them encourage separate buses for men and women and in some instances, men and women must walk on different sides of the street. R. Kanievsky, for example, believes that non-Jews have a different number of teeth than Jews. See here.

Conscious of the impending judgement erev Rosh Hashana finds us feeling anxious, frightened and desperate for zechuyos (merits). We wonder what we can still do in the short time remaining.

So the stage is set to frighten us into urgent monetary submission during the few remaining days before the Holy Days.

Here is the advice of the Gedolei Hador, penned by Maran Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky:
“The very greatest zechus (merit) one can attain with his money in anticipation of Yom Hadin (The Day of Judgement) is Tzedakah to Kupat Ha’ir.”

We all run to the Gedolei Hador.

Who is the ‘we all’?

Who better than they can offer us guidance on how to overcome this hurdle?

Remember, it is also with their guidance that many tens of thousands of Chareidim are living well below the poverty line, because their leaders do not allow them to work. Their guidance created a humanitarian crisis where they have to give new guidance which includes a bad temporary solution of giving charity which cannot fix the problem but only exasperate it because they accustom their people to expect it!

Who better than they will be able to take us by the hand and lead us safely through Yom Hadin? They...can best advise us at this critical time how to emerge from Yom Hadin unscathed.

So, if we give them money to distribute, they will take us safely through the Day of Judgement.
It’s that easy.

They can’t feed their followers on earth but they can take us through the Gates of Heaven provided we donate.

Maharan (Kanievsky) shlit’a writes to us, in his trademark brief style, addressing those in search of answers during this period.
There are those who ask which zechus (merit) will rescue them during the upcoming Yemei Hadin (Days of Judgement)...He responds with his characteristic precision leaving no doubt as to the unequivocal nature of his reply:

So, with ‘characteristic precision’ R. Kanievsky gives us the answer to the age old mystery of ‘who will live and who will die’ as is determined on these Holy days.

His words are like a laser beam that cuts straight to the heart of the matter, his illuminating message, to which Maran Harav Steinman and Maran Harav Karelitz sign their names as well, is this:
Tzedakah to Kupat Ha’ir. Tzedakah to Kupat Ha’ir.

The laser beam cut twice.

In Kupat Ha’ir Daas Torah rules on all matters...Twenty thousand people are helped daily by Kupat Ha’ir. Twenty thousand!!!

Had they allowed people to work the number would have been a lot let less and there would have been no need to repeat themselves again. See here for a discussion on Daas Torah.

Is it any wonder that Kupat Ha’ir is the best place for a yeshuah (salvation)?...Twenty thousand of Hashem’s beloved children who have no way to support themselves...twenty thousand! Kupat Ha’ir merits incredible siyatta dishmaya (intercession from Heaven) in all of its varied activities which are innumerable.

This means that by giving money to this specific organization one doesn’t just perform a mitzvah,  but one can achieve a deep mystical ‘salvation’ and be advantaged by ‘divine intercession’. These are things that even the mystics of old could only dream of. Now they can be purchased.

Kupat Ha’ir is the only organization about which the Gedolei Hador write so clearly and unequivocally...the most mehudar (glorious) tzedakah with which to rip asunder an unfavourable decree – is tzedakah to Kupat Haír.

Your donation to this organization will ‘rip asunder an unfavourable decree’ because it pulls the magic strings that gets G-d to bend to our demands.

Does Kupat Ha’ir need us? It is we who need Kupat Ha’ir to tip the scales in our favour...We need to grasp the rope being tossed to us and hold on tight; we need to wrap it around ourselves, our children and our loved ones. We need to protect ourselves with the protective vest that is Kupat Ha’ir. We need to do so, because our lives depend on it.

With such amazing powers no wonder they can be so arrogant because they are doing us this great favour. Nay, they are saving our lives and the lives of our loved ones.
Twenty of the Gedolei Hador will gather in (or near) the home of R. Kanievsky to pray for you if you give money.

But there is yet another great miracle to come:

Despite their venerated status and full commitments and learning – they are willing to stop everything in order to attend this magnificent tefillah (prayer) event. Think about it: just fixing a time that works for all of them seems an impossible task. How can arrangements be made to bring twenty of our nation’s greatest leaders under one roof? It seems unfeasible - But when there’s a fire, you don’t make calculations; you pause and set aside even the holiest things. Lives are hanging in the balance! They are dropping everything and coming...Instead of waiting for us to come beg them to pray for a refuah (now it’s a ‘healing’, not just a ‘salvation’), they’re going to pray in advance that everything goes well.

Did you get advance! And one would have thought that this great miracle of getting them to set aside their busy schedules would have lasted some time but the prayer meeting will only be for one hour. 

Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur will determine an entire year of daily decrees regarding your health, your parnassah (sustenance), the nachas you will see from your children, your success, your job (you can have a job to pay for the recipients who and discouraged from getting jobs!) your emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing. Ensuring that an entire year’s worth of daily gezeiros (decrees) is favourable is no easy feat. For that you need the Gedolei Hador.

If they can heal us spiritually and physically every day, why don’t they just use their same powers and arrange for the unemployable recipients to receive money as their very own ‘salvations’?

All the Gedolim will be coming to one place – and you hesitate before contributing? They understand that your life is important – and you make light if it? (Chutzpat Ha'ir?)...With one contribution you set in motion a tefillah (prayer) on your behalf that will soar heavenward “arm in arm” with your contribution.

