Tag Archives: freedom

Is Lubavitch/Chabad a Cult?

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.

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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.

Love your neighbor like yourself

Growing up I was taught that Jews were superior to all other people on earth. I was taught that we are the chosen nation, how God loves us more than all the other people which is why we have the privilege of keeping the torah’s commandments . It was drilled in my head over and over again that there are different laws for Jews and how Jews have superior souls to non jews.

I have written previously about the question that ultra orthodox jews usually ask regarding whether they can break the sabbath to help a non Jew.  That is not the only ridiculous and degrading question that exists, there are plenty more such as if you eat with a non jew, share your plates with them and drink their wine.

There is a jewish saying which literally translated means love your neighbor like yourself. Somehow in the ultra orthodox world this saying is currently being translated and practiced as love your fellow jew like yourself. We are not taught that this law applies to people who are not jewish. We are not taught to treat them as equals, and we are taught that they are not equals, that jews are far more superior to non jews.

The Torah commands that if you see your enemies donkey with a heavy load you must stop and help the donkey. This commandment should remove the superiority complex which exists.  It should make it obvious that if you need to stop and help an animal how much more so should you help fellow humans. I dont believe that any person is superior to others based on their religion alone. I don’t believe that being a jew gives you the right to treat non jews like ignorant sub humans. I am ashamed of the things i was taught growing up. I am ashamed that we were taught to make fun of other religions and their believers. I am ashamed that this behavior still goes on today.

I remember a rabbi in israel teaching me how the jews keep the world running. If it wasn’t for jews keeping torah and commandments the world would stop turning and cease to exist. At the time I was so brainwashed that I believed every word I was told. I didn’t dare question it. Now having removed myself from the religious world it is clear to see that this is such a wrong belief.

Even if the jews believe that they are the chosen people god still loves all his creations and expects everyone to be treated with kindness, dignity and equality. I wish that the phrase “Love your neighbor like yourself” would go back to its literal translation and everyone would be treated as equal human beings judged by their actions- not their race or religion.

I have written this as a person from a jewish background but I feel that this  happens in  all religions and is relative to all religions.

Show a rabbi your underwear

“Show a rabbi your underwear.”

To most people this would be absurd, however for ultra orthodox Jewish women this is a normal part of life. The laws of intimacy in judaism require a married woman to have no physical contact from their husband for two weeks of every month if they are menstruating. One week is the week of their period and the second week is 7 days of non bleeding. A ultra orthodox woman may not abstain from having sexual relations with their husband for longer than the necessary. Therefore as soon as they stop bleeding they must start counting the 7 days of non bleeding.

During these 7 days when they don’t have their period, these women are supposed to wear white underwear to make sure that no blood comes out. If a discharge that is not white is found on their underwear they must show their underwear to a rabbi to find out if they can continue the countdown or if they must wait again.

Ultra orthodox people argue that this is just like going to a Dr. They say the rabbi’s are used to seeing these intimate items of clothing. I would never send my underwear to my GP, or even my gynocologist. If I was worried about something I may make an appointment and describe what I am worried about, but I would not be sending my dirty, blood stained underwear to anyone- let alone a rabbi.

To me this is personal. To me whether I am bleeding or not is personal. My relationship between me and my husband is personal. When and if we choose to have sexual interactions is a mutual decision between us alone. It is not a threesome with a rabbi or anyone else. We do not choose to have sexual relations just because its 7 days after I had my period. It is not a date marked down in our calendar. I feel so so sorry for the ultra orthodox women who have to go through this. I feel so so sorry that they do not get to have a healthy normal touch from their husband for half of every month.

On what level is this at all normal? You would not abstain from touching anyone else that you love for two weeks every month. Yet they are told to not touch, hug, kiss the person who they are meant to love the most. Even if they can’t have sex during these two weeks. Why are they taught that all touching leads to sex? Why can’t they just enjoy a normal hug with no sex involved?

The extreme ultra orthodox do not even pass objects to each other as they may accidentally touch their spouse and have sex when they’re forbidden to. Then to take this further the ultra orthodox never pass objects to each other in public at all so that no one knows when they are touching or not.

Its so sad that these people are brainwashed to keep these ridiculous laws. Its so sad that these people are not allowed to touch the ones they love most.

what makes a good person

Growing up in an ultra orthodox environment I was taught that a good person is one who davens (prays) everyday, dresses according to jewish law, eats kosher food, runs to put teffilin on people etc.

I failed to learn that looks and appearances mean nothing when it comes to a good person. A parent who ignores their crying child cos they are too busy davening is not a good person. A person who ignores another person because they are too busy serving god is not a good person.

If there is a god and if he is as great as the religious ones make him out to be, surely he will understand if a person has to stop davening or keeping the sabbath or other commandments to help another person. People come first. God can wait. God will understand but a person who has a real need will not understand and can not wait.

One of the main reasons that I became frumless is because I found that my priorities were wrong. I would see parents fasting and then being horrible to their children, people would question if they could call an ambulance for an injured person on sabbath. There were questions where there should not be questions.  I decided to drop all the commandments and just focus on being a healthy, happy and kind person.

To be a good person is all that matters to me. When you don’t have all the commandments blurring your view of right and wrong it’s easy to be a good person.

True freedom

For me being frumless is being free. I am free from worrying about what I am supposed to be doing. I am free to use my own common sense to make my own choices.  I do not need to ask a rabbi what food I can eat, which places I can enter, which days I can work, If I can use contraception, if I can have sexual relations with my husband and much much more.

I feel truly free to use my own brains to make these decisions.  A common argument made by ultra orthodox jews as to why they can’t make these choices on their own and must ask a rabbis advice is “the nazis used their own brains”.

 

My answer to this argument is the nazis did not use their own brains or common sense. They all followed one leader. They did not question Hitler,  they did not use their common sense to think whether what their leader was doing was reasonable. They did as they were told.

 

This is not freedom. Freedom is being able to use your own brain to make your own choices. Freedom is not having to ask a rabbi for every little aspect of your life. Freedom is choosing what you do in life and accepting the outcome of your actions. Freedom is living a frumless life.