בס"ד This is a blog for Jews who feel a sense of deep identification with HaYachad (Dead Sea Sect). This group is for Jews who feel nostalgia and longing for a Judaism that was, and a profound yearning for it to be again. Our way leads to the Self-realization and, on an even more deeply satisfying level, the Mutual-Realization of Mashi'ach. That is what differentiates us from HaPrushim. NO MATERIAL HERE IS TO BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT PERMISSION.

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Location: Tzfat, Israel

Sunday, May 02, 2004


Welcome Gentle Traveler

This piece appears on the Forum of the Tzfat web site

For every thousand who come to Tzfat seeking the “trip” of the Old City, there may be one who comes here sincerely searching for HaShem and to learn Torah in truth and in purity.

I too came here believing that the Torah is to be found in this city. There are no words to describe the dismay, disappointment and heartbreak that I experienced when I began to see the truth about Tzfat. It cannot be that in a city wherein resides holiness that there is such abundant wealth for a very few, while others eat the crumbs that “fall from their table” and many live in poverty.

Like most visitors to Tzfat I was enchanted by the city when I visited it. I believed the stories I was told about the history of Tzfat being a path holiness leading from the time of the Ar”I to this day. I was dazzled by the beauty of the Old City (it has since deteriorated radically and is far less enticing than it was when I first visited Tzfat almost 20 years ago). I wanted only to come to live in Tzfat.

It is only after one comes to live here that it becomes apparent that something is radically wrong in this town. Nothing grows here. Nothing is established. Nothing is secure. No venture succeeds. Every garden turns to briars and thistles. Strange deaths and suicides take place here in numbers that seem to far exceed what might be expected in the general population. Drug use is rampant in the Old City among the “spiritual” people there, even among the adult parents, even as it is rife among the young. Drugs have been found in the possession of the “chozrim b’tshuvah” in the yeshivot. Crime is becoming prevalent. The very stones with which Tzfat is paved are unstable and people fall here an inordinate amount.

These are the effects of the fact that Tzfat has been the epicenter of the teaching of the pseudo-Kabbalah for five hundred years and remains unrepentant. Not only did, and do, the yeshivot teach the pseudo-Kabblah, and even entice the newly religious with it; artists sold pseudo-Kabbalistic chachkes that the made in the alleys of the Old City and made fortunes. Today, as the result of a very sharp decline in tourism, the artists are no longer doing this, but they yearn for the days when they did and would return to doing so in an instant if the opportunity arose. For all of these reasons Tzfat is a city cursed, and very, very depressed spiritually, socially, culturally and economically.

When I wrote these things five years ago I was accused of slandering the city for no reason. I was accused of being “bitter”. Today matters have gotten so far out of hand that no one can deny that something is radically wrong in Tzfat. Some 700,000 Shekels worth of computers that the city made available for the free use of the residents, including Internet, was recently stolen. The computers were neither insured nor guarded. This is just the last in a series of increasingly bold crimes being perpetrated here.

My voice is not the voice of a siren, for it is not my intention to entice others into avodah zarah. I am not a nymph from Greek mythology. Neither is my manner the manner of the polished and slick, those who market the pseudo-Kabbalah, those who smile at you tenderly as they poison your Sould. I stand here and call out to those who may fall into the snare set for the unknowing and gullible.

The pseudo-Kabbalah is the vilest of any commodity, and it is being sold here. The people selling it are villains, whether they wrap themselves in talitot or present the image of the “happy mother of sons” changes nothing. Indeed, it only makes matters worse. They are worse than drug dealers, because everyone at least knows that drugs are poison. Whereas the marketers of the pseudo-Kabbalah promise you that they will get you into Heaven and that Mashi'ach is coming – they just can’t say when and, unlike the Dead Sea Sect, whom they disparage, they don't exactly know who or what Mashi'ach is. Never mind, they're making a bundle in the meantime.

Those who are involved in the pseudo-Kabbalah business, and those who have been duped by it and cannot enlist the strength to extricate themselves from it thus they justify it, would have you believe that I am “bad”. Judge for yourself.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat