The Chabad Hasidim are furious that Shefa Yamim Exploration and Mining, which is searching for diamonds near Haifa, has been using the name of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to promote its business.
"The Rebbe never said there are diamonds near Haifa," the organization stated: "This is just how one businessman interprets things he once said."
In fact Shefa Yamim was founded based on a conversation between the late Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson and the mayor of Haifa, Arie Gurel, in 1998. During their chat the rabbi remarked that gems abound in the area. Whether or not the rabbi was speaking metaphorically, the conversation was recently disclosed in a presentation to investors.
In recent days Shefa Yamim stock has been bouncing around like a gazelle on acid after the company announced finding a 5.72-carat sapphire last week. Over four trading days the stock rose 120%, then in one day it lost 40% and on Sunday it gained 17%.
Shefa Yamim, which is managed by Avraham Taub, was founded based on the conversation between the Rebbe and Mayor Gurel: “In Haifa, there is a sea. One shouldn’t become intimidated by something that is deep. This is the uniqueness of Haifa - that it has a sea and that there is a valley and in the valley are precious stones and gems. The Holy One, Blessed Be He, did a wondrous thing; He concealed them in the depths of the earth, and in any case, in the depth of the river.”
The conversation, which is quoted by the company’s executives and which was transcribed onto the company's website, was also published recently in a computer presentation for investors.
The Rebbe’s remarks at that time convinced Taub to follow the lead and look for diamonds near the Kishon.
Taub, who is now aided by geologists and professionals to base the prophesy, has been drawing encouragement from discoveries of various precious stones every few months.
However, in the Chabad Hasidut they are pouring some cold water on the enthusiasm surrounding the fateful conversation and stress that it is only an interpretation.
“They are interpreting the Rebbe’s words as though he had said: ‘Dig. There are diamonds here.’ But that wasn’t said. Anyone who watches the whole conversation understands this immediately.
“The Rebbe,” said a source at Chabad, “was talking about something completely different. He wasn’t talking about diamonds found in the depths, but rather about a completely different meaning – a spiritual meaning. This is an image that is found in very many of the Rebbe’s past writings. Someone interpreted this as diamonds, but it has to be remembered that the Rebbe didn’t say this in an unambiguous way."
If anything, say sources at Chabad, the company's interpretation is misleading: "To a certain extent, it is a deception.”
However, it must be noted that there is another interpretation of the conversation by Rabbi Mordechai Ashkenazi, the rabbi of Kfar Chabad, which bolsters the claim concerning the presence of precious stones.
“These are spiteful and unfounded claims. It is no wonder they are being made by anonymous elements," Shefa Yamim stated. "The Lubovitcher Rebbe’s words were spoken and documented in a video film and constituted a vision for the establishment of Shefa Yamim. Since its establishment the company has been working towards realizing the vision and has proven its finds thus far in accordance with the accepted geological and scientific tools, which have also been confirmed by the largest diamond company in the world, De Beers, in the context of five delegations of geologists on its behalf to the company’s exploration areas. Shefa Yamim will continue to act towards the realization of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s vision.”