MY PROBLEM WITH THE KABBALAH CENTRE
A Kabbalah student asked me on the weekend my opinion about people on Facebook who have complaints against the Chevre and the Kabbalah Centre regarding various kinds of abuse. I can only give my own opinion and my own feeling based on what I lived. I’ll try to keep it simple because I’d rather write articles about the wisdom I lived and experienced and the miracles I received. But actually, there is a pretty freaking cool miracle in this article as well so try to read this to the very end.
Here is Simple Logic in three steps:
1. If someone was hurt, in any way, and if I respond “look within,” that is just as abusive and hurtful to the person as what caused that person’s hurt in the first place.
The Lesson for Me: I am not here to fix, judge or to preach to others. It only adds to their hurt.
2. “Look within” is an unbreakable Kabbalistic truth. It is the key to humanity’s redemption. But if I tell someone else to look within, then I am not looking within. I am being totally illogical. If I am trying to fix others or blame others, it means i am not fixing myself and holding myself accountable. I am being a hypocrite even if my intentions are pure. And so it is a misuse and abuse of a stunning truth known as “looking within”.
The Lesson for Me: Look within and fix myself only.
3. If an organization has good and bad, and the bad needs fixing, and there are 1000 people in that organization, if everyone tries to fix others, they are now abusing others and thus the organization remains broken (Simple Logic #1). Never works. Never has. However, if everyone in the organization fixes themselves, the result is a fixed organization. Duh. If every person on earth corrected their own nature, we would have a corrected planet. Duh. If everyone on the planet tries to fix others, we have a planet of abuse and hurt (see Simple Logic #1).
And that’s how it works.
The Lesson for Me: Find like-minded people who have the courage to look within and embrace the Kabbalistic path of self-transformation. If we all fix ourselves, we have found the ultimate unity and technology for fixing the world. Zohar 101.
And that’s why I go to the Kabbalah Centre for thirty years.
When I go into an LA fitness facility, everyone is there, presumably, to work out and get into better shape. No one there can work out for me. No one can swim laps for me. No on can ride the bike for me. No one can lift the weights for me.
I can look around and judge how out-of-shape other people are. I can judge people who are really there to pick up girls or guys. I can compare myself to people in worse shape that I am to make myself feel better. If they are using the equipment all wrong, and spending their time talking to others and not working out, i could also spend my time walking through the facility trying to change them, showing them how to use the equipment correctly.
But then I am not working out. I am not getting into shape.
For me, that was the bottom line of the Centre.
I went there originally to change the world. To the devastating heartbreak of my ego, I learned a harsh truth. I am here to change myself. The Centre provided me the tools to do just that. And the promise was a better life, and even miracles along the way.
Further, changing myself DOES change the world. So the Rav told me, I could have it all!
CHEVRE WHO DROVE ME NUTS
During the early years in the Centre, there were a few chevre who aggravated the hell out of me. They were like cultish groupies and they tried turn me into a guru worshipper. I laughed it off. They were good people, and many parts of our relationship were really wonderful. But I just dismissed and laughed off the stuff that I found utterly ridiculous because I knew it was their problem, not mine. And some of them were religious. Very religious. I ignored it. I wasn’t worried about it because I saw for the first time in my life people who were the antithesis of religious. The Rav. Karen. Yehuda. Michael.
So I worked on getting rid of my own religiosity.
So the issues that I found in a few chevre in no way discounted the insanely wonderful teachings and positive life changing aspects of this place that I loved.
In the early days a lot of strange people were also there. But I didn’t judge them. And I did not judge the few chevre who drove me nuts. Because I saw the genius and power of the wisdom. And I saw and experienced the love and dedication and incredible energy of other chevre. And I experienced the essence of the Rav and Karen and Yehuda and Michael. So despite all that I was perceiving as wrong, there was no doubting what was right and true. It was actually simple. Some people only talked the talk and others walked the walk.
It made sense. After all, I saw the same thing happen in business. I built my business from scratch. And I saw a ton of other people fail and they complained and quit and gave up, and they all had a thousand excuses why it didn’t work. I knew that not everyone makes it to the top of the ladder. I could not worry about the quitters. I had to make sure I didn’t fall off the ladder.
And so, if I wanted to get my own miracles, I could not judge others and blame them for things that went wrong. Took me over ten years to learn that lesson in the Centre. Prior, I was constantly trying to change everyone.
I also saw others fall into doubt over thirty years. And I watched them leave. I never tried to save someone because I learned i had to save myself. Trying to save someone violates Logic Step #1.
And that is how a truth of Kabbalah, like always looking within, can become distorted and misused and abused.
DEALING WITH HONEST AND DISHONEST COMPLAINTS OF STUDENTS
When I see a problem at the Centre, or if I see someone claiming that they were abused, or if they are even lying about their allegations, or if there is truth to their allegations, either way, I have to look within and realize that I somehow contributed to that problem and I need to find it within and fix myself in order to heal it from the negative person and the world. As the Baal Shem Tov stated emphatically — when we fix ourselves, we will see the miracle of others being fixed as well.
