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Messiah is Here!
Hold on to your foreskins!
Throughout my time in New York City I have often seen a ubiquitous sticker on the back of stoplights cryptically proclaiming “MESSIAH IS HERE” with a picture of an old Jewish man.
For a while I assumed this was some type of advertisement for a Netflix series or a Brooklyn band, but after doing some digging it turns out that this man is an actual rabbi here in New York City.
Even more puzzling is the fact that this man died in 1994, and a fringe radical sect of Judaism believes he is the Messiah and is still alive, hiding out somewhere like Tupac. This rabbi, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, was born in what is today Ukraine in 1902, so if true he would be over 120 years old.
The same group who post these stickers all over the city also maintain a website, which looks polished and modern but reads like it was written by a space alien. It contains excerpts like the following:
This is not a virtual reality concept. It’s happening for real. Cynic says, “Na, I don’t believe in that stuff.” But hey, this is no time to get stuck in theology. Something big is happening. That’s a fact you either know or you don’t know. But now you know. And that’s a good thing. Because the world as we know it is about to change… for good.
And of course:
If everyone makes smalls efforts, we can undoubtedly achieve world perfection. Actually!
Live the Rebbe King Moshiach Forever!
The website also lists out “The 7 Laws,” which include the usual suspects, like “Do not commit immoral sexual acts.”
“Immoral sexual acts” is a relative term, because some ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities practice the tradition of metzitzah b’peh, or “suction by mouth,” whereby a rabbi circumcises a newborn baby and uses his mouth to suck the blood from the baby’s penis wound to “clean it.” According to the Department of Health, “many believe that if a metzitzah b'peh circumcision is not performed, the boy is not truly Jewish.”
The Department of Health estimates that this practice occurs 2,000 to 4,000 times per year in New York City. The city even maintains an informational page about the practice on their website!
So if using your mouth to suck a baby’s penis wound clean isn’t an immoral sexual act, you must have to do something seriously filthy to impress these guys.
The other laws are pretty standard: do not worship idols, do not murder, do not steal, etc.
But then we get to an interesting law: do not eat the flesh of an animal while it is still alive. Seems awfully strange and specific for one of your 7 laws. I could see including it in your top 100 laws, sure, but I feel like you could come up with something more applicable for your top 7.
My only guess is that one of the rabbis kept swallowing foreskins during the suction process so they had to introduce a new law to get him to cut it out.
Through my extensive research of reading the Wikipedia page, I’ve gathered that Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson was indeed an influential and well-respected figure in the Jewish community, but most (including himself) do not think of him as the Messiah. So while I don’t think it is likely that he is still alive, I am certain that I will continue to see his face beaming down from stoplights around the city.
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