is an everyday occurance in the Orthodox Jewish communities
in America, people go to these men daily."
YORK, NY) September 7, 2010 - Jewish communities in the
United States are being plagued by a rash of phony 'kabbalists'
and 'rabbis' that are taking various superstitious practices
and masking them behind the guise of 'spiritual' or 'kabbalistic'
Judaism. These men, often members of the Orthodox Jewish
community, do this seeking power for themselves and to
gain financial profit. Among people of their own community,
they often use the Hebrew title of 'mekubal' (kabbalist),
in their pursuit of knowingly and deliberately deceiving
people out of money in exchange for the promise of various
miracles, financial success, good marriage, etc.
is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the
mystical aspect of Judaism. It is a set of esoteric teachings
meant to explain the relationship between God and His
creations. It is a religious set of ideas and practices
which are part of the Jewish religion - and not a separate
or distinct religion as is often reported. While there
has been a spiritual awakening in recent decades among
Jews that are drawn to spirituality, this 'spirituality'
is often represented as 'kabbalah.' However, folk religion
and superstition as well as artful trickery is being passed
off under the guise of real kabbalah-and, for profit.
con men often exploit the good name of influential rabbis
that have died and can no longer defend themselves from
the lies said in their name. The 'kabbalists' use photos,
names, alleged associations and reputations of past rabbis
to justify their supposed magical powers and extra-earthly
a clever ruse, they will put fear into people by saying
things such as they are going to examine the 'health'
of a person by 'reading the lines on the forehead' (a
medieval non-Jewish custom); or by telling the person,
"You are the reincarnation of ___________" (insert
a famous Jewish person); or very often advising the
person, "you have the evil eye on you and I will
have to remove it." Of course all of these examinations
come with a hefty price tag, often in the several hundreds
if not thousands of dollars. The phony 'kabbalists' and
'rabbis' and their deceptive behavior has caused tremendous
harm to people who were trusting of them, especially the
newly religious Jews who are promised miracles in the
area of shidduchim (potential marriage), or those who
innocently sought the promise of a 'pidyon nefesh,' the
idea of exchanging one's suffering in redemption for money.
Talmud (in tractate Shabbat 156a), is clear about
the attempts to influence mazal (luck). It states, "Ain
Mazal L'Yisrael," meaning that these things have
no control over the Jewish people as Jews are governed
by hashgaha pratit (Divine providence) and not
from Los Angeles to Brooklyn, people are being duped into
standing in line to see 'kabbalists' for their brakhot
(blessings) as they peddle these blessings for money and
for their own egocentric gratification. Their duplicitous
behavior is nothing short of fraud and cunning. These
men either live in a community and put the 'word on the
street' that they are 'kabbalists' or they visit outside
communities for a few days where a host will set them
up with evening parlor visits. There, persons visiting
the 'kabbalists' will be expected to make a donation,
and sometimes are strongly hounded for that donation upon
leaving-usually not by the 'kabbalist' but by the host.
Some of these deceitful men post signs with a 'minimum
donation' which is required the obtain 'blessings from
these 'kabbalists' develop a loyal following, a court
around them of generally innocent persons who see the
influential and powerful 'holy man' in a grand light,
up on the proverbial pedestal. This following of the 'kabbalist'
sets off a snowball effect, where other members of the
Jewish community now see the self-declared 'kabbalist'
with a following and thus his reputation builds on nothing
more than that-and that is good enough to get both men
and women lined up for hours to see him, give him money,
and hope to obtain a blessing for what ails them. These
'kabbalists' are visited by Jewish men and women who are
not fully educated in the breadth and depth of halakha
(Jewish law). They are often followed and visited by very
well-meaning but overly emotional Jews who just want to
'keep the peace' and who, out of fear, would never challenge
the Attorney General of several states are investigating
these peddlers of deception for tax fraud and other crimes,
it is the Jewish community itself which should be standing
up and running these men out of town. However, in the
Orthodox community no other 'rabbi' will ever act against
another 'rabbi' - even when he knows his colleague is
clearly desecrating Jewish law and the Torah (Bible) itself.
Sadly, real rabbis are first and foremost worried only
about losing their own position and will not risk their
position by speaking out against these swindlers--even
when these 'kabbalists' prey on the vulnerable, the naive,
and the unsuspecting.
mekubalim (kabbalists) through the ages have condemned
the practice of 'selling' spiritual remedies. This includes
such great rabbis as Hakham Yishak Kaduri (1899-2006)
and Hakham Yisrael Abuhatzeira (the Baba Sali 1890-1984),
who never sought monetary reward for any advice, discussions
or prayers with a person. These men strove to hold by
every word (usually in the strictest manner) of the Shulhan
Aruh (Code of Jewish Law). Therefore, anyone who seeks
monetary gain through hocus pocus, which the Shulhan Aruh
says does not affect the Jewish people--is by all means
Talmud tells the Jewish people that over 2,000 years ago,
Rabbi Hanina Ben Dosa was said to perform great miracles.
He was able to tell sick people if they would live or
die. Yet, it is written that his wife used to complain
that there was nothing to eat in the house. Unlike all
the so-called 'kabbalists' that are rampant today, the
much venerated Rabbi Hanina Ben Dosa did not take a cent
for his deeds.
men, whether or not they are real rabbis, will never truly
stand for the Torah or the honor of the Almighty. What
they seek is quick money, a quick reward, and a quick
visit with a gullible victim. They use the Torah for gain
and profit and insomuch are committing one of the most
heinous crimes one can in the Jewish religion.
a listing of a few of the fake 'kabbalist' conmen, visit
author is an historian of the Jewish world and is an international
advocate for Sephardic Jewry.