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Haim Potterovitch and the Sorcerer's Kiddush

by Mr. Matthue Roth

  

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You may have heard about a series of books that are taking America by storm. They illustrate the often brazen, sometimes funny, but constantly poignant adventures of a young spiritual seeker, told in the form of parables. There are four installments so far, and they illustrate a 10-year old Jewish boy’s return to the observance of his family’s tradition, detailing his mishaps and escapades along the way.

If you haven’t heard of the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, you can stop any child at random. Chances are, he or she can recite entire chapters by heart. But in case you can’t find any children scurrying about, here goes.

Our hero, Harry Potter, is a boy living in a dismal situation with relatives who just don’t understand. They’re selfish, and they insult Harry and demean him. Harry’s Uncle Vernon is a gluttonous, immoral and self-obsessed ganef (thief). The rest of his family is even worse. They are ruled by their Yetzer Hara (evil inclination)—but I won’t start interpreting yet.

One day, Harry meets a wizened old sage with a white beard flowing to his knees. He reveals to Harry the secret about his ancestors and their ritual practices. Uncle Vernon and family think these practices are disgraceful and barbaric, but Harry feels an affinity for them.

He’s taken to a yeshivah-type boarding school called Hogwarts Academy, where all the students wear unusual garb and have magnificent feasts once a week. There, Harry quickly becomes acclimated to Wizard culture.

Harry occasionally visits the home of his best friend Ron and learns about the way Wizards live—the specially-segregated food they eat and their unique vocabulary, which sounds remarkably like Yiddish. Uncle Vernon forbids Harry to use Wizard words like “muggles” and “schlep” or to practice his favorite pastime, the game of Quidditch (pronounced KID-dish).

Now, that’s the outline of the story in skeletal form. Of course, there are details that don’t exactly line up. Not to mention the fact that nobody mentions anything Jewish in over 2,000 pages of the story—but that doesn’t break my case. And yes, it’s true that I could be imagining all of this. And your doubts would be utterly grounded in truth, in spite of all these unbelievable coincidences, even if I didn’t have “evidence.”

I called J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, to get to the bottom of this burgeoning conspiracy. She graciously, if reluctantly, allowed me to meet with her in the lobby of the Grand Hotel in New York City. From there, she walked me to Kosher Delight because, as she said, their haimish muggle cooking was “the way it was meant to be.” What transpired next was truly fantastic.

ME: Isn’t it true that the Wizard boy Harry Potter is a spiritual seeker who is reclaiming his Jewish heritage, and that his real name was originally Haim Potterovitch, but your publishers insisted on changing it?


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The chaim/harry article

Posted by: Chana on Nov 02, 2004

this article is really cute. did jk rowling really let you in on her ideas for the next book? my friend keeps telling me this theory of harry potter-she is a really big harry potter fan and so is my sister. thanks i will tell my friend bout this article.

(:

Posted by: Sruli, Providence, RI on Apr 13, 2005

This article was hilarious. I'm not sure whether to believe she actually said these things...but it's the most amusing thing I've read in a long time. Now I'm off to findout what the Yiddish equivalent to muggle is....

harry potter

Posted by: Anonymous on Oct 30, 2005

The story is amuzing and definately points out some truths, but thats because truth is everywhere. everything exists from truth, the only thing that really is. we can find things from the Torah in everything because everything is in the Torah.

Unless glory is given to HaShem these kinds of stories can easily mislead people, mostly children, into believing that supernatural magic is a reality in itself without HaShem. New Age beliefs such as witchcraft are on the rise greatly nowadays and the belief is that its simply energy. There isn't an acknowledgment of that energy being concious and holy which is HaShem. It is a dangerous thing that children are being fed this kind of stuff without the foundation wisdom of HaShem through the Torah.

If you notice cartoons today are all about magic and powers, giving children the boost in imagination, but without true wisdom which will only corrupt their souls and prove dangerous because there is no accountability of true law.

Shalom

thank you

Posted by: Rivka, Chicago, Illinois on May 14, 2006

i thought this article pretty much lines up with the actual book which is pretty funny because i never thought of it this way thank you for that article!!!!
Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Kosher
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
Halachot
Laws governing the Jewish way of life.
Yetzer Hara
Evil inclination. Found in the heart of all humans, and also known as the "Animal Soul"; its purpose is to deter a person from following a life of spirituality and selflessness.
Yiddish
Language closely related to German commonly spoken by European Jews.