13 Tamuz 5779 / Tuesday, July 16, 2019 | Torah Reading: Pinchas
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How to Spot Fake Rabbis    

How to Spot Fake Rabbis

Rebbe Nachman taught us that in the time before Moshiach, the world would abound with fake rabbis and religious leaders preaching falsehood; how do we spot them?


A little while back, I got an email from someone who'd just had a promising shidduch (marital match) blown to smithereens by the other side's 'rabbi'.

The 'rabbi' got involved when things had got to engagement stage, decided he had ruach hakodesh (Divine inspiration), and told his follower to break off the shidduch ASAP, because he could 'see' that my correspondent was 'flawed'. (Aren't we all?)

My correspondent was heartbroken for months after this happened, beating themselves up for being 'flawed' and convinced that no-one would ever want to marry them. They contacted me to see if I could put them in touch with Rav Arush, or another rav who had ruach hakodesh, to get a second opinion about how bad they really were.

When I got that email, I hit the roof about all the terrible damage these fake rabbis are doing. I have seen people with true ruach hakodesh in action, and I can tell you one thing: they exude humility. It's not in what they say, or even how they act; it's a tangible reality that you walk into when you get anywhere close to them.

These genuine rabbis may well give advice to their followers. But they would never, ever 'command' people to do as they said; and they would never, ever, for even a second, suggest that they had ruach hakodesh or anything close to it.

Experience has taught me the hard way that when someone is continually blowing their own spiritual trumpet; and telling you about all the amazing mitzvahs they're involved in; and all the amazing spiritual insights they have; and about how amazingly holy, and special and self-sacrificing they are - it's 100% for show.

Stupid us, we believe them. Stupid us, it never crosses our mind for a moment that someone with a big black hat, and a beard, and a rabbinic title would lie about all the people they helped; and all the people who trust them; and all the amazing miracles they've apparently done. It all sounds so good; so convincing.

But true tzaddikim simply don't act that way. For example, I don't think I've ever heard Rav Arush blow his own trumpet about what a high level he's on, or what amazing books he's written, or how much ruach hakodesh he's got. If anything, he plays himself down all the time, and makes it clear that he's not perfect.

Yet I've met other 'rabbis' on a much lower spiritual level who have never owned up to being wrong about anything. Apparently, they always give the right advice; they always do the right thing; they always know exactly what's going on; they never fall away from their emuna for even a second.

But it's all lies.

I went back to my correspondent, and I told them straight that no genuine rabbi would ever 'command' their followers to break off a shidduch, even if they did have ruach hakodesh and they could see it was going to be a disaster. Why not? Because real rabbis respect people's free choice, while fake rabbis just love acting superior, and ordering other people around.

I told them they were dealing with a religious quack, and that they could rest assured that they were great, that G-d loved them, and that they would get married very soon, G-d willing.

Rebbe Nachman taught us that in the time before Moshiach, the world would abound with fake rabbis and religious leaders preaching falsehood. So let's try to make it as clear as possible who is fake, and who is real:

Real rabbis:

Have genuine empathy;

Are not angry, arrogant, superior, or condescending;

Gently advise you, without coercion or manipulation;

Consistently practice what they preach (even when they're 'stressed');

Are not obsessed with money, and status, and looking good;

Rarely talk about themselves;

Are 100% truthful;

Don't blame you for being flawed, or imperfect, or for making mistakes;

Make you feel good about yourself; and lastly;

Bring you closer to G-d.

Fake rabbis:

Can't seem to 'hear' what you're telling them;

Make you feel like you owe them big, just for being allowed into their holy presence;

Order you to do things, and criticise you if you disagree;

Get angry and start blaming you when things (even little things) don't go their way;

Are arrogant, superior, impatient and condescending;

Are full of judgement calls about other people;

Are full of false flattery (at least initially, to get you to like and trust them);

Are obsessed with their 'achievements', and what people think about them;

Make you feel bad about yourself, and your sincere attempts to serve G-d;

Imply they have ruach hakodesh, and then use that as an excuse for verbally and emotionally abusing you, or doing bad things

The last thing to say about fake rabbis is that they always pretend to be perfect, which means they never, ever own up to making a mistake, or apologize, even when they've acted very badly.

Not much longer now and Hashem will pull the mask of all the fake rabbis. He's doing it already, and that process is only going to speed up. So hold tight, keep your eyes peeled, and trust your instincts. Just because someone's a 'rabbi', doesn't mean they're a nice person, or a G-d-fearing Jew.

* * *
You're welcome to visit Rivka Levy's personal website at www.emunaroma.com

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  3 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  how to pray for the fake rabbis?
Anonymous,7/27/2015 8:14:49 AM
  Important Article
howard6/4/2015 1:01:10 AM
  Great Article!
Anonymous,12/9/2014 3:48:10 PM

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