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The Kabbalah Cult: Karaite Perspectives

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Let’s face it and be honest with one another, Kabbalah is big business.  A multimillion dollar enterprise that appeals to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and the countless thralls that seek a life of eternal bliss through magical wishes and pots of gold at the end of rainbows.  Normally we shun anything so absurd as a cult not dissimilar from Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, or the Hare Krishna, or David Berg’s Family of Love or Scientology.     In fact any group which is formed around esoteric beliefs is classified as a cult but because this one has a grounding in some Jewish thought and ideology, utilizes both the Hebrew and Aramaic languages, it is extended far more credibility that it deserves.  The reality is, that if it was an outsider to Judaism, not someone like myself, levelling these allegations, the Kabbalists would be screaming anti-Semitism from their rooftops.  But that appellation can’t be used in my case and that permits me to dig tooth and nail at the chinks in their flimsy armour because God willing I will stop at least some young, impressionable minds from falling into this pseudo-Jewish ‘mystic’ society which is nothing more than a cultic trap.


Religion vs. Kabbalah

One of their chief advocates is Michael Laitman and here’s what this man has to say about the rest of us; this includes both Jews and Christians that read my articles.  “Religion is opposite to Kabbalah in every way (there is a verse that says, “The opinion of the Torah is opposite to the opinion of the egoists.”) Kabbalah directs everyone to attain love for all people. It explains that everyone is “of the same kind” – we are all cells of one body.”   Too much Hare Krishna and Star Trek Generations for my liking with the Borg entity rearing itself in the background as a single bodied hive sharing a single thought and that being the dominant will of the Borg Queen.  Who should I suspect is the queen in this institution because it certainly won’t be God if religion is labelled as the antithesis to Kabbalah.  Perhaps it’s these Kabbalistic teachers who obviously have no ego problems of their own that are the uni-mind of this single celled organism?   How much more egoistic can there be than someone who stands up on a soap box and pronounces he has something better to offer than religion, something better than the Torah, something better than God!  He offers unity for all!  And all you have to do is follow his recipe for Kabbalah.  Religions as they have been practiced have been divisive; there’s no denying that and I will be the first to admit it.  But the fault does not lie with the moral lessons and the fundamentals of a greater good bequeathed to us by God.  The fault lies with us and our failure to practice religion as it was intended; to adhere to its instructions and lessons.  We have failed countless times because in truth we do not all want to be equal and we don’t want to believe in the same thing.  There are always those that have a need to lord over others.  Mankind takes satisfaction in its differences to the point of both competitiveness and combativeness and therein lies our downfall, not with religion per se.   But he wants you to believe it so in order to convince you that Kabbalah has the answers.  It is a common cultic practice to attack the fundamental belief systems while at the same time giving you an alternative tether to cling on to as you feel yourself falling. 

And then we hear the real agenda of the Kabbalist as he continues his anti-religious dissertation with the following comment, “Religion, on the other hand, generates hatred for “outsiders,” even to the point of self-sacrifice, which is done for the sake of killing those who are not “of your kind.” This is why religion will disappear when people will reveal the quality of “love for one’s neighbour.” Religions will then be reduced to folk culture or popular tradition.”  I will state the exact opposite and expose the fraudulence of this corrupt and perverse thinking.  It is the development of cults that often lead to the murder of innocents that practice a religious background.  Nazism was a cult that robbed its adherents of their moral restraints which led to the persecution of those that were faithful adherents of religions.  Six million Jews, four million Catholics.  Anyone that was a true believer in moral religious requirements and brotherly love, refusing to bow down to the evil that possessed those in the Nazi party were its victims.  The complete opposite to what is being portrayed by this Kabbalist.  When people finally find religion, true faith, then they tend to seek out all that is good in the universe and appreciate the message that God has bestowed upon us.  Then and only then through the comprehension of this true religious faith do they fully understand God’s instructions to ‘treat the stranger well, for once you too were a stranger in a strange land.”  It is the fundamental belief in the religion of a single, true and all-powerful God that will unite us, not some mystic spin-doctor with a massive motivational speaker light-show and multi-instructional websites.

