I waited a few days to write this for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted some space and time between the event I am going to discuss and the writing about it because it is not my purpose to blame, and most certainly not accuse, anyone of willful partaking in avodah zarah. I wanted a gap in time because do not want a necessary connection between what I am going to write below and any one definite event, in order to preserve the dignity and anonymity of the people who were there (they will know who they are). Also, I am quite sure that this is not an isolated case of the types of things that go on in Tzfat and I wish to portray this most serious problem in a general way – not specific to one incident, because it is not an isolated case that foreign influences are woven into Jewish practices.
Daniel told me that he spoke with one of his Rabbis about what I am about to relay to you. His Rav was shocked profoundly and told him that it would be a big mitzvah to publish this as a warning to others. He told my husband that we are enjoined to publish this. Immediately upon hearing his from my husband, I knew the Rav was right and I had to write this, despite my many misgivings. Yet, I waited another day to let my thoughts and feelings settle because I wanted to be able to write this from love and not from revulsion or anger.
Recently, I went to an event that was advertised as a very kosher kind of event based on the work on a Rabbi that was very famous for his holiness in his time and is widely honored today. What could be nicer? I told Daniel about the description of the programme and he enthusiastically joined me.
As HaShem would have it, by the time we got to the seating arrangements Daniel and I could not sit together because so many people had come. We had to take seats on opposite sides of the room and this allowed the two of us to see more of what was going on in the room than we would have seen had we been seated at similar vantage points.
First, I was asked to remove my shoes before stepping on the rug in the room to take my seat. I complied, thinking nothing of it at the time, but in retrospect; I realize that that too was odd and not something I would have done had I known what would transpire later. I have been to the home of many Orthodox Jews, all of whom had carpets or rugs. None of them ever asked me to remove my shoes and many of them receive many guests. Later, I checked on the net and found out that many pagan rituals are performed barefoot.
So, I sat down and I noticed a number of things that made me feel uncomfortable. The person who was running the show, and I do mean show, seemed as phony to me as a one dollar bill. When he said how honored and privileged he was to be in this very special place, I could visualize him saying the exact same words to every audience he might stand before. Something about him just screamed out PHONY!!!
A number of women took seats on the rug and sat in a cross-legged, and one in a full-on lotus, position. They closed their eyes, breathed deeply and just generally broadcasted: "I am just SOOOO spiritual and all this is just SOOO spiritual and deep and kewl."
I have said before, and I will say again, "spirituality" is not a Jewish thing. While it is true that there are a number of accounts on the part of the Prophets saying that the Spirit of God aroused them to prophecy at the beginning of their books; nowhere in those books do they teach, encourage, or promulgate "spirituality". The throwing around of the term "spirituality" is wholly foreign to Judaism and it does not come from a pure source.
The attendees are people who are mature adults, I mean my age, give or take a decade. By this stage in their lives they should have accrued some Jewish dignity and internalized Jewish comportment, and stopped acting like a bunch of kids on the beach in Goa. Seeing them carrying on as they did was embarrassing, but it was not enough to make me leave – not yet.
Then two women took turns giving one another a shoulder massage. I did not see it, but my husband told me that at least one of them traced the body of the other, a few inches from the body. I do not know if that was Reiki or not, as I have never had Reiki done on me (my husband and I have both been told that Reiki cannot be done on us, thank GOD!), but whatever it was; it was not a Jewish schtick. From my seat, I saw that they too sat with their eyes closed grooving to the "vibes".
One woman, who was sitting in a chair, was moving her arms in sort of waving, undulating motions to the music. She was old enough to know better than to conduct herself that way in public. She is old enough to be a Grandmother. My Nana never carried on that way and I would have been humiliated if she did. Truly Jewish women, who have internalized the weight and meaning and honor of being a mature Jewish woman, just don't behave that way in public to this day. I was deeply abashed when I saw her, but that too was not enough to make me leave – not yet.
The question that kept going through my mind as I watched the behaviors of the people in the room was: How would my Grandparents react if they saw Jews behaving this way? How would the Rav who this evening was supposedly dedicated to react if he saw Jews carrying on this way? I tried to imagine people going on like this in the homes of any of the Jews that had been the shapers of my Jewish view of the world, those whose embodiment of Jewish holiness had made me think I want to be like *them* when I grow up – my Family, my Teachers, my Friends, those at whose Shabbat and Holiday tables I sat at when I was a student…and as I recalled the Jewish atmosphere in those homes and remembered how they conducted themselves; the scene I was witnessing grew ever more bizarre to me.
Then something happened that made me go flying out of there literally like a bat out of hell. I told Daniel that there is more India in that room than Israel and he too was more than willing to get out.
They invited a woman to light a "ner neshama", which was placed on a low table. I did not await the explanation of this spectacle. I hope that the woman was not lighting a candle for someone dear to her, as I do not wish to hurt anyone or denigrate a show of love and honor someone intends for a loved one. Yet, there are *Jewish* ways of honoring our loved ones and this wasn't one of them. As soon as I saw her begin to bend down to the low table to light the candle, or crouch to sit down on the rug; I know not which, as I knew in the core of my Being I had to flee for the sake of my Soul; I ran, not walked, out of there. I felt a wave of tum'ah and revulsion that stayed with me for hours afterward. Never had I seen such a thing in any Jewish home or function that I'd ever been in. A "ner neshama" is never part of a public gathering. It is a personal thing and it is always lit at eye level.
