Stones supposedly taken from the Kotel in Jerusalem are being offered for sale on internet auction site eBay, as talismans for good luck and health.
Jewish people from the world over saw this as sacrilege and alerted Kotel Rabbi Rav Shmuel Rabinovich to the phenomenon.
In response, Rav Rabinovich wrote the site's owners and demanded that they stop allowing the sales. He explained that use of stones from the Kotel is sacrilegious and belongs to the most serious category of offenses in Judaism because it is forbidden by the Torah itself.
Besides, he noted, it is a violation of the Israeli Antiquities Law.
The Rabbi quoted the late Rav Moshe Feinstein who wrote (in Igrot Moshe) that anyone committing such an act is embezzling sacred heavenly items and transgressing very seriously. Furthermore, Rav Rabinovich explains, there is fraud involved, too, because Kotel stones do not possess power to heal and bless. On the contrary, the rabbi contended, they will confer a curse on whoever possesses them.
In his book on Halachot and Customs at the Kotel, Rav Rabinovich quotes Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein as telling a story of a woman who fell ill. Her husband heard that if he places a small stone from the Kotel under her head, she will regain her health. However, the moment he did so – she passed away.