An Israeli rabbi and kabbalah scholar recently attempted the world’s first exorcism via Skype.
HaRav David Batzri, one of Israel’s best known kabbalists, tried to exorcise a “dybbuk” — a spirit that allegedly posesses the body — from a Brazilian Jew. Some streams of ultra-Orthodoxy, such as Batzri’s, believe in ghosts, spirit possession and reincarnation.
The story began when a man from Brazil claimed that a dybbuk had entered him. Apparently, some individuals approached Rav Chaim Kanievsky on the man’s behalf, asking his advice. Rav Chaim posed a number of questions, and, reportedly, said that it appears to be a real dybbuk. Rav Chaim added, according to reports, that he is not an expert in these matters and that they should consult with Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman. Rav Shteinman allegedly recommended that the individuals go to Rav Dovid Batzri, the renowned mekubal who has expertise in this area. The problem was the fact that the fellow was located in Brazil. Rav Batzri’s assistants arranged for him to be able to be in video contact with the Brazilian man via Skype, an internet video tool, and in that way Rav Batzri could try to exorcise the dybbuk from the man.
The effort, unfortunately, was not successful and the man is reportedly going to be in Israel shortly for Rav Batzri to attempt, in person, to banish the dybbuk.
Prior to the Skype effort, Rav Chaim Kanievsky was reported as saying that trying to remove the dybbuk via video conference would not work, as the person must be present physically for it to be effective.
According to reports, the tumult began when voices began to emerge from the Brazilian man, even though his lips were not moving. The voice was saying, among other things, “The end is close,” and, “I sense many sins,” in a language other than the man’s native tongue, which is the only language he knows. According to reports, additional statements were also made, with the man’s lips staying steady but his stomach moving instead as the words were said. His wife later said that he had been talking in his sleep as well, in a language other than his native tongue.
Video footage of the Skype exorcism (complete with Rabbi Batzri praying over a computer) can be found here.