Dec 27, 2013
Cult Expert Explains Dangers

Raphael Aron, a specialist on mind control and cults, explains the dangers of Large Group Awareness Therapy such as Call of the Shofar. Update: Crown Heights Rabbonim issue a psak.

By Raphael Aron, Director, Cult Consulting Australia (

This past month has arguably given the Call of the Shofar (COTS) more world publicity than a full page in the New York Times. The publicity has generated a spate of articles, comments on various Jewish websites and blogs.

The recent publicity was followed by an Asiphoh in Crown Heights on Tuesday evening attended by a crowd of some 2000 participants KAH which focused in part on the issue of Chassidai Chabad turning to outside sources for inspiration and guidance a timely issue as we move towards Yud Shvat, a time of reflection and introspection for all Chassidim.

By now adding to the volume of material which has been published on the COTS issue, I am attempting to further clarify some of the points which have unfortunately in part been hijacked by emotion and mis-information.

In writing this piece I draw from my experience as the Director of Cult Consulting Australia ( and an author of two published books on the cult issue: Cults: Too Good to be True (Harper Collins 1999) and Cults, Terror and Mind Control (Bay Tree Publishers 2009.) Further information can be found on

Furthermore, since addressing the Kinus HaShluchois three years ago I have been working by email and phone with Shluchim and Shluchos around the world in relation to the challenges of Shlichus including family issues and Sholom Bayis. In relation to COTS, the concerns of Shluchos have included, in particular, the observation that their husbands pre-occupation with their self-development and self-empowerment has impacted their Sholom Bayis as well as the centrality of Yiddishkeit in their lives.

By way of introduction, considerable time and space has been devoted to the question as to whether COTS is a cult. Generally speaking, this question is irrelevant. While there are many well known, religious, spiritual and personal development groups which have attracted the cult title, there is limited value in ascribing pejorative terms to particular organizations be they religious, spiritual or other. (Incidentally, it has been suggested that the term cult is not necessarily a negative term in that there can be pareve or even kosher cults. I disagree with this premise. By definition, a cult refers to an organization or system which impacts on an individuals ability to remain in control of his/her life and ultimately removes any opportunity of enquiry and free choice. Instead, the subject becomes the victim of a process commonly known as mind control.)

The fact is that there are thousands of people who have joined numerous suspect groups often referred to as cults and walked away unscathed while there are probably as many who have joined established religions and acted in a very cultish manner. One need not look further than numerous fundamentalist groups today both Christian and Moslem in order to observe this reality. The question regarding any organizations is far more about its agenda, its modus operandi and the long-term impact it has on those who join it. A crucial issue is whether the participation in the group is a one-off activity or whether it fosters dependence and an unhealthy relationship with the organization.

This is why it makes no difference and is not relevant whether the organization is headed by a guru or not. I have worked with numerous individuals who have been controlled by small groups or by natural healers and therapists in positions of power who have exerted an undue level of influence over their subjects. This is no less a cult-like relationship than what exists in some of the better known groups which have attracted that label.

Rather than refer to COTS in particular, I feel it necessary to discuss some of the processes used by LGATs (Large Group Awareness Therapy Groups.) It is for the reader to decide the relevance of these issues to the COTS organization.

One of the typical characteristics of an unhealthy or suspect organization is its ability to convince its members that having identified particular problems or deficits in their lives, it now has the solutions to these issues. Through a range of processes, these organization claim to be able to detect weaknesses or blockages in the emotional and psychological makeup of the client who is then given the message that only by joining the organization will it be possible to address and fully resolve these issues. Simply put, it is one thing to identify a problem, although in my view that identification process is often totally flawed; it is something else altogether to provide a solution to the problem.

And herein lies one of the fallacies of many suspect organization and practitioners. We all have problems; we all have issues be they in relation to our families, marriages, work place, our sense of self and direction on life and our personal relationships. When others are able to articulate these issues, in our vulnerability, we tend to believe that they and sometimes, only they have the answer.

The vulnerability of the individual is further enhanced by the group dynamic which can create a momentum and a desire to go with the flow in a compelling manner. The group dynamic can introduce feelings of accomplishment, even euphoria. Suddenly and powerfully, the participants get it an expression commonly used by well-known personal development groups. Feelings of closeness and affinity between group members who may have little in common and have never met until the particular event can be a strange feature of this experience. In the extreme and this is not always the case the participant begins to realize that only through this group can one reach the heights and level of fulfillment which until now appeared unachievable and well out of reach. Nothing else compares.

Within that mindset, participants are often requested to connect with long-lost relatives or to make amends with people with whom they have fallen out in the past. This may be a worthwhile idea which incidentally often forms a part of many therapeutic processes which deal with relationship resolution issues. However, in the heightened environment of an intensive weekend program, these processes can often take on an exaggerated value further convincing the participants of the almost unreal nature of the program.

The counter-argument to these concerns is that if it works whats the problem? Isnt the result what really counts? I have no problem in accepting that in certain situations the results may justify the means by which they were achieved. If a couple has found Sholom Bayis, if an individual can now return to study or work or if a relationship has been repaired, these people should feel fortunate. My experience is that these results can be short-lived in situations where there are underlying mental health and emotional issues which may remain unresolved. The participants may also rely on a continuing and often ongoing dependent relationship with the organization.

Furthermore while many participants may not be experiencing any significant personal challenges, others may be participating because they have unresolved personal or relationship issues. Fragile and possibly the victims of abuse and trauma, they may be at serious risk if they replace the need for qualified professional assistance with participation in a group which may not screen or assess its clientele nor provide ongoing support and expertise demanded in these situations.

While I applaud Mashpiim for recognizing that they alone may not be able to provide the support some of their students require and therefore they refer them to other sources for assistance, I question whether these Mashpiim, as well intentioned as they are, have the understanding and expertise to make these referrals. There may be other professional avenues which Mashpiim should seriously consider in assisting their students. Indeed a Mashpiah is often in a unique position to assist a student receive long-overdue personal assistance but such action requires wisdom and careful consideration. I believe that especially in todays climate, Mashpiim would benefit considerably from an understanding of some of the mental health, family, emotional and personal issues which some of their students confront. This applies to Mashpiim not only of students but also adult members of our communities who turn to them for guidance and advice.

I also recognize that many participants have written about the lack of relevance and connection between the values of Chassidus and its implementation in their daily lives. While many were inspired by the recent Asiphoh, others were concerned that it did not go far enough in assuring young people that Chassidus does not only provide the inspiration for happiness and meaningfulness but also the means and the tools by which to achieve these goals. This is a very critical issue which requires careful consideration which I would hope would now receive the urgent attention it deserves in the light of the discussion over the past few weeks.

The Mashpiim, Rabbonim, Shluchim and Shluchois of our communities must now respond to COTS in light of serious concerns which have been raised by participants and observers of these programs. To recommend any potentially life-changing programs to others is a huge responsibility, in particular, when they have the potential to capitalize on the vulnerability of people searching for direction. Against the backdrop of our community which is confronting its own challenges, this is certainly the immediate call of the hour.

Raphael Aron is in New York until Sunday 5 January and can be contacted at

Crown Heights Badatz members Rabbi Yaakov Schwei and Rabbi Yosef Braun have issued a psak din regarding attending "Call of the Shofar" programs.

The sign, posted in 770, states that one may not participate in any workshops, seminars etc. of the group "Call of the Shofar," or any other new age therapies.

