Hundreds flocked to eBay when a Jewish man named Ari Mandel, from Teaneck, N.J., put a spot in Habaah, or heaven, up for auction.
The price flew from 99 cents to $100,000 before eBay could take the posting down, citing rules that require items to be tangible.
According to Mandel, the winning bidder would have received a signed contract guaranteeing Mandel’s spot in Habaah, and another contract guaranteeing that Mandel would live free of sin in order to secure that spot. He also promised never to return to religious life and steal the spot back for himself.
Mandel freely gave up his spot after leaving the Hasidic community at 23. He served in the U.S. Army, became an atheist, got divorced and currently studies at New York University.
He now considers himself culturally Jewish and theologically atheist.
In the eBay listing, Mandel guaranteed that he has accomplished many Mitzvos (good deeds), never broke Jewish laws or customs until entering the secular world, never worships false idols and has remained 98 percent vegan. He insisted that his dedication to Jewish culture makes his reward in heaven worth “a pretty penny.”
“Don’t be a cheap Jew, and fork it over like it’s Maftir Yona.” Mandel said, referencing the auctioned opportunity to read the Torah on Yom Kippur.
After eBay pulled the listing, Mandel claimed that the sale was a joke, telling those who took it seriously to “chill out,” regardless of their beliefs.