Another Cult Exposed? Megeirot

Update: More on Megeirot
Takana forum finds against Megeirot.

Megirot” (lit. drawers) is one of many recent attempts to help religious women attain a higher spiritual level in their lives. The Hebrew newspaper Makor Rishon has an exposé in today’s paper about the method and its founder. Women who have been active for many years and have taught using Megirot’s methods are calling it a cult. The method has many followers in the religious Zionist community in Israel.

According to the article by Yifat Erlich, Megirot was founded by Sylvia Dahari. A widowed mother of six originally from Gush Katif (the Jewish settlement of Gaza), she wished to share the “secrets” that helped her cope during the period after her husband was murdered in a terrorist attack. She attracted women with her dynamic personality and her ability to transform mundane daily tasks, especially housekeeping, into a quest for reaching a high level of holiness. The women brought the contents of their drawers to the lessons, where Sylvie (or the teachers trained by her) analyzed the objects and drew conclusions about the woman’s inner life.

At a lesson attended by the reporter in preparation for the article, Sylvie told of a woman who came to her saying that she wanted a divorce after two years of marriage. They “did a drawer,” which contained tapes of children’s songs. Sylvie asked why the woman was saving the tapes, and the woman said they were for her children. Sylvie pointed out that tapes would be worthless by the time the children grew up, and the woman was really saving them for herself because she still felt like a child. The woman agreed with Sylvie, and said that she wanted a divorce because she was afraid of growing up and becoming a mother.

The women interviewed in the article, who had been trained by Sylvie to teach the method, continue to be grateful for many things that they learned. However, they were seriously disturbed by Sylvie’s focus on sexual matters, including the close emotional relationships she developed with several husbands of her students. She interfered with the students’ private lives and mocked students after class. She deliberately came hours late to class, despite knowing that students traveled long distances.

Here are examples from the article:

  • Sylvie told of her son, whose daughter jumped on him and interrupted his learning. “Do everything so that she will listen to you in the end,” instructed Sylvie to her son. “I am breaking your hands,” he told the girl, and when she jumped on him again, he turned her hand until a “tick” was heard. “That’s it, finished,” explained Sylvie to the students. “It won’t happen again. Fear of punishment is necessary.” [Why do these cults always involve child abuse?]
  • Two years ago Sylvie began courting L., a married father of seven, who ran a ranch for teens at risk. The two would closet themselves in a room for hours and be seen around the country all hours of the day and night. “Every man has a physical wife and a spiritual wife. I am L.’s spiritual wife,” she explained to the students. [Why do these cults always involve sexual impropriety?]
  • She told L.’s [“physical”] wife, Y., “It’s from Hashem, for your own good. I am building his personality and saving him from spiritual death, and you are interfering in the process.” Y. was apparently convinced, and sadly told one of the women: “You think this isn’t hard for me? Sylvie is working with me on this.”
  • Sylvie gave a class for single women, and concluded that the reason they remained unmarried was their inability to speak openly with men. She recruited L. [see above] and a 17-year-old boy from his ranch, so the women could practice intimate phone conversations with them. When the women suggested that Sylvie herself marry, she replied, “Marry? For what? Why do I need a husband on my head? What is bad about my life? To serve him? So he will limit me? I don’t have enough to do?”
  • Sylvie tells women to carefully guard her husband’s honor: to stand up when he gets home, cook what he likes, and get into bed five minutes earlier than he. But if the men disagree with Sylvie about something, it’s a different matter entirely.
  • [We have sex, we have child abuse, so what’s left? Money, of course.] Tens of thousands of shekalim went into Sylvie’s pocket in the guise of sacred money, with a promise that the donors will merit blessings and be protected from harm. During the course of opening drawers, objects deemed unnecessary or impediments to growth remained with Sylvie. These included electrical appliances, a diamond ring, clothes and more. Women paid to attend lessons, but no receipts were ever given by Sylvie. (Some other teachers do give receipts.)

When haredi women began flocking to meetings in Bnei Brak, the Badatz of the Edah Haredit (one haredi community’s religious court) banned it. But it took longer for the religious Zionist rabbis to get the picture. Rabi Eliahu of Safed at one time recommended the Megirot method to women, but no longer. He believes a religious court should be convened to discuss the matter.

