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Laitman's Opus Dei Connection

Posted by bbedcenter on March 21, 2013 at 4:25 PM

The following is an article from Michael Laitman's blog, entitled "How To Let The Light Enter You" (December, 2008 )

 

 

"An e-mail I received on December 18, 2008: 'I am writing to you because I am desperate, even though I feel extremely guilty for taking up your time. I have been deeply depressed for a long time, and the only other thing I ever feel is a lack of desire to live and emptiness. I don’t feel anything else.

I listen to the lessons every day, but even when I suddenly hear and understand something, it instantly disappears before I can even remember or feel it. I participate in the Bnei Baruch dissemination projects, but it doesn’t give me strength. I am rapidly falling. Everyone is thinking about the crisis and how to come out of it, but I can’t even come out of myself. All I can feel is unbearable pain and resentment. I don’t know what to do. Please reply to me on your blog!'

 

My Answer: The two forces acting in creation are the Light and the desire; everything that exists is comprised only out of these two. They interact in such a way that sometimes the Light dominates, and sometimes the desire. We sense this alternation between them as the contrast of joy / fulfillment and bitterness / emptiness.

Since you cannot come out of your depression, my advice to you is to delve into it even more than it really is: artificially push yourself into even greater self-denigration, feelings of anger, resentment and guilt. This way, by pushing yourself down with all your might, you will take control over the depression, and you will then discover just how artificial all your sensations are, how much they depend on your subjective outlook. And then, from the bottom of your descent, you will feel joy and Light!"



Let's now compare Laitman's advice of self-denigration to the self-mortification style of the Opus Dei, in the words of Fr. Mike Barrett, director of the Holy Cross Chapel and Catholic Resource Center, Houston, Texas:



"Why do they do these mortifications?

Penance and mortification are a small but essential part of the Christian life. Jesus Christ himself fasted for forty days to prepare for his public ministry. Mortification helps us resist our natural drive toward personal comfort which so often prevents us from answering the Christian call to love God and serve others for love of God. Also, this voluntarily accepted discomfort is a way of joining oneself to Jesus Christ and the sufferings he voluntarily accepted in order to redeem us from sin. The Da Vinci Code's masochist monk, who loves pain for its own sake, has nothing to do with real Christian mortification.

 

How important is mortification for members of Opus Dei?

Despite The Da Vinci Code's morbid attention to mortification, for real members of Opus Dei it plays a secondary role. The primary thing for any Catholic is love of God and neighbor. Penance and mortification aim to reduce our self-centeredness and so to help us to grow in love for God and neighbor. In keeping with its spirit of integrating faith with secular life, Opus Dei emphasizes small rather than great sacrifices, like sticking at your work when tired, being punctual, passing up a small pleasure in food or drink, or not complaining."  http://www.opusdei.us/art.php?p=16367



 

  • What seems to be the essence of the Opus Dei? Dvekut (Adhesion) through love of neighbor and self-denial
  • What seems to be the essence of Bnei Baruch? Dvekut (Adhesion) through love of neighbor and self-annulment
  • What's the advice in order to "come out" of self centeredness? Self-degradation (BB), and self-mortification (Opus Dei).

 


Does this look like two different outfits for the same beast, or is it just me? So I'm thinking... It does not look like if I hate pain I'm going to reach love of others through the degrading paths of mortification and self-denial, in fact, in my own case I'm quite sure that I would hate them even the more. What kind of value can I hold for life when I do not find my own existence valuable? Apparently, Mr. Laitman and Mr. Barrett's impressions show a strong connection (equivalence of form, as expressed in kabbalistic understanding) when it comes down to advicing their followers on how to reach a loving and giving path, through psychological self-hatred and self-imposed torture which will bring their afflicted flocks out of depression and selfishness.Well, I don't mind admitting that in my self-centered rationality I see it quite the contrary. I would even make an educated guess that these self-loathing ideologies are likely to bring some quite close to suicide





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8 Comments

Reply Mary
8:47 AM on March 22, 2013 
Effective Depression Recovery

-We believe that long-term recovery from depression ultimately requires addressing the underlying relationship causes of depression, not simply symptoms such as chemical imbalance and depressive thoughts. This is why healing both the relationship environment and the whole person is vital in preventing relapse....

-Good relationships: studies show that relationships with partners, carers, teachers, co-workers and a supportive social network results in physical and emotional healing, happiness and life satisfaction, and prevents isolation and loneliness, major factors in depressive illness...

-A safe, SUPPORTIVE and non-judgemental group environment.

-Techniques to boost SELF-ESTEEM and a sense of competence.

