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Unmasking an Imposter Rabbi
In the Newspaper "Hamelitz" June 8th 1885, issue 39, page 627, middle of right column:

For letters: ----- For telegrams ------ (imprint from the Beit-Hamidrash testifying to the truth of the matter)


alt_text
The Imposter
By permission of the Historical Jewish Press
Visoko Lit. (P. Horodno) May 23 About a year ago a man came to our town, calling himself the Av Beit Din [Chief of the Rabbinical Court] of the town Retzitza and that according to him he was a Moreh Tzedek in Kalvarya and now he cannot be Av Beit Din because he has the sickness of the righteous [this could be irony or actual illness of the intestines] and the society of supporters of the poor provides him with all he needs.

In addition, he deals with miracle-making, having a paper on which some psalm verses are written in Assyrian and on its margin there is the signature of the Gaon from Vilna. According to him, this paper was given to him before his death by his father who was the nephew of the Gaon. He boasts of curing the sick with this paper, that he cured sick people in some places, and he swears that he cured in Volkovisk the daughter of R' Yekhiel, the son-in-law of R' Yehuda Horvitz.

The folks believe in him and there is no doubt in their minds that the keys to the sky were given to him and he will use them whenever he wants. Therefore they seek him to ask his blessing and a cure for their sickness. It is easy to understand that they give him something for that. He boasts, too, that from Retzitza they send him every year 58 rubles.

So you, our brothers inhabitants of Retzitza and Kalavari – it is a good deed to spare the money of the Jews and announce via the Melitz whether he speaks the truth --this man who calls himself a Rabbi-- whether he really had the Rabbinical office and all the other things of which he boasted or whether he is a liar and a scoundrel. These are his marks: He goes by the name Avraham son of R' Yitzkhak Necetir, he is approximately 40 years old, of medium height and his hair is black.

Writing in the name of the landlord of this place,

Yitzkhak Pelman
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Notes: P. Horodno: p. stands for the Hebrew word פלך =Pelekh which means a district. This district name is usually transliterated as Grodno or Hrodna. Av Beit Din: Chief of the Rabbinical Court. Gaon: genius. The title given to heads of Yeshivas in Babylon and the Land of Israel from end of 6th or 7th century to middle of the 11th century Moreh Tzedek: the teacher of justice - an “auxiliary” rabbi who is responsible for making halakhic decisions. He is subordinate to the rabbi of a town. Melitz: the name of this newspaper.

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