From The Rabbit Hole: Yanuka, the Youtube Antichrist

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Browsing reddit one day from the passenger’s seat during a drive home for Thanksgiving, I saw a notification informing me of a recent post that had been getting quite a bit of attention on the /r/religion subreddit. The post, from Redditor /u/Least-Ad-8472, was simply titled “Jewish Messiah Here?,” and read as follows:

“Who has been hearing about the Jews allegedly finding a highly possible candidate for their Messiah?

In Islam this person will be considered the Ad-Dajjal.

In Christianity this would be considered the AntiChrist.

Interesting times considering the current state of the world.

I bring this up because I’m open to hearing others perspectives that are aware of this possibility.”

Needless to say, I was intrigued. Upon looking through the comments I found that the post was about Rabbi Shlomo Yehuda Be’eri. Be’eri, who was born in Spain in 1988, is a Hasidic rabbi living in Israel. His followers claim that he is a Torah prodigy, having a high level of proficiency in various areas of Torah study and the ability to recite large swaths of Torah and Talmud text from memory. Because of this perceived genius, his followers gave him the title of the Yanuka, which comes from the Jewish mystical text the Zohar in reference to a child with prodigious knowledge of Torah. Like many Hasidic rabbis, he also seems to attract a devoted audience, with large crowds gathering when he speaks, and other devoted followers using the internet to get his message out to a wider audience. It was likely through videos uploaded by followers to the Spanish-language “Punto Breslev” channel, and a Hebrew and English-language channel set up by a follower named Aryeh Gold, that Christians became aware of this man’s existence.

I searched “Yanuka” on YouTube and found a video titled “*END TIMES PROPHECY NEWS- THE FALSE PROPHET? – JEWISH MESSIAH? Yanuka Rav Shlomo Yehuda. *” The video now has just over 272,000 views.

The video was uploaded by a creator named Tina Golik. She begins the video by saying that the Yanuka is causing a stir in Israel, which Christians should focus on as a barometer of “how close we are” to the end times. She points to the crowds that Be’eri draws, and claims of miracles and faith-healing attributed to the rabbi by supporters. The clips she uses are out-of-context, featuring neither audio nor subtitles: footage of prayer services and even what appears to be a bris are used to imply that the prayers and supplications of those around the Yanuka are being offered to him.

His Torah proficiency is also used to compare him to Jesus. Golik claims that because nobody else in history has been as proficient in Torah as Jesus and the Yanuka, he is a likely candidate to be declared the Jewish messiah. Golik also speculates on how the Yanuka could be both the Jewish and Muslim Messiahs, which is essential for the antichrist, and she determines that he will likely be in league with the false Messiah of Islam. In another video, she speculates that author Yuval Noah Harari may be the antichrist as well, but appears to decide that he is merely paving the way, instead.

Based on the description of the video, one might be driven to think that Golik’s channel is something akin to Infowars. But surprisingly, Tina’s channel is far more focused on her lifestyle and crafts than her apocalyptic religious beliefs. She cites her love of the Dollar Tree, garage sales, Goodwill and DIY home projects as the inspiration for the channel. Her four most popular videos are focused entirely on crafting: a DIY project for iron-pressed garden botanicals has over 1 million views, followed by similar guides for a glammed-up cake stand, Dollar Tree Christmas decoration ideas, and a “laundry hack” for ultra-bright whites (which I might actually use, so I guess proselytizing to Jews is effective.)

The next video that the YouTube algorithm recommended was titled “HE PERFORMS MIRACLES!!! Israel’s Messiah?? The Yanuka Rav Shlomo Yehuda | Messiah Revealed 2022,” Posted by the Youtuber Sling and Stone, who has 138,000 subscribers.

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