The Pulsa Denura: Haredim Cult Death Curse

Haaretz ran a story titled “The mysterious death of an Orthodox Jewish millionaire – murder or suicide?” which relates the strange death of Solomon Obstfeld. Obstfeld had rented an apartment to a Rabbi at below market prices, but the Rabbi had n0t paid any rent for a period of months so Obstfeld threw the man out. Before returning to Israel the Rabbi cursed Obstfeld with the Pulsa Nenura (Whips of Fire), a supposedly ancient curse using Kabbalistic formulas to call upon the Angels of Destruction to kill the victim.

Obstfeld died under suspicious circumstances.

Whether from this curse or the Rabbi’s hired help (which those close to Obstfeld believe is what actually happened) Obstfeld’s death has pushed this strange ceremony into the public eye and I will leave it to readers to form their own opinions about its effectiveness.

But first let’s start with the true history of the Pulsa Denura. I am no expert but I know of no legitimate Kabbalist who has ever purported to use such a curse. The ever unreliable Wikipedia claims the idea of the Pulsa Denura can be traced back to the Babylonian Talmud, but scholars say the original was specifically a curse that could only be given by God to one to his Angels. There is no traditional Kabbalistic basis for this ceremony being used as a curse.

The consensus seems to be that this rite was created in the early years of Israel’s reemergence by a Rabbi named Amram Blau who led the Haredim, or what we would call ultra-orthodox Jews. The rite is basically an elaborate excommunication ritual with a curse incantation thrown in. It was and is used as a political tool by the Haredim, who count among their numbers active anti-Zionists seeking the collapse of Israel, and also a large proportion of that state’s welfare recipients since most of the Haredim men actually refuse to work for “religious” reasons.  In this conflicted and overly pious community the Pulsa Denura can be seen perhaps as the expression of a group that feels both powerless and neglected by the wider Jewish community which it both despises and relies on.

Of course, as Chaos magicians will tell you, the truth is what you want it to be. The academic veracity of the curse may not pass muster but that doesn’t mean the curse can’t work. It has a high success rate, though the keen observer will notice that almost all the victims of this curse were old, already targeted by violent extremists or, in Obstfeld’s case, involved with shady characters like a Rabbi who may have hired a hitman.

Here’s video of the Pulsa Denura being performed:

My Hebrew is, shall we say, limited so I am uncomfortable publishing text to the rite. Hebrew speakers will find the text is out there. For religious purists it should be noted that it is impermissible, according to Jewish mystical tradition, to pray for something bad to happen to someone.

Like The Black Mass, which required the services of a de-frocked priest, the Pulsa Denura cannot be performed by just anyone. A group of scholars (some say ten) must perform the ritual in front of the tomb of a Jewish “martyr” after three days of fasting, starting at midnight. If the victim is without sin, the Angels will instead kill those that called them, myth says. The process will seem familiar to many of you that have slung some curses before.

In Israel the ritual isn’t particularly taken seriously, but is always a spectacle which draws the media. But there is no question that the rite contains elements of traditional Black magic. Perhaps the creator of the ritual read more than just the Zohar?


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