Testimonials from Former Members of the Bnei Baruch False Kabbalah Cult


“Rav” (King?) Michael Laitman, Bnei Baruch false kabbalah cult leader

“Ok, I would like to add my own personal experience. I am a former student of Bnei Baruch who studied at the organization for over a year. After that time, I came to the conclusion that, even though many of the people I had contact with were very nice people and I had often enjoyed their company and the group’s cohesiveness, I eventually decided to sever contact with this unhealthy group for the following reasons:

1. I realized that so much of my free time was being used to study or disseminate Bnei Baruch work. BB was constantly and endlessly concerned with dissemination of BB material. I was beginning to have no other life and I was already sensing that I would need to give more and more in order to reach spirituality because the idea of the group was for it to unify. (Many of the references on Amazon.com to Laitman’s books actually come from members intent on promoting BB).

2. I was constantly asked to join in more and more BB events despite my already very active participation in the group and I was not compensated for my many hours of work.

3. I began to lose contact with friends and others.

4. I noticed that many of the men at my local group were also extremely involved in dissemination and, despite having full time jobs and family responsibilities; many told me that they only had time for their families one day a week. Wives clamored for more attention as did children but they often did not get it and were told to just deal with it.

5. The men would work full time jobs, sleep for four-five hours and get up to study. They always seemed to be sleep-deprived. In my opinion, this constant state of sleep deprivation made them more susceptible to manipulation on the part of the organization.

6. I learned that Rav Laitman was not a rabbi ordained by any of the Jewish streams, but his students called him “Rav” out of respect. Not once during the time I studied at BB did I ever hear “Rav” Laitman correct this assumption. Laitman’s books and website still refer to him as “Rav”. This is deceptive.

7. People always referred to Laitman as “Rav”, “Rav said such and such”. To normal ears, “Rav” would be followed by a name but here “Rav” by itself was understood to be referring to “the” Rav, “Rav” Laitman.

8. There was general difficulty among members of BB in criticizing Laitman, even constructively. They all seemed to speak of him as if he were a sort of god or Messiah. Many a pair of eyes would light up when the words “Rav” would pass their lips.

9. While the group was officially non-hierarchical, Laitman did have an inner circle which was referred to in hallowed terms by his many dedicated students who seemed to have suspended all rational thought.

bnei baruch inner circle

Some of the all-male members of Laitman’s inner circle speaking about their political party in Israel.


10. The BB forum moderators often evaded questions of all types, especially when one could guess that the answer wouldn’t be pleasing, but questions having to do with the role of women and homosexuality were dealt with in a kind of double-speak and often ignored or pooh-poohed. Sometimes, I got the impression that certain questions were not welcome; other questions were welcome to a certain point before the moderator would get aggressive. They especially didn’t like talking about other “ways’.

11. Though I liked almost all of the Forum Moderators, I thought that Tony Kosinec’s moderating style was abrasive and authoritarian (and he certainly seemed that way outside the forums anyway), and he seemed the least likely of the BB Forum Moderators to give a straight or respectful answer.

12. I later discovered from an independent source that, contrary to BB propaganda, the person designated to succeed Yehuda Ashlag was his grandson Simcha Ashlag, not Michael Laitman.

13. I had a lot of trouble Laitman’s references to an authoritarian Creator “sending beatings” and other afflictions to people as a demonstration of His love and desire to bring them close to Kabbalah. This would be familiar and understandable to people accustomed to such abuse.

14. I didn’t like the dismissive and arrogant way that Laitman responded to some of the students’ questions. One could never predict whether or not a question would be deemed “acceptable” by “Rav” and one could never predict how he would react. He humiliated a fair amount of students during my tenure.

15. I disagreed with BB’s stance that their way was the only way and NO other way was acceptable or even possible.

16. One could only reach “spirituality” (ruchaniut) through a group with BB. The famous refrain of BB was “You need to have the right books, the right teacher (Laitman) and the right group (BB)”.

17. Gay men, while officially tolerated in the group, had to have a wife to reach spirituality (they needed a wife to reach spirituality). One gay man was apparently asked to leave the group because he brought up the topic too much. Lesbians were more manageable or something because they were women and just needed to be attached to a group.

18. Women could only reach spirituality through their husband or by being attached to a group. They were just “vessels”.

19. There was no verifiable way to ascertain whether one had attained spirituality or to know what it was like because it was forbidden to ask someone if he had reached spirituality (the reason given was that others might become jealous).

