Western Wall stones on sale at eBay

Kotel rabbi slams sale: "Commercial use of holy items is akin to embezzlement from God."

Man prays at Western Wall 390 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Man prays at Western Wall 390
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovitz, announced on Monday that he has sent a letter to the online auction website eBay in an effort to prevent the sale of stones from the Western Wall.
Small stones from the Western Wall have appeared on the website promising blessings and good fortune, according to a statement released by Rabinovitz’s office.
A search of eBay shows a product titled “Piece Of Stone Soil From The Wailing Western Wall Kotel Jerusalem Jesus Israel,” on sale for $24.99.
The item is described as a laminated card “contain[ing] stone soil from the western wailing wall.”
“The history includes not only the religions of Judaism and Christianity, but history buffs of any religion [sic],” the description reads. “Just know what the contents of the card contains is history at its best. From Jesus Christ to King David, King Solomon, rabbis, popes, almost all of those within the bible and the thousands of years of people since.” it continues.
No mention of blessings or the like is mentioned on the item’s auction page.
Efforts to contact the vendor were unanswered.
Rabinovitz said in a letter sent to eBay on Sunday that use of the stones of the Western Wall is a desecration of their holiness, forbidden by Torah law and a violation of the Antiquities Act.
eBay had not yet responded to the letter, the rabbi told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Citing a ruling of renowned arbiter of Jewish law the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Rabinovitz said that commercial use of holy items is akin to embezzlement from God, and that buying such items brings curses and not blessings.
Even if these stones are simply from the vicinity of the Western Wall and were taken without permission, it is fraudulent to present them as bestowing blessing and good fortune, Rabinovitz said.
“There is no special powers in theses stones at all,” he told the Post. “It is simply a blasphemous injury to generations upon generations of the Jewish people.”
The rabbi and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation have filed a complaint with the police.
Also on Monday, Rabinovitz said that more than 10 million people visited the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall in 2011, according to new police statistics.
The figures are testimony to the “deep affinity of the People of Israel for the remnants of the Temple,” he said.
“The multitudes of the people who cling to the stones of the wall are an expression of remembrance for the Temple, more than a remembrance for the destruction,” Rabinovitz said. “In light of these impressive figures, we have to be vigilant to see every one of the visitors as an individual. We have to continue to find ways to give everyone a deep and profound experience at the Kotel.”