How to spot a fake kabbalist?

1) Name Switch
Kabbalist tell you to change your name so that your fortune will be changed, never do so without discussing it with your own Posek. Only change it through your Posek. Talk it over with your Rav or Moreh Derech. (Unfortunately, it has become a practice of people changing their own names several times!)

2) Cost
If they post a Suggested Fee: (It actually reads: ‘If you do not give the sum, my blessings may have the opposite effect on you.’) you should immediately beware. There’s a saying, ‘Never start up with a kabbalist, for he will hurt you and your pocket.’ (Note: Forcing someone to pay a fee due to a guilty conscience is worse than geneiva [theft]. It is considered gezela [robbery].)

3) Mezuzah

If they ask you to show them a mezuzah from your house, they will always make sure to find something wrong. They’ll claim that even if it may be kosher, it is the cause of all your troubles. If they sell you a mezuzah as a replacement, you’re most certainly going to overpay for something you did not need in the first place!

4) Kesuba
If they ask to see your kesuba, you are looking for trouble. (Why not show them your bank account and medical records???) A kesuba is nothing more than a private marital contract, not a kami’a (amulet). If they ask you to rewrite or change the naming in your kesuba, do not hesitate to consult your Rav! The Rav is the one that should deal with Halachic matters, not a so-called kabbalist. According to many Rabbonim, playing around with a kesuba has caused major Halachic problems!

5) Ayin Harah
They may claim that someone you know is giving you an ayin hara, and only they can see it and cure it – naturally for a fee. (Real mekubalim do not ask for any payment for such a thing, nor do they even suggest a sum.) The kabbalists’ customary fee is $72 just for testing if they can detect an ayin hara. If they feel an ayin hara must be cured, there will be an additional fee of $360 for each attempt to cure it!!

6) Tax Deductible
They generally claim that the monies do not go towards their own pocket, but instead towards supporting some type of kollel or yeshiva – and that the contributions are tax deductible. Even if it’s true, it is not kosher money. It just demonstrates that they are good fundraisers and not authentic mekubalim.

7) Haskamos
They will show what they refer to as ‘letters of recommendation.’ Most people do not bother reading them. However, many letters are outdated and were acquired before they started charging for their activities! Some are just simply bogus.

8) Health Danger
They are even capable of taking you or your loved ones off necessary medication. They are extremely convincing and persuasive, not to mention the obvious – dangerous. (It has already resulted in fatal consequences.)

9) Healer of Any Disease
One kabbalist publicizes in his letterhead that he’s able to cure anything. For a childless couple, the kabbalist requested that a sofer write letters of some sort of sheimos on a peace of klaf. The letters would be erased on contact with liquid that would be given to the childless couple to drink. The kabbalist wanted the letters written with human milk, which was to be a mixture of two nursing mothers’; a mother and daughter! When one competent Rabbi was asked about the matter, upon seeing the letterhead of this kabbalist, the Rabbi said, “I don’t know what the Halacha is, but I surely wonder if any Rebbe had ever promised as many yeshuos as this kabbalist claims to perform!”

10) Sotah
Another kabbalist asked me to write some sheimos on a klaf on a person’s throat. Afterward, the kabbalist erased the writing in wine and made the person drink it like a sotah!