20. I disliked the constant separation of men and women. Men and women would eat separately. The men would sing songs and put their arms around each other but the women did not sing songs or put their arms around each other. Only in the strictest interpretations of Judaism did men and women sit separately. Thus it seemed to me that BB, as a non-religious group, should qualify to allow men and women to sit together but they insisted on the separation.

21. There was a large amount of alcohol consumed at BB events and dinners. Congresses were also full of people addicted to nicotine, as could be heard by the constant coughing and people always smoking.

smoking and drinking

22. BB seemed to have its greatest appeal to people who were accustomed to an authoritarian lifestyle. In my opinion, it is this in addition to a quest for spirituality that attracted a large amount of Russians and Israelis (combined, they were perhaps the vast majority). The Russians and Israelis were already used to a communal lifestyle. The Russians had no trouble with groups because many had grown up under Communism. The Israelis had the experience of being in the army and were accustomed to having an authority at their lead.

23. I didn’t like the authoritarian and harsh way some of the BB students interacted with their children.

24. Laitman and the group mindlessly attributed certain characteristics and energies as supposedly inherent in males and females.

25. People in the group were not encouraged to talk about their backgrounds or their personal lives.

26. The group was used in a way to keep the men on track (under control?)

27. People were instructed to ignore the intellect and instead just be present for the lesson. In the lesson, there were many complicated diagrams. I learned that, just because someone speaks over your head, especially about spirituality, doesn’t mean he knows anything.

I could go on!!! This is my experience and my opinion regarding my experience with the added benefit of hindsight. There are some very good people there but I need to keep myself sane so I removed myself from the scene.

I think it’s important that other former members share their experiences with this forum. I believe that current BB members are not reliable as they seem to want to defend BB and Laitman without really responding to the evidence brought forth, as has been previously established by the moderator of this forum.



Bnei Baruch, the Group

Now, what does it mean to be part of this group?
How does this group relate to the outside world?
How does this group behave towards its members?

It is considered a great honor to be part of Bnei Baruch, not because the people within the group are special people, but because the Creator chose them to reveal the Wisdom of Kabbalah and spread it throughout the world – therefore they are special.

This very peculiar situation is supposed to build a strong team spirit between group members, reminiscent of that in the military, which, from an elementary psychological perspective, is very easy recognizable by most Israelis. Bnei Baruch students learn indirectly and subtly to look upon themselves as ‘the soldiers of truth and freedom’. The same morning lessons are often called “struggles”; and in Laitman’s words the act of reaching the first spiritual level is said an “attack”. The group enjoys singing a song in which it calls itself a “commando of strong and special people”. As in the Army, everyone is said to depend on the each other, and the group itself on each and every single “fighter”.

This general attitude is combined together with the inducted feeling that whatever is outside the group, being part of the big swindle (or physical appearance of creation), is fake, low, pathetic and unbearable. As a result Bnei Baruch members measure people who belong to the group and those who don’t in a completely different way from the norm. The group is your life, the air you breathe, your refuge, your family, the gathering of your only friends, your only and exclusive spiritual hope.

bnei baruch congress
Outside the group there is no life, people are like beasts (meaning their behaviors and desires are no different from those of animals) and there is nowhere to go. The group owns the Way, the group owns the only tools to possibly reach the target, the group owns the truth. Everyone, once they have been accepted to become one of the group, is indoctrinated to fear finding himself outside!

The group’s behaviour towards its members can be summarized by the motto “either with me or against me”. The comparing of opinions is allowed and promoted inside Bnei Baruch, as long as it doesn’t exceed the theoretical limits outlined by Laitman’s teachings. Could it be any different? Should it be?

Unfortunately things become problematic when it concerns the view and treatment of people who have, for one reason or another, left the group. The one who is sent away, or leaves the group for ideological reasons, becomes infected, ceases to exist and ‘dies’. As a rule, people within the group are not allowed to talk with them anymore, nor even look at them and say “hello”. I will try to be more precise with a personal example, and it merely illustrates many other similar cases.

Approximately one year ago, for reasons connected to bad feelings she had collected in the space of two years and partly related to what I’m writing here, my wife decided to leave the group. The women of Bnei Baruch rapidly rejected her, to the point of ignoring her existence. The men simply supported, or even pushed, their wife’s position, or encouraged me that ‘after all she was a bit crazy’. They suggested that this was only a disturbance that, as always, would lead me closer to the target because, for His mysterious reasons, the Creator likes torturing those He loves… Someone said “her eyes are dead”, another tried to convince me to behave like the horse in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and told me “work harder!”, others suggested that I should consider getting married again and that a woman after all is nothing but a cow that brings cattle into the world. Most of the so-called friends were apathetic.


