View of the damaged wall at King David's Tomb
View of the damaged wall at King David's TombIsrael News Photo

Leading rabbis on Thursday condemned an apparent new “segulah” (an action designed to elicit Heavenly help) that an individual claimed was an ancient tradition he was reviving at the Tomb of King David on Mount Zion. The tradition, which Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Places said was “nonsense,” involved the destruction of hundreds of years old ceramic tiles on the walls of the tomb structure.

Police arrested one of two individuals who were involved in the vandalism Wednesday night. According to the version of one of those involved in the incident, an individual had told him that in order for prayers to be accepted at the Tomb, there could be no separation between worshippers and the wall of the tomb encasing the grave of King David. The individual proposed removing the tiles, claiming that there was a traditional that prayers in such circumstances - “unencumbered” by tiles – was a “segulah” that would assist single people to get married.

The individual, who is searching for a bride, agreed to help remove the tiles. The two were caught removing the tiles, and the individual who recruited the single young man absconded, while his partner in crime was arrested. A search is underway for the individual who recruited the single man.

The Tomb has been recently refurbished, with new furniture and prayer books, along with a waterproofing overhaul, and a cleanup of the tiles, many of which are hundreds of years old.

Visiting the site Thursday, Rabbi Rabinovich, along with Rabbi Yosef Shvinger, director of the National Organization of Holy Places, expressed shock at the scene. Both stressed that there destroying tiles at the Tomb of King David – or at any other holy site – was not only not part of Jewish tradition, but a serious crime, a theft of public funds, destruction of impossible to replace archaeological artifacts, and a desecration of G-d's Name.