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2.3.17

the Jewish religious world is that of the Sitra Achra (the Dark Side).

The major problem I see in the Jewish religious world is that of the Sitra Achra (the Dark Side).
That is to say that when people thirst for the spirit of God that is in itself not a bad thing. And I agree there is  a  mystic side to Torah as we see in the Gra and the Ari. Still this thirst for spirituality is hijacked to draw people into the Sitra Achra- to the degree that if there is any part of the religious world that is genuinely kosher I would be surprised. 

Still the side of attachment with God in the Torah is difficult to ignore. But it mainly seems to be connected with a pretty well defined path--that of learning Gemara with great intensity until one knows Shas pretty well and then delving into the writings of the Ari. When this is done right as in rare cases, it does open up a door of attachment and dekekut with God (as with Bava Sali). But as a rule the spiritual thirst seems to just get people involved in the Sitra Achra. It is kind of sad to see.

To the religious world, the main thing is to be religious, but not too religious so that the money keeps flowing from the plebeians to them. 
Obviously Reb Israel Salanter and the Gra saw this problem and suggested what I have to admit is probably the best solution to learn Musar Medieaval Ethics.That is the classical Musar Sefarim of the Middle Ages, and to learn Straight Authentic Torah.