Now, the terrible thing is that in other places or ages, behaviors of this kind would surely have resulted in a harsher dismissal, such as lapidation (stoning), mutilation, or other violent abuses of human rights. Only the fact that we are living in more enlightened times spared everyone from falling into such an abyss. Nevertheless, the quality of the facts remains unchanged. To make it clearer, we could call it social lynching.

This behaviour might be considered normal for a pack of hyenas that fights over a chunk of meat, but it is unacceptable when originating from the “most developed souls” of the world. It is much closer to a sectarian or tribal behaviour than to the attitude I expected from those who want to spread the universal religion of “love thy neighbor as thyself” all over the globe.

The sectarian aspect of Bnei Baruch may be necessary to facilitate spiritual work, but it shouldn’t lead to harm and disrespect for human life and feelings.


There is absolutely not (or at least there was not when I was there) transparency about the use of money. Except for the leader and a very restricted number of his followers none knew how much money enters and how much money is spent and how. We all supposed most of it was for distributing the ideology of Kabbalah through books, videos, internet and such.

Unlike what Mike [Kellogg – Bnei Baruch instructor] says, donations are free but only ’til a certain stage. If one wants to study Kabbalah and develop spiritually, one must give the 10% of his salary to the group – there is a spiritual reason for that, Laitman says, and he can also explain it to you. He himself paid it for years to his teacher and that’s a practice of all chassidic groups of Judaism. But I must tell you that for a European sensitivity like mine (which made it only my problem), that practice was intrusive at all, a memory of hundreds years of ecclesiastic tithe.


Mike says that the group could dismiss Laitman. That’s “legally” true, but actually a total fake. That group without the guidance of that teacher wouldn’t exist anymore. They would vanish in confusion after a few hours. When I was there, it happened sometimes that Laitman said: “I’m going to leave you, so finally you’ll start doing your work!” But that was only a way to scare us: without him the group would be lost, but he without the group is lost as well – like any other leader, without followers what would he be leader of? As a matter of fact he never dared to leave the group and Israel. He was just woofing at his sheep…

That’s it from me for now. But look, if you’re trying to find the bugs in Bnei Baruch you shouldn’t look at simple things like money or sex. They’re above that. They have other plans: what do you know, for instance, about the foundation of the State of Kabbalah or the world ruled by a small group of wise kabbalists? It seems paranoid (“what is that, a plan of world domination? are you anti-Semitic?”) but it’s perfectly lined up with Laitman’s teachings.

Bnei Baruch are not only chosen but, as to say, chosen in between the chosen. They are the cream of the world, they think, and those who won’t agree with them… “Well”, Laitman says ” we’ll see how to face them. What matters is that they won’t bother us.” (that’s all recorded btw). What Mike and other people like him, I mean living far from Israel, don’t realize yet – or perhaps they’ve never heard about it (or they don’t care) – is that they won’t ever achieve anything in their position. The teacher says (never publicly, God forbid!) that only Jews and married males studying in the israeli group have some chance to achieve spirituality. Others are only steps of their ladder – forgive me the brutal metaphor.




  1. arizuker1984 · August 3, 2015

    Yes everything you are saying is correct. I was also a member for a few years and lost many friends and my girlfriend too. Everynight we were commanded to wake up at 2.30am to begin the lesson at 3. We were told these hours are spiritual hours of the day and all the great rabbis learned at this time. The truth of the matter is these hours are the best brain washing hours especially when u hardly sleep. I had a job where i started at 7 and so i would study from 3-6 and go to work at 7 and all i would talk about is kabbalah. All day i would think about the lesson until went to bed and when i woke up at 2.30 i couldn’t wait to hear what he would say. We left the cult and finally realized the wolf in sheeps clothing. He has taken something so holy as the torah and made it into a negative tool to control people. I cant wait till he dies and the cult falls apart since nobody will agree who will be the next leader. He is truly an evil man . And arrogant and rude and he was probably brainwashed by his teacher too. I know in his heart he knows what he is doing and how its all bs. Nobody who speaks with God can be so arrogant and rude. He hasnt crossed any spiritual barrier. Is is just a miserable prick and because he wasted so many years trying to reach god and failed he wants to punish others with the lies so he feels better. Typical human nature.

