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article imageNew Jersey man auctions off spot in heaven

By Ashley Woods     Jun 3, 2013 in Odd News
A New Jersey man listed his spot in heaven on eBay as a practical joke. The listing received a hefty response, taking the 99 cent bid to $100,000 before the listing was pulled.
Ari Mandel, a 31-year-old from New Jersey, listed his spot in heaven on the online auction site, eBay. Mandel, born Orthodox Jewish, describes himself theologically as an atheist.
Mandel said he had been throwing the idea around in his head for a while and decided to post it as a joke. He never imagined it would receive the attention it did - 181 bids reaching an upwards of $100,000 before the listing was pulled.
"I didn't think anyone would take it seriously," Mandel said. "It's gotten way more attention than I expected. I really didn't expect it to blow up and go crazy the way it did."
The listing, in his own words, read, "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."
The listing was removed the same day it was posted. An eBay spokesman said the offer of a spot in heaven was in violation of the auction site's "No Item" policy. That essentially means, you can't sell things that people won't be able to confirm they have received.
That policy, spelled out here, says: "We don't allow listings that aren't offering anything for sale or those that have intangible items (generally things don't physically exist)."
Ebay isn't denying the existence of heaven necessarily; it's just saying if you can't touch it, you can't sell it. As the Huffington Post points out, eBay has halted similar sales: a jar of farts, a ghost in a jar, magic spells, potions and curses.
Email and Facebook messages flooded Mandel's computer screen. Comments ranged from serious inquiries of the location in heaven to humorous admirers. Some, not surprisingly, were a bit enraged and distraught over the post.
“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.”
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