And some people seem to think that our community is too cynical. But it’s clear to me that we’re not suspicious enough.

The article has more, but it’s Friday afternoon and I’ve covered the main points.

Shabbat shalom.

Comments

  1. mother in israel says

    No, Rafi. But these leaders have a lot of power over others. If the article is accurate, it could be that Sylvie started Megirot to genuinely help people, but her own weaknesses eventually surfaced.

    Edited By Siteowner

  2. weird. I don’t understand how they get away with it. How does she convince people that she is a spiritual wife and can sleep with a married man? How does she convince people that they need to hurt their kids?
    In todays day and age where we are so aware and we always read about it, I just don’t understand how these people can fool others to following this stuff.
    But do we have to suspect everybody who starts a class? Just because someone puts up signs and offers their wisdom, does that mean they are suspect?

  3. mother in israel says

    Batya, victims of cults get sucked in gradually.
    Leora, it’s as easy as anywhere else. No shortages of therapists around here.

  4. How easy is it for people to get therapy in Israel? Sounds like people who end up in these cults really need some.

  5. One of my neighbors runs a group, and from what I understand, it’s nothing like that.

  6. I was thinking of 1) costs (is therapy covered by national insurance) and 2) probably more important, is it accepted in more frum communities. It seems to be more accepted than it used to be in New York frum communities.
    The statement that someone is afraid of being a mother speaks loudly to having grown up in a dysfunctional environment.

  7. This woman herself probably needed therapy after her husband’s murder and the expulsion form her home in Gush Katif. What was she like before those traumas? Maybe she completely lost it….

  8. Kol hakavod on the post — I will be sending people to read it.
    Shabbat Shalom!

  9. Im waiting for the expose on the fly-lady…

  10. I’ve only recently started reading your blog and was very happy to read your perceptions of motherhood. But this article from the newspaper just blaringly shouts Lashon Hara’ah – yes I’ve had classes with Sylvie, yes I went through the period when the whole episode went through the rabbinical court, and yes it was all hush hush – wisely so, now that I read what you quoted – and yes, I am still going to classes, tho we are now advised not to call it megirot, we still do, and I still find it one of the most helpful, insightful learning I have come across here in Israel. Nor have I experienced any of the horrible things mentioned in the article. Nor do I think it right for others to pass judgments without truly knowing EVERYTHING. In one of our classes we did discuss the limitations of megirot, but NEVER any of these the article mentioned. Tell me, does everyone always believe everything they read? and how on earth are we to do tikkun and make a better world in this negative way. I’m not saying hide what’s wrong, but in your comments are people who don’t even know her and dare to pass judgment??!!!!!

  11. mother in israel says

    Klara, thanks for the compliments on the (rest of the) blog.
    I’m sorry that this post upset you, and I’m glad you got a lot out of the classes.
    “I went through the period when the whole episode went through the rabbinical court”
    Are you talking about the ban by the Edah Charedit?
    You and many others may have had a very positive experience, but that does not mean that the article was wrong and that it is not a cult. People are only drawn into the inner circle once they seem ready to follow the leader’s agenda unconditionally. So saying that many people attended and didn’t find it to be a cult doesn’t prove anything.
    It could all be made up, but I’d rather that people considering attending or are already involved would have the information, all of which I took directly from the article, so that they can make their own judgment.
    I didn’t translate the whole article, but it seems I should. It quoted several rabbis who expressed reservations about S’s methods, and some had been in contact with people harmed by her.

  12. Throw them in jail, throw away the key. The world watches, reads. I’ll tell the world now. These are NOT my people, these people who say they are Jewish, who hurt children.
    Cults are infinitesimally small and attract very needy individuals who are very vulnerable and dependent.
    The Jewish people don’t do this. I want to say, even this isn’t true. Until you see them naked in bed. It’s not true. Until you see them twist the wrist. It’s not true. It’s not. It can’t be.