-Experiencing an ONGOING ENVIRONMENT that is FREE FROM TRAUMA and VERY SUPPORTIVE so that the body and the brain can HEAL and DEVELOP. http://www.upliftprogram.com/depression_stats.html

What causes depression?
-A combination of genetic, chemical, biological, psychological, SOCIAL and ENVIRONMENTAL factors likely contributes to the disorder...
-Other more subtle factors that LEAD TO A LOSS OF SELF-IDENTITY OR SELF-ESTEEM may also contribute...
-Unfortunately, feelings of depression often are viewed as a sign of weakness rather than as a signal that something is out of balance. The fact is that people with depression CANNOT SIMPLY "SNAP OUT OF IT" and FEEL BETTER SPONTANEOUSLY... http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/understanding-depression.aspx

-Depression and low self-esteem often go hand-in-hand. Low self-esteem leaves individuals vulnerable to depression. Depression batters self-esteem.

-?Depression often distorts thinking, making a once-confident person feel insecure, negative and self-loathing,? said Deborah Serani, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist...

-Seek POSITIVE SUPPORT. ?Surround yourself with people who celebrate your strengths, not your weaknesses,?

- Begin the day with a boost. Find books, calendars and websites that are UPLIFTING and inspiring to you...

-?Feed your mind, body and soul in ways that make you feel special,? ... http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/01/24/8-suggestions-fo
r-strengthening-self-esteem-when-you-have-depression/

Etc, Etc.

These two men are most certainly liable for encouraging environments of self-loathing. If anybody in my family had committed suicide, I would investigate their involvement with these organizations.
Reply Kim Fox
9:39 AM on March 22, 2013 
Thank you Mary. Actually your comments are EXACTLY what myself and others were trying to bring attention to management of BB. We were saying that if people are committing suicide in a "kabbalah environment" then the environment is WRONG...it is actually the OPPOSITE of what it is suppose to be striving for. And the fact that there have been 2 suicides in Bnei Baruch (that we KNOW of) we were saying that this is a warning sign that the environment is developing in a toxic direction. But Laitman, and his BB management (suppression squad) kicked us out instead of having a rational (mutual responsibility) (arvut) discussion about it. Actually, they didn't kick me out. I left after I was told that if I didn't stop talking about it and if I continued to question them...they would kick me out.
Reply hopeanon1
10:52 PM on March 27, 2013 
Maybe the break with kabalistic tradition and increased emphasis on self-denigration (annulment to the significance and power of the group to manipulate political forces to bring about the messianic era) is due in whole or part to the persecution/mass emigration of Russian Jews. Persecution in the former Soviet Union was impetus for mass emigration (more than two million Jews fled between 1880 and 1920. While a large majority immigrated to the United States, many turned to Zionism), and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 resulted in over 1 million Russians immigrating to Israel. Rabash emigrated with his family in 1921, at age 13. There is a paper written by Marla Segol, PhD, (Professorship in Jewish Studies, Institute of Jewish Thought and Heritage) that argues the topos of exile is key to the construction and purpose of ritual innovations and reimagining textual tradition in Safed School Kabbalah. Maybe a performance study methodology could be similarly applied to examine the influence of emigration in Cult Bnei Baruch Kabbalah. http://www.academia.edu/2593821/Performing_Exile_in_Safed_School_
Kabbalah
Reply Kim Fox
8:59 AM on April 1, 2013 
I started reading this paper that was posted http://www.academia.edu/2593821/Performing_Exile_in_Safed_School_
It will take me quite some time to respond to it. My first feeling is that ritual in and of itself does not produce any closer connection to G-d. What it can do is manifest a delusion produced by the EGO that a person or group is having some type of mystical experience with G-d. Furthermore...when a "teacher" is telling you what you should "feel" at each stage of the "ascent" or "descent" then the EGO can really kick into overdrive..because it has a blueprint laid out of what one should feel.....however....you can delude yourself into thinking you are having these experiences.......the only way it could be REAL is if you were not told about it AHEAD OF TIME....The EGO is latching onto some spiritual climb that your "teacher" has told you you are having. So instead of family, money and power...your EGO has a NEW pursuit...."spirituality" compliments of Laitman. And now you are truly trapped. Because Laitman has laid all the groundwork out. To achieve spiritual ascent...you must have a group...a teacher and the books. You can't do it on your own. You can never leave. ONLY KABBALAH HAS THE PATH. And so the EGO says to you....ahh...I can't leave...and if I want to leave THAT is the EGO speaking to me. THAT IS WHAT I MUST FIGHT OFF. Laitman capitalizes on this natural human condition. He uses the EGO against his followers. He introduces you to your EGO...and then he exploits it for himself to achieve control over masses of people. Good people get trapped into this psychosis. Good people start to hate anyone who questions Laitman. Because the EGO has taken over. It doesn't not want to be destroyed. It wants to keep the ILLUSION GOING. But for sure...if you use your logic...you can clearly see...Laitman's Bnei Baruch is creating the OPPOSITE of what it claims to be achieving. There is no godliness...there is no love...there is only exclusivity, concealment, lies, exploitation. There is no FREEDOM in Bnei Baruch only Conformity. And without FREEDOM we die. According to this paper are you suggesting that he is experimenting with ritual...in order to produce some type of godlike corrected people?? In my experience with Laitman...that is much too simplistic....and it suggests his actions are innocent or naive....I found Laitman's actions over the 5 years to be much more sinister. What I am suggesting is Laitman isn't a Kabbalist...He hasn't experienced ANYTHING he speaks of....but what he has come to realize is that the kabbalah can be USED to help him achieve LAITMAN's goals....and no I do not believe his goals have ANY ALTRUISTIC INTENTION. None whatsoever.
Reply hopeanon1
11:37 PM on April 2, 2013 
According to this paper are you suggesting that he is experimenting with ritual...in order to produce some type of godlike corrected people??

