Don't Just Save the Trees, Convert Them


Florida's trees had a canker problem back in 2001. The obvious solution was to destroy the diseased trees. A not-so-obvious solution was to call a Kabbalah-practicing rabbi. The Orlando Sentinel reports:

Researchers worked with a rabbi and a cardiologist to test "Celestial Drops," promoted as a canker inhibitor because of its "improved fractal design," "infinite levels of order" and "high energy and low entropy."

But the cure proved useless against canker. That's because it was water—possibly, mystically blessed water.

The Sentinel alleges that the push to spread the Kaballah creed in Florida's forests came from then-Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who was apparently in contact with celestial drop-pushing rabbi Abe Hardoon:

In August 2001, Harris herself jotted a note to Hardoon.

"I would love to see this work," it says.

Whole thing here.

[Via Obsidian Wings.]


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  1. I think we all would *love* to see it work. But most of us are smart enough to understand why it didn’t and won’t.

  2. Everyone knows celestial drops are bogus. All they needed to do is balance the Various Humours of the trees.

    Oh, and leeches. Definitely use leeches. Somehow.

  3. California made a good go of it by electing the Governator, but Florida continues to consolidate its position as the weirdest state.

  4. time for more coffee – i had read “Kabbalah-practicing rabbit”. And i was geared up for a python “killer rabbit” reference.


  5. Can anyone explain what the cardiologist had to do with this?

  6. On the Katherine Harris angle – her role in the 2000 election notwithstanding – I personally have always thought she was a kook. And I was a Republican at the time (now proud indy, thank you).

    The buzz lately is the the Bush administration is backing away from a backroom deal to support her in her upcoming senate bid. Maybe they know something we don’t and this little ditty is just the tip of the iceberg.

  7. aaron at July 6, 2005 09:59 AM

    Possibly to add an semblance of “scientific credibility” to the scam.

    For some reason, that I am finding harder and harder to fathom, people still think of Medical Doctors as higly qualified as scientists.

  8. I was wondering that myself. Did the trees in question have human circulatory systems?

  9. “…people still think of Medical Doctors as higly qualified as scientists.”

    should read

    “…people still think of Medical Doctors as highly qualified scientists.”

  10. Ok, correct me if I’m wrong, but the state of Florida has spent money to hire a representative of the Jewish equivalent to Scientology in order to mystically cure some trees?

    Someone call Nadine Strossen, she needs to be standing outside of Ms. Harris’ house bellowing about the seperation of church and state with a megaphone.

  11. I think this one pretty much discredits itself, mediageek.

  12. Yes, joe, to any halfway sane human it does. But personally I would take great delight in seeing Katherine Harris have her nose publically rubbed in her stupidy, if for no other reason than that it would give me pleasure.

    But then, I’m kind of a bastard that way.

  13. California made a good go of it by electing the Governator, but Florida continues to consolidate its position as the weirdest state.

    A drive through the state solidifies this. The Panhandle people and the Ocala-area people are different, to say the least.

  14. Stranger things have happened. Ambrose Bierce claimed to have seen a man come out of a wine cellar.

  15. I’m shocked that they haven’t just applied purifying leeches to the afflicted trees.

    This just means that in the history books hundreds of years from now, they’ll mention how people in the 21st century still beleieved magic waters and spells could cure diseases. All right!

  16. Did anyone see the segment on Kabbalah on 20/20 a couple of weeks ago. They had hidden camera footage of people working in the London offices telling people to sell whatever they had to and take out loans in order to pay for their big trip to Israel. They also had a person in that office say that a relative of one of the workers had cured their cancer by drinking their Kabbalah water. The “founders” of the “religion” said those employees would be disciplined but they still work there. They also have taken a vow of poverty which means everything is paid for by the Kabbalah organization.

    There was a guy in Texas who stated something along the lines of “they poured a bottle of Kabbalah water in a lake at Chernobyl and the radiation level went down 25%. What can I say, it works.”

    Then I found out they charged $26 for that red string people wear on their wrist. I couldn’t believe people fall for this, my body thetan and I had a good laugh over that.

  17. At the risk of starting a religious flame, I would point out that Kabbalah and Scientology are very different. The former has been around and discussed, in writings, since the Roman Empire days, by the rabbis who gave Judaism the structure and doctrines it has had since then; the latter is clearly a for-profit business posing as religion requiring devotees to spend thousands of dollars to learn the basic truths of the cult. Neither is provable, but whereas one is based on serious Greek thought, Scientology is based on a sci-fi writer’s crank rants.

  18. That being said, anyone using a belief system to shill $26 bottles of water to miracle your way out of sickness is deserving of the tar-and-feather treatment.

  19. the kabbalah center and scientology are roughly similar; spiritual amway, in one sense.

  20. dhex,

    That may well be so, but “The Kabbalah Center” is not “Kabalah,” any more than a church run by some corrupt revvum with his hand in the till is “Christianity.”

  21. yes, joe, i know that. i was trying to clear some of the wash here. just doing my part, you know.

    the fact is if someone says “kaballah” (or kabalah or cabala or queballeh or whatever) today, on the streets of new york (not crown heights or south williamsburg, mind you) they probably mean this particular incarnation, which is in and of itself one of the most delightful scams ever run on anyone anywhere.

    i mean, it’s delicious, really. 26 bucks for string? at least other traditions have pilgrimiges which involve travelling, then paying for a particular relic. these guys are a strictly mail-order shop anyway; calling them a cult undermines cults everywhere.

  22. joe, nice point about Christianity. Dhex, if it isn’t ok to charge $26 for a bottle of miracle water is it ok to charge $19.99 for a miracle necklace (aka Rosary)? Froogle

    Beliefs in holy things seem to me to be a touch idolatrous and a violation of the first commandment. Afterall, water, necklaces, crosses are all inanimate objects. As a Catholic, I have always had a problem justifying blessing objects and holding out objects as being able to “cure” or “heal.” I thought/think that belief in God alone was enough to provide spiritual healing, and the people selling “cures” or “healings” through “holy”/”blessed” objects were among the money changers that Jesus tossed out of the temple. But then again, I didn’t pay attention in Catechism. However, I do remember that Jesus never sprayed holy water or prayed a rosary.

    The point is that a sucker is a sucker. Whether they are Scientologist, Kabballah/Madonna Cult of Celebrity bandwagon dirtworhippers, Christians who buy “blessed” or “holy” objects, or Buddhists who buy gold leafed Buddhas. Someone is making money off of these jackasses and it ain’t God.

  23. Well, the CIA funded “remote viewing” research to the tune of millions of dollars; why not this? 🙂


    All religions have one thing in common; they are all bullshit. 🙂

  24. Apparently Ms Harris was not aware that this was the effort of religious kooks/scam artists. She was just doing the stupid poiticians trick of advocating something for a potential constituent within checking the background too closely.

    But, hey, you don’t have to associate her with kaballah to discredit her in my eyes. She’s a Republican who used to be a Democrat. That’s enough for me to know she joins irrational cults.

  25. Why didn’t Harris just find the $28,000 Holy Grilled “Cheesus” (sorry) Sandwich and waive it in the general direction of central florida orange groves?

    As for Kabballah (or kabalah…or kabbalah…or kaballah…or kabala…oh anyway), 20/20 or Dateline or 48 hours or somesuch did a similar story on the celebrity adherents – red wristband wearers and such.

    They also interviewed some Kabbalah scholars who pointed out that most of the pop literature regarding Kabbalah runs pretty much 180 degrees from actual Kabbalah teaching and training.

    The basic tilt was that the depth of understanding and time usually dedicated to its study (years) was well beyond any book one could pick up off a best-seller rack.

    For me, Wikipedia says it all…

    Kabbalah Centre

    The growth of the modern international Kabbalah Centre, with its fascination for non-Jewish devotees such as Madonna the famous female singer and others, continues to be a source of serious discussion within many Jewish communities today. There are those, Jews and non-Jews alike, who are drawn to its teachings absolutely convinced that they are indeed studying and practicing the Kabbalah, but all the main Jewish denominations find the Kabbalah Centre’s actvities to be controversial and do not encourage their members to participate in any way.

  26. “Dhex, if it isn’t ok to charge $26 for a bottle of miracle water is it ok to charge $19.99 for a miracle necklace (aka Rosary)?”

    it’s totally ok. in fact, it’s pretty awesome.

    unlike some reasonistas, i have no problem with people spending lots of money on icons, identifiers and idols; whether or not one believes in miracles there’s still a mythic or symbolic component to human life. some people buy art or artifacts; some people buy strings and books.

    i like the string buyers. they’re funny. the market giveth.

  27. if you’re interested, talk to some orthodox jews about the kabbalah centre – making sure you stress that you think it’s nuts beforehand – and you get some interesting insight into the process of culture rape.

  28. you get some interesting insight into the process of culture rape.

    Have you found that they consider Kabbalahists “Cafeteria Jews”?

  29. no, it’s a bit more pointed than that. it’s more like “first the germans, now these guys?”

  30. The language used to describe the drops reminds me of the language you hear out of Feng Shui practitioners.

  31. dhex, I don’t have a problem with making money off of suckers, in fact, I highly advocate it. I was trying to build off of your earlier point and I came off a bit snarky.

    Anyway, I have blessed my fountain pens (they look like the Virgin Mary if she was a Bic Pen) and am going to auction them to the highest bidder after I finish staring at some concrete and finish eating my toast.

  32. dhex,

    “Culture rape?” Whatever.

  33. Maybe they should have used some of Madonna’s “Blessed Pee” instead of just “Celestial Drops.”

  34. California made a good go of it by electing the Governator, but Florida continues to consolidate its position as the weirdest state.

    I dunno, joe, you guys up in Mass. keep re-electing Ted Kennedy, pretty damn weird if you ask me.

  35. I don’t know; between the taser stories and the Fl government’s coming attempt to remove children from the homes of gay parents, I like to think Florida is still more messed up than my Golden State…

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