    Liked by 2 people

    • arizuker1984 · June 22, 2016

      I meant everything besides the part about him dying. I wish nobody to die. I guess i just really want to see his cult fall apart. I find it fascinating that as a kabbalist he studies almost every book besides TORAH, which is the root of kabbalah. The Zohar which is base of kabbalah is a commentary on the Torah. Meaning without a torah, you have no Kabbalah. What i found most offensive in his teachings is that he interprets the TORAH as a code and that every event that is written of didn’t actually happen, it is just an INNER WORLD in all of us. in his words, “Nothing spoken of in the Torah is talking about our world, everything in the Torah relates to spiritual states that we have inside of us. ” Every principle in the jewish world is based on the fact that every single word and event spoken actually happened. Sure there are inner lessons to be learnt that can be understood by reading between the lines. However to make the statement that NONe of the words in the torah refer to our world? He has just wiped out the identity of the jewish people and taken away any heritage of the land of Israel. He has destroyed the foundations of jewish though. I believe he represents the Erev Rav. A WOLF in SHEEPS CLOTHING. When people ask him questions regarding this world, he is completely clueless. He has detached kabbalah from Torah and created his own religion. And he is constantly talking about the Ego , the Ego and how we should cancel our ego’s because in this state of mind we are easily controlled by him. This is so ironical and you would never think that a teacher who is constantly teaching about cancelling the Ego and becoming a giver would be such an Egotistical human being, however this is exactly what he is. He is a control freak and constantly shuts people down when they ask genuine questions that he simply doesn’t have an answer for. He only like the questions that Baal hasulam has an answer for since really this is his GOD. Baal Hasulam. He worships every word that Baal hasulam has spoken as if he was a prophet. Not only does he believe Baal hasulam was a prophet, he believes he is the reincarnation of Moses and many great figures in jewish history. He has given Baal hasulam complete authority, and he feels he is the chosen messenger of this divine soul. He is constantly talking about the group and giving, yet Can you really have a group of GIVERS only? If everybody is a giver, then who can receive? Then he will tell you that It’s all about the intention however this is what traps you in your mind. And people in the group are like lost sheep because they are living inside their minds trying to get in touch with a power to have complete control, because at the end of the day this man is a control freak. The most frustrating part about the whole thing is that it is not allowed to speak about your spiritual level. For example He being a kabbalist and teaching his students how to cross the barrier between the spiritual world and physical, it is assumed that he has crossed this barrier and his long term students too. However as soon as you ask them about their experience in that process of crossing over, he will say it’s forbidden to talk about it. Now here you have a Group of people that are constantly striving to cross the spiritual barrier and nobody is aloud to share their experiences or describe what it is like, because only Baal hasulam has that authority. Or he will say “i don’t have the words, Ain li milim” Did there exist such a spiritual barrier in the case of Moses?? Did not Moses describe his experiences in speaking with God clear and simple, in a way even a child could understand. There was dialogue. Meaning In jewish belief it is possible to have a conversation with GOd himself. Therefore the fact that this man does not share his conversations with God makes me extremely suspicious in that he is not in touch with God at all. IF he was a prophet of God he would say God says this and God says that, just like Moses. Therefore he is definately NOT a PROPHET of God, and thus how can he even imagine the fact that he has crossed some kind of spiritual barrier?????? Does his face glow when he speaks with God? No!!! But only Moses could speak with God face to face therefore all the other people spoke to him in dreams or through his angel. So obviously this man Michael Laitman is nothing but a regular man like the rest of us who has ALOT of POWER AND CONTROL over his sheep, who will do anything he tells them. His Teaching obviously doesn’t work since if it did we would see lots of messages coming straight form God through his students and the spirit of Prophecy would be upon them. Clearly this is not the case. All his students have fallen into the trap of Believing that by laboring in kabbalah they will get results. Instead of practicing Torah as a practice, they have detached all the Physical elements and focused purely on the mind and emotions, as if they have no Bodies. This sense of detachment is how people stay in the group. This is how they detach from society and cleave to their master kabbalist and become his pawns. As soon as you give that power to another human being you have given away your free-will. He always says in his teachings that you cannot reach spirituality without a Group, you need the Group. Most Famous figures in the Torah spoke to God Alone in their dreams. No Group needed. Each person has an individual relationship with God and a relationship with society. He tries to bind these two together so you lose that connection to God. Making a relationship with God DEPENDENT on the group. He also doesn’t believe in a MESSIAH which is part of the 13 principles of judaism and taught all through the jewish world including the kabbalah. He believes messiah is not an individual but a FORCE as he describes it. Basically throwing away thousands of prophecies in the TanAKh, the base of Judaism. For all those thinking about studying Kabbalah, know that this man is not keeping traditions. This form of Kabbalah never existed before and this is totally detached from Torah and Judaism. He is doing a mass experiment which is about to go horribly wrong and i urge you not to join this Magic trick of the Satan. God is testing the jewish people with this man, and many jews are losing faith because of the extremism of the orthodox community. A man of God must prove he is a man of God with signs or prophecies. I see no proof with regards to this man. In his reality man controls God, not the other way around. He is rebelling against the most high and he even explains it. He draws people in by telling them that they have been chosen to study kabbalah, and that they have a point in the heart. Makes them feel special. He pampers their Ego. In his reality God is not ALive and involved in the world, God is STILL and only we change in according to God. If that was the case how can he have a conversation with man and yet be still and unchangable? Does speech not require a consciousness? Did not all of Israel HEAR the WORDS OF THE 10 COMMANDMENTS. I rest my case.


