From the book HaYom Yom for the day that fell on December 25 this year.
An email chain I received said...
I used to go to the Kabbalah Centre until I began receiving immense pressure to give them a lot of money (thousands of dollars). I was often approached under the guise of a "student question and answer" session. I was eventually hounded for money every time I entered the center in NYC just waiting for a class.
This offends my sense of spirituality so I proactively decided to stop contributing to this approach and now study with groups that offer this information for FREE as Kabbalah was meant to be taught.
This website shows problems with the Kabbalah Centre.
and, to be fair, also included these responses...
1. The truth is for every negative claim against the Kabbalah Centre, you will also find countless number of people whose lives have been changed by the work the Centre does.
2. I must make a personal defense of the NY Centre. I attend classes there, and most other events. I am a student with little money to spare. I was never accosted there in my life. In fact, one time I did not have any cash on me to buy a bottle of water, and someone who volunteers their time there told me to simply take one.
I have absolutely no doubt of the many people involved in the current Kabbalah fad have a serious committment to improving themselves and improving the world. Further, generally speaking the tools being used do offer positive steps to do so.
However, in the words of a great Rabbi, Teacher, and Kabbalist, who was asked the question, "If the people are being taught the truth, but it's just half a glass, or a quarter glass full, isn't that ok?" He answered, "If the glass is water, yes, if however it's kerosene...".
If only the truth is being taught, but limited, half, a quarter, ok, good things can come of it. But if some poison is mixed in? The results will not be good.
Just to push the analogy to it's limit, that also assumes the base itself is safe. In this case, the base itself is powerful and risky in it's own right (perhaps not water, but alcohol?)
The sincerity of those who are looking and learning is impressive, and this includes those public figures who are so easily ridiculed, who seem to need a good base more than most. But the sincerity of the organization is another matter. Some occasional side statements, the personal lifestyles of the management, the financial statements of the organization, the crass commercialization, just don't sync with the goals and the path of Kabbalah.
Be skeptical of people "selling" the truth. The truly righteous and truly mystical aren't selling, they're just quietly speaking.