  13. Throw them in jail, throw away the key. The world watches, reads. I’ll tell the world now. These are NOT my people, these people who say they are Jewish, who hurt children.
    Cults are infinitesimally small and attract very needy individuals who are very vulnerable and dependent.
    The Jewish people don’t do this. I want to say, even this isn’t true. Until you see them naked in bed. It’s not true. Until you see them twist the wrist. It’s not true. It’s not. It can’t be.

  14. Journalist says

    Klara —
    The article didn’t do justice to the evil that is Megirot. There are literally hundreds of people who have been hurt by Sylvia and a number of lawsuits pending.

  15. Journalist says

    Klara —
    The article didn’t do justice to the evil that is Megirot. There are literally hundreds of people who have been hurt by Sylvia and a number of lawsuits pending.

  16. Well on the one hand I am tempted to say, “Isn’t it good I stayed with FlyLady” and on the other, I try to imagine the sort of exposee someone would write on the FlyLady system e.g. forcing you to throw your momentos away, or whatever.
    About 2 or 3 years ago that same Mekor Rishon magazine had a column comparing Flylady and Megirot saying that Megirot was Flylady for religious people!
    On the third hand while we know that newspaper articles may go a little bit over the top, one of my neighbors who is a social worker told me that we have other neighbors in our settlement who have been “hurt” by the megirot system, so there is something in this article.

  17. Well on the one hand I am tempted to say, “Isn’t it good I stayed with FlyLady” and on the other, I try to imagine the sort of exposee someone would write on the FlyLady system e.g. forcing you to throw your momentos away, or whatever.
    About 2 or 3 years ago that same Mekor Rishon magazine had a column comparing Flylady and Megirot saying that Megirot was Flylady for religious people!
    On the third hand while we know that newspaper articles may go a little bit over the top, one of my neighbors who is a social worker told me that we have other neighbors in our settlement who have been “hurt” by the megirot system, so there is something in this article.

  18. Keren: Makor Rishon is *the* most serious newspaper in Israel today. It may not be flashy or yellow like Maariv or Yediot, but it is the most serious, Hebrew Language newspaper in Israel today.
    Maybe not 100% of every single article is factually correct, but they definitely approach 100%. Its not like the article was a hatchet job on megeirot from one source…

  19. Jameel,
    I’d like to believe that because you say the reputation of Makor Rishon is so high, that of course everything it writes is reliable. And of couse, if something is dangerous, people should be warned. BUT how easy it is to play judge and jury on the computer – how easy it is to come to conclusions based on what others tell us.
    Am I delusional?? I can’t write strongly enough how inspiring the learning has been that I’ve had through megirot. How beyond other Jewish learning in that it included very specific exercises based on the idea that one doesn’t learn in one big sudden explosion, but with many small meaningful exercises.
    I am not writing to excuse or justify any wrong doings. I am just sharing that megirot has brought and continues to bring me much needed work in self growth – that I still recognize I myself must do, but don’t believe I would have without the tools megirot has introduced into my life. I feel privileged to have been born into the Jewish People and the great wisdom that comes from Torah – I recognize we must always work on bettering our lives. It pains me greatly to hear horror stories of fellow Jews. But I still greatly treasure all Sylvia has brought into my life. And most of all, I definitely do not feel I am part of a cult – I treasure my free will and recognize my decisions are mine, and only mine.
    I only ask that people do not make conclusions based only on all the negative – I want to point out that it cannot possibly be all so black and white.
    Klara

  20. I recall once when suggesting that we should be dan lekaf zchus, my brother retorted, but not “lekaf shtus.” You don’t wish to rush to condemn, but you also need to be cautious in cases where there is even potential for harm, and certainly where there are indication that actual harm has occurred (particularly when defenseless children are involved). Judaism does not call for on to remain naive and to block out all that may be unpleasant to belive exists.

  21. Klara: There are all sorts of cults that have positive aspects to them.
    However, it seems you’re in denial.
    But I still greatly treasure all Sylvia has brought into my life. And most of all, I definitely do not feel I am part of a cult.
    Then perhaps it’s time to seek professional advice (seriously). The Makor Rishon article was more than scary. Do you honestly think spiritual polygamy through multiple “spiritual” husbands is a positive thing within the framework of normative Judaism?
    “Tens of thousands of shekalim went into Sylvie’s pocket in the guise of sacred money, with a promise that the donors will merit blessings and be protected from harm.”
    A promise of blessings and protection? That sounds mighty cult-like to me. When you give money to a tzaddik for a bracha, there’s no promise it will work or that they will be protected from harm.

  22. I am absolutely shocked that people are ready to listen to loshon hara without finding out for themselves what is really happening. They read an article in the newspaper and then suddenly it is the absolute truth. Did anyone ever ask themselves if what Makor Rishon is printing is lies? Even more shocking, is that this supposed “religious” newspaper is engaged in blatent loshon hara.
    People are so busy checking their sleeve and skirt lengths and the size of the brim of their hats, yet they are self-rightously judging other people. Have they investigated these so-called truths themselves? Probably not – with the way these vicious comments have been freely flowing. I suggest you people do a little self-introspection and tikun on yourselves before you tell other people what they need to fix in themselves. If you don’t like what S is doing,then go speak to her yourself. You may think the loshon hara and snap judgements you are spreading on the internet are anonymous. But the Big Guy upstairs knows exactly what you are doing.

  23. mother in israel says

    Pickles, we’re talking about the possibility of great danger to the community. All of what I’ve written about hyper-tzniut and child abuse didn’t raise such levels of indignation. Clearly this post has struck a nerve. I’d rather risk [the possibility that I am] spreading false rumors (which [after all] were printed in the paper) than risk my friends and readers being manipulated by such a person.

    Edited By Siteowner

  24. pickles: Did anyone ever ask themselves if what Makor Rishon is printing is lies?
    And what if they are telling the truth? Then it’s a mitzva to quickly get everyone as far away from S. as possible! Makor Rishon has a reputation for being a very fair and reliable newspaper.
    Even more shocking, is that this supposed “religious” newspaper is engaged in blatent loshon hara. Actually, Makor Rishon is not “supposedly” religious. It doesn’t claim to be a religious newspaper. It’s a responsible, well written newspaper that does not engage in yellow journalism — rather it tries to do serious investigations with serious reporters.
    People are so busy checking their sleeve and skirt lengths and the size of the brim of their hats, yet they are self-rightously judging other people. Actually, they aren’t judging anyone, but doing an in depth investigative report on this cult.
    Have they investigated these so-called truths themselves?
    Yes. Its called investigating journalism — for the sake of the general public. They should be commended.
    If you don’t like what S is doing,then go speak to her yourself. Sorry, I don’t talk to spiritual polygamists.
    You may think the loshon hara and snap judgments you are spreading on the internet are anonymous. But the Big Guy upstairs knows exactly what you are doing. Baruch Hashem! And I think that keeping people out of cults is exactly what the “Big Guy Upstairs” would approve of.

  25. mother in israel says

    Thanks, Jameel, you’re right. I’ll edit it.

  26. MoI: I think you should reword this sentence:
    I’d rather risk spreading false rumors (which were printed in the paper) than risk my friends and readers being manipulated by such a person.
    To…
    I’d rather risk spreading false rumors (the information came from an article in the paper) than risk my friends and readers being manipulated by such a person.
    Your’s sounded like “false rumors were written in the paper” and I don’t think that’s what you meant to write.

