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Mekubalim

Question
Hi how are we supposed to react to Mekubalim living in mansions etc? I heard once that Real mekubalim do not take money for blessings? However i understand that torah institutions need money and its fair to donate upon receiving a blessing. Do these blessings have real power? How do we know who is a true Tzaddik whose blessings do have power?
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. There is no doubt that the blessings of real righteous individuals can bring about heavenly assistance. This concept is found in the Torah, Talmud and is widely accepted. One only needs to see the efforts Jacob made into order to receive his father's blessing – and so on throughout the Tanach. However, you are correct in insinuating that there are people who call themselves "Mekubalim" and "Tzadikim", and play on the suffering and innocence of people for their own profit. One has to be very careful to make sure they don't fall into the hands on these charlatans. A true Tzadik does not take any money for his blessings. Think of the late Lebubitcher Rebbe, who used to give away money to those who came to visit him. Also Rabbi Mordichai Eliyahu zt"l, who was known as a great Torah scholar and also a "Mekubal" never took money. A true Tzadik is also first and foremost a great Torah scholar. One should check that any Rabbi they are turning to for advice or blessings is true scholar. A true Tzadik is careful to keep halacha in a strict way. If the "Mekubal" has strange practices that seem to go against Jewish law – be wary. And whilst the blessings of a Tzadik have power and worth – every Jew has the ability to receive unending blessings directly from the Holy One, Blessed Be He, by turning to G-d in pray and good deeds. May you be blessed with only good.
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