Ask the rabbi

  • Torah and Jewish Thought

Books on "false" or "suspicious" Kabbalah


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tammuz 14, 5778
I have several books in English on Kabbalah written by the founder of the Kabbalah Center in Los Angeles. I have heard that he and the center have been discredited. I’m in a quandary about what to do with the books: throw them away, put them in Sheimot or offer them to a library?
I’m not familiar with the center that you’re referring to, but anyone who teaches the secrets of kabbala to the masses is automatically under suspicion. You can also tell by the staff, for if they are not rabbis who first excel in the “regular” Torah (and they even have immodest pictures on their site!), you and others should definitely stay away, and accordingly, you also shouldn’t give them to a public library. The deepest and most intimate secrets of life (and even of one's body), are not meant to be cheapened through mass exposing (only rabbinic ba'alei t'shuva institutions occasionally allow themselves to do so, to get that first attraction to Torah, then it's ok). Regarding what to do with their books, I imagine that the participants come and enjoy because they do teach some legitimate kabbalistic ideas, which really are very appealing. Accordingly, they almost definitely do contain true words of Torah, and should be put in sheimot/geniza.
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