  27. faith/emuna says

    ive gone to about 5 – 2hour lectures of megeirot given by a woman who lives on our yishuv, and a few more shorter shiurim given by her, not labeled megeirot but using the philosophy. there was absolutely no yelling or anything derogative. the woman answered any questions very nicely, although she was very sure of her way. i learnt ALOT.
    yes if the story is true this woman is very disturbed to say the least. but as rav aviner and rav eliyahu were quoted in the article there is a difference btwn the method and the woman, even though she ‘created’ the method.
    i will try to explain the method.
    you choose a ‘megira’ – it doesnt have to be a drawer, it can be a counter top, the top of your table etc. you define what it is that is bothering you. common problems – there are things that dont belong, too many things, the things are mixed up etc. you say a prayer – i have an oppurtunity to have a discussoin with hashem. hashem loves me where i am now. hashem pls help me love myself where i am now. (my own translation) you then define what you want in that place, take everything out, wipe it down and only put back what fits the definition. for example if my megira is my ‘junk drawer ‘(and if you continue to do megeirot there would be no such thing as a junk drawer) i might define my problem that i cant find what i need. i now need to define what should be in the drawer. lets say that i define what should be there – lets say office supplies – and then only put back t the pen pad scissors etc. now the philosopy is that the fact that i chose that drawer is that it bothers me that i cant find what i need in general in life. i would now make up a prayer like hashem please help me find what i need. i would now try to notice times where i cant find what i need and pray for help.
    now the thing is this. i just made up this example, but if i were truly doing megeirot i wouldnt do it myself, i would call a counselor and she would help me decide on the definition of my problem and what prayer to use to help me and how to work on the problem.
    so i like the philosophy but do it on my own or with a friend, i took the general method and used it for my needs, even though im not doing the real thing bc im not using a counselor.
    in general in life i try to take what helps me and throw away what isnt good for me. in this case im throwing away the guru (whom ive never met) but keeping the teachings that i find helpful.
    oh and the shiurim cost either 10 or 20 shekel for a 2 hour shiur (i remember 20 but my friend remembers 10

  28. The person who sees darkness and negativity in others, is actually seeing the darkness in himself. Think about it.

  29. faith/emuna says

    moi – re comparison to the burka womans story- she was fringe and there was a police investigation. there are so many people who have heard of or been involved somehow in megeirot and the story appeared in a newspaper.

  30. 5 Shiurim @ 2 hours a piece = 20 Hours
    10 or 20 Shekel X 5 Shiurim = 50 or 100 Shekel
    Another way to spend 20 hours:
    5 Minchas @ 15 minutes (say a nice long Shemona Esrei, ask Hashem for everything you need) a piece = 1.15 hours
    18.45 hours @ a trained certified licensed therapist
    50 or 100 shekel getting to and from the therapist.
    A few things I’ve learned so far in life:
    You can’t be happy with God unless you’re happy with yourself.
    You can’t be happy with yourself unless you know why you’re not happy.
    And you can’t know why you’re unhappy unless you know what’s wrong with you.
    Now let me clarify. I’m not by any means trying to be facetious. I honestly believe that trained and learned and up to date Psychologists/Psychiatrists do a lot better job figuring out what’s wrong with us than we can. That’s in fact exactly what they are trained to do. I don’t get paid to figure out what’s wrong with me. I get paid to be an accountant. If I have problems in my life that I can’t figure out or I can’t readily and easily solve in an every day sort of manner, I go to a shrink, and they tell me what’s wrong with me.
    And then once I figure out what’s wrong with me, and I work on it, and I feel better, then I can go work on my relationship with God and tikkun and my yiddishkeit and my emunah and all that stuff. And where do I go to for that? Well first, the Big Man Himself (through prayer) and then this neat little book he gave us back on some mountain called the Torah. And I read all the wonderful seforim that his righteous disciples wrote up (‘cuz that’s what they get paid to do) specifically for people like me who have trouble in those areas that I just mentioned.
    I’m not saying it’s all black and white and I’m not saying it’s this simple. But I am asking who is this woman to go preach a method of overcoming serious trauma and getting closer to Hashem when it seems as if she’s qualified in neither of the above.
    It’s great if it works for you or for them or for some people. That’s all fine and good. Well you know what, I got something else you may want to try. His name was Jesus Christ. All you have to do is believe that he was your lord and savior and that he died for your sins, and your entire life will change. That belief alone will promise you a great many blessings and grant you wonderful mental and spiritual security. It in fact will guarentee your safe passageway to heaven. And it’s as simple as believing. That’s all I ask is that you believe and put 10 shekel in this jar.
    HA!
    I just made you a Christian.

