Rewriting Judaism Haredi Style
Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyahiv, the titular head of Lithuanian haredim, brokered a political deal that made Yona Metzger, an unqualified rabbi without experience as a religious judge and a man who had been censured by the chief rabbinate for behavior inappropriate for a rabbi, chief rabbi. The Jerusalem Post has a Q & A posted with Rabbi Metzger. Here is one "highlight":
Liza Zimmerman, Budapest: Dear Rabbi, my question is about the Kabbalah. Is there any stream in Judaism that doesn't accept it? Is the Torah, which has been given direct from Hashem not enough?
Rabbi Metzger: There is no stream in Orthodox Jewry - the original Jewry - that does not accept the Kabbalah, the Kabbalah is a secret Torah and is one of the deepest layers of interpreting the Torah and understanding the Creator's way in running the world.
1. There is a section of Yemenite Jewry that rejects Kabbalah. 2. There is a section of MO that rejects Kabbalah. 3. There is a section of old line Ashkenazi Jewry (as opposed to the followers of the GRA) that rejects Kabbalah. 4. The Zohar is clearly a forgery. 5. Implicit in Metzger's response is that the Torah is not enough, and neither is the Torah combined with the Mishna and Gemara. 6. The Rambam clearly knew nothing about Kabbalah. 7. The further back in history one goes, the fewer communities and rabbis one will find who follow or endorse Kabbalah. 8. Orthodox Judaism is not the "original" Judaism. It is a reaction to the Haskalah (Enlightenment) and the early Reform Movement.
To tell anyone they must follow or believe in Kabbalah is wrong. All a believing Jew must do is believe in God and follow the Law to the best of his ability. No incantations are necessary.
An important note: The Kabbalah that preceded the Ari (and does not make use of the Zohar) is really a completely different animal. That Kabbalah, the "original" Kabbalah, to borrow a phrase from the Ashkenazi chief rabbi, is the Kabbalah that mentions a very old world, 15 billion years old, and much of the other cool things kiruv workers teach recruits. This is the stuff the gedolim, led by Metzger's master, banned and labeled "heresy" during the Rabbi Slifkin Ban. Lurianic Kabbalah, as filtered through the prisims of Shabbatai Zvi and the hasidic movement, is the Kabbalah practiced and endorsed today. It is Zohar-based and worried excessively about demons and un-holy spirits. It is Voodoo without dolls and pins.