Though you may no longer sell magic potions or tarot readings on eBay, one enterprising New Jersey resident decided that he could perhaps skirt the auction platform’s rules against metaphysical items and put his spot in “Olaam Habaah (Heaven)” up for sale. At least that’s what he originally told The Jewish Daily Forward. Within hours, the “item” had raked in bids upwards of $100,000, which is really chump change considering we’re talking about all of eternity here.
30-year-old Ari Mandel was raised in a Hasidic community upstate but left several years ago, and now considers himself “culturally Jewish and theologically an atheist,” according to the Forward. Though he has left the faith, Mr. Mandel claims he has committed enough good deeds to ensure a prime spot in the heavenly afterlife, and was willing to auction off that spot to the highest bidder.
Lest you think you were just supposed to take Mr. Mandel on his word, he promised to give you his word in writing. “The winning bidder will receive a signed contract, guaranteeing my timeshare in Shomaim (heaven), and an additional signed contract guaranteeing that I will not become a bigger Baal Aveira (sinner) than I am now, and that if I become a Baal Teshuva (born again) (don’t bet on it), I will pay the fair market value for the return of my Olam Habaah,” he wrote in the listing.
eBay pulled the auction because it didn’t offer a “tangible good.” Today, Mr. Mandel admitted to the Forward that it was all a big hoax.
“I’m not a master prankster,” he told the Forward. “This idea just popped in my head and I jumped on it. To those of you who took this seriously, chill out. It was just a joke. Whether or not you’re a believer in this sort of thing, chill out.”
Sooo, we’re not going to heaven then?