  31. 5 Shiurim @ 2 hours a piece = 20 Hours
    10 or 20 Shekel X 5 Shiurim = 50 or 100 Shekel
    Another way to spend 20 hours:
    5 Minchas @ 15 minutes (say a nice long Shemona Esrei, ask Hashem for everything you need) a piece = 1.15 hours
    18.45 hours @ a trained certified licensed therapist
    50 or 100 shekel getting to and from the therapist.
    A few things I’ve learned so far in life:
    You can’t be happy with God unless you’re happy with yourself.
    You can’t be happy with yourself unless you know why you’re not happy.
    And you can’t know why you’re unhappy unless you know what’s wrong with you.
    Now let me clarify. I’m not by any means trying to be facetious. I honestly believe that trained and learned and up to date Psychologists/Psychiatrists do a lot better job figuring out what’s wrong with us than we can. That’s in fact exactly what they are trained to do. I don’t get paid to figure out what’s wrong with me. I get paid to be an accountant. If I have problems in my life that I can’t figure out or I can’t readily and easily solve in an every day sort of manner, I go to a shrink, and they tell me what’s wrong with me.
    And then once I figure out what’s wrong with me, and I work on it, and I feel better, then I can go work on my relationship with God and tikkun and my yiddishkeit and my emunah and all that stuff. And where do I go to for that? Well first, the Big Man Himself (through prayer) and then this neat little book he gave us back on some mountain called the Torah. And I read all the wonderful seforim that his righteous disciples wrote up (‘cuz that’s what they get paid to do) specifically for people like me who have trouble in those areas that I just mentioned.
    I’m not saying it’s all black and white and I’m not saying it’s this simple. But I am asking who is this woman to go preach a method of overcoming serious trauma and getting closer to Hashem when it seems as if she’s qualified in neither of the above.
    It’s great if it works for you or for them or for some people. That’s all fine and good. Well you know what, I got something else you may want to try. His name was Jesus Christ. All you have to do is believe that he was your lord and savior and that he died for your sins, and your entire life will change. That belief alone will promise you a great many blessings and grant you wonderful mental and spiritual security. It in fact will guarentee your safe passageway to heaven. And it’s as simple as believing. That’s all I ask is that you believe and put 10 shekel in this jar.
    HA!
    I just made you a Christian.

  32. Regular Anonymous says

    Don’t you just love the “you-can’t-say-that-it’s-lashon-hora” approach to sweeping unpleasantness under the carpet. It’s tried and true, been used successfully to protect child molesters for years.
    Thanks for the public service announcement.

  33. Regular Anonymous says

    Don’t you just love the “you-can’t-say-that-it’s-lashon-hora” approach to sweeping unpleasantness under the carpet. It’s tried and true, been used successfully to protect child molesters for years.
    Thanks for the public service announcement.

  34. Pickles: The person who sees darkness and negativity in others, is actually seeing the darkness in himself. Think about it.
    I’m glad the Torah doesn’t say anything dark or negative about Lot, Lavan, Eisav, Korach, Datan, Aviram, The 10 meraglim, Balak, or Bilam. And there are no dark or negative people in Tanach. Glad that’s cleared up.

  35. Pickles: The person who sees darkness and negativity in others, is actually seeing the darkness in himself. Think about it.
    I’m glad the Torah doesn’t say anything dark or negative about Lot, Lavan, Eisav, Korach, Datan, Aviram, The 10 meraglim, Balak, or Bilam. And there are no dark or negative people in Tanach. Glad that’s cleared up.

  36. People are getting excited aren’t they?
    One thing bothered me about one of the above posts.
    The person who said that to do the method properly she would have to ask the councellor what her drawer meant and what problems she had.
    Jewish people do not need intermediaries like the pope etc. So that is one of the things that should light a red light.
    This has become so contraversial here and probably on other internet places, because so many people we know who are regular ladies in lots of settlements and other places followed the system.
    People who did not interact with Sylvie in anyway themselves, but learnt this system from others feel personally attacked (if they followed the system, ergo, they have something wrong with them, they were part of a cult, hey, how could you say that!).
    It should be noted that the Rabbis quoted in the article (which I read eagerly like all my neighbors), said that at the beginning the system seemed OK to them, and seemed helpful.
    However, they also pointed out that making up your own prayers and ways of worship is problematical.

