The Truth About Bnei Baruch False Kabbalah Cult Leader Michael Laitman’s Teaching on ‘Maaser’ (Tithing)

bnei baruch maaser Michael Laitman, the leader of the Bnei Baruch false kabbalah cult, defines maaser or tithing as his members giving a tenth of their gross income only to HIS organization, and that it’s a necessary thing for his cult members to pay maaser but only to his false kabbalah cult if they wish to ‘advance’ (in spirituality). Those who don’t pay are ‘stealing’. 

Below is a transcript of Michael Laitman explaining maaser in the following video:

“In short, what I got, and it doesn’t matter if it’s ten pennies or ten million, and it’s a waste for a person, because if he doesn’t do it he can’t advance. If he has this problem of paying then he shouldn’t come to the group. He can disconnect us. Afterwards when he will decide he will, then he’ll do it and he can come. Otherwise, until he meets this condition, that this tenth part of the money goes to dissemination against his own tenth part, then he can’t advance without it…

If you contribute to other goals, if you contribute to other purposes, that doesn’t give you any chance and any connection to kabbalah and you have no reason to come to us. If you think that there’s some other means that can benefit the world besides this method don’t come here. Why are you here if so? If you have other thoughts. There are more organizations, let animals live and stuff like that, so please, leave us and that’s it, we don’t need your money and not you. I’m telling you seriously, this is simply garbage, waste, litter that enters The Group. I’m telling you seriously fully seriously, everyone who doesn’t give to the wisdom of kabbalah is actually stealing. And Baal HaSulam writes in the article, “Peace in the World.” * Right? That’s it.”

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THE TRUTH – MAASER IS A MITZVA (PRECEPT), BUT IT’S TO BE GIVEN TO THE NEEDY, NOT TO CULTS OR PLACES THAT TEACH KABBALAH

A former Bnei Baruch false kabbalah cult member who now studies with a former student of Rabash (Rabbi Baruch Ashlag), Rabbi Fievel Okowita, exposes the lie about Michael Laitman’s teaching that maaser or tithing to his cult is necessary in order “to advance” in spirituality:

“As for maaser:

1. According to Laitman one doesn’t have to observe any mitzvos (precepts) as one can’t have proper intentions in this world. Moreover one doesn’t need to observe mitzvos in the physical world but only to operate in the spiritual realm. If that’s the case why can’t one merely have intention to pay maaser rather than actually transferring the funds to Bnei Baruch according to this logic?

2. I spoke with several students of RABASH (Kabbalist Rabbi Baruch Ashlag, who Laitman claims to be the successor of) and they all told me the same thing – ANYONE could have entered the lessons of RABASH freely and maaser directly to Rebbe was NEVER required from anyone! The only time when maaser was ASKED (but not required!) to be brought was when Baal HaSulam was trying to publish his works and he simply had no means to do it. At that time each student TRIED to come up with any possible sum to help publish these books. And only because of these people we now can have these materials. However beside this specific time, it was never a mandatory requirement neither with Baal HaSulam nor with Rabash.

Guys, it’s really simple – if you’re being asked to pay to study Kabbalah, you’re looking to supporting a business rather than actual spiritual growth.

Also: “Maaser as any other mitzva is an obligation and there is no question about it! That said, strict requirement of Maaser to be paid ONLY to the institution that “teaches you Kabbalah” rather than giving it to the needy only shows what goals this institution pursues.”

Signed, fshedrinsky

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*Baal HaSulam never wrote that one “who doesn’t give to the wisdom of kabbalah is actually stealing” in his article “Peace in the World” as Michael Laitman claims:

Regarding Laitman’s claim about Baal HaSulam’s article “Peace in the World” that he says states that ‘everyone who doesn’t give to the wisdom of kabbalah is actually stealing’ – this is a straight out LIE. Nowhere in his article does Baal HaSulam mention or even imply such a thing.

What Baal HaSulam discusses in his article is about how the four attributes of mercy, truth, justice and peace are used by all world reformers to achieve the desired attribute of goodness for the individual and the collective but in fact these four attributes in the practical life contradict each other, between each sect and within each person as well.

The solution, Baal HaSulam writes, is the use of the nature of singularity, the root of which extends directly from the Creator to the people. Except that when examined from its upper side, from the side of its equivalence with the Unique One, the nature of singularity works only in the form of bestowal upon others, Baal HaSulam writes, for the Creator is all bestowal and has nothing of the form of reception. Whereas on the other side of that coin, meaning how it actually works in us, we find that the nature of singularity operates in the complete opposite direction, because it operates only in forms of receptions for oneself, such as the desire to be the only great and rich man in the whole world. Hence, the above two sides are as far apart from one another as the East from the West.

Therefore, Baal HaSulam writes, the singularity that extends to us from Him must also act only in forms of bestowal to others, and to receive nothing for ourselves.