How could Jewish Souls not feel that something was wrong? Even if they had not been told expressly not to do that or had been told it was alright by someone they trust and respect *a Jewish Soul should know that something is not right*. For hours afterward my breathing was labored as my Neshamah cleansed the tum'ah out of my body from just having sat there for a few minutes. When I related the story to a friend the next day, she noticed that my breathing was labored as I spoke. Just talking about it was more impurity than my Soul could tolerate. How could those Jews in that room not feel the tum'ah. How?
My husband told me that when he told the part about the "ner neshamah" on the low table to his Rav, his Rav was aghast, absolutely aghast.
I too have shared what happened with Jews whom I know come from kosher backgrounds and they all said that something was very, very wrong there and they too would have left as Daniel and I did.
I don't know the purpose of the people who arranged this evening and those who partook in it. I cannot, and will not, second-guess them. I'm sure that at least most of the people in that room were honest dupes and did not know that so much avodah zarah had seeped into their practice of what they think is Judaism. I also have a sneaking suspicion that there are people in Tzfat who are not entirely innocent and are leading others to do things that no Jew should do.
A couple of days later I bumped into one of the two women who were giving each other massages that I mentioned above and whom my husband said he saw trace their body with their hands a few inches from the body, which looked weird to him. The first time we met I felt she wanted to say something to me, but hesitated. I too did not wish to make an issue of it. But we met again a few minutes later, and both of us understood that we should talk about it. She gently asked why I left. I told her that I felt very uncomfortable there. She thought that it might have been because of the cats in the house. I assured her that I love cats. We have adopted a cat, whom we love dearly. No, I told her, it wasn't the cats in the house. In fact, I had played with one of them while we waited for the programme to begin. I was astounded that, though she is a lovely person, she was so Jewishly dense that she couldn't understand what was bothering me that night. Evidently, partaking in the practices that she does has caused her to be desensitized Jewishly.
I told her that there were things going on in the room that I couldn't sit with.
I tried to say it in a diplomatic way. She said: "I understand. It just wasn't right *for you*." I said to her with a hint of irony: Yeah, it wasn't right for me, hoping that she'll eventually come to the understanding that there are some things that are, or are not right, for everyone. Pure air, water and food are among those in the former category. Strychnine and cyanide are in the latter category. To say about any of those "it's right for me" or "it's not right for me" is to say something wholly inapplicable because those are universals. There are religious and moral equivalents of pure air, water and food, on the one hand, and strychnine and cyanide on the other. There are Jewish universals. Judaism, for Jewish Souls, in pure air, water, and food. Avodah Zara, for all Jews, is strychnine and cyanide. There can be no religious and moral relativity about these matters.
My words are not meant to embarrass or hurt any of the people who attended that function. I'm sure that most of them are the innocent victims of very shrewd and subtle tingeing of Judaism with avodah zarah. Some of them were into pagan religions before coming to Judaism and have not cleared themselves out of it. Unfortunately, there is a concentration of such chozrim b'tshuvah in Tzfat who have not cleared the foreign influences from themselves. Moreover, Tzfat, being what it is, was, and is, targeted for the introduction of foreign elements into Judaism in order to lead innocent Jews astray.
Make no mistake about thinking that some of the elements of Eastern religions can be integrated into Judaism or that there are "neutral" practices from those cultures without religious basis or implications.
The swastika is an Eastern religious symbol. It is used by many Eastern traditions. It does not matter which direction it's facing. They use it facing both directions.
The Nazis were occultists, as is known. They never did anything without consulting with astrologers and they were deeply involved in other, even darker, occult practices. The Nazis made a pilgrimage to Tibet early on as they saw affinities between the ancient Germanic pagan rites and Buddhism.
Remember too, the next time you are tempted to have anything to do with Reiki that the Nazis sided with the Japanese during the war.
There is a plan afoot to bring about one world religion. The headquarters of those carrying out that plan is the UN. That religion is an amalgam of the dark occult practices in all of the religions, including the magic and conjuring in the pseudo-Kabbalah.
There is a war on for your Jewish Soul and you must win it.
There can be no compromise with any influences that are not Jewish. There can be no Jewish-pagan chimeras created. The impurities do are not diluted in one part in 60 or one part in 200. There can be no avodah zarah in Judaism. Every time a Jew partakes, even in the slightest, of one of their rituals, that Jew weakens the entire Jewish People and undermines our strength to fight those who never stopped trying to destroy us.
There is no place for true Judaism in the New World Order or in their new world occult religion. They will make no compromises with true Judaism. We must make no compromises with their tum'ah.
Small as Tzfat is, it will, as it has always been, be a focal point of their attempts to undermine Judaism. Be careful. Be very, very careful.
Pray, pray and pray some more. Strengthen your direct connection with HaShem and you will come to know that which is and is not Judaism instinctively. If you are able to be in the presence of pagan ritual or to partake in it, Rachmana litzlan, you need to strengthen your connection with HaShem - urgently.
Please take my words in the loving and well-meaning intention in which they are given.
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat