As readers of this blog know, I have a particular interest in the Haredi charity organization Kupat Ha'ir. It makes outlandish and theologically dubious claims about rabbis having supernatural power to aid people who give to their charity. It also publishes almost comical offers for segulot (special signs) that take on an air of "buy one get one free" salesmanship. A dear colleague sent me a pair of Hebrew ads mocking Kupat Ha'ir with fake Kupat Ha'ir style ads. The person noted:
For those who feel that it might be in poor taste to be so cynical: refer to RSRH's [Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch] comments to this week's parashah (14:11 – s.v. ha'mibli ein kevarim] – The sharp irony, even at this time of unmatched fear and despair, demonstrates the sense of humor that is a typical trait of the clear headed tribe of Yaakov."
My only problem is that these ads are only slightly more ridiculous than the regular Kupat Ha'ir ads.
For an offering of 90 Shekels (approximately $25), Torah scholars will hand out, on your behalf, kosher bread to birds; on the afternoon of the Holy Sabbath of the Torah Portion of Bishalach from midday until sunset.
There is a Jewish tradition of putting out food for the birds before this particularly Sabbath because we read in the Bible from the Book of Exodus about how the birds ate the Manna. I was thinking that we could ambush such rabbis by dropping in Mary Poppins to sing "Feed the Birds," sending them running with their hands over their ears.
SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY FOR CONTRIBUTORS TO KUPAT HA-IR
On Tu b'Shvat, the New Year for Trees, the day that is a segulah for salvation, a minyan of talmidei chachamim will pray in ten zoos throughout the Holy Land. They will recite perek Shirah with each animal and bird separately, each animal with the appropriate verse, word by word, thirteen times [the gematria of the Hebrew letters zayin and vav – zoo] with great intent.
This act is known as a proven and oft used segulah as is explained in the holy sefarim. The powers of the holy animals are well known – especially on Shabbos Shirah, and especially this year when Tu b'Shvat and Shabbos Shirah coincide, when the kedushah of Shabbos is co-joined with the kedushah of the day. It is well known that the holy rabbi, R. Ber of Chondalinsk" zt' l, may his merits protect us, was wont to say: "The pure chirping of a bird is preferable to all Torah and prayer that are not pure."
Once the monies are given [to the Kupah], the talmidei chachamim will have the following kavanos:
Lion [Hebrew aryeh] which in gematria equals gevurah [strength] – to sweeten the heavenly gevuros – that are contained within the secret of the sweetness of the fruit … and this is especially effective in the tikkun of the sins of gilui arayos.
Giraffe – [Hebrew gimmel, resh, peh, heh] – a tikkun for the 288 [resh, peh, heh] sparks – they will also have kavanah for the name giraffe with the addition of a yud [between the gimmel and resh] which in gematria equals the word rachamim – mercy.
Hippopotamuses [Hebrew hippipotamim]- 276 [heh, peh,yud, peh, vav, tes, mem, yud, mem] in gematria to bring tikkun to the eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge [tov vera - vera in gematria is 276] that is part of the mystical meaning of the New year for trees.
Fox [Hebrew shu'al] which is alluded to in the last letters of the passuk: b'poel kapov nokesh resha [lamed, vav, shin,ayin] – which is equivalent to the gematria of metzora, which is a tikkun of the fox of the sitra achra who emerges from the Holy of Holies.
When they depart from the zoos, the talmidei chachamim will reflect on the secret of the words v'chol b'hemtom which is equivalent to the gematria of [the name] Mordechai Gross and the words ani imachem b'keri.
Each talmid chacham will be in his selected spot already on erev Shabbos so that we not, chas veshalom, come to violate the Shabbos and they will only select animals who are shomer Shabbos under the supervision of the Committee for Shmiras Shabbos. The animals will also only be those who do not surf, Heaven forbid, in forbidden places, according to the instructions of the Rabbinical Committee Regarding Communications and the Internet. All of these [arrangements] are in co-operation with the Committee for the Holy Places. [The announcements] are printed on paper [produced] without any fear of chilul Shabbos or requiring genizah or that is [produce] of the seventh year, without relying on the heter mechirah, produce of non-Jews or wigs [made of hair] offered to idols.
After the prayers and recital of the pesukim, a public seudah of fruit will be held as is the custom of Jews in the Holy Halls [of the chassidim] with thirty special fruits brought from distant islands, remnants of those saved from the terrible earthquake that struck Haiti which is located on the bottom half of the globe.
Contribute thirteen times fifteen [tes, vav] at one of the known sites and fill out the attached form.
A ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY!
DON'T MISS OUT!
THREE SEGULOS FOR ONE PRICE:
(Not my translation)
(Insert and bottom, my translation)
Name of the Mother _
Donation Amount _
Type of salvation _
Name of the Wild Animal That You Wish Prayed Upon _
Name of the Mother of the Wild Animal _
Furthermore this is being done by ten groups of knowledgeable Torah Scholars, each one chosen by the Rabbinic Committee for Zoological Matters of the Global Zoological Center.