Read the article “Peace in the World” by Baal HaSulam

To conclude: 

Baal HaSulam writes in his article about acting only in forms of bestowal towards others in using the nature of singularity to achieve the desired attribute of goodness for the individual and the collective and peace in the world. He most certainly does NOT write about giving a tenth of one’s gross income to a false kabbalah cult that demands money from each member or else they will never ‘advance’ in spirituality or they’re ‘stealing’. That’s not even a form of bestowal whatsoever. Coercion, extortion or manipulation, perhaps, but certainly not bestowal according to Baal HaSulam’s definition.

Bestowal must come out of one’s desire to provide contentment to the Creator alone, through having faith above all understanding in Him. This is the nature of singularity when examined from the root, from the side of its equivalence with the Creator. Laitman’s demand for maaser to make people pay a great deal of money for his false teachings by using Baal HaSulam’s teachings in a grossly inaccurate way is just yet another example of his false kabbalah cult corrupting and subverting the teachings of Baal HaSulam.

The Kabbalah Centre cult claims that criticizing them is akin to ‘committing murder’

According to one of the late Dr Margaret T. Singer’s 6 Conditions for Thought Reform, a cult

“Puts forth a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by leadership approval or executive order

The group has a top-down, pyramid structure. The leaders must have verbal ways of never losing.

Members are not allowed to question, criticize or complain — if they do, the leaders allege that the member is defective — not the organization or the beliefs.The individual is always wrong — the system, its leaders and its belief are always right.

Conversion or remolding of the individual member happens in a closed system. As members learn to modify their behavior in order to be accepted in this closed system, they change — begin to speak the language — which serves to further isolate them from their prior beliefs and behaviors.”

The Kabbalah Centre cult attempts to silence its critics who wish to “blow the whistle” on the cult’s corrupt practices, and followers who try to question its ways, by invoking the Torah prohibition of committing lashon hara (evil or derogatory speech about another person).

However, true to their form, the Kabbalah Centre cult distorts the true explanation of lashon hara, so that those that they accuse of committing this transgression are wrong, and that they are always right (thereby meeting Dr Margaret Singer’s above criterion for one of the six conditions for Thought Reform). They go so far as to say that any kind of criticism against them, any bad word against them, is akin to bloodshed/committing murder, and they emphasize the dreadful fate that awaits those who commit such a heinous crime. And also to anyone who pays attention and listens to such criticism.

LA times kabbalah centre

This has proved to be an extremely effective way for the Kabbalah Centre cult to stop their followers, whose minds are now pretty much in their control, from listening to the warnings of the whistle-blowers and former members. Their warnings have now been dismissed simply as evil speech and the cult members consign the communicator to hell or its equivalent for committing a sin that’s equivalent to murder. The most brainwashed of the Kabbalah Centre cult followers will even say derogatory things about the whistle-blowers and former members for criticizing their beloved cult, completely blind to the irony that they themselves are now committing a “murderous act” according to their own definition!

The fact is that lashon hara, according to Jewish law, is not only permissible in certain circumstances, but even REQUIRED – in which case it’s referred to as lashon hara l’to’eles.

Lashon hara l’to’eles according to the Mishpete Hashalom (Israeli Law):

The underlying foundation of the issue of lashon hara is the lowly, corrupt character inherent in the person who chooses to find fault with others, seek out his weak points, degrade him in the eyes of his peers and then take a perverse pleasure in his downfall. The Torah wants us to be elevated people, not backbiters and lowly peddlers of gossip.

However, this would be true only if we say the lashon hara with the destructive purpose of denigrating the subject or causing conflict. If we are speaking up for a constructive goal – e.g., to decry evil, to help someone who was wronged or to do a service for society – then under certain circumstances, this would not be a violation of the prohibitions of lashon hara or rechilus (tale-bearing), but would rather fall into the category of lashon hara l’to’eles, which is permissible – and even required – provided the following seven conditions are met:

1. Truth: We must be certain that the negative information is true, either because we saw it ourselves or because we have investigated the matter and confirmed that it is true.

2. Wrong: We must think the matter through carefully to make sure that the act was really a wrongdoing according to the Torah. If we are not sure on this point, we are obligated to judge the person favorably.

We also have no right to denigrate a person’s midos or to disparage the conduct of his ancestors or his own past misdeeds, since these are not wrongs. If, however, there is a concern of potential damage to someone, then the mitzvah of lo sa’amod – “Do not stand aside while your fellow’s blood is shed” – applies. In that case, we would have to relate the information to the person in need of protection even if we still have doubts on this point.

3. Rebuke: When possible, we must first try to gently reprove the sinner. Perhaps in this way, we will achieve the constructive goal without having to relate the derogatory information to anyone else.

4. Accuracy: The information must be relayed accurately, without exaggerating the wrongdoing and without omitting any details which would mitigate its severity.

