Sunday, February 09, 2014

Cults in the Charedi world?

To my great surprise Mishpacha magazine (Hebrew) had a long article about cults in the Charedi world. They describe how charismatic individuals who seemt o know kabbala suck people in and take charge of their lives. They detailed how a Rosh Kollel got sucked in by a charismatic leader who spouted kabbala and seemed to know things about the Rosh Kollel. The leader then proceeded to take command of the Rosh Kollel's life in terms of decision making, all decisions had to be run by the leader etc. and of course the leader found ways to extract money until his family extricated him.

The writer of the article asked the obvious question, how is this different then Chasidim (or today even non-Chasidim) who ask the Rebbe before making any decision and of course contribute financially to the Rebbe? The answer given was not very satisfying to me and leaves the question very much open to me.

Take a look at the picture below of the Satmar Rebbes vacation villa in Miami Beach Florida. Keep in mind that Kiryas Yoel is the poorest town in the United States. 

Also take a look at my post The richest Rabbis in Israel. When you combine the money with the societal pressure to conform and stay in the fold (e.g. משמרת הצניעות), it is hard to see the difference.


Anonymous said...

Only those brainwashed by these people believe there's any difference.

g3nericzer0 said...

kiryas yoel is the "poorest" town not because people are poor but because people don't report anything, have you ever been there before?

Jonathan B. Horen said...

g3nericzer0: Kiryas Yoel has that title not because its people lack material possessions, or because they "don't report anything"; rather, it's because of the huge amounts and wide variety of public-assistance funds they receive from state and federal government programs.

evanstonjew said...

Your discussion of the Zaloni and Florida lacks context. I am pretty sure I remember R. Yoel Teitelbaum going to Miami Beach. There used to be a kehila of Satmar around 3rd or 4th in what is now South Beach. Obviously no chasidisher yid can go to South Beach. So they needed to find a secluded place and they did. Read Asaf's The Regal Way, A CEO of a company as big as Satmar would make how much? There is some ostentation but it is small potatoes compared to what goes on in the capitalist world. Talk to me when the Rebbe buys a Caribbean island.

MiMedinat HaYam said...

The current rebbes's father was an astute businessman. Nursing homes, real estate, known as the "ticker tape" rebbe by an opposing very powrtful (female) relative.

Cant blame the children from using their personal inheritance.

Same applies to the lakewooder (RY) rebbe family.