I have friends from all streams of Jewish thought, who are in various places with their lives. I love them all, but sometimes they drive me absolutely nuts(hey what else are friends for). With the Kabbalah Kraze in full force everyone today wants to be a Kabbalist, whether or not they are properly equipped. People like Laitman and Berg have made a fortune by making “Kabbalah” accessible to the masses. That is about where my little spleen venting here begins.
I understand that their latest “Kabbalsitic” thought may well seem awfully meaningful to them. Which is why I typically try to avoid discussions about such things. See when someone comes to me with their latest Gematria trip(never mind that they have ignored all of the rules of Gematriyot, yes they do exist) and can be quite put out when I am significantly under-whelmed. I kinda see it like this, let’s say a guy hunts up someone he knows that is a University prof in physics and shows him his latest mathematical feat of 2+2=5. Would we be put out by the Physics prof for saying something like, “Um… that is just not correct. 2+2=4.”? No probably not.
However since religion plays into this, and since we have been far too inundated with Western values, I get an earful of, “You have to respect my opinions and feelings.” What utter rubbish. My other favorite is, “Are you saying that Artscroll, Chabad.org, OU.com, Rav Ginsburg, and the Baal HaTur are all wrong?” Let me not so kindly suggest that if the first three places that pop into your mind as to where you are getting you Kabbalistic knowledge are Artscroll, Chabad.org, and OU.com, you are not, no matter how much you would like to convince yourself otherwise, not learning Kabbalah. If you are using the Artscroll Baal HaTur(same thing), heck if you are reading the Tur straight, though you will be introduced to a few Kabbalistic concepts you are going to be lost as to what lies behind them. As far as Rav Ginsburg, see the the comments over at Tiyul In Tanya Part 4, as a short recap, anyone whose self-written bio calls the Greatest Living Kabbalist, and who says he has greater revelation than the Ari can quite simply be discounted.
As far as needing to give ear to such sillyness and respecting the opinions of those bringing it to me, to quote a favorite author of mine, “There are no bargains between lions and sheep and no accord between the ant and the boot.” If you want me to respect your opinions learn to read Hebrew and Aramaic so that you can actually deal with the sources and not rely on the various translations, especially Artscroll which is repeatedly noted for its editorial translation in order to make the Gemarra(or other writings) come up to modern Chareidi Standards.
This is what I call McDonalds Mekubalim, they don’t want to put the labor into actually learning Kabbalah(or even Chassidut) they just want it quick easy and the way they want it.