They also ask "not to spark arguments or sow discord or strife in the community," and to judge fellow community members favorably.

Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
Was waiting to hear what Mr Aron had to say!! Beautifully said!
(12/27/2013 10:54:04 AM)
Rabbi Aron!
Rabbi Rafael Aron has written a wise and powerful, thoughtful piece. Thank you for writing it, and highlighting the core issues at hand, and thank you for having it published!
(12/27/2013 11:02:29 AM)
Can those two signors follow their own advice regarding "not to spark arguments or sow discord and strife in the community".

Yours Truly,
(12/27/2013 11:09:17 AM)
There is another rav....
What is Rabbi Asdoba's opinion?
(12/27/2013 11:13:05 AM)
Now the B"D should issue a clear "Heihan Dantuni" as required by Halacha
Specifying chapter and verse which Halacha specifically has been violate, by which action or set of actions & what specific remedies would be required by Halacha

So if another moisid wishes to isolate those parts which are kosher and of benefit etc in alignment halacha and chasidus
(12/27/2013 11:17:41 AM)
Rabbi Aron is the best!
(12/27/2013 11:17:43 AM)
How can he be reached?
Is there a number or email for Rafael Aron
(12/27/2013 11:20:23 AM)
shofar never claims to have the answer.

they constantly and consistently tell you during and after the workshop that the weekend is a peak experience and you need to work hard to focus on what's important in life and be aware how negative thinking impacts life.

also, they stress that "getting to the bottom" of your issues is only an explanation for why you are acting the way you are, NOT AN EXCUSE!!!

they stress the importance of taking responsibility and not remaining a victim to past life experiences

The very last activity at the workshop is a meeting with the facilitator who warns against becoming a "shofar nut" (his words) and telling everyone that they MUST go...
(12/27/2013 11:22:33 AM)
Beautiful. I am happy that two Rabonim stood up and put in writing clearly that it is forbidden to go.
I think it is important for other Rabbonim to do the same, Ain Makom L'harich bazeh.

And I think from now on, we should all be positive and b'simcha as the Rebbe says. We should remember what it says in Hayom Yom when it comes to Gashmius we should look at some one that has less then oneself and when it comes to Ruchnius we should look at some one who is better then himself.

Good Shabbos to all.
(12/27/2013 11:30:47 AM)
Wow, thank you!
Thank you for this clear and insightful article. It really answers all the questions, for me at least, of what is wrong with going to Call of the Shofar.
At least now I will know what to answer when their past attendees try to convince me that "I MUST GO" . Its been very tedious having to constantly answer to them. These guys just don't stop. Its rediculous already. Leave us, the ones who thank god havent gone, alone!!
(12/27/2013 11:32:06 AM)
To 4
Ever hear the halacha that we follow the majority? If 2/3 Rabbonim wrote this, the opinion of the third is completely irrelevant.
(12/27/2013 11:33:48 AM)
I think the Rabbonim's psak is important enough to merit its own post and not just to be appended as a post script to this other article.
(12/27/2013 11:35:14 AM)
Now let's see such great effort put into other important issues within our community; chinuch, shidduchim, tznius, .......
(12/27/2013 11:37:52 AM)
COTS is a dangerous money making Cult
I want to applaud the decision of the Bais Din to completely Assur (forbid) anyone from attending or promoting the Call of the Shofar which is a dangerous and mind-controlling cult.

S. Frischling and friends are only in this for money. Their goal is to build a financial empire using mind control and Eastern-based philosophies clothed in religious and Chassidic Jewish symbols.

Unfortunately, they have preyed upon people who are in pain and need support and help.

COTS is based upon the LGAT workshop philosophy, Landmark and other EST programs and is a dangerous and growing phenomenon worldwide.

They have been trying for the last few years to spread their power and influence in Crown Heights. Worse, they have built business partnerships with members of the Crown Heights community and have infiltrated Oholei Torah (Mashpiim, principals and rebbeim) who have been, and are now, actively promoting the Frischling cult empire.

If you have gone to this workshop (even once) you are brain-washed by Frischlings philosophies. Of course, those who have attended it proclaim that they enjoy it (that is what the COTS-cult wants. Do you think they want you to have a bad time?). They will tell you there are so many problems in the world, in CH etc. Then, they will say just join our movement, philosophy etc. and then you will be free.

This is only phase one of the COTS cult movement. I believe more is coming which will be dressed up in even more seductive garments.

Our institutions, leaders, rabbis etc must now fully support the psak din of the Beis Din and those who have already gone to the workshop must go for professional help.

If anyone promotes, suggests, or guides anyone to go to COTS at this point they are murdering Jewish souls.
(12/27/2013 11:45:45 AM)
to # 7
all the info is right on his web page ( you obviously use the internet or you wouldn't be here...LOL)
Cult Consulting Australia
P.O Box 34 Balaclava, Victoria, 3183 Australia
Tel: +61 3 9523 2299
Email :
(12/27/2013 11:52:26 AM)
Hakoros Ha'Toiv
Hodu L'Hashem Ki Toiv, Ki L'Olam Chasdo!

A guttin Shabbos all'a Yiddin.

(12/27/2013 11:54:28 AM)
Thank you!
This is a relief. Thank you to the Rabbonim for stepping up to the plate and doing what needs to be done. They will be saving many souls.
(12/27/2013 11:56:08 AM)
5 is correct
Its time for a clear "Heichan Dantuni"

Sovthe good can be seperated from the bad, something the Rebbe wrote should be done Letoivas Haklal.
(12/27/2013 12:03:21 PM)
why no clear specifics?
I was counting on some type of clarity from the Rabbonim, establishing what rumors of isurdikeh practices have they verified?

Knowing facts (isurim) againnst halacha which everyone missed, is very important to know.
(12/27/2013 12:10:52 PM)
did it happen to me too
"One of the typical characteristics of ....organization is its ability to convince its members that having identified particular problems or deficits in their lives" (sounds like me when I came to Chabad "it is you neshama crying to get close to Hashem" I was told.
"only by joining the organization will it be possible to address and fully resolve these issues" ( only Chassidus Chabad can give you what you need).
Very funny

(12/27/2013 12:12:33 PM)
to number 8
stop commenting on all articles here in favor of the shofer
get it its out b"h lubavitch took a stand
all your comments wont help you
(12/27/2013 12:21:37 PM)
To #4
Rabbi Osdoba spells his name with an "O" not an "A"
Please stop hideing your issues with the Rabonim.
You are more then welcome to meet Rabbi Osdoba and ask him opinion .

TO #11
Your comment is true, I believe #4 is just asking.....
(12/27/2013 12:23:52 PM)
Excellent Article
Very informative, well - written article. Thanks for articulating the dangers of these groups in such a clear way.
(12/27/2013 12:26:54 PM)
Raphael Aron is very accurately explaining the pitfalls of this COTS and any other such type groups. Read his essay slowly and carefully. It helps give vital information to those who are for the moment sadly intertwined with this New Mishugas.
(12/27/2013 12:34:54 PM)
Right on target!
(12/27/2013 12:43:19 PM)
i don't need to go
my self esteem is great,
my ego is booming,

anybody who is not like me i feel bad for, i respect the fact that they have no meaning in life and i understand that this is why they make decisions the way they do.