Kabbalah Supercedes Torah

Upon analyzing some of his other comments it would appear that Laitman fears that his anti-religious statements might offend and drive some of the young and hopeful from his grasp.  To safeguard against such an event he qualifies his anti-religious gospel with the following: “This explains religion’s strong hatred of Kabbalah. However, Kabbalah tells people that they can keep their religion as their tradition, and in addition, supplement it with the revelation of the Creator. Still, the religious leaders will then lose their main bargain chip, “reward in the afterlife,” and will become leaders of folk culture and popular tradition.”   Look at the wording he has chosen carefully.  Examine how he has reduced God, the bible and all that we hold sacred to little more than fables and folklore once he has implanted his teachings into the minds of his adherents.  And to those Jews that have been swept up blindly by this big Kabbalistic broom of euphoria, brotherly love, one for all and all for one delirium, then look closely at what he says next before you make the fateful leap into the abyss.  “It is known from books and from authors that the study of the wisdom of Kabbalah is an absolute must for any person from Israel. And if one studies the whole Torah and knows the Mishnah and the Gemarah by heart, and if one is also filled with virtues and good deeds more than all his contemporaries, but has not learned the wisdom of Kabbalah, he must reincarnate into this world to study the secrets of Torah and wisdom of truth. This is brought in several places in the writing of our sages. This is what The Zohar writes in the interpretation to the Song of Songs, explaining the verse, “If thou know not, O thou fairest among women,” which our sages interpreted as a soul that comes before the Thrown after one’s demise.”  Now I don’t know if he was actually trying to talk of the soul that comes before the Throne (not Thrown) after one’s demise or whether he was referring to one’s soul actually being thrown down into some imaginary depths of a legendary hell but his implication that unless one learns the Kabbalah then they are doomed to be reincarnated in this world over and over until such time that they attain this spiritual elevation has absolutely no foundation in Judaism and in fact is diametrically opposed to God’s creation in which all things come from the Shekinah and all things return to the Shekinah. The incorporation of what would appear to be Buddhist philosophy into Judaism is not as God intended.

Remember the Prophets

The fact is that God has already told us through the Torah and the Tanakh what He thinks of Kabbalah and those that profess alternative beliefs or belief structures to those he ordained to Moses and Aaron.  Not a single word is to be added or subtracted from the Torah and thus we are commanded.  The Tanakh is filled with stories of the prophets that were commanded to condemn Israel for running afoul of the original instructions and through a series of punishments they were brought back into the fold time after time, re-establishing their beliefs and laws as were originally outlined in the Torah.  At no time do I recall God sending one of his prophets to the people and saying, “Now tell them that they must change their beliefs and do things differently as I am no longer satisfied with the religion as I have given it to you.”  So how is it that there are so many willing to accept as truth that the voices that are now instructing them to change their beliefs, read the Zohar and the Sefer Y’sireh and hold them dearer above all else when they know that God has always demanded that we cleave only to the laws as he originally gave them to us.  These are false prophets that lead you astray with glib words and light shows designed to dazzle your senses.  And if you are still willing to follow them blindly, then do me one favour and explain to God why you are still willing to defy the admonishments of all the prophets that have come at his direction?  And while you’re at it tell God why you believe he hid secret coded messages in all his instructions, words, and commandments rather than accept what he told Moses directly at face value?  If you can get Him to understand then perhaps you do have justification to study Kabbalah.

Avrom Aryeh-Zuk Kahana


Zarayah on September 11, 2015:

I am perplexed, as there is no word "religion" in Ancient Hebrew or modern Hebrew. It is an enigma for me to think that our CREATOR could not use the Hebrew letters to form a word for religion. Why? Perhaps, religions are fruits of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, as they would not exist without this knowledge. There was another Tree, the Tree of Life, and the ToRaH is our access to this other Tree. Kabbalah, and not the worldly counterfeit, but the one based on the ToRaH and TeNaKH.

Kahana (author) on September 23, 2014:

In truth Daniel, most in the Jewish community have absolutely nothing to say about Yehuda Ashlag. In his 32 years living in Jerusalem he was nothing more than a minor jurist on Talmudic laws and obviously a Kabbalist but it may surprise you that to most Jews, Kabbalah is nothing more than esoteric mysticism disguised as Hebrew principles, and those of us that are Karaite have no tolerance for it nor the Talmud that Ashlag was a specialist in. Furthermore, the "master of the Ladder" as I believe Kabbalists have come to call him never had any such title or any followers until his two sons and his brother-in-law turned his writings into a commerial enterprise after his death. So that is the part they obviously have forgotten to inform you about. The decision as to what to believe is certainly yours, but its important to know the facts from both sides of the equation.

Daniel Romero on September 20, 2014:

The one that said that one is better off leaving his hand off the literal Torah and engaging in the wisdom of the hidden (Kabbalah) was the most famous sage of Judaism in the the last century Rav Yehuda Ashlag. Rav Laitman didn't invent this.

Refer yourself to the Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sephirot authored by him, read it completely.

I dont think anyone in the Jewish community has nothing to say about Rav Yehuda Ashlag more than praises.

