Wednesday, August 26, 2009

// // 6 comments

More Questions on Yoga

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

Question:

Can yoga postures be kosher? Some say that Qigong is usually kosher, and some rabbis are trying to come up with Jewish versions of energy healing.

In your autobiographical book Coming Back to Earth you describe, in your pre-teshuvah days as the silent guru, radiating energy from your body to such an extent that strangers could feel a pleasant spiritual feeling coming from you. Is it beneficial to try to reach a similar stage through kosher means?

Answer:

Regarding yoga and idolatry: There are no physical postures, breathing techniques, movements, and such that are owned by the idolatries. This is true only if they are completely stripped of their associations to the false spirituality.

The problem with yoga postures is that they are called “yoga”, or worse. For instance, one common yoga exercise is called, “Salutation to the Sun.” This used to be called “Worship of the Sun”, but has been changed to make it more acceptable in the West.[i] Obviously, it is wrong to bow down to the sun. “Yoga” is a branch of Hinduism, and therefore it must be completely avoided. This is not only true for Jews, but gentiles should not do such practices either.

Books on yoga are frequently dedicated to strange gods and should not be in your possession. The older teachers of yoga are all deeply associated with idolatry, and this idolatry seeps into their teachings. It is almost impossible to separate the solely physical aspects of yoga from their roots. This is why even the word yoga should be removed from your practices.

But bending, stretching, deep breathing and such, are healthy and are fine, as long as they are not at all associated with false spiritual beliefs.

The same is true for other similar practices generally rooted in the East. Qigong, Tai Chi, even Karate, and such, are not merely physical exercises. They are all rooted in the false spiritual teachings found in the lands where they were developed.

“Energy healings” are extremely dangerous. They lead both the “healer” and the “healed” to severe spiritual and mental problems. The lie embedded in these type practices is that they take you away from the one “energy” that is the Universal, and have you focus on and develop a ray of “energy.” This “ray of energy” becomes palpable, heavy, and ends up entrapping. When you begin to develop such a “power” you believe that you have the power. Later, you see that the power has you!

The power that develops from exposure to spiritually unclean people, places, practices, and such, can never be elevated. It is here only to give us a choice between the truth and magic. Moshe’s staff became a snake by the word of Hashem. The magicians could somewhat duplicate his act by using unclean techniques. Both methods are available. The word of Hashem leads to the Revelation of His Presence. Magic leads to corruption and enslavement.

When one comes near a spiritually unclean person there may very well be a strong feeling emanating from him. It might even feel elevating to those who experience it. It can be extremely palpable.

When one comes close to a righteous person there is a feeling of great respect, admiration, and humility.

All things radiate their nature.

[i] Its origins lie in a worship of Surya, the Hindu solar deity.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the explanation!

So you're saying you could do yoga postures or qigong exercises, as long as you're not calling them that, and not practicing them in the religious or spiritual context they originated in (like with unkosher books or teachers associated with these religious or spiritual ideas)? This doesn't sound easy, so it's no surprise people are trying to come up with kosher Jewish versions (like your body postures in your book based on the Hebrew letters). Or Abir, the Jewish martial art sometimes featured on Lazer Brody's blog.

Just wondering -- when you encourage people at the Kotel to imagine their loved ones smiling with sunlight pouring on their faces, is this kind of like a long-distance form of energy healing, since the person is trying to send them blessing by visualizing it pouring on them? It sounds kind of like that ancient Jewish meditation involving imagining a holy light above your head at all times.

Anonymous said...

so whats the solution more jews practice nothing or some form of idolatry then keep the mitzvot strictly ?!

Deborah Shaya said...

1. A Jewish Person (whether of Sephardi or Eastern European origin) is not allowed to go into ANY church. Every church, is quite simply, a place of idolatry. A church is a place of Avodah Zarah.

If a person has gone into a church, he/she must do Teshuva to Hashem quickly.

A person must similarly do Teshuva to Hashem if he/she has been inside any other place of idolatry e.g. a Buddist temple/Hindu temple/Greek temple/buildings of any other kind of foreign worship. These are all places of Avodah Zarah.

Hashem, our G-d, is a very “JEALOUS G-D” who demands “EXCLUSIVE WORSHIP.” (2ND Commandment.)

Teshuvah is very great and regarded very highly in Shamayim. A person should seize the opportunity to do Teshuva to Hashem right now, while "the Gates of Teshuva are open". By doing a true and sincere Teshuva to Hashem, the brachot (blessings) from Hashem will come into a person's life, and obstacles will begin to shift.

