The Kabbalah Cult: Karaite Perspectives
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