  37. westbankmama says

    Good post. I very much enjoy your blog…

  38. mother in israel says

    Keren, there is nothing wrong with making up your own prayers. In the article R. Dov Lior criticized it from day one for not being based on the words of chazal.

  39. faith/emuna says

    1) i understand why moi translated the article in her blog. it is important that people know to protect themselves from danger
    2) i dont understand why people cant accept that there was any good in any of her philosophy. even if you want to judge the woman as pure evil it still doesnt mean that all her teachings were evil. one rav in the article compared her to a prophet who spoke the word of hashem and then when hashem stopped speaking to her she turned and became a false prophet. i am not comparing the woman to a prophet, i am saying that it is very simplistic to dismiss a system that many found helpful bc at some point it went terriably bad.
    3) jameel – if we are already discussing tanach – why are you hiding from your readers the scandalous scoop of one of the most prominent spritual, military and political leaders who slept with a married woman and then had her husband killed off? and even ultra orthodox rabbis pray from his writings.
    4) seriously, can someone explain to me what is objectional about praying in ones own words? whenever one wants? ive been doing this before i ever heard of megeirot and i was under the impression that that was something all jewish mothers do. i do pray shacharit and mincha but unfortunately i find it hard to concentrate when saying the same prayers twice a day for decades. maybe one of you can prescribe ritalin to me.
    5) mordys – huh?
    are you saying that if i go to shiurim that are not actualy quoting chapter and verse of the torah then im like a christian? that one can not avail of anyone except for a ceritified psychologist ?
    i really didnt understand your post.
    6)keren – jewish people dont need intermediaries like the pope? huh? so if i go to my rav for a psak then its not jewish? if i go to a older friend for advise its not jewish?
    7) to conclude i thank moi for the post, for bringing this topic to the public. while i am not personaly offended by the comments made, i am disappointed in some of the commentators for their snap judgements, faulty logic, strange conclusions, outright chutzpa (telling people they need therapy ) and general smugness.

  40. Emuna,
    I wasn’t going to comment anymore – I don’t see a point in it – but just had to say loved what you wrote.
    And there truly is alot in megirot of great value. The point of having a counselor is to ask you questions so that you might see things in a new light. The counselor is NEVER to answer for you – one of the main teachings is that NO ONE can answer for you and there are no pact answers for everyone – everyone does need to look within, and even problems that bother us today might not be the ones we need to work on tomorrow, ie. bother us – it’s all about being totally honest especially to ourselves. And always turning to Hashem for help, because we don’t have total control, we need help from above. (so yes, personal prayers)
    And the part about knowing what to fix (forgot who wrote that) – only we can truly know that – it’s looking at our lives and seeing what’s not working, what makes us uncomfortable – and how lovely to have a drawer to send us that message. Guess I said it already, I so very much love the system.
    When I first started learning, I read This Is My G-d, by Herman Wouk, and he compared Judaism to a beautiful piece of music – not everyone can play it as well, but that doesn’t make the music less beautiful. It saddens me very much to hear all the horror stories, but the system is truly ingenious.
    Klara

  41. To clarify:
    The comparison to Christianity was to show that people want to believe in things. People want to believe in anything that will help them get through their problems.
    As Jews, we don’t need to rely on and we certainly don’t advocate random believing. If we consider ourselves religious Jews, then we should seek answers to our problems within the different areas of thought that have developed from the Torah throughout time. We have leaders that are trained in the Torah and know how to answer our questions of belief and practices. We should not need to look for answers to our religious problems outside of what’s already in place, such as Rabbonim on the entire spectrum of hashkafic or political views. We should not need to turn to shady people who offer us false hope that doesn’t come from an identifiable Torah source.
    And if we have psychologic issues, we should seek help for it through the proper means that have been proven effective, and on top of that, have also been approved by modern learned Rabbonim.
    Therapy is the right answer for emotional trauma, as far as I know. And as a Jew, the Torah is the proper source to find out how one can get closer to God.
    If one feels the need to look for help in these areas by other means, then it seems as though they may be approaching rocky terrain that more resembles religions other than our own.
    And regarding saying your own Tefillot, I am not a halachic authority so I have no idea whether it’s problematic or not. I’m more concerned with the fact that people don’t find what they’re looking for in the Tefillot that we have in place already. I know I was always taught and encouraged to speak to God freely and openly at the part of Shemona Esrei right before the end after you finish saying the Asei lemans and before you say Yihu Leratzon. Certain chassidim hold Hispodidus to be very important and that involves talking to God freely. I’m not concerned with people who do Hispodidus because I’ve been told by people a lot more knowledgable in Chasidus than me that the concept comes straight from R’ Nachman’s writings, and I don’t think anyone would say that his writings aren’t Torah and it follows what I mentioned above. Hispodidus comes from and follows a specific Torah view.
    Although it seems from what’s been written in the comments that some Rabbonim actually did approve this woman’s method in the beginning, who am I to argue. But based on the principles I just mentioned above that seem so clear to me, I just don’t see the point in having to resort to a method that seems to have materialized out of the blue when there’s so much tried and true help readily available to every Yid.