If you want to be stuck up and feel good about it $800 is a small price to pay.
(12/27/2013 12:43:29 PM)
from now on i am scared to go to shabatons

1. it might be a undercover call of the shofar
2. when i get back everyone thinks i went to call of the shofar and they don't want to talk to me.
(12/27/2013 12:46:14 PM)
What Is The Problem
While I am well familiar with LGATs--having had over forty years experience with them going back to EST--and agreeing that they are problematic, I do not understand the following remark from Mr. Aron, "Simply put, it is one thing to identify a problem, although in my view that identification process is often totally flawed; it is something else altogether to provide a solution to the problem."

Is he saying this specifically with regard to LGATs? If so, I agree. But if he means to apply this statement to a broader group--such as any organization or practitioner that, as he puts it, "claim to be able to detect weaknesses or blockages in the emotional and psychological makeup of the client", then he is eliminating all forms of diagnosis and healing, including those completely based upon Torah and Chabad Chassidus, such as at

As a Chabad Rabbi who has researched traditional Jewish healing for over 40 years, as well as those modalities of the other side, I would argue that a clearer distinction should be made both in this article and in the broader discussion.
(12/27/2013 12:48:39 PM)
goes to show
with all my criticism of what goes on collive at this point collive was tremendously valuable as well as the internet. what would have happened without you collive,, Hashem Yishmor.
yaasher kochacho
and acc to. rabbi wilhelm can we say
HAVE A good Shabbos or is it only gut erev shabbos(I really want to know- seriously)
(12/27/2013 12:51:55 PM)
Raphael Aron Punchline in his article
The Punchline of Raphael Aron's article:

"While I applaud Mashpiim for recognizing that they alone may not be able to provide the support some of their students require and therefore they refer them to other sources for assistance, I question whether these Mashpiim, as well intentioned as they are, have the understanding and expertise to make these referrals.

Finally we have a real professional and very well balanced view of the entire issue, which we were all debating, here.

What is clear from Raphael Aron entire article is that the entire real issue has not been addressed at the Asifa, at all whatsoever, as far as what the real problem here really is and likewise that the Asifa was totally off track, on their proposed alternative, as a fix.

Chassidus + Mashpiim is NOT the cure to the underlying cause, of why people attend COTS, Raphael Aron says.

Furthermore it's clear from Raphael Aron, a real professional expert on this issue, that I was correct in what I had written here, numerous times, in several comments, that the Mashpiim are NOT qualified to handle the emotional health issues of their Mushpaim, be they children in Yeshiva or adults.

Furthermore, Raphael Aron also affirms, what I have written that not only are the Mashpiim not qualified to fix THE problem, but are not even qualified to diagnose or even be able to decide when a referral, even needs to be made to a professional.
(12/27/2013 12:53:38 PM)
A song for your Shabbos table
Overnight, a foreign construction,
On top of Chabads foundations
A campus luring innocent souls,
To drink from the forbidden fountain.
Like many ah mol,
They've come here for souls,
We're warning them now; It won't pay.

Lubavitch, her holiness crying,
Defiling her dearest Chassidim
Selfishness blinding sense of pride.
Are we not the Chosen Nation?
Together as one,
We will overcome,
Bringing her freedom today.

Lubavitch is not for sale!
Voices crying,
Thundering throughout the comments.
You better run for your life,
Back to Baltimore overnight,
Before the Rabbonim open wide,
And swallow you inside.

Lubavitch, your foes will fail,
Senseless trying.
He's guarding his holy Chassidus,
He's punished all its intruders so awfully.
From Avigdor to those in Willy

The articles, the expose,
Brought masses returning,
Back to their roots more than ever.
The cultists fiercely fighting truth,
To dampen the sparks still burning.
So wake up my friend,
This is the very end,
The shofars are pointing our way!
(12/27/2013 12:58:08 PM)
I'm speechless
(12/27/2013 12:58:36 PM)
glad to hear
its about time we heard from a real expert yasher koach
(12/27/2013 1:09:55 PM)
Already been,,
what do we do about deprogramming those people who have gone thru the program already?
(12/27/2013 1:23:15 PM)

Mass Marathon Trainings
An excerpt from The Politics of Transformation: Recruitment Indoctrination Processes in a Mass Marathon Psychology Organization
Published by St. Martins Press 1993
By Philip Cushman, Ph.D.

Mass marathon training is usually based on the belief that it is a universal truth that all human beings will have problems in life until they develop deep cathartic psychological insight, experience completely their every feeling, and live only in the present moment (see Brewer, 1975; Bry, 1976; Rhinehart, 1976). According to this ideology all defenses are bad and must be destroyed. They shape their group exercises in order to uncover and intensify the participants underlying conflicts and deficits. Everyone must be exposed to these exercises; there are no exceptions. When all defenses are destroyed, they claim there is literally no limit to what each individual can accomplish.
Yet there is research that contradicts this universal claim. Applebaum (1976) reported on the results of the Psychotherapy Research Project of the Henninger Foundation, which attempted to better understand the effects of psychological insight in the treatment of patients who had ego-function difficulties and severe characterological problems. After insight-oriented treatment. a substantial number of patients were found to have changed for the worse. The data confirmed that the screened-off aspects of ones self are hidden for a reason; for some types of people the conflicts that necessitated the screening off should remain hidden. Psychology, Applebaum argued, has to recognize the factors, which impinge upon whether, when, how much, and what kind of insight a particular person in particular circumstances should be helped to achieve. We need to know . . . the patients capacities in order to design the best amount, kind, and timing of insight. (1976, pp. 205-206)

The data demonstrated Applebaums contention that differential diagnosis and a differential treatment plan is crucial in effective psychotherapy. This conclusion challenges the universal and absolutist claims of insight oriented mass marathon groups. Applebaum warned that Until we give up the pipe dream of insight as a universal good or a universal bad, we and our patients will, at times, be injured by its dangerous edge. (1976. p. 206)
Just as Applebaum criticized those who considered the indiscriminate use of insight a universal therapeutic panaceas so too did Hampden-Turner (1976) attack those who treat human growth like a consumer product, indiscriminately applying certain techniques to every customer who appears with a blank check. He vigorously disagreed with the ethics of The pop supermarket, the idea that you can purchase a peak here and a high there, and go psycho-shopping for prepackaged experiencesin fact human growth is not like a product at all, and we vitiate it utterly by pandering to the consumer ethos. (1976, p. 3)