5. Beneficial intentions: Our intentions must be beneficial – not in order to take pleasure at finding fault, and not from motives of personal hatred towards the sinner.

6. Alternatives: When it may be possible to bring about the constructive purpose through means other than relating the lashon hara, we are required to try the alternative method first.

7. No more than the din (judgment): We should not cause the subject more damage than would have been allotted to him had the case been brought to bais din (house of judgment).

Source

If these conditions are met, then lashon hara does not apply, it’s lashon hara l’to’eles, which is actually a requirement if the purpose is to save a life.

But of course, the Kabbalah Centre cult would never tell its members that, as it wouldn’t conform to their closed system of logic that they put forth in order to isolate and reform the minds of their followers to deter them from ever going against the cult’s authoritarian structure.

Leviticus 19:16

16 “‘Do not go around spreading slander among your people, but also don’t stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is at stake; I am Adonai.”

Michael Laitman’s Bnei Baruch false kabbalah cult promotes mass suicide

Kool Aid man

A shocking testimonial from an ex-Bnei Baruch false kabbalah cult member:

“So whoever wants to tell a lie will first lay a foundation of truth and then construct the lie.” (Zohar I:2b)

“This, in a nutshell, has been my experience with Michael Laitman and Bnei Baruch. If you should have the patience to read my story, you will understand why I am sharing it.

Some background…I was initially drawn to Kabbalah by Ramban (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman-Nachmanides), who shared a hint of his Kabbalistic insights in his Commentary to the Pentateuch. This led me to searching The Zohar and additional books by contemporary scholars and Rabbis blending Jewish theology and mysticism. Thus, when I came across an online invitation to a Kabbalah lecture given by Michael Laitman in the fall of 2007, I attended the lecture and purchased two books for further study.

In January 2008, I began the ARI online Kabbalah classes. Shortly thereafter, I received an email concerning a comment that I had posted on a Kabbalah & Spirituality Meetup (not founded by Bnei Baruch) from a woman saying that she had intuited from my comment that I was studying with BB and inviting me to meet her for lunch. A few months later (4 to be exact), I was introduced to the local men’s group and asked to contribute $100 per month to help support the local study center. I attended my first Kabbalah congress in May 2008 and got involved with the BB Internet dissemination team writing articles for Internet dissemination and the Kabbalah Today newspaper. I was active in local dissemination and in 2010 became more involved with the learning center, editing and deploying the English Department newsletters and student retention emails. I also began editing children’s materials and contributed five stories to the English children’s book.

bnei baruch congress2

Throughout this whole time, local maintenance dues were coming from my husband – I was not employed outside the home except to help occasionally in my husband’s business and various temporary jobs (from which I paid the maaser). My husband also became involved with BB studying and attending several congresses; he enjoyed the social aspect of the group for a time but stopped driving to the center for daily lessons as the blaring audio in Russian made it difficult for him to follow the lesson using the headphones for translation.

Fast forward to 2011-2012 when Laitman began denigrating American Jews on a regular basis, disseminating a social-political agenda without mentioning Kabbalah, and sending emails “ordering” Americans to vote for Romney, at this point my husband was pretty much DONE with BB. I had gone back to work full-time, continued listening to the daily lessons at home and working a few hours per week on the new Internet dissemination Project World Events. Several months passed and I agreed to meet with the local BB women at a restaurant for dinner where most of the conversation was devoted to their asking me questions about my husband: What can they do to bring him back to the group? Did the men do something wrong that upset him? Who should call him? Etc. with all of them telling me how much they miss my husband. As we were leaving the restaurant, they reminded me to vote for Romney, explaining to me “Rav said that we MUST vote for Romney.” When I shrugged it off, they really pushed me for an answer about it, which I politely declined (I don’t vote and tell).

Romney-Running-Mate_Horo

Still I kept plugging along and decided to really give it my best effort, to prepare my intention for the One Global Woman convention. The convention was as usual Russian audio blaring so loudly that I could barely hear the English translation through the headphones, with the added bonus of women drinking shots of vodka at 9:00 in the morning, but most surprising was the roundtable discussion. When I contributed a comment about the candle flame as metaphor for unification (Baal Hasulam, Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot, Item 134) it was apparently considered some sort of problem or challenge to the groupthink, which prompted one woman to quite loudly and forcefully direct her comment to me personally, reminding me that women should only support and push the men to unification.

The final break for me was a post at Laitman.com on March 29, 2013, “Monolithic Unity of the Team”, wherein Laitman himself reveals the lie. Speaking about our children’s future Laitman admits that what he is promoting is NOT Kabbalah; rather, Laitman says, “This is psychology.” In this blog post Laitman, who is not a psychologist, promotes what he calls, “psychological training” for our children. “We can teach this [monolithic unity] to kids so that they will think, feel, and behave that way,” he says, explaining the monolithic unity by the following gruesome example:

“There is even a tragic example of a submarine that was sinking and half the crew could have saved themselves, but the other half could not. So, the first half refused to leave the submarine, and eventually they all died. They felt that they were so connected that they could not leave their friends!”