  42. Eve Harow says

    Can you please contact me ASAP? Thanks.

  43. mother in israel says

    Mordy, Megeirot was not intended as an answer to psychological trauma. It was a method of combining spirituality and housework. And many rabbis don’t hold by R. Nachman.
    Faith, as I said making up your own prayers is fine, and no rabbi has said it isn’t.
    I am sure there were many positive things in the method. But some methods lend themselves more easily to emotional manipulation and controlling behavior by the facilitators.

  44. mother in israel says

    I put up a new post on the subject:
    More on Megeirot

  45. Mike Miller says

    R’ Gil Student brought to my attention an excellent line by A. J. Heschel.

    Heschel had a great appreciation of the embodiment of truth in tradition. He was fond of telling the story of a woman who approached him in the synagogue, complaining that the service did not say what she wanted to say. “Madam,” he responded, “you have it precisely backwards. The idea is not for the service to say what you want to say but for you to want to say what the service says.”

    Gil’s Link: http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2005/06/words-of-prayer.html
    His Source: http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9901/public.html#abraham

  46. Faith:
    Thanks for bringing up that Tanach personality — I could have missed it!
    I dont think anyone has a problem with taking the good from any situation (unless they are extremely bad situations with major moral implications).
    Your conclusion is by far the best comment so far; i am disappointed in some of the commentators for their snap judgements, faulty logic, strange conclusions, outright chutzpa (telling people they need therapy ) and general smugness.
    Want to guest post sometime? 🙂

  47. Faith:
    Thanks for bringing up that Tanach personality — I could have missed it!
    I dont think anyone has a problem with taking the good from any situation (unless they are extremely bad situations with major moral implications).
    Your conclusion is by far the best comment so far; i am disappointed in some of the commentators for their snap judgements, faulty logic, strange conclusions, outright chutzpa (telling people they need therapy ) and general smugness.
    Want to guest post sometime? 🙂

  48. Mike Miller says

    Lancer?

  49. faith/emuna says

    mordys – i dont understand why you comment on megeirot when you dont know enough about it
    klara- thank you. . my own advise, which you can do with as you want , esp being that i have no degree in psychology (needed to say that b4 i get condemned for being a cult leader etc) is to try not to take it all too personaly,do your own chesbon nefesh of what you can take from this situation, and pray for everyone else to have more ahavat yisrael
    mike miller – while it is a cute anecdote and mightve been the right thing to say in that particular situation, from my understanding of the rambam womans oligation in tfilla is shevach and bakasha. so when i wake up in the morning and say modah ani and pray to hashem that he gives me the patience to get my kids out to school on time with a smile, not only is this permissable but i have actualy ,according to the rambam, fulfilled my obligation for tfila
    lancer –
    ‘I dont think anyone has a problem with taking the good from any situation (unless they are extremely bad situations with major moral implications).’
    actualy that seems exactly what people are saying.they are not accepting that while if what the newspaper says is true, the woman has gone bad, but it doesnt negate that the system has good points to it.
    i looked at your homepage and it was the muqata. does that make you jameel? and if so whats with all the aliases?

  50. Faith – yes Lancer was me. Sorry about that (got confused with Luker, who was using my computer)

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