His critique focused particularly upon the highly structured, authoritarian, insight-oriented marathon workshops. Some aspects of humanistic psychology, he argued, seem to have almost forgotten that our most precious human values are achieved by indirection as opposed to the means ends rationality of industrial production. . . I seriously question any high that has been programmed in advance. (1976, pp. 1-2)
He voiced his disagreement with psychological ideologies that discount or deny the significance of the sociohistorical and economic realities of the situation in which the client lives. These ideologies instead argue for the grandiose delusion of the ultimate limitlessness of the individual. To the organizations that teach this ideology he posed a provoking question: If we are not aware of what the economy does to us, are we self aware at all? Any genuine search for truth must remind us of the things we cannot change. (1576, P. 3)
In this way Hampden-Turner raised an issue that Sampson (1981) expanded upon. Sampson criticized cognitive psychology (the single most prominent aspect of the ideology of many mass marathon organizations) for its subjectivist reduction. By this he meant the regressive tendency to discount the nonsubjective world by considering it to be either a hallucination or subject to the total control of the individual. According to some mass marathon organizations, human fetuses choose their parents, female victims choose to be raped, and Vietnamese children chose to be bombed. The regressive aspects of this ideology seem to be readily apparent.
Sampson demonstrated how a regressive psychological doctrine can impact on political activity. He argued that an ideology both accurately expresses the zeitgeist of the era and may also inaccurately distort the facts in order to serve the ruling elite. He explained how cognitivism as an ideology serves the status quo of power and privilege in American society by teaching individuals to reinterpret their internal response to a painful experience rather than to work at rearranging the external situation so that it could better facilitate personal and communal well being.
Humanistic psychology owes much to Lewins laboratory movement, which originally developed the encounter-group format at the Bethel Institute. Mass marathon psychotherapy organizations claim that they are within the legitimate tradition of this movement. They claim that their training techniques, which include severe milieu control and a rigid ideology, are taken directly from the encounter movement of years past. And yet Gottschalk and Pattisons (1969) study of the history of T-groups and the laboratory movement appears to refute that claim. They found that the laboratory movement was originally an attempt to encourage democracy within community action groups. It was composed of three types of groups: T-groups, task-oriented groups dedicated to teaching about group process, and intervention labs whose goals were action-oriented community improvement programs. The authors found that the original unified effort diverged into an increasing number of activities, each with different philosophical foundations and agendas. The shift in the 1950s to individual growth. . . . self knowledge, to actualization and maturation (1969, p. 4) was a clear deviation from the founding philosophy.

They reported that T-group participants sometimes complained of the hidden. agendas, group norms, and covert values of charismatic group leaders and their loyal followers.
They found that the trainer and various group members are calling upon them to stop certain ways of behaving, talking, thinking, and feeling, and that different ways of behaving are being prescribed. (p. 12)
Also the T-group was found to consciously evoke dramatic reactions in the participants, which often involved an exaggeration of impulsive traits and personality styles.
Gottschalk and Pattison isolated 13 liabilities of encounter groups, some of which are similar to characteristics of most current mass marathon psychotherapy training sessions:
They lack adequate participant-selection criteria.
They lack reliable norms, supervision, and adequate training for leaders.
They lack clearly defined responsibility.
They sometimes foster pseudoauthenticity and pseudoreality.
They sometimes foster inappropriate patterns of relationships.
They sometimes ignore the necessity and utility of ego defenses.
They sometimes teach the covert value of total exposure instead of valuing personal differences.
They sometimes foster impulsive personality styles and behavioral strategies.
They sometimes devalue critical thinking in favor of experiencing without self-analysis or reflection.
They sometimes ignore stated goals, misrepresent their actual techniques, and obfuscate their real agenda.
They sometimes focus too much on structural self-awareness techniques and misplace the goal of democratic education; as a result participants may learn more about themselves and less about group process.
They pay inadequate attention to decisions regarding time limitations. This may lead to increased pressure on some participants to unconsciously fabricate a cure.
They fail to adequately consider the psychonoxious or deleterious effects of group participation (or] adverse countertransference reactions. (1969, p. 13)
As a result, participants and leaders may unconsciously distort their feelings and responses when reporting to researchers about the group or recruiting for future groups. This might result in a deceptive oversell that could undermine informed consent and lead to unrealistic regressive expectations in new recruits, the specific type of problems that have been found to lead to psychological casualties (see Yalom & Lieberman, 1972, below). Since these liabilities are so similar to the techniques used in some mass marathon trainings, they may also cause psychological damage in that setting as well.
In a significant study with far-reaching consequences for the study of mass marathon trainings, Yalom and Lieberman (1972) observed in 209 undergraduate subjects the negative effects of participation in an encounter group. Over the course of 10 weeks, 18 groups met for 30 hours; there were also 150 fifty control subjects who did not attend any group.
Each group was run by a leader who was chosen because he was an excellent representative of one of 10 ideological schools of encounter (T-groups, Gestalt, Rogerian-marathon, psychodrama, psychoanalytic, Transactional Analysis, sensory awareness, Synanon, personal growth, black-white encounter, and leaderless). Each was given complete freedom.
Yalom and Liebermans primary interest was in assessing the types and causes of psychiatric casualties. The operational definition of a casualty was an enduring, significant, negative outcome which . . . was caused byparticipation in the group (1972, p. 223). There is little doubt that the careful, conservative manner in which the study was conducted tended to minimize negative results and reduce the risk to subjects (1972, p. 228). The authors developed a system for identifying subjects who were harmed. Their definition of this subsample and their means of locating it were characteristically conservative. Subjects were included in the casualty subsample only when they had experienced enduring negative change and as a direct result of . . . [their] experience in the encounter group became more psychologically distressed and/or employed more maladaptive mechanisms of defense. (1972. p. 228)
Also, the experience must have been proven to be the responsible element in the psychological decompensation. For example, one subject committed suicide during the study and was not counted as a casualty because the suicide could have been caused from past encounter group experiences.
In a startling finding, Yalom and Lieberman reported that 9.4% of the subjects met their stringent criteria and were therefore identified as casualties. The authors viewed this as a serious challenge to the entire movement.
The authors also determined that it was neither the psychological traits of the subjects (i.e., predispositional factors) nor the ideology of the leaders (i.e., doctrinal factors) that determined the casualty rate. Instead, surprisingly, it was the style of leadership that was primary. Leaders who were aggressive, stimulating, intrusive, confrontive, challenging, personally revealing, and authoritarian were the leaders who caused the casualties.
Specifically these leaders often unilaterally structured the groups events. Their focus was on the individual rather than group process. They provided a comprehensive intellectual framework with which to understand ones self and ones world. They exercised firm control and were ready, willing and able to take over for participants and guide them to enlightenment (1972, p. 236). They were People who were charismatic leaders: they had a universal message to deliver, a foolproof technique to use, and a cause to recruit for. They were uninhibited in their attempts to convert all the participants in their group. These characteristics are clearly duplicated by many mass marathon trainers. The findings corroborated Gottschalk and Pattisons 1969 conclusions and again call into question many tactics used by mass marathon organizations.
Of the categories that caused casualties, rejection was the most damaging. Failure to achieve unrealistic goals was the second most dangerous category. Each of these subjects reported being pressed for a breakthrough without being able to deliver. Leader attack-group attack tied for third. The fact that participants were restrained from leaving, that they had no place to hide, was thought to be a crucial element. Group pressure to experience and express feelings also caused casualties. When subjects couldnt comply, they felt a sense of hollowness which led to a deficient or empty self-image (1972, p. 243).
Interestingly, many subjects who demographically resembled the casualty subsample didnt have negative experiences. Yalom and Lieberman found that they had more realistic expectations for the experience, they were not lonely or depressed, they remained uninvolved (i.e. they did not enter into a public confessional and therefore maintained their objectivity and their observing ego), they dropped out of the group, they depended on a positive self-concept when they were negatively criticized by the group, or they used an outside reference group to bolster their own beliefs when in conflict with a group norm.
The authors suggested that a questionnaire that detects unrealistic expectations would be a helpful counterindicator when attempting to predict which potential participants would be at risk. In summary, Yalom and Lieberman stressed that casualties were caused by the style and techniques of the leader, and by recruitment and selection practices.
The groups were determined to be dangerous when:
Leaders had rigid, unbending beliefs about what participants should experience and believe, how they should behave in the group. and when they should change.
Leaders had no sense of differential diagnosis and assessment skills, valued cathartic emotional breakthroughs as the ultimate therapeutic experience, and sadistically pressed to create or force a breakthrough in every participant.
Leaders had an evangelical system of belief that was the one single pathway to salvation.
Leaders were true believers and sealed their doctrine off from discomforting data or disquieting results and tended to discount a poor result by, blaming the victim.
Yalom and Lieberman concluded by again emphasizing the crucial importance of informed consent. Our best means of prevention, they maintained, remains the type of group the subject enters, and our best means for prevention is self-selection. If responsible public education can teach prospective encounter group members about what they can expect in terms of process, risks, and profits from a certain type of group, then and only then can they make an informed decision about membership. (p. 253)