Kahana (author) on January 08, 2014:

Deborah, contrary to your statement about two years ago where you said you wouldn't bother to comment on my pages, it would appear that you can't keep your word. But let me say this, if you truly had any understanding of the Torah, then you certainly wouldn't be following Kabbalah. As for my family, even the least amongst the Kahana will know more than you will ever think you know about Torah. Now go keep your promise and stop wasting my time and those that are true followers of the Tanach.

Deborah Sexton on January 07, 2014:

If you knew the Kabbalah and the Torah you would know the Kabbalah is based on Genesis and creation. You are putting down a sacred spiritual system first given to Abraham.

Kahana (author) on November 16, 2013:

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A reader has advised me that the Rick Ross Page can be found at the following location. Thank you Alma.

Christian Schiffer on July 08, 2013:

Some time ago I decided to convert to Judaism from Christianity. Coming from a Christian environment I was not so very surprised to discover that there was not only one Judaism but at least 5. (Christians have some 17 000 different religions calling themselves Christian.)

So I started to look for teachers for the core of Judaism, the Law, The Torah. And it did not take very long before the first teachers started to tell me "all about Judaism", that it is supposedly mostly about traditions and turning out the lamp in the fridge for the Shabbat and so on.

Now having been Christian for 30 years and actually having read my Bible, I knew that to be a bunch of rubbish at best. In fact listening to those Rabbis, I don't see much difference from Christianity at all...

Then I came over Kabbalah and was immediately taken by the prospect of coming even closer in contact with my Creator and I started to listen to the lessons. The first thing that started bothering me was the hypnotic suggestions used during the "teaching session" which again and again set me in a state of trance. I deliberately ignored that to begin with as the rest of the message seemed legit and in harmony with the Torah or so it did in the beginning.

Than at around session 10 I was almost hooked like an addict I suspect but luckily the guy started to talk about reincarnation, darwinism, evolution and what not, claiming the Biblical Creation account was just a story for the more simple minded...

I thank him for that, cause that saved me out of Kabbalah...


Kahana (author) on April 21, 2013:

I hope that some will take the time to read your link and provide themselves with the facts upon which to base their decision.

"Ex-Friend" on April 21, 2013:

bart12 on March 06, 2013:

Well, to all of you trying to formulate your own opinion, Dr Leitman's lessons are free for all, you are free to listen and free to leave. What I feel Dr Leitman attempts to do is to awaken the awareness of your own intension of your daily life. This, I believe holds the secret to our common wellbeing. peace on earth, brothers.

Kahana (author) on May 23, 2012:

Shalom Leolion, yes spirituality based on the Torah was never in question. Because then the foundation is based on what God has given and not what men have added. And as you know, adding to the Torah, a cardinal sin of most Kabbalistic teachings is forbidden. What I find interesting is that the status of some Kabbalistic teachers in the eyes of their followers has placed them above the level of mere mortal. That in itself defines cult but they are blind to see it.

Leolion on May 21, 2012:

Holy Kohanim,

I mean no disrespect but please don't take one man's "Kabbalah" to be the Kabbalah. I practice Kabbalah and yes I believe that all of creation is of one spirit. But I don't believe anything can ever undo the Torah be it Rabbi or Tzedek. Kabbalah is meant to be spiritual and look deeper into the meaning of the Torah without breaking the Torah. Now there are people who cross the line and turns it into a cult as the one who you have mentioned.

Shalom Leolion

P.S the greeting was not meant as a mocking but of respect because you said in an article I read that you were a Kohanim

Kahana (author) on March 03, 2012:

Hi Justin, Sorry I didn't get back to you earlier but I just recently got back from China and access is sometimes limited there on the internet.

My comments regarding Dr. Laitman's B'nai Baruch group are based on his attitude that Kabbalah is a replacement of religion and therefore is in direct conflict with my personal beliefs because in his view, the Creator is not God but a mixture of intellect and science that he feels is generated from the minds of his followers. So obviously there cannot be common ground between myself and his teaching if that is the case. But let me direct you to a site that is a blog filled with the comments of many of those that have belonged to B'nei Baruch, only to fall away from the enticement of free lectures once they've uncovered many of the sordid truths. The site if your interested can be found at:,27491

But I really think its important that you ask the following questions as outlined on the site and when you discover that you cannot get the answers from the officers of B'nei Baruch, then you should realize that something just isn't right. Of course, you're entitled to believe as you wish. All I encourage my readers to do is ask questions.

Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.

1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

8. Followers feel they can never be "good enough".

9. The group/leader is always right.

10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

Ten warning signs regarding people involved in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader.

1. Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.

2. Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens.

3. Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as "persecution".

4. Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior.

5. Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement.

6. Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supercede any personal goals or individual interests.

7. A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.

8. Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.

9. Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.

10. Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is avoided.

All the warning signs are there Justin; All you have to do is ask the questions.

Justin on February 14, 2012:

I must disagree with you that Dr. Laitman is a cultist. First of all, if you actually visit his site or the Kabbalah teaching site, everything is offered for free. Free to learn and test out Kabbalah for yourself. Second, Kabbalah is a science, you do not have to agree with anything that Laitman says, he wants you to test the teachings for yourself, you are the ultimate judge of whether Kabbalah is for you. The Kabbalah center in California gives the wisdom a bad name as they sell red strings and promise ridiculous things, they are indeed a cult. I encourage you to instead of judging things, simply look deep inside yourself to decide what is best for you and go from there. In a world full of evil and negative intentions it would help to have more people who think in a positive light and spread the positive energy. See "quantum physics and Kabbalah" Thanks, here's to waking up to the truth.

Thricemega on July 08, 2011:

It is true....There is some things that Dr Laitman says that sounds dismissive of common understandings of the Torah.....However there is a lot of other things that he says that seem very clear and solid....Does any body know what Rabbi Yaakov Hillel feels about Dr Laitman?

Spacecadet on July 14, 2010:

Sounds like the guy above me had a profound LSD trip.

Neferkaptah on June 13, 2010:

I am a Kabbalist, but I don't do any magic, I don't know Hebrew and I don't pronounce the names of G-d in Hebrew and I don't see the Tree of Life or the Tree of Science as the Kabbalists do. Why do I say, that I am a Kabbalist?

I am the spiritual man composed of blue light and life and my blue light is in the process of becoming dark light and when I left my body in my bed then, I went out in order to learn about how I would percieve space-time, the universe, the heavenly world and myself separated from the body and conscious that I am outside of my terrestrial form.

Second, I return and descended into the singularity that gave rise to the universe and I saw myself within it and it is not a pretty sight according to the experience because nothing lives there expcept the guardians of the singualirity and beyond it is the Divine Presence.

The Divine Presence exists in a universe and space of pure white light, which is dim, there are clouds of light and sub-atomic particles which radiate light, but whose center is dark like space and the Divine Presence consists off, the Androgynous G-d sitting on the Great White Throne having 70 steps and you are the size of an ant trying to find a way to ascend to the Divine Presence.

I asked the clouds of light and particles to help me to ascend and they reacted to my plea and they helped to ascend several steps until I was able to ascend myself without there help and the, G-d didn't talk, move or heard anything, which I had told him and her.

The upper light of the throne is brighter and the lower light is dimmer and since I am blue light and like the negative of a picture before the, G-d then, I decided to merge into one life and one form. The space of universal singularity looked like a portrait hanging from a wall of pure metaphysical light before the Divine Presence.

In side of G-d, G-s is pure darkness with an infrared light and outside of G-d, G-d is pure metaphysical light and how can this be that G-d in the outside is also pure white light and energy and in the inside G-d is darkness and the Great White Throne solidifies.

I am the inner and hidden Adan, man and humanity "male and female" within the, G-d and I was able to merge with G-d because I am the third creative principle of the creative G-d, the Son of the Androgynous G-d and it is I who leaves the, G-d in order to create the universes, its immeasurable worlds and its humanity because they exist within me already as the laws and the infinite potential within me and which I am since immeasurable time knowing neither beginning or end.

Spirit enters into spirit, Mind into mind, Light into light, Life into life, Divine Essence into divine essence, Intelligence into intelligence and I am the trinity of Chokmah, Daat and Binah, the Father, the Son and the Mother, the En Soph in action and repose, the Androgynous G-d, the Father, the creative triune G-d, the Son and the Shekinah, the dual Chavvah "Hawwa", which is the Mantle of the Ancient of the Ancients, the dual Eve as Eve-Sophia and Eve-Lilith "Divine Wisdom" and its Mysteries, which are terrifying and not for the timid and the unlearned.

Merged with G-d as the Universal Creative Form of Elohim G-d and as the En Soph "Infinite Heaven" (Infinite Mind/Space) inactive, passive and dormant and creative then, all things at the spiritual and psychical levels are revealed to me and including the relationship that Judean-Christianity has with its origins, which are in Ancient Egypt, her religions, her neteroo and her 42 Negative Actions and the relationship of the Aten=Adon=Adonai "The L-rd" and the powerful Amen "The Hidden and Unrevelaed" G-d has with IHVH.

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