This is guaranteed.

This tefillah will stand like a wall in the face of any unfavourable decree, barring it from reaching you.

This too is guaranteed.

Which accusing angels stand a chance against twenty Gedolei Hador?

To be honest I can’t think of any. 

Now for the piece de resistance:

If we could see what goes on in Shamayim (Heaven), we would watch reams of gezeiros (bad decrees) being ripped apart.

We’d see mountains of problems shrinking, children growing up healthy and happy and, diseases being cured...Chuppas (marriage canopies) being erected, healthy babies being born, hearts being cleansed of heaviness and dread and bank accounts filling up.

These are some of the reasons why I could never subscribe to this mentality. These are just more examples of how these Gedolim and the system they have created, make a mockery of intellectual Judaism.

Who doesn’t want to be a part of this event?

There is nothing remotely comparable anywhere in the world.

Actually, there is:

Sadly we have fallen to this disingenuous and superstitious level of Judaism that is actually typical of many other systems to be found around the world.

How different are the promises of Kupat Ha'ir from others I saw from Dr P. Musa and Hajati Lucky from Central Africa, which even included testimonials from happy paying clients:

For ‘reasonable charges’ they will help you deal with (amongst other issues):

Financial Problems. Marriage Problems. Customer Attraction. Court Cases. Lotto (lottery), casino and Horse Racing. Remove Witches. Protect Homes, Business from Thieves. A permanent Change will Prevail. Life will Just become Better.

I got what I wanted in just 3 days. I received a call from work begging me to go back to work. I was compensated and promoted as well. My wife gave birth and she came back to me...So if you find yourself reading this message, don’t call it a chance but fate to guide your steps!!
...I paid...for consultation...They performed a special prayer, cleansed me from bad luck and gave me powerful love use at my work place.

[Cf. Kupat Ha’ir: With one contribution you set in motion a tefillah (prayer) on your behalf that will soar heavenward.]

You can be helped in just 3 Days. Bad Luck. Bewitched People. All known Body Diseases.

[Cf. Kupat Ha’ir: Conscious of the impending judgement erev Rosh Hashana finds us feeling anxious, frightened and desperate for zechuyos (merits). We wonder what we can still do in the short time remaining.]

Cleansing of Bad Spells.

[Cf. Kupat Ha’ir: the most mehudar (glorious) tzedakah with which to rip asunder an unfavourable decree – is tzedakah to Kupat Haír.]

Make your life better.

[Cf. Kupat Ha’ir: We need to grasp the rope being tossed to us and hold on tight.]

Work Problems...Love life and relationships...That’s why we are happily married.

[Cf. Kupat Ha’ir: regarding your health, your parnassah (sustenance), the nachas you will see from your children, your success, your job...]

They also made my enemies as well as my in-laws to come to me and confess all the things they had done to my family.

They performed a special prayer to bind me and my husband together. That’s why we are happily married.
You won’t regret or suffer again.

[Cf. Kupat Ha’ir: Ensuring that an entire year’s worth of daily gezeiros (decrees) is favourable...]

In my view, the sincere but gullible mainstream Jewish masses are drawn to the right because they see them as custodians of pure Judaism.

Not many are aware of the fact that today the Chareidi numbers have overtaken the mainstream Modern Orthodox, which makes the Chareidi movement the most powerful of all the Jewish religious movements today. It has and will be setting the tone for future religious Judaism. Additionally, there is the unquestioning reverence the minority old mainstream has toward the Chareidim who have now become the new mainstream.

Orthodox Judaism has always had a minority religious left, a very strong religious centrist and a minority religious right - which together sustained a  healthy balance of religious components. Today the left has almost broken away and the right has overtaken the centrists in terms of numbers. This leaves the centrists weak with very little effective leadership and coupled to that they are tending to the right. 

This dynamic of weak centrists, creates instability in terms of the relationship between Judaism and the world, and also in terms of securing first principle theological Judaism as was practised in the past. It also creates radical rather than measured theology.

Additionally many of the values within Chareidi society are actually innovations and adaptations and in essence, could also be seen as a ‘reforming’ of Judaism. See Reforms of the Ultra-Orthodox.

With regard to Tzedakah, let me be clear: I steadfastly believe in helping people who try support themselves and their families but may have fallen on hard times. That is something very different from a self-created poverty system in the first instance which, by encouraging people not to work, is obviously going to unsustainable on every level.

These Gedolim could work their greatest miracle by going back to classical Jewish first principles by allowing their followers to interact with the world like so many of our Tanaim, Amorain, Savoraim Geonim, Rishonim and many Acharonim did. Torah may be the most important thing for a Jew but it is not the only thing. 

These Gedolim created a monster and instead of managing it they are they are feeding it.

And the gullible masses remain in awe of them and continue buying the food. 


  1. Great article. There is no substitution for hard work and common sense. Hashem helps those who at least try to help themselves. The Torah says we are here to work in this current physical world. Common sense will always trump superstition.

  2. Very interesting any chance of getting this in Hebrew?

  3. We only get the English copy here but it would be interesting to see how thier promises vary as the demographic varies. I saw one Kupat Ha'ir where they said that the number of childless women who gave birth after contributing was too much to mention.

  4. We need a Rambam more than ever. Not an Spinoza, not another extremist, a Rambam. Well they would probably burn their books, but something will get more in balance.