It is instructive to note that many mass marathon organizations are conducting their training in the exact manner found by Yalom and Lieberman to cause the greatest number of psychiatric casualties
(12/27/2013 1:29:24 PM)
to #5
Just ask the rabbonim and I'm sure they would tell you their reasoning. My own guess is that the psak was issued in a straightforward simple format, so their would be no way to misunderstand the ruling.
(12/27/2013 1:34:54 PM)
A Participant of COTS

shofar never claims to have the answer. = BUT THEY DO WANT US TO KEEP UP WITH THEM, ON PHONE CALLS.

they constantly and consistently tell you during and after the workshop that the weekend is a peak experience and you need to work hard to focus on what's important in life and be aware how negative thinking impacts life.

also, they stress that "getting to the bottom" of your issues is only an explanation for why you are acting the way you are, NOT AN EXCUSE!!! [=CORRECT]

they stress the importance of taking responsibility and not remaining a victim to past life experiences =CORECT

The very last activity at the workshop is a meeting with the facilitator who warns against becoming a "shofar nut" [=CORRECT, ]
(his words) and telling everyone that they MUST go...
= MUST go... where??
(12/27/2013 1:35:07 PM)
OMG i just got it!
It just hit me NETUREI KART, LEV TAHOR, and COTS, are exactly the same thing "I AM EVREYTHING, YOU ARE NOTHING, NOW WE CAN DESTROY ANYBODY AND ANYTHINg EVEN FAMILY OR FRIENDS, ITS NOT I" shame on all of thees leaders that are like fox seducing the sheep and then pray on them lets stand up and show them the king is naked! good shabbos!
(12/27/2013 1:38:08 PM)
thank you
Well stated piece. Regardless of cots, the cat is out of the bag- there are unattended issues in chabad.
(12/27/2013 2:04:02 PM)
to no 20
that is the problem - you are basically saying---all those that are justifying and still think it is right to go to cots came to or are in chabd just through their mind being controlled. in otherwords you being in chabd is not out of your understanding that this is Frum- right- G-dly -your feeling that this is right for your neshomo elokis but only because your mind was being controlled(this is what you yourself are implying) so yes- you are not sincerely within chabad however you still have a chance by learning and accepting and taking on kablos ol and realizing you made a mistake.and ultimately realizing that simcha frishling is not the role model you want to look up to as compared to our l'havil elef havdolos our great rebbeim/ baal shem tov etc.
welcome- never too late
(12/27/2013 2:15:27 PM)
to # 38
really? how are you making that jump?
(12/27/2013 2:34:20 PM)
Thank you Comment #35
If Dr. Yalom, MD researched the effects of groups like COTS and deems it harmful then you should listen. He is an authority in the field.

For you people who still stand by Shofar after hearing that the Rabbonim and experts in psychology(Dr. Yalom--look him up) deem the Call of the Shofar spiritually and psychologically harmful then you are a plain idiot.

(12/27/2013 2:35:19 PM)
this is STUPID
(12/27/2013 2:42:49 PM)
To # 21 and 20
Why are you so "angry'? When was the last time you put your finger in cold water and helped a friend out emotionally? Isn't that the "heart" of Tanya?

#20: I am sure you deep down know the difference. The more you will study the more you will see perhaps a nuanced difference but fundamental. Good luck
(12/27/2013 2:53:18 PM)
It's Simple
There could be many reasons why it's not permitted, some of which you can figure out by reading the article by Raphael Aron, Director, Cult Consulting Australia.

In addition, one of the "smallest" reasons (there are far more serious things wrong with it), why COTS should be forbidden, is because of the prohibition against Loshon Horo, Rechilus and Shaming Others publicly.

The structure of COTS is that participants are psyched up, using many different types Mind Control techniques, some of which were described by Raphael Aron, to the point where everyone vents their grievances publicly with perfect strangers, to vent their negative feelings against anyone and everyone whom they imagine, has ever wronged them.

Torah permits one to speak to a Rav when needed or to speak to a Psychologist or other needed Health Care Professional, about private matters but it's against Torah to encourage anyone and everyone to announce publicly, to perfect strangers, and or acquaintances present at the group, Loshon Hara and Kol Davar Asur of wrongdoings, grievances against your Teachers, against you parents, friends or against anyone else.

Just because the results are so effective, doesn't mean it's Kosher.

There are many alternatives to healing (not the Mashpiim but other methods) which do not involve Broadcasting Loshon Hora against your Parents publicly in a public group setting. This can be done very effectively, privately with a trained psychologist, instead.

COTS participants argue, that they get "publicly undressed" (figuratively speaking), without any shame at all and that they share all of their most intimate issues with perfect strangers, laymen, at the group setting and feel no shame.

However, this it's self is red flag because a normal person who is not "under the influence" of drugs or alcohol or any other mind altering medium, would never do that, while in their normal "right mind".

Why don't they feel any shame?

It's because they are then, under a mind control spell, not unlike anyone who is "Drunk", who looses his normal, healthy, inhibitions and has no shame.

Even more shocking is that COT participants, also don't feel any shame, of having made public their most private issues, even "the day after", after the weekend is over where presumably they could have "woken up" from the spell, of their "drunkenness!

So how can it be that even after the weekend, they still don't "get it" that they have figuratively speaking, totally undressed publicly, and yet feel no shame?

The reason is because the Mind Control techniques used are so powerful and long lasting that the indoctrination of the cult LASTS, even after the weekend.

That's why you typically see all COT members keep on repeating, identical (i.e. pre-programed) robotic, zombie like odd Mantras, like - "I'm In" -, which they were brainwashed and preprogrammed to subscribe to (you can hear almost every single one of them saying it, at their group phone calls, when outsiders may listen in to them talking to each other, after every one of these weekends).

If you get someone drunk with Mashke, they will often do stupid things, but at least wake up the next day and come back to their senses. However Cults make their participants "shiker" (brainwashed) that the drunkenness, often keeps on lasting forever, unless professionally "deprogrammed".
(12/27/2013 3:00:47 PM)
To 31
Enjoyed your parody of MBD's Yerushalayim is not for sale !
(12/27/2013 3:06:29 PM)
Bakosho Nafshis
The Rebbe clearly stated a Bakosho Nafish that everyone has a Mashpia. Please make sure your Mashpia also has an active Mashpia for his or herself. That their decisions are based on Yiras Shomayim and Kabbolas Ol.
There are certainly times one needs professional help for certain life challenges. One should be extremely careful to find professionals that have Yiras Shomayim and Kabbolas Ol. One's mental and spirtual health are extremely refined and sensitive and should not be put into the hands of others that have the wrong foundations.

