Occult practices and beliefs get into the religious world by means of the slippery slope. That is by fudging definitions about faith in Torah, and bringing statements that support some of the crack head beliefs that were said by supposedly great men. It is a kind of conspiracy that began long ago to sneak in occultism into the Torah world.

The effort to get occultism into Litvak Yeshivas is mainly because they are the gold standard of what qualifies as legitimate and authentic Torah.
Thus you can find elements of the occult in even well known Litvak Yeshivas. the only one that I know excludes all these elements rigorously is the yeshiva of Rav Zilverman in the Old City of Jerusalem which goes strictly by the Gra. I was pretty friendly with the rosh yeshiva there already for about 26 years and though I did not learn there myself I have been pretty well impressed with the place. The name is not so well known, but just for the record the name is Aderet Eliyahu.

Th great yeshivas like Ponovitch and Brisk are, as a rule, places where you can get into only f you already know how to learn. But Rav Zilverman's place starts at beginner levels. But there is also Machon Meir which I think is Mizrachi [Religious Zionist] that has a very good reputation.

I should mention that I have heard there are other start-up places that go by the Gra. 


Intensity of religious devotion

Intensity of religious devotion can be a great thing if one is on the path of truth and light and a terrible thing if one is on the path of darkness and evil.So the first thing one must do is to learn to discern between the holy and the unholy, though the unholy is easy to discern in fact. The more they are religious in appearance, the more you know they are from the Realm of Evil and Darkness. The prophet asks: "What does God ask from you? but to love compassion and justice הצנע לכת עם אלהיך to walk modestly with your God." (note 1) So if people are making a public announcement about how religious they are, then you know they are not doing the prime directive of God. Therefore it is easy to discern that they are from the Realm of Darkness.  

(note 1)  The entire verse is this: מה השם אלהיך שואל ממך כי עם אהבת חסד ועשות משפט והצנע לכת עם אלהיך.

However the basic question remains for oneself: how to discern between good and evil, right and wrong, in the  same area of value?
What are the minimum or maximum requirements of the Torah. Clearly the fanatic religious world is off on some lunatic LSD trip, but still that leaves the question open. The fact that many do Torah wrong does not tell me how to do it right. The best approach in my opinion is that of the Rambam who at least stated clearly his four fold approach of learning the Written and Oral Torah [the two Talmuds,] the Physics and Metaphysics of Aristotle. This seems to be close to the path of my parents. Most other paths I have seen as producing really evil people is religious disguise.

There is nothing wrong with intensity of devotion if one is on a basically good path. For example, let's say that one is in a straight Lithuanian kind of yeshiva that goes strictly by the path of the Gra. In that case there would be nothing wrong with being a fanatic. Being fanatic is learning + keeping Torah is a good thing. There are dangers there also, but still the idea is once one is on a good path, one must stick with it and not leave--even for other paths which seem to be good.

The contemporary Jewish religious world  is an occult practice. Although varied in its beliefs from group to group, the occult usually encompass the views of honoring corpses of their leaders  as sacred, monism (all is one energy), polytheism (many spiritual powers), and pantheism (all is God/Goddess),  or panentheism (God/Goddess is contained within the world), communing with the dead.
This is in steady and stark contrast to Torah which is Monotheism, which is the belief that God created the world and He is not the world.


pillorying of white people--being done by other white people.

My impression of the USA (before there was lots of energy put into making it black) was highly positive. And High School taught as much. Later, I got more involved in Talmud,  and that was in Queens [NY] and later in Brooklyn,- so being involved in that I simply paid zero attention  to politics. But in the meantime (--when I was not looking), things just went downhill. So coming out of my shell in the 1990's, I was pretty horrified at what I have seen of the USA. 
My impression is that values changed. Instead of positive values, "Truth, Justice and the American Way" (as Superman so aptly put it), I saw pillorying of white people--being done by other white people.  This was done to appease the savage.  But also this is what Churches were teaching as being moral.

Learning Physics along with the idea of trust in God

I have hoped for myself to combine the idea of the Rambam [which was shared by other Rishonim] about the importance of learning Physics along with the idea of trust in God, and learning extremely quickly. I already know that the idea of trust in God was expanded by the book Obligations of the Heart to Olam Haba [the next world]. That is he says [in one place that as one must trust in God for success and happiness in this world  must he trust in God to reward him for his good deeds in teh next world.] And I already know that the disciple of Israel Salanter, Yoseph Horwitz, this to extend the idea of trust  to limit the השתדלות as much as possible. That is he agrees that some minimum amount of effort is required by he desires to get that minimum down to as low a minimum as possible [שאוף לאפס as mathematicians like to call it.
So in my case, I try to learn fast by just saying the words and going on and to extend the idea of trust in God to this area also--that is to not look at whether I understand or not, but just to believe that what I am supposed to understand I will and not to do ריבוי השתדלות over much effort.

[THIS is not to negate the idea of review.  It is rather one kind of learning normally called bekiut in Litvak yeshivas. But there is also "iyun" in depth learning which if I am without a learning partner usually means to of lots of review].

[It is true that to the Rambam, Physics was meant to be learned after finishing the Oral and Written Law. It is the way the Rambam understood מעשה בראשית and מעשה מרכבה. [The work of Creation and the work of the Divine Chariot which are in fact dealt with in the Gemara in חגיגה.] [The opinion of the Rambam can be seen also in the book חובות לבבות Obligations of the Heart שער הבחינה i think at the beginning of ch. 3]


But displays of religiosity do not make up for extreme wickedness. In fact, displays of religiosity tends to go hand in hand with wickedness. and even help add to the results. After all it is known to avoid openly wicked people. It is their extreme display of religiosity that gives the wicked their power to do damage.

The false prophets  of the kings of Israel were religious people displayed their religiosity scrupulously. They had the ear of the monarchs. But displays of religiosity do not make up for their lack of true inspiration. [The false prophets were prophesying in the name of God, not the Baal, as we see  in the confrontation between Jeremiah and Hanania. When Jeremiah prophesied doom, Hanaia who was prophesying success came over to him and slapped him and asked, "How did the spirit of prophecy leave me, and come into you?"]

The people of Israel today face a similar problem what we had then. Charismatic religious leaders that make up for their lack of sincerity and true inspiration with displays of religiosity.

And who were the real enemies of the false prophets? The true prophets. These few individuals evoked the animosity of the false prophets as we can see in the book of Jeremiah and in the books of Kings. Today the religious world is awash in false prophets =religious leaders that have tremendous charm and powers of persuasion but  are incompetent in authentic Torah.  The way they seem competent is they give each other credentials. This leaves the people that can really learn Torah completely isolated and disenfranchised and outsiders. 

Concerns about consistent bad judgment, or, worse, abuse of power are never taken very seriously, and although the need to do so is constant. There is not ever any action taken to see that religious leaders who have overstepped their bounds do not stay long in their positions. Just the opposite. People that have been abused by them are maligned and stripped and sent out. No wonder the Jewish people left the religious years ago. And yet no one today wonder why that is the case? Why did the vast majority of Jewish people become Reform and Conservative Jews?  Was this from bad hearts? Or perhaps from real   abuse that was never addressed? There are pockets of decency like the great Litvak yeshivas in Bnei Brak and NY, but by and large the religious world is a surrealistic nightmare. [By name the great yeshivas are Mir, Chaim Berln, Torah VeDaat, Ponovitch, Shar Yashuv.]