Laitman’s promotion of mass suicide as an example for children to emulate is truly terrifying. It is most certainly NOT Kabbalah. In fact, it is completely contrary to Kabbalah (Zohar 208b: “Whoever sustains one soul in the world merits life and merits to be united with the Tree of Life”) and it is completely contrary to Judaism (Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1 (22a): “Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.”).

Babylonian-Talmud

I am brokenhearted and deeply sorry that several of my stories for children have been linked to Laitman Kabbalah Publishers. I sincerely hope and pray that my stories will be received with the intention I had in writing them: to share my experience of God’s infinite love, the wondrous blessing of life, and the beauty of creation.

As it is written (Deut. 30:19): “I call heaven and earth to witness you today: I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse–therefore choose life!”

Source

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The Monolithic Unity Of The Team

Question: The children are our future and the world’s future. They work on connection by playing games, but sometimes they get tired of the connection games and say, “That’s it, enough! We want someone to finally win.” What can we do in situations like this?

Answer: It is a problem when someone in the group wants to win. It means that the game isn’t managed correctly. Of course, both grownups and children always wish to win. It is a psychological urge that exists in each of us to some extent. However, education is about teaching a child gradually to think that it is impossible to win alone but only together, and then a habit becomes a second nature.

This is psychology. This is how many groups around the world are trained, such as divers, athletes, and so on. It is psychological training. When a person understands that, even if he succeeds in something, it is still thanks to the group. So, this is something that must be learned. We can teach this to kids so that they will think, feel, and behave that way.

There is even a tragic example of a submarine that was sinking and half the crew could have saved themselves, but the other half could not. So, the first half refused to leave the submarine, and eventually they all died. They felt that they were so connected that they could not leave their friends!

This example shows to what extent the preparation for connection—for the feeling of “we” without which there is no “I”—is developed in a person.”

From Michael Laitman’s personal blog, “Laitman.com”

For the Torah’s Sake (“Lishma”) must be the goal of the study of Kabbalah; if not, one falls into the trap of the Sitra Achra – the will to receive for the self alone

moses receiving the tablets of law by marc chagall

In his article, “Matan Torah” (“The Giving of the Torah)”, Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi Ashlag, (“Baal HaSulam”), the greatest kabbalist of our time, wrote that we attain everything according to our sensations. Rav Ashlag teaches that the attainment of the light of the Torah can only happen in a person’s sensations, as only the sensations determine the reality of the creatures.

The attainment of the Torah is therefore the attainment of the sensations where the learning of the Torah brings one closer to the love of God.

When one keeps Torah and mitzvot (commandments) to purify the will to receive called self-love or egoism, one will be able to attain these sensations. Thus one knows that one walks on the path of truth, where Lo Lishma (working for oneself) will bring him to Lishma (for Her Name), if one keeps this goal before one’s eyes at all times, Rav Ashlag says. But if not, one will be drawn to work for oneself or the body, as the body always draws to its root which is the will to receive for itself.

This is the reason that people who study false kabbalah in false kabbalah cults get in trouble, and why to them the Torah becomes the ‘potion of death’, because they don’t keep this goal of attaining Lishma before their eyes at all times. Many of them probably wouldn’t even have heard of the notion of Lishma, because the false kabbalah cults make sure that such authentic kabbalistic teachings are kept from them so that they could continue to be exploited. They end up doing the work of Torah in order to receive something in return – be it money, power, fame, honour, good health, long life, or belonging to a community of friends or a group, or even spiritual attainment (“to receive the Light of the Creator”), which the false kabbalah cults tell them is their just reward for doing the work.

But in truth, the false kabbalah cult member merely fell for the trap of the will to receive for itself, as their own will to receive ended up wanting these false rewards for studying Torah and kabbalah, and remained in that desire, instead of wishing for and working to attain through faith in the Creator and the Spirit of the Messiah the ultimate goal, which is to study Torah to come to Lishma, or to provide contentment to the Creator ALONE.

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torah kabbalah study

The Giving of the Torah

The issue of the giving of the Torah that occurred on Mount Sinai does not mean that the Torah was given once and then the giving was stopped. Rather, there is no absence in spirituality, since spirituality is an eternal matter, unending. But since, from the perspective of the giver, we are unfit to receive the Torah, we say that the cessation is by the Upper One.

However, then, at the foot of Mount Sinai, the whole of Israel were ready to receive the Torah, as it is written, “there Israel encamped before the mount, as one man in one heart.” At that time, the whole public was prepared; they had but one intention, which is a single thought about the reception of the Torah.