Now imagine what would happen if everyone in the Centre—or any organization—fixed themselves and never pointed the finger. Poof! That would fix the Centre! So I learned not to try to fix the Centre. I had to fix myself. Because THAT would fix the Centre if everyone played along.
Problem is they often don’t.
WHY BOTHER FIXING MYSELF
The practical benefits of looking within and never quitting is that the Rav never left me—before the stroke, after the stroke or after the Rav’s elevation. That’s the bottom line. That’s why I do it. Simple. If it did not work, you think I would stay on this crazy path for thirty years? Never!
The benefits of fixing myself and not quitting is that Karen has always had my back for thirty years, in ways that cannot be described, all the while wanting nothing from me but to see me excel and become a better husband to my wife, father to my kids, and friend to everyone. I was a witness to Karen’s unconditional love for thirty years. And I watched others slander and speak lies about Karen. And then there were others who would take a bullet for Karen. The two extremes was a sign for me that this place was blazing with Light.
When someone spoke lies, I didn’t confront them and argue. No. I looked within and searched hard to make sure I could find my own negativity so that I never end up doing something like that. Because if I saw it, it means i need to look within.
I had to admit that i would be the most negative person ever if i lost my certainty in the Centre.
Now, if someone came to me to ask for some advice, and they were open, then I would share the wisdom as it worked for me.
The reward for doing this, and fixing myself, no matter what, is that the Light is there when I needed it most. For thirty years.
Here is just one story out of a gazillion.
THE MIRACLE WITH MY MOTHER
My mother recently passed. Last April. During my eulogy, I told our family and friends that we were supposed to be gathered here five years ago. The doctors had said that my mom had an incurable and aggressive form of kidney cancer. She had a few months. I told my mom that the Zohar and Kabbalah water could get her a miracle. For many years, my mother was not fond of my studies in Kabbalah. She thought I was actually crazy on occasion during those first 5-10 years.
But she eventually turned around and she opened up her heart to the Zohar. I asked the Rav and Karen to help. I asked Yehuda and Michael to please include her in their prayers. I had total certainty. I knew all the looking within and fixing myself HAD to pay off.
A few months later, she called me on the phone crying her eyes out. Her doctor said she had gotten a miracle because the cancer was gone. Gone! She was sobbing as she said, “You saved me. The Zohar saved me!” Those words coming from her mouth was also a miracle.
I told my mom that she had saved herself. She did. We activate the Zohar and miracles because there are no miracles without our participation. She broke her nature and embraced the Zohar. We always need to break our nature to get a miracle and a result.
My mom told me not tell my sisters what she said because they will think she’s crazy. Thankfully, my sisters also participated in using the Zohar and my mom got an extra five years of life!
Five years into her mid eighties with her kids, grandkids and great grandkids. Instead of a few months.
And relatively speaking, hardly any suffering. When my father died, he also had cancer but I had not yet found Kabbalah. I watched him wither away into skin and bones and suffering great pain. My mother was plump and beautiful till the day she died.
Let’s now go to the day she passed.
My sister texted me at 6:00 AM on a Friday morning back in April. My mom had taken a turn for the worse. I went for a walk and started meditating on Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, the author and the embodiment of the miraculous energy and Light that is the Zohar.
I was chanting his name.
And then I got a sign; a message from the Rav. It was clear as day. The Rav told me to call upon him to help. Literally. I began calling upon the Rav and suddenly I got another sign. And then another sign. For the record, I have a signaling system with the Rav that allows me to communicate with the Rav when I really need the Rav. That’s all I will say about it. Suffice to say, the signs came in a flurry and it took my breath away. I was sobbing as I walked the streets because of the energy and clarity of the signs. The appreciation was overwhelming.
I came back home and texted back and forth with my sisters throughout the day.
At around 4:00 LA time, as I was still texting with my sisters, a thought popped into my head. A message from the Rav. I was to open up the Torah book for that Shabbat to see what the Rav had to say about the portion of the week known as Emor.
And I knew had to do it right now.
I got up from my desk, found the book, opened to the page of Emor. I quickly skimmed what the Rav had written twenty years ago. It was all about the illusion of death and how when a person is buried in the ground they are absolutely not really dead. And it was about immortality as well. The Rav, as we know, is all about bringing immortality and the Rav drew upon the teachings of the great Moroccan Kabbalist Abraham Azulay, who revealed great secrets about resurrection and immortality.
The Rav was writing about human consciousness and our need to recognize that our consciousness must overcome the opponent (and our doubts and blaming others) and recognize that immortality is possible—or it won’t be.
I was so excited when I read that. I called my sisters on the phone with the Rav’s words in my soul, to let them know what the Rav had written about in this particular portion. My sister Darlene answered and she said, “Oh my God, mom just stopped breathing! How did you know to call right now?”
She was freaked out of her mind.
Thank you Rav.
My mom left in that second, with the power and Light of Shabbat, the portion of Emor, and power of the Rav and the wisdom that death is an illusion and all the secrets of immortality. It was insane.