No. I am suggesting Bnei Baruch editing of text and ritual innovation (dissemination without mentioning the Creator or Kabbalah) are very likely a response to Russian persecution and emigration.

Does this pose an "endangerment"? Maybe
Is it "reckless"? Yes

Editing Jewish sacred texts to suit their particular purposes, disconnecting it from the source, Bnei Baruch is reckless and may be endangering the community. See for example comments on Laitman.com scapegoating American Jews: "On the contrary, the Israelis and the Jews in the diaspora are separated. It is enough to look at the American Jews who are dispersed both physically and morally; they don't worry about Israel, only about themselves...They not only show the breach with their own people, but even more than that, they show disrespect towards Israel."
And the language on Laitman.com is inciting, for example "Monolithic Unity of the Team" post engenders strong visceral reaction because the term monolithic unity is frighteningly familiar. See "Party Affirmation" text of Moscow's announcement of the death of Joseph Stalin, one of the most murderous dictators in history. http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/1221c.html
Reply hopeanon1
11:58 AM on April 6, 2013 
Self-edit to my comment above:

No. I am suggesting Bnei Baruch editing of text and ritual innovation (dissemination without mentioning the Creator or Kabbalah and annulment to the significance and power of the group to manipulate political forces to bring about the messianic era) are very likely a response to Russian persecution and emigration.

I apologize if my post(s) are choppy, incomplete or awkward. Having allowed BB jargon to edit my voice for the past several years, I am out of practice conveying a complete thought for myself, but I am diligently working on it.
Reply hopeanon1
6:28 PM on May 1, 2013 
Dear Johntron,

I came across an article today, which impressed on me the critical importance of choosing an environment that will support and promote a person SAFELY toward one's goal in life. This is from the book, Sefer Hasulam by Rabbi Avraham Mordecai Gottlieb, a student of Rabbi Baruch Ashalg. Clearly, the Bnei Baruch group founded by Laitman does not follow this most fundamental Kabbalah teaching.
"A person must first of all arrive at a spiritual state wherein he lives a healthy and natural life, in which he has a healthy and good self-esteem and in which he feels happy with himself. This is a state of mind which is associated with the spiritual state called the right hand line, or the line of faith. In order to acquire this state a person works on his faith that God created the world as being whole, including himself, and that all his qualities are ultimately good and full of worth, and that he has positive and good virtues. Only once this right-hand side is well established then he comes to the left-hand line. The left-hand line consists of the side of self-criticism and of truth.
Then a person needs to learn that the whole purpose of the spiritual work is to come to the love of one's fellow man. Gradually he begins to perceive that he is far from this, until finally at the end of a very gradual process he sees just how far away he is from this in reality until he comes to the feeling that he is the worst person in the world. But of course this is a very gradual process because we are not talking about information but about an actual feeling. One cannot come to this understanding until the healthy self-esteem of the right-hand side is well established."
http://www.obshalom.org/Article/1088/Hasulam_Chapter_1

Kind regards, a friend
Reply hopeanon1
8:25 PM on May 6, 2013 
Johntron says...
Based on what do you make this claim?
Please explain to me, since you seem to know so well- what does Faith in the Creator mean?

1. Based on what do you make this claim?
Michael Laitman is neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist so it follows that the question concerning depression posted to Laitman.com sought to examine how the method of Kabbalah can help. Laitman's answer is contrary to the method of Kabbalah as explained above by Rabbi Gottlieb, who studied with Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag (RABASH) since he was 13 years old and now teaches Kabbalah at Beit HaMidrash Ohr Baruch Shalom in Kiryat Yearim, Israel.

2. Please explain to me, since you seem to know so well- what does Faith in the Creator mean?
I am not a Rabbi. You may contact Rabbi Gottlieb to ask questions on various subjects at this link: http://www.obshalom.org/Contact/5/%D7%A6%D7%95%D7%A8_%D7%A7%D7%A9
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