May this be the final test before the relevation of Moshiach now!
(12/27/2013 3:10:21 PM)
I suggest Rabbi Aaron makes a workshop or individual
meetings with
1-those that have already attended,
2-a separate one for mashpiim, teachers and people in influential positions that already attended and may need to reverse the damage, evaluating if they can continue in those positions as not to endanger even slightly those under their influence,
3-another one for the general public, and
4-another one for mashpiim, Rabbonim, Shluchim, to learn how and when ant to whom derive people that come for their advice.
Please Rabbi Aaron do it ASAP.
(12/27/2013 3:11:24 PM)
Rabbi Wagner's call of the Shofar!

A very freilichen chof daledteves and Shabbos mevorchim, a gut chodesh, and Hatzlochodi'ge hachonos to Yud Shvat!

" " ' , " , , " "
Dear Alumni Sheyichyu!
Sholom UBrocho!
Thank you as always for the feedback, it is much appreciated.
Beginning in the 1960s, the youth of the world were experiencing a massive revolution. Known as the hippie movement, young people were strongly rejecting the cultures and ideologies in which they had been raised, and were challenging the accepted norms of mainstream society. In an explosion that attracted hundreds of thousands of followers with disproportionately high numbers of Jews and spread throughout the civilized world, these young people were disgusted and disillusioned with the materialistic and selfish focus of the generation of their parents. Developing their own ideology along with its subculture, they preached love and peace, tolerance and spirituality. They rejected worldly comforts, and were instead into togetherness, holding massive farbrengens in the great outdoors while being entertained by rock music. While the momentum gradually waned, it had a tremendous impact on society, which continues to be felt to this very day.
While many of their objections to the norms were actually arguably very valid including their rejection of societies obsessive pursuit of money and materialism and endless wars and fighting the movement degenerated into many negative behaviors, including excessive drug use in order to experience altered states of consciousness and extreme permissiveness and liberalism with regard to immodest and immoral lifestyles.
The Rebbe explained that what was taking place, at its root, was the result of the , or the call of the shofar. Blowing shofar on Rosh Hashono represents calling out from the depth of our being to Hashem; a call so pure and absolute that it transcends words and is expressed as a plain cry. So too, the call of the shofar of Hashem to us is a revelation and expression of the very depth and essence of G-dliness; that aspect of Hashem that transcends description and explanation. This is why the era of Moshiach is associated with the blowing of the great shofar, for this represents the tremendous revelations of G-dliness that will occur then. And chassidus explains that this process has already begun.
The call of the Shofar, then, refers to a revelation of Elokus that is a forerunner to the ultimate revelation that will occur through Moshiach. It was this manifestation of G-dliness, this intense revelation from Above, the Rebbe explained, that was experienced by those Yiddishe neshomos in the 60s, which resulted in them being stirred and aroused from their slumber. This in turn resulted with a feeling of unrest and dissatisfaction with the lives they were living and an intense search for something better and more real.
The Rebbe charged chassidim (and klal Yisroel in general) to take advantage of this revival, by channelling the soul-awakening that was taking place into what their neshomos were actually seeking; - a life of Torah and mitzvos.
Indeed, many many baalei Teshuva emerged from this movement, having been helped to identify what it was that their soul was actually craving. In the maamar ' that was said on Rosh Hashono 5728, and that the Rebbe was magiha in honor of Rosh Hashono 5752 (the last maamar to date that the Rebbe was magiha for Rosh Hashono) there is discussion (at the end) about the many Jews who have returned to their roots (in recent years) as a result of the call of the Shofar.
Yet, the Rebbe also expressed dismay and disappointment about the lost opportunity of that era. He said that had we properly taken advantage of the circumstances, thousands more could have received the proper guidance and be returned to Yiddishkeit.
This was not merely a means to take advantage of an opportunity. In truth, the only legitimate way to quench that thirst the call of the inner shofar (which chassidus explains to represent the essence of the neshomo) is with Torah and Mitzvos, - with genuine G-dliness. The only way to cultivate the yearning of our souls is by nourishing them with Yiddishkeit and chassidus.
Today, as we are ever nearer to the final revelation of Moshiach, the ; - the call of the Shofar is surely resounding stronger than ever. It is certain that our neshomos are sensing this, and this causes our restlessness and our yearning and seeking for more fulfillment. It is incumbent upon us, however, to channel this yearning in a spiritually healthy and chassidishe direction. We must take extra caution that our thirst not lead us as it did to so many of our brethren decades ago - to drink from poisonous waters that are presented as nourishment, and that we not be misled by those who in the words of the gemoro hang blue dye on their garments and proclaim it to be tcheiles.
The call of the shofar, the powerful revelation from Above, and the reciprocal awakening of the neshomo are powerful and holy forces. But what we do with them and how we channel them will determine whether they elevate us to the loftiest heights, or chas veshalom the total opposite. The only nourishment for our neshomo, for our shofar, is Torah and mitzvos and chassidus. And only through them can we properly channel this powerful drive to unimaginable destinations.
The paths that the majority of the hippies took may have felt really good and, in many cases, even made a lot of sense. But it couldnt address the root of their unrest. The call of the shofar originated from their essence, their neshomo which is a chelek Eloka mimaal mamosh, - in essence G-dliness, and can only be properly satisfied by true G-dliness.
Any other way of reacting to the turbulent feelings of their souls, was doing so in an unhealthy way. While the ideals that they were drawn to were (in the most part) positive ones, such as spirituality, love, brotherhood and (of course) peace on earth (which is the ultimate goal of creation), not to mention true bittul, still, because the needs of their neshomo werent being properly addressed, these ideals (though having their origins in the yearnings of their souls) came out convoluted, crooked and warped. The peace, love and brotherhood etc. that their souls were truly seeking was Torah and mitzvos (which are true peace (as the Rambam writes) and true love (which is one of the reasons that Torah observant Jews never quarrel . ..) etc.). Devoid of them, it was a sad illusion..
I spent a few summers in Tannersville (which is upstate NY), and for 3 years we had a Yeshivas Kayitz there. Near Tannersville is the town of Woodstock. It is a picturesque little village, about 2 and one half hour drive from NYC, which is (according to my understanding) one of the of the hippie movement (if not the supreme one). Naturally, it was an ideal place for the bochurim to go on mivtzoim on Friday afternoon.
One Friday, 2 bochurim were strolling through the streets looking for some customers to put on teffillin, when they spotted a real-life hippie. Long haired and bearded, in classic hippie attire, he was sitting at a table in front of an old, dilapidated, multi colored van (that matched his own clothing quite well). A sign advertised the fact that he read tarot cards for a fee. When he was spotted by the 2 talmidim, he was just sitting there calmly reading, during a lull in business.
To the 2 boys he was a potential customer, and they immediately approached him to find out if he was Jewish. But as they neared his table they were surprised to note that the text that he was reading was, in fact, Hebrew letters! Upon closer scrutiny they were even more astonished; - this tarot card reader was learning a maamer! It was a maamer of the Mitteler Rebbe (with the " ' )!
It turned out that David had learned in 770 before deserting in order to join (with all his heart and soul) the hippie movement, and while he was, ideologically, a fervent believer in his newfound religion, he still immensely enjoyed chassidus and spent much time on it. The bochurim did, in fact, put on teffillin with him (both at the time, and a number of times since), and they kept in touch. In fact, one Friday he came to visit the Yeshivas Kayitz, which was a great spiritual sacrifice for him, being the first time he had left the boundaries of Woodstock in decades!
Sadly, David lost years of his life in his misguided quest for the cravings of his spirit. Because authentic Chassidus is the only answer, the only nourishment, for the immortal essence within each of us. Pure unadulterated chassidus, the way chosid learns it, not the way someone tries to fuse it with Woodstock.
David probably felt: What do you mean? I learned the maamar in 770, and it didnt affect me then, it didnt speak to me, and now (together with the whole Woodstock scene) its suddenly so meaningful and real (and groovy and cool). In 770 it didnt work, and now, together with Woodstock, its working.
This was, in a very subtle form, the complaint of Moshe Rabbenu in the end of last weeks Parsha, which is addressed in the beginning of the Parsha of this week. Moshe said to the Eibishter: The method that You prescribed for me doesnt work! The approach that you gave me to combat the golus, to deal with the challenges of Paaroh and co. were not effective. Not only are the Jews still suffering, but their problems have become worse. Whats the point?!
At times we, too, may think: Ive been learning chassidus, trying to daven, working on darkei hachassidus and so on. And this has been going on for years. But its not working. The golus is still there and getting progressively worse, my taavos are still confronting me at every turn (and getting the better of me most of the time . . . ). Theres gotta be a better way.
But, as it was in the story in the Parsha and as we all know today the instructions of the Eibishter were, and are, the only thing that can and did and do work. And though it was not apparent at all at the time, to the point of puzzling even Moshe Rabbenu, it was that path and only that path that could have ultimately brought about the geula.
Whether or not we can see the effects, we can believe and understand that the only way to deal with the needs of our neshomo, with the call of our shofar, is by increasing its involvement with Torah and mitzvos. Learn another shiur in gemoro, and try to understand it better. Think deeper into the maamar. Work harder on your ahavas Yisroel. And- yes try to apply the concepts of iskafya and ishapcha in a practical manner into your daily life.
And regardless of what you see at the time, this does and will work effectively, and will step by step bring each of us to our personal geula, and bring us all collectively to the ultimate geula.
One of the early activists on behalf of the Zionist movement was a Jew by the name of Yaakov Zrubavel. He was very intelligent, educated, a very charismatic speaker; - and fanatically anti-religious. When he came to Eretz Yisroel he was very active in the political left, and caused much damage and sorrow to Yiddishkeit (amongst other things, he was involved in the saga with the yaldei teiman). (Toward the end of his life he also had an amazing story with the Rebbe, which Ill have to write about some other time).
In Europe, he used to travel around trying to recruit Jews to the Zionist ideology. He had a long beard throughout his life (although usually he was stubbornly bareheaded) and was very fluent n Talmudic and Aggadic sources, and coupled with his charisma he could be very convincing. Although an avowed apikores, he could appear as an illustrious Rov.

