Response to Those Who Criticize My Rejection of The Zohar and the
Pseudo-Kabbalah of Isaac Luria
Someone, who surely represents the majority of religious Jews, wrote me:
(My translation from the Hebrew)
You have to understand that the accusations that you level against the AR”I ( Isaac Luria) is the destruction of the foundation of most, if not all, Judaism that we recognize today.
One primary example is historic Chassidism , the importance of which to the existence of the Jewish People no one argues, even among the “Mitnagdim”. Chassidism is built and rests on the Torah of the AR”I and his student, Chaim Vital.
Bringing the personage of the AR”I into question is bringing the personages of all of the Rebbes into question since the time of the Ba’al Shem Tov himself.
Rabbi Nachman (of Breslov), the Alter Rebbe (of CHaBa”D), the Maggid of Mezritch, Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, Yisrael from Rosen and more, more, more, according to whose Torah we live today. Everyone of them is indirectly the student of the AR”I and the negation of him is the negation of them.
Questioning the personage of the AR”I is like doing the same to the RaMba”M (Maimonides) or the Shulchan Arukh (Rabbi Yosef Caro). These are people who almost no one has any doubts about their veracity and the level of their spirituality and any criticism of them is very dangerous.
The Ba’al Shem Tov (the Master of the Good Name [of God]) himself was against the Zohar. Chassidim tried to blur this fact by saying that he came to a modus Vivendi with that “mysticism”, but that is not true.
“Another important result of his doctrines, which was of great practical importance, was his denial that asceticism is pleasing to God. “Whoever maintains that this life is worthless is in error: it is worth a great deal; only one must know how to use it properly.” From the very beginning Besht fought against that contempt for the world which, through the influence of Isaac Luria’s Kabbalah, had almost become a dogma among the Jews. He considered care of the body as necessary as care of the soul; since matter is also a manifestation of God, and must not be considered as hostile or opposed to Him.”
Note that hatred of the body is very much in keeping with “Ignatian spirituality”, that is, that of the Jesuits, which we know to lead to degradation of the Spirit and morality alike.
And what you say is true, my Brother, yes; most of the Chassidim of today are unknowingly learning and practicing idol worship and paganism.
If we put a fish into gin, it will know that it is not water.
If we put a Jew into an environment of idol worship and paganism, he or she too will choke. Those who busy themselves with idol worship and do not feel that something is very wrong and inimical to the Spirit would do well to check their lineage. For no true Jew can tolerate the noxious atmosphere of idol worship and paganism.
I will not compromise on what I have said in the video. I will not take back my words and I will most certainly not apologize.
Is it not written:
Yet will I leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.’ – Kings I, Chapter 19: 18
Seven thousand, dear one, *from all of the generations* will remain after the last sifting – only the finest flour. Anyone who doesn’t like that fact can argue the point with Eliyahu the Prophet.
I don’t know if I am one of the seven thousand who will merit to be called Israel. I do know that I will fight for their survival, revelation and fruition with every bit of my strength to my dying breath.
And don’t *ever* try to frighten and cower me into submission to idol worship and paganism or get me to bend before any authoritarian personage with the word “dangerous”.
It was always dangerous to speak the truth and Torah truth is the most dangerous of all to speak.
I am not afraid of *anything* in this world or any other world.
My only fear I know is the awe of the Holy One, Blessed is He.
From the time of the Roman period most of the “Rabbis”, certainly most of them who became famous and were the Heads of Yeshivot, have been in the back pocket of the Vatican.
The deal struck between Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai and Vespasian is that the Rabbis would keep the Jews busy with learning and heap upon us a heavy mantle of ever-proliferating customs and stringencies so that we would be busy with minutiae and not think about rising up against the rule of Roman perversion and evil again.
My argument with the Talmud is not that of those who have never learned it in depth and criticize it from the outside, despite the fact that they know not Hebrew or Aramaic and so do not understand the linguistic subtleties. My argument with the Talmud is that it is designed to taking the Spirit of Revolt Against Evil out of my People and keep them atrophied students.
Is my stance eminently clear now?
Someone else wrote to me: What you are saying will shake the very foundations of the structure of what we know Judiasm to be.
True! What I say is very painful – but even more necessary than painful and so I say it because it must be said to revive the Soul of my beloved People Israel and free them from the unbearable weight that they have been laboring in vain under.
I do not expect that most of the “religious” Jews will accept what I am saying. The hardest thing for a person to do is to admit that they have been laboring under delusions for a protracted period, jettison them and break free to know the Truth.
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat