The Exploitation of the Talmudic Sage Yonathan ben Uziel

'The Myth of Praying at Amuka for a Spouse'

July 11, 2011

There is an increasingly popular practice of Jewish people annual traveling to the town of Amuka near Safed, Israel, to the traditional location of the tomb of the Jewish sage, Yonatan ben Uziel. Yonatan was a Tanna of the Mishnah and was considered the greatest student of Hillel (died c.10 CE). It is at this tomb where people have been going to pray to find a spouse. Those who cannot go to Amuka, often choose to instead pay others that offer a service of "praying for them."

However, an examination of the literature demonstrates conflicting reports on the location of the actual burial location of Yonatan ben Uziel, and the practice of praying at this tomb seems to be a modern one-not an ancient one. Further, in the name if this Talmudic sage, large amounts of money are being collected, all for the promise of someone praying at this man's alleged burial location, specifically for those desperate for marriage.