However, there are no changes from the perspective of the Giver—He always gives. It is written in the name of the Baal Shem Tov that every day must one hear the ten commandments on Mount Sinai.

The Torah is called the “potion of life” and the “potion of death.” We must understand how two opposites can be said about a single subject.

We must know that we cannot attain any reality as it is in itself. Rather, we attain everything according to our sensations. And reality, as it is in itself, is of no interest to us at all. Hence, we do not attain the Torah as it is in itself, but only attain our sensations. Thus, all of our impressions follow only our sensations.

Therefore, when a person is studying Torah, and the Torah removes him from the love of God, this Torah is certainly considered “the potion of death.” Conversely, if this Torah that he is learning brings him closer to the love of God, it is certainly considered “the potion of life.”

But the Torah in itself, the existence of the Torah in and of itself, without consideration of the lower one who must attain it, is considered “a Light without a Kli,” where there is no attainment whatsoever. Hence, when we speak of the Torah, it refers to the sensations that a person receives from the Torah, and only they determine the reality for the creatures.

When one works for oneself, it is called Lo Lishma (not for Her Name). But from Lo Lishma we arrive at Lishma (for Her Name). Hence, if one has not yet been rewarded with the reception of the Torah, one hopes to be rewarded with the reception of the Torah in the following year. But when one has been awarded the wholeness of Lishma, one has nothing more to do in this world, since he has already corrected everything to being in the wholeness of Lishma.

For this reason, each and every year there is the time of reception of the Torah, since that time is ready for an awakening from below. This is because it is the awakening of the time when the Light of the giving of the Torah was revealed in the lower ones. Hence, there is an awakening from Above, which gives strength to the lower ones to be able to perform the qualifying act to receive the Torah, as then, when they were ready to receive the Torah.

treeoflife

Therefore, if one marches on a path where the Lo Lishma will bring him the Lishma, he marches on the path of truth. Then one should hope that he will eventually be rewarded with achieving Lishma, and will be awarded the reception of the Torah.

Yet, caution is required, to constantly keep the goal before one’s eyes, or he will march on an opposite line, as the root of the body is reception for itself. Thus, it always draws to its root, which is reception in order to receive, the opposite of the Torah, called “the tree of life.” This is why the body considers the Torah “the potion of death.”

From “Matan Torah” (“The Giving of the Torah”) by Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, “Baal HaSulam”

Kabbalah is about the revelation of the Creator to the individual, not to a Group

arnold friberg - bush

The wisdom of Kabbalah is (amongst other exalted spiritual goals) about the revelation of the Creator to the individual who keeps His laws and commandments (“Torah and mitzvot”) as long as the individual has the right intention.

It is not nor has it ever been nor it ever will be an exclusive revelation that’s reserved for a special or elite “group” of “friends”.

This comes from the teachings of Baal HaSulam himself, the greatest kabbalist of the 20th century.

The wisdom of Kabbalah according to Baal HaSulam, Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, is about revealing the Godliness of the Creator, and it happens with the person perceiving that the Creator behaves with him as is fitting to His Name, “The Good who Does Good.” The Creator pours upon the person “the spirit from Above, that is, the Higher Abundance”, and with it the disclosure or revelation of the Face of the Creator.

Rabbi Ashlag teaches that the study of Kabbalah/keeping Torah and the Mitzvot (commandments) purifies the body, which is a necessity to grow accustomed to faith in the Creator, His Law, and His Providence. Through this, the person can receive the Spirit of Messiah and come to the disclosure of the Creator’s Providence, His Higher Abundance, and feel the pleasure, delight and satisfaction that come with it.

As such, the work of purifying one’s body is a task that can only be done by the individual, and it follows that he would not have any need whatsoever to belong to a group as a prerequisite to reveal the Creator in his life. In fact, this is the complete antithesis of the teachings of Rabbi Ashlag.

The person who earns the merit by doing the necessary work of attaining faith above knowledge to reveal the Creator is rewarded with the disclosure of His Abundance, the sense and feeling of SELF-ATTAINMENT which is NECESSARY in order to achieve the desired completion or goal in kabbalah. No group can do this work that only each individual must undertake on himself. That’s why Rabbi Ashlag also states that there is a law that no one in the world can fulfil the desires of his friend, because no one can give the person precisely that feeling of SELF-ATTAINMENT.

self-attainment

From the articles of Baal HaSulam:

THE TEACHING OF KABBALAH AND ITS ESSENCE:

“What is the wisdom of Kabbalah?

As a whole, the wisdom of Kabbalah concerns the revelation of Godliness, arranged on its path in all its aspects—those that have emerged in the worlds and those that are destined to be revealed, and in all the manners that can ever appear in the worlds, to the end of time.”

From “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and its Essence” by Baal HaSulam.