  2. bewareoffalsekabbalah · August 8, 2015

    Hi, thanks for your comment and sharing a little bit of your story. I’m sure that it’s all that you say. But I’m very happy for you that you were able to leave the cult at last. It’s not an easy thing to do. Laitman seems to be revelling in his power, authority and total control over his brainwashed sheeple. It is sad when the holiest wisdom ends up in the wrong hands. So many people get hurt. But count yourself lucky and blessed that you were able to wake up to the truth. Baruch HaShem!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Esther · August 23, 2015

    Todo lo q aquí se dice es verdad .y se quedan cortos pero tan vien es verdad q nadie te obliga solo tus deseos. Y necesidades.


    • bewareoffalsekabbalah · August 23, 2015

      No one forces them but the fact that Laitman and Bnei Baruch LIE about kabbalah and tell people they have to give up their free will for “The Group” is a monstrous thing to do and the main reason why people go astray. Laitman is a deceiver.


  4. Magdaléna Miklovičová · October 10, 2015

    Guys, it seems to me that you did not understand a single word in kabbalah yet… 😦


    • bewareoffalsekabbalah · October 10, 2015

      LOL. Uh-oh. I detect a brainwashed cult member commenting! Listen Magdaléna Miklovičová, how about YOU prove what you know about AUTHENTIC KABBALAH? How about YOU explain every single point that you disagree with that’s been made here and we can see who in fact understands what kabbalah truly is, and who is simply a BRAINWASHED CULT MEMBER whose mind has already been hijacked by their false kabbalah cult and is no longer fit to make objective comments whatsoever?

      Until then, excuse me if I REFUSE to take anything that you have to say about authentic kabbalah seriously!


  5. cecil82 (@cecil823) · December 7, 2015

    Thanks for this. I was almost suckered. Just another DAMNED cult.


    • bewareoffalsekabbalah · December 7, 2015

      Yes, I know. Seems like we need to be on our toes at all times! Good for you for investigating first. May we suggest a place where we believe you can learn authentic kabbalah, and is not a cult to the best of our knowledge? It’s called Kabbalah Decoded and the teacher’s name is Rabbi Moshe Miller. The website is here: http://www.kabbalahdecoded.com/, and if you want to join their classes, fill out the form here: http://www.kabbalahdecoded.com/videos-and-live-classes.html

      Rabbi Miller runs free online classes weekly. If we ever find out that he’s starting to behave in a cult-like manner, rest assured that you’ll find out about it on this site. But so far, so good. It’s just a suggestion anyway, in case you’re interested.

      Other than that, you can find a free online Zohar with Sulam commentary here: http://www.thebookofzohar.com/free-downalod-the-zohar-in-english-best-translation

      And Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)’s writings here: http://thewritingsofrabbiyehudaashlag.tumblr.com/

      There’s also this site called “The Centre for Lurian Kabbalah”. The teacher, Michael Portnaar, doesn’t take on new students, but all of his articles and e-books are available to download for free. He also has a Facebook page where he regularly posts his teachings, and you may ask him questions about them and he may answer you. Again, as far as we know, not a cult. But we’ll let you know if we ever find out otherwise. Their facebook site is here: https://www.facebook.com/Centre-for-Lurian-Kabbalah-642607175790938/?fref=ts

      Good luck and take care!


  6. Rene · February 13, 2017

    This cult is dangerous, deceptive and destructive. It has destroyed my marriage and turned my husband into a stranger. People need to be warned to stay away.


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