what started out as a pun turned into something much uglier

Uglier than a pun?  Not possible, you say.

Just wait.

I started here reading this cute story about puns, or a pun about puns, I should say.  But, as I am curious, I wanted to know what this pidyon nefesh was about, so I went to Google and found this answer.  I will quote a bit just to make my point crystal clear before I scream:

The word pidyon is usually translated as “redemption,” referring to an exchange, whereby one exchanges money for something else. There are a number of different types of pidyon mentioned in the Torah including pidyon shvu’im (redemption of captives), pidyon haben (redemption of the firstborn male), and pidyon peter chamor (redemption of the firstborn donkey). Our topic, pidyon nefesh (redemption of the soul), refers to the redeeming of a person from the suffering he is going through. Through the giving of a pidyon to an appropriate person, it is possible to exchange one’s suffering on to the redemption money.

The lesson has been divided into three parts: first, the suffering itself. Secondly, the money, the pidyon. And thirdly, the Tzaddik. Who exactly is this ‘appropriate person’ who is able to cancel a harsh decree with the aid of money?

Who indeed?

This is from the Nachman people; the original story was from Chabad.  They’re making it worse because they’re asking for help, paying money to dead rabbis.

I’m going to scream again silently.

Hold your ears, if you care.

This is more troubling than I can deal with.  It does help me understand why people won’t give up shlugging kapporos with real chickens.

Dead rabbis; chickens; it’s pretty much the same thing, I guess.

Here’s another doozy from the same place:

And regarding exactly who is this Tzaddik in this generation today, since no one has come forward and claimed the title, no one has revealed himself as the true Tzaddik, all that is left to us to do is to search for the greatest Tzaddik we can find to bring our money to, since obviously, whoever is on a higher spiritual level will be more likely to be able to draw down a greater salvation to us.

Oh.  Now it’s clear.

How did our Judaism get so messed up?  I can’t handle this forfeiting of responsibility.  I am not sure what to do with this, but I guess it’s more important than ever for Modern Orthodoxy to get a stronger voice and speak out early and often on what should be not in Heaven.


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