The Kabbalists teach that when a person leaves with the energy of Shabbat, their soul goes straight up into true reality. There is no cleansing or purifying process for the soul, which is often quite painful. This was the greatest blessing in the world. It would be like waking up from a dream into true reality.
This is why i fix myself and shut my mouth and don’t complain. I need miracles like this to share with others and for myself.
There was another miracle. My mother passed on Shabbat and was therefore buried the next day.
The next day happened to be Lag B’ Omer. The 33rd day of the Omer.
This is the same day Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai, the author of the Zohar, left the world. All the Light of Zohar is revealed on this day. It is called the Or Ganuz in Hebrew. It means Hidden Light. This is the Light of immortality! My last 30 years in Kabbalah was all about the Zohar and Rabbi Shimon, thanks to the Rav, and it was all about connecting each year to Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day!
It turned out, that this particular year, the 33rd Day of the Omer was also Mother’s Day.
Boy was the universe talking to me.
And it turned out that this was also my wedding day. My anniversary with my wife, Marianne.
We had gotten married on Lag B’Omer in 1984. As I married my wife that day, I had no clue what that 33rd day of the Omer was all about. The first time in my life that I even heard the words Lag B’Omer, was on my wedding day.
How could all of this be arranged with such Zoharic design and power?
And then a thought occurred to me. Marianne and I were married in 1984 on the 33rd day of the Omer. My mom was being buried on the 33rd day of the Omer in the year 2017.
Wow. It was also my 33rd Wedding Anniversary!
And as I buried my mother, Karen was at Rabbi Shimon’s tomb in Israel, praying for my mom’s soul.
Everything in the universe had aligned in perfect design as my mom went to the next world. Breathtaking.
There are no words. I was floored. No money could purchase such a powerful set of circumstances.
There’s more. Also in this Torah Portion of Emor that my mom passed on, there is a name of a famous Kabbalist who lived 500 years ago, encoded into the Torah scroll. This is the great Kabbalist that I mentioned above, who revealed ALL the secrets of resurrection of the dead and immortality. As I said, his name is Abraham Azulay. His last name AZULAY is encoded into the Torah portion.
So now I found another secret encoded in this Torah portion concerning immorality and resurrection, further strengthening the power of the end of death for all humanity on this Shabbat, the day my mom elevated. And on this day my mom was buried, she was surrounded by Rabbi Shimon, on the 33rd day of the Omer, on my 33rd wedding anniversary, on the day that the Zohar shines the brightest, on Mother’s Day and as Karen was praying for my mom at the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon celebrating his passing.
In Kabbalah Centres around the world that Shabbat, everyone stopped to mediate upon the name of AZULAY when it came up during the Torah reading Saturday morning.
Well, after I had shoveled the dirt into my mom’s grave, my daughter Arielle came over to me all excited, She said, “Dad, look at the grave next to mom.”
There were two headstones that said AZULAY.
MY BOTTOM LINE
In the very beginning of this Kabbalah Centre path, the miracles came quick and easy, the blessings were immediate and the intense feeling of joy and amazement at this wisdom was instant. Perhaps you experienced the same thing.
There was magic. There was breathless wonder. And it was unexplainable to those who had not experienced it for themselves.
But then, after a while on the path, there wasn’t one blessing that did not come to me without me first overcoming some kind of doubt.
There wasn’t one miracle that happened in my life without there first being a test of doubt so dark and so strong, I was pushed to the point of saying this ain’t working and it’s all BS and total crap.
I personally learned that my problem with the Kabbalah Centre path was my problem. Meaning, I had ego problems that I needed to deal with honestly, so that miracles and positive change could come to my life.
The Light that shined on me from this Kabbalah Centre and Zohar path illuminated all of my problems and inner issues.
When sunlight shines through the window blinds, you see the dust particles. You see the dirt that wasn’t observable before the Light came in.
Each time we connect to Light, it hurts at first. Our garbage is shown to us through the reflected actions of others and the world around us. That is the mirror we need to know what we have to look for inside.
And now, after thirty years of walking this deadly serious Kabbalah Centre path, there has not be one time—not one—where the love and the wisdom of the Rav, Karen, Yehuda and Michael failed to bring me miracles, blessings and true wonders, for me, my wife and my children, each of which, had to learn to transform to get their own results.
So please don’t ask me to comment any more about what all those negative posts on FB are all about. Those posts are, ultimately, a reflection about what is inside me. That is my only response. I have chosen to accept this basic teaching of the Baal Shem Tov and Zohar and Rav Brandwein and the Kabbalah Centre. Not because I am a nice person trying to be righteous and spiritual.
I do it out of pure enlightened greed. It works. When I stop judging and I respect others and I only look inside, good freaking things happen to me. And then I get to share those miracles on Facebook and spread Light. Why should I be stupid and draw negative energy just to to feed my ego and win a point? I’d rather have miracles in my life instead of a victory on the debate team.
The Rav taught me to be a greedy maniac……….for the Light.
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