2.The Jewish People is a “Holy People.” “Am Kadosh.” We are so holy, that Hashem says to Moshe Rabeinu, in the Parsha of Yitro:

“Ve’atah im shamoa tishme’u bekoli, ushemartem et Beriti, viheyitem li segulah mikol ha’amim ki li kol ha’aretz. Ve’atem tiheyu li Mamlechet Kohanim ve’goi kadosh, eleh hadevarim asher tedaber el Benei Yisrael.” (Yitro, 19:5-6)

“Now, if you surely listen to Me (My Voice), and you keep My Covenant, you shall be to Me the most beloved TREASURE among all nations, for all the world is Mine. And you shall be to Me, a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS, and a HOLY NATION.” These are the words that you must relate to the Children of Yisrael, Israel.”

We are referred to as being Hashem’s special “Treasure.” We are a “Holy Nation,” and so holy, that we are to emulate the Cohanim, who are of a much higher stature than the rest of the Jewish People. One day, we will all be on the level of a “Kingdom of Priests.”

The Benei Yisrael must follow the example of the true Cohanim. We should emulate the Cohanim in our daily lives, to make this into a reality.

Deborah Shaya said...

REMOVAL OF SOURCES OF TUMAH, and AVODAH ZARAH (spiritual ‘uncleanliness’, which is extremely damaging) FROM YOUR HOME/LIFE:

COMMANDMENT AGAINST IDOLATRY:

We are specifically commanded against idolatry, in the SECOND COMMANDMENT:

‘Do not have any other gods BEFORE ME.’

‘Lo yiheyeh lecha elohim acherim AL PANAI.’

And: ‘Do not represent (such gods) by any CARVED STATUE OR PICTURE of anything in the heaven above, or the earth below, or in the water below the land. Do not bow down to (such gods) or worship them. I am G-d your Lord, A JEALOUS G-D, who demands EXCLUSIVE WORSHIP. Where My enemies are concerned, I keep in mind the sin of the fathers for (their) descendants, to the third and fourth (generation). But for those who love Me and keep My commandments, I show love for thousands (of generations.)

‘Lo ta’aseh lecha PESEL, vechol temunah asher bashamayim, mima’al va’asher ba’aretz, mitachat va’asher ba’mayim, mitachat la’aretz. Lo tishtachaveh lahem, ve’lo ta’avdem, KI ANI HASHEM ELOKECHA, KEL KANAH, poked avon avot al banim, al shileshim, ve’al ribe’im, le’sonay. Ve’osseh chessed la’alafim, le’ohavai, u’leshomrei mitzvotai.’ (Parshat Yitro, Chapter 20, verses 3-6)

Hashem, our G-d, is a very “jealous G-d” who demands “exclusive worship.”

1. PLACES OF IDOLATRY

Do not go into any of the following, as they are all places of idolatry, and AVODAH ZARAH (literally ‘strange worship’). They deny the Sovereignty of Hashem, the One G-d, and Creator of the World.

- Churches
- Buddist temples
- Hindu temples
- Greek temples
- Temples/buildings of any other kind of foreign worship.

There is a lot of TUMAH in them (spiritual ‘uncleanliness’ which can affect a person has veshalom, physically in different ways). Always walk to the opposite side of the road rather than walk directly past one of these buildings e.g. a church.

2. STONE/WOOD SCULPTURES OF THE HUMAN FORM; THE HUMAN FACE; STATUES

These are graven images. They should IMMEDIATELY be removed from your home and discarded, no matter how much they might have cost, or the sentimental value attached to them. They are a strong source of Tumah.

2a. Tefillah/Prayer – at home

When praying at home, a person should endeavour to pray in a room which does not contain any portraits of people or statues.

Deborah Shaya said...

3. BOOKS, MAGAZINES, LEAFLETS

These are a strong source of TUMAH, and bring in a lot of negativity into the home. These books and magazines negatively affect those who live in that home.

Go through every book in your home very carefully, and check for the following. If it falls into one of these categories, or you have doubt about it – sort them out into a pile, and then DISPOSE of these books as soon as possible, and take them out of your home. Or at least take them out of your home and put them in a shed if you can.

It is a very great MITZVAH to remove such sources of Tumah from your home. If some of these books were expensive – discard them anyway, and put aside how much they cost. They are a form of Avodah Zarah, and should be removed immediately.

• Instead, place your EMUNAH (faith) in Hashem, that He will bless all your endeavours, and new, good things, will now be able to come into your life. You might start to feel better in yourself.

The following are some examples:

(a) ‘New Age’ books – (e.g. Indian authors, ‘Shambhala’ publications)

(b) Philosophical books (e.g. by Indian writers such as Deepak Chopra etc etc)

(c) Yoga/Tai Chi books (qi gong)/yoga magazines &leaflets; tai chi (qigong) magasines & leaflets – these physical exercises are based upon AVODAH ZARAH, and come from a SOURCE OF TUMAH. Practicing yoga or tai chi is therefore harmful to a Jewish person – spiritually, and therefore physically. Have Emunah in Hashem to find another alternative form of exercise.

(d) Meditation books - by non-Jewish or unorthodox Jewish writers.

Buddism abounds with “meditation.”

Meditation is only for Prophets – it is not for the ordinary man or woman.

(e) Books that appear ok – but contain many idolatrous images and drawings e.g. mathematical or philosophical books interspersed with pictures of dragons; snakes; mandalas; crosses; ‘third eyes’; hindu gods; hindu goddesses; buddas; tibetan gods; egyptian gods; greek gods; stone/gold idols etc etc – THESE SHOULD ALL BE REMOVED IMMEDIATELY FROM YOUR HOME.

4. PHOTOGRAPHS

If you have taken holiday photographs of e.g. Buddist temples, whether on the outside or inside, these are a source of Tumah, and should be discarded. Similarly for buddist celebrations. These places of AVODAH ZARAH completely DENY THE SOVREIGNTY OF HASHEM, the One and Only G-d, and Creator of the World. They should not be in your home.

The same applies to photographs of:
- Churches
- Hindu temples
- Greek temples
- Temples/buildings of any other kind of foreign worship.

Sort through your photographs, and discard those that relate to Avodah Zarah.

However attached you may feel to these photographs, they should be discarded, as they completely deny the Sovereignty of Hashem.

• Instead, place your EMUNAH (faith) in Hashem, that He will bless all your endeavours, and new, good things, will now be able to come into your life. You might start to feel better in yourself.

5. Discard any other items related in any way to Avodah Zarah. No matter how small and insignificant, or however large e.g. bookmarks with pictures of churches; jewellery and accessories.

SUMMARY:

1. Do not go into any places of idolatry.

2. Discard and remove from your home all stone/wood sculptures e.g. sculptures of:
(a) the human form (“nudes.”)
(b) the human face
(c ) statues – of the human form in particular.

3. Books – discard and destroy all books relating to Avodah Zarah.

4. Photographs – discard and destroy all photographs of Avodah Zarah.

5. Discard any other items you have relating to Avodah Zarah e.g.jewellery.

Deborah Shaya said...

HOW TO DO TESHUVAH FOR AVODAH ZARAH – once you have removed all sources of Tumah, and Avodah Zarah from your home/life.
CHECKLIST.

1. Say the KETORET twice a week at least (Tefillah, prayer).

The Ketoret has great Kedushah, (holiness) and power to transform all negatives into positives. Say the full text of the Ketoret in the full “Sefarad” version.
If you can say it every day, including Shabbat, this is even better. You can say it as many times as you like during the day.
The Ketoret is said formally 3 times a day in total: twice in the Shacharit, and once during the Minchah prayer.

2. Decide on an amount to give to TZEDAKAH, (charity) in Israel, so that it ‘hurts you’ a little bit. Give to a proper registered charity, such as a hospital or emergency services.

3. MEZUZOT – (Positive Mitzvah, commandment in the Shema – affirming that G-d is ONE, and warning against idolatry.)

Check that:

(a) You have properly affixed a mezuzah on EVERY DOORWAY which needs a mezuzah. This includes archways, patio doors, folding doors, side doors to garden, garden doors.

(b) If any places in your home are lacking a mezuzah, purchase one as soon as possible from a qualilfied Sofer (Scribe), and put it up as soon as possible.

(c) Check that ALL your mezuzot are kosher, as soon as you can. These should be given to a qualified Sofer (scribe) for checking.

(d) Mezuzot should ideally be checked ONCE A YEAR.

4. Travel to the KOTEL in Israel. If you can travel with a group of people who are going for the purposes of Teshuvah, this is even better. The purpose will be to pray, (Tefila and Teshuva), and ask Hashem, Hakadosh Baruch Hu, for His forgiveness, for mechilah. If a group can be arranged, this will be a greater mitzvah for everyone who joins. If you can go individually to the Kotel, in the meantime, before the group travel, this is also very good.

5. When you have done 1-3 and/or 4 above, (summarised below as well), you should obtain the special BERACHA, (blessing) of someone who is known to be a TRUE KOHEN/COHEN. This will bring Hashem’s brachot of the material and spiritual blessings directly into your life.

SUMMARY:

1. Say the Ketoret – at least twice a week.
Say the full text of the Ketoret in the full “Sefarad” version.

2. Give Tzedakah to recognised charity in Israel

3. Mezuzot - Have you affixed a mezuzah on every doorway?
- Have you checked that all your mezuzot are kosher?

4. Kotel in Israel – in a group (and individually, if possible)

5. Bracha of a true Kohen/Cohen.

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