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CONCEALMENT AND DISCLOSURE OF THE FACE OF THE CREATOR

“One concealment (depiction): His Face is not revealed; that is, the Creator does not behave towards a person according to His Name—The Good who Does Good. Rather, it is to the contrary—one is afflicted by Him or suffers from poor income, and many people wish to collect their debts from him and make his life bitter. His whole day is filled with troubles and worries. Or, one suffers from poor health and disrespect from people. Every plan he begins he fails to complete, and he is constantly frustrated.

In this manner, of course one does not see the Creator’s Good Face, that is, if he believes that the Creator is the one who does these things to him, either as punishment for transgressions or to reward him in the end. This follows the verse, “whom the Lord loves, He corrects,” and also, “the righteous begin with suffering, since the Creator wishes to eventually impart them great peace.”

Yet, one does not fail in saying that all this came to him by blind fate and by nature without any reason and consideration. Rather, one strengthens in believing that the Creator, with His Guidance, caused him all that. This is nonetheless considered seeing the Creator’s back.

The second concealment, which the books refer to as “concealment within concealment,” means that one cannot see even the back of the Creator. Instead, one says that the Creator has left him and no longer watches over him. He ascribes all the sufferings he feels to blind fate and to nature, since the ways of Providence become so complex in one’s eyes that they lead one to denial.

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This means (depiction) that one prays and gives charity for one’s troubles but is not answered whatsoever. And precisely when one stops praying for one’s troubles, one is answered. Whenever he overcomes, believes in Providence, and betters his deeds, luck turns away from him and he mercilessly falls back. And when he denies and begins to worsen his deeds, he becomes very successful and is greatly relieved.

One does not find one’s sustenance in proper manners, but through deceit or through desecration of Shabbat. Or, all of one’s acquaintances who keep Torah and Mitzvot (commandments) suffer poverty, illness, and are despised by people. These observers of Mitzvot seem impolite to him, innately brainless, and so hypocritical that he cannot bear to be among them for even a minute.

Conversely, all his wicked acquaintances, who mock his faith, are very successful, well to do, and healthy. They know no sickness; they are clever, virtuous, and good-tempered. They are carefree, confident, and tranquil all day, every day.

When Providence arranges things in this manner for a person, it is called “concealment within concealment.” This is because then one collapses under one’s weight and cannot continue to strengthen the belief that one’s pains come from the Creator for some hidden reason. Finally, one fails, becomes heretic, and says that the Creator is not watching over His creations whatsoever, and all that transpires, transpires by fate and by blind nature. This is not seeing even the back.

DEPICTION OF DISCLOSURE OF THE FACE

But once he has completely discovered the spice—the Light that one inhales into one’s body—through strengthening in faith in the Creator, one becomes worthy of Guidance with His Face revealed. This means that the Creator behaves with him as is fitting to His Name, “The Good who Does Good.”

God's glory

Thus (depiction), he receives abundant good and great peace from the Creator and is always satisfied. This is because one obtains one’s livelihood with ease and to the fullest, never experiencing trouble or pressure, knows no illness, is highly respected by people, effortlessly completes any plan that comes to his mind, and succeeds wherever he turns.

And when he wishes upon something, he prays and he is instantaneously answered, as He always answers anything that one demands of Him, and not a single prayer is denied. When one strengthens with good deeds, one succeeds even more, and when one is negligent, one’s success proportionally decreases.

All of one’s acquaintances are honest, of good income and health. They are highly respected in the eyes of people and have no worries at all. They are at peace all day and every day. They are smart, truthful, and so comely that one feels blessed to be among them.

Conversely, all of one’s acquaintances who do not follow the path of Torah are of poor livelihood, troubled by heavy debts, and fail to find even a single moment’s rest. They are sick, in pain, and despicable in the eyes of people. They seem to him mindless, ill-mannered, wicked and cruel towards people, deceitful and such sycophants that it is intolerable to be with them.

His Name shows us that He is benevolent to all His creations in all the forms of benefit, sufficient for every kind of receiver from among Israel. Certainly, the pleasure of one is not like the pleasure of another. For example, one who engages in wisdom will not enjoy honor and wealth, and one who does not engage in wisdom will not enjoy great achievements and inventions in the wisdom. Thus, He gives wealth and honor to one, and wondrous achievements in the wisdom to another.

Torah

One’s request to become stronger in believing in His Guidance over the world during the concealment period brings one to contemplate the books, the Torah, and to draw from there the Light and the understanding how to strengthen one’s faith in His Guidance. These illuminations and observations that one receives through the Torah are called “the spice of Torah.” When they are collected to a certain amount, the Creator has mercy on him and pours upon him the spirit from Above, that is, the Higher Abundance.

From “Concealment and Disclosure of the Face of the Creator” by Baal HaSulam.