Once, he was a guest in a Lubavitcher shul. At the Kiddush after davening he was invited to speak (no one knew who he was, he had the image of a travelling Rov), and he made a very compelling case for Zionism. With his distinguished appearance, his scholarly presentation sprinkled with maamorei chazal and irrefutable logic and his natural charisma, he very quickly had all present convinced that the Zionist dream was no less than the ultimate fulfillment of everything in Torah and chassidus. They were only waiting for him to complete his speech so that they can jump on a car (or boat or donkey) and go straight to Israel.
At the head of the table, next to the speaker, was seated the Rov, R Schneur Garelik. R Schneur was a great Talmid chochom and chosid; however, he looked like a feeble old man, and Zrubavel didnt think he had to be concerned about him. He was sure that the old man couldnt possibly disprove him, and, in any case, the Rov seemed out of it, his head was nodding, and he seemed to be constantly dozing off.
When Zrubavel finished his talk and sat down, the Rov spoke briefly, saying: It says in the Possuk . novi (from the root niv sfosayim) means a speaker. Choileim chaloim is a dreamer. There can come a brilliant speaker and dreamer and try to entice you with his colorful dreams, but you shall not be tempted. Dont listen to him, we have the Torah.
With those few short words, he broke the spell, and Zrubavel was forced to leave empty-handed!
We are in the grip of the most penetrating call of the shofar ever, and it is resonating within all of us. We need to grab the opportunity to nourish all of these yearning souls, both our own and the souls of others, - not with pipe dreams, as glittering and attractive as they may be, but - with more Torah (both nigleh and chassidus) and mitzvos and real unadulterated Yiddishkeit. We need to turn to our elders, to our chassidishe rabbonim, to follow their guidance and their transmitting of the unbroken legacy. Only this will truly get us to Eretz Yisroel speedily and imminently!
Lchaim! Let us all heed the call of the shofar, and quench the thirst of our soul with increased learning, increased davening and improved performance of mitzvos, and may the Eibishter in turn complete His carrying out our request of , ushering in the yom hahu when yitoka beshofar gadol, the ultimate call of the shofar that will awaken all of us to return fully to Him, with the immediate hisgalus of Melech haMoshiach TUMYM!!!
Rabbi Akiva Wagner
' , , " "

(12/27/2013 3:14:45 PM)
Not a big Chosid of these 2 rabbis
(12/27/2013 3:14:53 PM)
To 31
Nice song but u went the wrong way!!!!!
(12/27/2013 3:31:45 PM)
Dancing blindfoleded on a mattress
how much longer before we hear the allegations of unappropriate physical contact (B'lashon Naki)
(12/27/2013 3:32:23 PM)
The real rov the rebbes rov.
What does he have to say?
(12/27/2013 3:50:33 PM)
so is it a psak based on a fact discovered against halacha?
If yes, this bases should be made publice

No need to hide the specific facts which made this hoplessely unredeemable
(12/27/2013 4:02:18 PM)
the song
Everyones making such a big deal from this whole thing its so stupid, and the song?? I mean u gotta be kidding...
(12/27/2013 4:41:58 PM)
dont get it
why are the rabbanim getiing invaled they cant find the asnwers them selves thay have faild and others to .why are they the ones making a whole thing about this the people whom need the call of he shofar shall get it shea heacht said its a medecation if you need it you need it and if you dont stay away thats all but to make a whole stink about why pls somone explain
(12/27/2013 5:21:21 PM)
thank you very much for the psak din. but i think that we have to focus on more important things going on in CH things like: chinuch, tzinius (actually its very important) yeshiva etc...
(12/28/2013 11:52:33 AM)
Why can't the people who went to Shofar do what they need to do and the people who didn't, do what they need to do? I haven't heard that Shofar tells people not to go back into Chabad, but I have heard Chabad telling people that they must not go to Shofar. So I would need to explore both and decide on my own which, if either, would be right for me at that time.
(12/28/2013 12:38:02 PM)
sorry, but i still don't understand
As a mashpia I don't know to whom i CAN send people who are stuck in a bad place - all frum therapists? only Chassidische therapists,? frum alternative therapists (TAT, EFT etc? ) .
(12/28/2013 1:01:31 PM)
to 49
I cant possibly thank you enough for posting Rabbi Wagner's letter. It really answered the questions I was bothered with all Shabbos. Written with so much toichen, depth and clarity!
(12/28/2013 7:54:25 PM)
To #45
Excellent post. Very clear and straight forwarded.
Thank you for taking the time to post. It clarifies the core issue and explains exactly what the real Problem is. That is precisely
what was troubling me about COTS; the public exposure of
personal issues among people that are not all strangers is just not normal or healthy.

To discuss issues privately with a therapist in a one on one personal, professional setting is normal and healthy. However to do so in a public forum and then to face others later knowing that your private issues - about you, your spouse, parents,children, or others is no longer private is not just a violation of your privacy, but theirs as well. That in itself seems a violation of Halacha. And as mentioned, public loshon hora. Words, like feathers in a pillow let loose and blown in the wind, can never be retracted. Who knows the damage done once a person has publicly spoken against someone else? And one that must undoubtably therefore carry alot of guilt once the the "high" of the weekend wears off.

We are obviously talking about "regular" issues of feelings of inadequacy, neglect, rejection or the like, not c"v things like abuse which is an entirely different category.

This contrasts greatly from groups like AA, NA or OA which is purely a support group for people hoping to stay sober, clean, or at healthy weight. No one is coerced or encouraged to share personal information - especially about others - but can choose to receive support.

My comment then would be - if you do decide to go, it is only fair that you ask permission first from those that you will be speaking about at the retreat.

At the end of the day, Everyone who has attended are mature adults and will do as they feel they need - regardless of what psak is issued. So of you're going to go regardless, at least go on a weekend where there are no other lubavitchers attending.
so that the fallout from the lashing hora is at a minimum.

I also liked #49's post. A little long winded but good points.
(12/28/2013 7:55:48 PM)
to 59
Funny! Ur no mashpia!!
Figuring out how to give ppl advice and make crucial decisions by some comment someone posts anonymously.
And if u were serious about that, then I REALLY feel bad for the ppl ur in touh with.
(12/28/2013 7:59:56 PM)
we need an alternative
Kosher Lemehadrin
With the right ppl qualified to extract the good and usfulness from the bad
(12/28/2013 8:21:25 PM)
so scientific!
Funny, suddenly lubavitchers get so scientific. why not to look at all topics as objective as this? also when its about introspection of OUR system... is honesty not included in OUR values??
(12/28/2013 8:40:02 PM)
money maker?
Afraid it's not! I'm no friend of cots or any of its organizers.
But I checked the public tax records of cots. SF only walked away with 37k in 2012. He is not kosher, but you can't claim he is becoming rich from this.
(12/28/2013 9:00:06 PM)
Thank you rabbi Wagner
With love people will listen
(12/28/2013 9:25:35 PM)
to #47
You point out:"The Rebbe clearly stated a Bakosho Nafish that everyone has a Mashpia" I want a mashpia!! But where are they to be found? I mean for non students, I mean for Anash. I commented elsewhere: there are a lot of talented bright rabbis -- make yourselves known. Let there be a list like there is a list of shiurim. Here in Crown Heights there is a certain lacking for many of us. If you are jealous or zelots for Chassidus that no one should go to other pastures for inspiration, then please share what you have here. Be a mashpia like you would go on mifsoyim every Friday. How about a workshop for Anash to meet with mashpiim like LYO has encounters or JLI has retreats. . Does a mashpia need training? Then make a training class. Are there any retired Chassidim that can work toward promoting Mashpia/Anash. Treat is as shalichus, like any Chabad House - activity and financial backing.
(12/28/2013 9:51:47 PM)
Follow The Money

$37K reported!

(12/28/2013 10:00:37 PM)
R' wagner
thanks for the rebbes view
(12/28/2013 10:12:14 PM)
Thank You Rabbi Wagner!!
...But You gotta be careful: The way people rumors start nowadays, someone's gonna say you said to follow The Call Of the Shofar!!! :)
Don't worry, we know you really mean the call of the Neshama! lol
(12/28/2013 10:46:07 PM)
67 ill hook u up
(12/28/2013 10:50:34 PM)
wise words:
"I applaud Mashpiim for recognizing that they alone may not be able to provide the support some of their students require and therefore they refer them to other sources for assistance"
(12/28/2013 11:14:16 PM)
to 58
chabad is telling shofar particpants that shofar contradicts everything chabad stands for. participants didnt realize this and believed, even with their new mindset they are still chabad. chabad stands for chochma, bina daas- meaning a lot of is intellectually based- once that messes up- without realizing- u are no longer chabad. so choose as you wish but you cant be both. chabad is the road to a lot deeper happiness and connection to Hashem while cots is a short-term, superficial elation based on one meshuganers desire to make $$$. chassidus was based on hundreds of years of mesiras nefesh that has kept people going through the darkest times. hopefully youll see the difference.
(12/28/2013 11:45:48 PM)

'' 20 ''
(12/29/2013 4:36:08 PM)
Rabbi Aron
this is why everyone loves you !!!
(1/3/2014 4:08:35 PM)
Just another opinion...
If you're not in COTS: do you really think all the comments are gonna change their mind? All the polemics and diatribes people put on, (with the exception of the experts like rabbi Aron, schochet etc. of course,) telling them how COTS is a cult etc. and expecting that they're really gonna change their mind is acting almost as stupidly as the people from COTS who think that they can change YOUR mind with THEIR comments. If, after having heard from internationally renowned experts and people who've "been there and done that" how COTS is wrong, they still want to credulously believe that it really helps and that it's halakhically sound, excuse my bluntness but you might be wasting your time. Instead, maybe try "preventative medicine". Give your friends, kids, spouse or whoever something to live for, something to be proud of, the self-esteem they need to keep them out of wanting to go there in the first place. That works way better than any arguing and cajoling post facto. I'm not saying give up on the people who are in there, just make sure you know what you're doing (it really isn't as easy as we'd like it to be) lest anyone be accused of what COTS is guilty of, namely trying to help people while not having the credability or knowledge to do so correctly.
If you are currently in COTS: I'm not going to waste much time here. Taking the time to try refute or respond to your claims (that Chabad is a cult, that COTS isn't what people think it is etc.) will just give them legitimacy, which I definitely don't want to do. Just get to know yourself and your shortcomings without the "help" of someone else who's never met you and uses the same routines for everybody to give you ataraxia and the illusion that you've solved all your issues. To quote Jeannie Mills, a defector from Jim Jones' People's Temple, who was subsequently murdered (this quote is brought in many books including rabbi Aron's first book on cults): "When you meet the friendliest people you have ever known, who introduce you to the most loving group you have ever encountered, and you find the leader to be the most inspired, caring, compassionate and understanding person you have ever met, and then you learn the cause of the group is something you never dared hope could be accomplished, and all of this sounds too good to be true- it probably IS too good to be true! Don't give up your education, your hopes and ambitions to follow a rainbow". No, I'm not trying to imply that you've joined a cult, because even if you argue that it isn't a cult, it's still got a bunch of complications and problems, and please don't waste your time trying to convince yourself or me otherwise. Nobody's out to get you, believe me. On the contrary, it's out of concern and care that people are simply trying to point out to you that you made a wrong choice and, to quote the philosopher Pascal, "Why do we not lose our temper if someone tells us that we have a headache, while we do lose it if someone says there is anything wrong with our arguments or our choice?"
(1/22/2014 4:08:46 AM)
What's Your Opinion? Post a Comment

Your Comment:

Comments must be approved before being published. Thank You!

Make COLive your homepage | Contact Us
© 2019