“You cannot serve God and mammon” . . .

. . . at least, not according to the New Testament:  but apparently that doesn’t apply to those who believe only in the Old Testament.  The Times of Israel reports:

Ari Mandel, who grew up in Monsey, New York, has been trying to raise money for Chai Lifeline, which helps children who’ve contracted life-threatening illnesses, by running in the Jerusalem marathon next March. He was having trouble reaching the $4,500 minimum when someone tweeted to him that we would contribute $10 if Mandel would keep just one Sabbath.

“I said, are you crazy? Ten dollars?” Mandel recalled in a phone interview with The Times of Israel this week. “I’m a social media addict, you’re going to give me ten dollars to stay away from Facebook and Twitter?!”

. . .

“What’s your price?” a Facebook user by the name of Isaac Mavorah asked Mandel, noting that participation in synagogue services would have to be part of the deal.

“I’ll wear a shtreimel [a Hassidic fur hat] and go to the mikvah for the right price,” Mandel replied.

It wouldn’t be Mandel’s first time trafficking in spiritual assets for cash. He once tried to sell his “portion in Olam Habah (Heaven)” on eBay, with the bidding reaching $100,000 before the site canceled the auction.

Although at first, Mandel didn’t think Mavorah was in earnest, it turned out that he wasn’t playing around. Still, Mavorah was insistent on verifying that Mandel would truly observe this upcoming Shabbat, so Mandel offered to have his friend, who has assumed the online persona Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein, serve as his witness.

. . .

“Rachmuna will be with me from after Friday night dinner (I will see if I can bring him as a guest for dinner as well),” Schmeckelstein wrote on Facebook. “He will sleep in my MO [Modern Orthodox] house. I will bring him to davening [prayers] with me at my MO Shul. He will eat Shabbos lunch with me. Short of joining me and my Bashert [spouse] in bed, I will certify his activities through Shabbat.”

. . .

“To me, the sum is insignificant,” said Marovah. “One thousand dollars to get a Jewish atheist to keep Shabbat, Mikvah, and praying with a Minyan AND help sick children?”

“Truth is I would have paid double.”

There’s more at the link.

I had to admit, this made me laugh.  I applaud Mr. Marovah for his initiative, and his sense of humor.  I have only one question.  If the price for Sabbath observance is $1,000, what’s on offer for a real gesture of conversion – something like, oh, say . . . circumcision?


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