Tension racked New York's Kabbalah Centre after an "enemy" of sect leader Philip Berg tried to spread a false story that Berg's wife, Karen, was having an affair with a senior member in the organization.
Rabbi Berg - who is called "The Rav" by followers and presides over ceremonies in a white robe - has been recovering from a serious stroke for a number of years, during which his younger wife has taken over much of his role.
But sources tell us a disgruntled ex-member of Kabbalah has been maliciously and untruthfully claiming Karen has been having an affair with Moshe "Muki" Oppenheimer -- a high-ranking member who is close to many of Kabbalah's celebrity followers, including Madonna, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher and Gwyneth Paltrow.
A source told Page Six: "It is true that Muki has accompanied Karen on trips and to events during Rabbi Berg's illness. The Rav's condition has been kept very secret, and for a while he was confined to bed, but has since made a good recovery.
"Somebody considered an enemy of Kabbalah has been spreading a rumor that Karen and Muki are having an affair, which is not only untrue, but a scandal that could destroy the Kabbalah organization.
"The enemy is also claiming that Karen and Philip's sons, Yehuda and Michael Berg, who are co-directors of the Kabbalah Centre, confronted her about the affair -- but this is also totally untrue," our insider continued.
"The perpetrator of these rumors is out for blood because his 21-year-old daughter has become deeply involved in Kabbalah and wants to devote herself full time to the religion after an expensive college education."
Reiterating that the claims were "absolutely untrue," Kabbalah spokesman Jack Douglas Jr. said: "There is an individual who, for no good reason, has an ax to grind with the Kabbalah Centre and is spreading false and malicious rumors in an effort to hurt Kabbalah and its good people."