I grew up in an ultra orthodox Lubavitch/chabad setting. I was taught that it was not a cult. I was taught that it did not have the characteristics of a cult. Now I question everything which I was taught and I am certain that it is a cult and that it has many if not all the characteristics of a cult.
When I see someone who has been sucked in to lubavitch and I tell them that they are brainwashed the common response is “No one made me do anything I didn’t want to do, I am making my own choices.” My response is “That’s what they want you to believe.” In this post I am going to show you how this is done and why Lubavitch is a cult.
A cult has an unquestioning belief in one leader- whether they are dead or alive. Lubavitchers have an unquestionable belief in the Lubavitcher Rebbe. They believe him to be the messiah. I was brought up singing songs which literally translated as “The Lubavitcher rebbe is messiah”, and chanting “Long live our leader, our teacher, our rebbe, the king messiah forever.” The lubavitcher rebbe passed away 20 years ago, yet the lubavitchers still have unquestioning belief in him being the messiah and some believe that he never died. Posters like the above one which show a picture of the rebbe with the hebrew words “king messiah” are common in lubavitch vicinities. The lubavitchers still chant the the two sayings above and they communicate with him by placing a note in a book filled with letters written to people whilst the rebbe was alive. The lubavitchers then open the book where their note was placed and accept the letter as being current advice from the rebbe. They then follow this advice unquestionably.
Another characteristic of a cult is drawing in followers. The lubavitchers have an outreach program where they target jews from around the world and try to draw them into their sect. They perform this by dressing nicely and inviting people into their homes. Lubavitcher women are told that they must wear wigs to cover their hair and still look nice and appearance is very important so that when an outsider sees them they will say “wow they have so many children and responsibilities and still look so nice.” The lubavitchers station themselves across the world so that they can suck vulnerable people into their sect.
In school we were always told that we could have questions and that they encourage questions, however looking back I can see how my questions were always answered by the same people- a religious lubavitcher. Many of my questions which could not be answered were shut down and I was told not to ask stupid questions. These questions included who created god, what’s a non-jews purpose in this world, does a non jew have a soul, why do we need to keep laws that rabbis have added on over the years, why do many people who intermarry have happy marriages and many many more.
I could not ask a secular person their opinion or view on life. I was also taught that we know everything better than anyone else so I probably wouldn’t believe what an outsider would tell me. Freethought was also prohibited and we were taught to always ask a Rabbi instead of thinking for ourselves. Followers of chabad are highly dependent on a rabbi to dictate every aspect of their life. This is another characteristic of a cult, thinking that you have elite knowledge and are superior than others who are not in your cult, and not being able to make your own decisions.
Cults dress differently and obviously Chabad followers follow a strict dress code. Cults also dictate to their followers strict guidelines on what they can do, who they can see, who they can socialise with and who they can marry. All these restrictions apply to Chabad.
Cults also break up families. I have seen children thrown out of home for not adhering to strict guidelines. People who intermarry are often not spoken to and followers try to break up these marriages or convert the outsider.
Once someone is drawn in they support the Chabad house(outreach program) with “donations” which is at least 10% of their pay. Many Chabad houses are extremely successful due to these “donations” which members feel obligated to give. This is another characteristic as a cult.
Alcohol is used from a young age to give people a spiritual experience. I remember being taught how it opens the mind and allows people to reach a higher spiritual level. There are common parties called farbrengens, where large amounts of alcohol are drunk and chanting songs called Niggunim are sung till the early hours of the morning. This is a form of mind control and followers are encouraged to participate in these parties in order to connect spiritually.
In conclusion, it is easy to see how chabad/lubavitch is a cult. It exhibits all the characteristics of a cult and it is extremely harmful to its followers. It does not allow free thinking although it gives the impression that it does. It’s followers feel that they have superior knowledge to outsiders, they dress differently, they are told what to do and mind control techniques are used. All in all- it’s a cult. If you are in it get out before its too late. It’s easy to get sucked into and hard to get out of.