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MATAN TORAH (“THE GIVING OF THE TORAH”)

“…never will anyone be able to satisfy the needs of his friend to the fullest, because ultimately he will not be able to give him the nature and the form of self-possession, as only with it is the desired perfection attained.

But this relates only to the creatures, whereas regarding the Creator, it is completely impossible and unacceptable. And this is the reason He has prepared for us the toil and the labor of Torah and Mitzvot, to produce our exaltedness by ourselves, because then the delight and pleasure that comes to us from Him, meaning everything that is included in the Dvekut (Adhesion) with Him, will all be our own possession that has come to us through our own efforts. Then we will feel ourselves as the owners, without which there cannot be a sensation of wholeness…”

From “Matan Torah” (“The Giving of the Torah”) by Baal HaSulam.

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IN CONCLUSION

Any one therefore who teaches that a person needs a Group, or friends, a particular teacher, organization, Centre, or a person who has “Ruach HaKodesh”, or one who’s “crossed the machsom” to reveal the Creator is therefore, based on Baal HaSulam’s words, either deliberately misleading their students or ignorant of the true teachings of kabbalah as taught by Rabbi Ashlag. Either way, it’s not a good way to learn. And more than likely, will lead a person who studies with such a teacher further and further away from receiving the Spirit of Messiah, the revelation of the Godliness of the Creator, and adhesion with Him.

Testimonials from Former Members of the Bnei Baruch False Kabbalah Cult

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“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.

Signed,
“Habibi”

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Bnei Baruch, the Group

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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Testimonials From Former Members of the Kabbalah Centre Cult

The following are testimonials against the Kabbalah Centre cult, by former members and chevre (the Kabbalah Centre cult’s full-time volunteers):

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For 14 months I studied daily at the Kabbalah Center in LA…When the LA Center found out I was giving my money to another charitable organization I was reprimanded by them. They said that the right thing to do was to give the money to where I am getting the light from. You have no idea what extent the Center will go to to harass people for money. I was receiving up to 5 calls a day asking me if I wanted the light then to give. Telling me if I didn’t give bad things would happen to me. When you try to exercise your free will (which Kabbalah says makes you different from a tree) and it is not in accordance with what the Center wants they tell you that you are being possessed by Satan. The Center in LA coined the phrase “Kabbalah Debt”. People have called in tears, they love studing Kabbalah, are responsible people and generous, and yet the Kabbalah Center keeps harrasing them for their last penny. It’s very very sad and tragic that Rav Berg (an Insurance Salesman till he was 45 years old) took a simple concept available to anyone who looks and put such a high price tag on it. The definition of a Cult is an organization who doesn’t care about the well being of their members. The Kabbalah Center in LA is definitely a Cult by that definition. Kabbalah teaches cause and affect, I hate to think of the kind of life Rav Berg will have in his next one.

A testimony from an ex-Kabbalah Centre Cult member in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida:

I also fell prey to the hands of the Kabbalah Center, it took me quite a few years to understand this corrupt organization because it is a slow, progressive, luring, seducing process just like someone being molested as a child. When they finally take advantage of you you have already developed a strong bond and trust with your teacher and of course you are vulnerable so you give in to what they ask of you either time or money in my case. Then one day if you’re lucky you wake up.

From Sarah in Jerusalem, Israel:

kabbalah centre israel

Kabbalah Center is a crock!

I am utterly disgusted at the news of hearing another immergence of deceit from this organization who guises themselves as having any affiliation with Torah and Judaism. I have a very close friend whose father underwent similar deception to donate exorbitant amounts of money for his deceased mother to receive a better portion in Heaven. He soon realized that the Kabbalah Center was not interested in her soul, solely his money. My heart and prayers goes out to this woman’s family, I was brought to tears. May their be justice brought to those who broke the Torah and profited at her expense. May they come to realize how they are hurting themselves and return from their terrible ways. Thank you to Ynetnews for revealing the truth.

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A Cult’s Characteristics: 

cult victims

A destructive cult is a pyramid-shaped authoritarian regime with a person or group of people that have dictatorial control. It uses deception in recruiting new members (e.g. people are NOT told up front what the group is, what the group actually believes and what will be expected of them if they become members). It also uses mind control techniques to keep people dependent and obedient.

A classic sign of a cult is that it is personality-driven (the Bergs). That means it has a charismatic leader or group of leaders who hold a tremendous amount of sway over members.

Another common characteristic is isolation. Sometimes that isolation is physical, with members’ comings and goings being restricted.

But most often, isolation takes the form of members becoming completely absorbed in the group and its activities. If members work, go to school and socialize only with each other, isolation is a real possibility. An especially troubling sign is when members are asked to cut off contact with family members. It’s called “discordant noise”. Anyone or anything that would raise troubling questions about the group are is marginalized to the extreme – cut off.

Also common is a persecution complex with members often having an “us- versus-them” attitude, perceiving simple disagreements as attacks.

They say criticizing them is to go against God.

the boigs2

Another giveaway is when groups teach that anyone who leaves is flawed. Healthy groups generally believe people can have good reasons for leaving. Not so with cults.

They have control-oriented leadership. Communication with outsiders is limited and questioning isn’t allowed inside the groupcontrol-oriented leadership. Communication with outsiders is limited and questioning isn’t allowed inside the group.

They paint people who leave as defectors and say attacks against them are ultimately the work of Satan.

Source: Freedom of Mind

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In 2001, David Rowan, the British editor of Wired UK, did a long investigative exposé about the Kabbalah sect called “Strings Attached – The Kabbalah Centre Exposed“, also interviewing several one-time followers who had renounced their ties. One such ex-devotee was a woman named Karen.

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FROM THE ARTICLE: Karen, now 26, spent three years with the Kabbalah Centre, abandoning her medical studies on what she says was its advice and leaving her family home in Florida to live in the Los Angeles office as a “chevre”, one of around 40 full-time volunteer workers.

“I’d regularly be working from 9am until 1am, and sometimes I’d work all night, with just an hour for dinner,” Karen claims.

She says she was told that her work would bring more “light” into her life, and that she was privileged to serve “the Rav”. “I was paid $35 (£22) a month and was given space in a filthy one-bedroom apartment, sharing with four other young women. It was as if I was a slave.”

Karen’s involvement grew gradually: after taking courses and buying a £170 astrological chart, she was selected for the ” honour” of working for the Bergs. “They were very lovable towards me at first,” she recalls. “I was having a bad relationship with my parents, and they comforted me. They said these weren’t my spiritual parents, and that I needed to correct a lot of things in my life.”

It was also made clear to her that a “spiritually compatible” soulmate would be found.

Karen’s mother travelled from Florida to Los Angeles to urge her to leave.

“They told me my mother was a destructive environment and was standing in my way,” Karen says.

It was only months later, when her father suffered a heart attack, that she questioned the rabbis’ wisdom. They suggested he could be cured by drinking Kabbalah water, she says. In fact, he needed major heart surgery.

kabbalah water

The centre says its water is a “spiritual tool” but would never be offered as an alternative to medical treatment.

“The Kabbalah water is undergoing scientific research at the moment, so I can’t yet talk about the results,” Yael Yardeni says.

“It can help, definitely, but under no circumstances would we ever say it would cure something.”

Depressed and exhausted, Karen told the rabbis she was leaving. “They got really angry,” she recalls.

“I was told that, if I left, my father could get worse. I had a lot of fear. Then they simply stopped talking to me.” Today, a year after counselling, Karen has resumed her studies. “They change your behaviour, control your emotions and thoughts, cut you off from friends and family,” she says. “It’s been a terrible experience.”

Another victim: In the autumn of 1990, a Marilyn McLeod was dying of cancer. She was visited by a “Rabbi” Yardeni of the Kabbalah Centre who persuaded her to purchase a complete hard cover set of the Zohar, as well as a few other books about Jewish mysticism, for hundreds of dollars. Marilyn was also told to change a mezuzah and her Hebrew name. For $250, they changed her mezuzah, gave her about a dozen audio tapes from the centre, and changed her name altogether. Though Marilyn couldn’t read any Hebrew, she was told to simply scan the Zohar for its healing properties. Shortly thereafter (January 1991) she dies.

zohar
Young people drawn into the centre are persuaded to help with maintenance of the building and other jobs.

Berg’s indiscriminate and unqualified involvement with Kabbalah resulted in precisely all that these warnings predicted. Like the alchemists of old, who pursued the study of the Kabbalah and the occult sciences in order to produce gold to indulge their desires, and like all others who sought to master the Kabbalah for personal gain, Berg reduces the Torah and Jewish tradition into a manual of black magic and astrology to manipulate Heavenly forces or energies to attain personal gratification or to avoid personal misfortune.

Berg’s “system” promises his followers that they can turn Almighty G-d into their private lacky, a genie in a bottle, to do their bidding. The Torah (Halacha), which Jewish tradition sees as the revelation of G-d’s Will, G-d’s commandments, G-d’s prescription for the proper life, behavior and human self-discipline, are discarded by Berg as rabbinic myths, orthodox naiveté, a nefarious plot of ignorant religious fanatics to control the ignorant masses.

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Berg and his people make constant use of astrology and horoscope-readings to “counsel” those who come to them. They pretend to see all kinds of negative forces or auras threatening their victims, and then advise them that the “pending evil” can be avoided by means of hefty contributions to the Kabbalah Centre. A favorite ploy of theirs is to suggest the amount of $30,000 for reprinting the Sulam-edition of the Zohar, payable either by post-dated checks or credit-card.

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