Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Thoughts on Megirot, pt ii

Once again, let me preface this with the fact that I have no inside knowledge of Megeirot or the people involved, just the summary and some details I have seen in blogs and articles. My reaction is to the concepts, as described. I might not have set out my thoughts on the matter -- for why should anyone care? But once I posted someone else's take on it, I thought it would be good to clarify my own position on it.

The good: In the past post, I explained that even though the idea of raising drawer-cleaning to ritual strikes me as silly, and even though I think it is pop-psychology clothed as religion, there are some good aspects to it. Namely, it is good to engage in self-introspection and it is good for harried religious women to have a kosher support group. It may well be that Megeirot or programs like it are the only realistic way for them to have it. And even if some of Megirot is ineffective or silly, the process of engaging in it with other people in the same boat and with someone to support and listen to you can have real emotional psychological effect.

The worrisome: However, in general, present-day Orthodox Judaism has its problem with folk-religion. To a large extent such trends are checked among men, who have plenty of Jewish ritual to engage in, and gemara and so on to keep them occupied. But particularly among frum Jewish women, there is a risk of falling into the trap of folk-religion.

Why particularly women?

First, often (though not always) they are taught lots of "fluff" in school. Like in one concrete example, when they are taught that the purpose hair-covering is so that their hair will be super-special for their husband, but are not told anything about the Das Yehudis or sear beIsha erva. Or hashkafa, which is not a serious source-based discussion, but a mussar shmuez reflecting the particular biases of their teacher. So when they encounter someone else saying incorrect fluff, it is hard to distinguish and say why this particular fluff is wrong.

Secondly, in many cases, they are not given the place to express themselves in Jewish ritual. The husband's role is to learn, and the woman's role is to cook supper, get the kids dressed, and clean the drawers. This is an overstatement, but one pulled from a recent comment on this blog. Since Judaism does not give them the ritual, they sometimes make ritual up, or else invest existing actions with deeper significance.

I made this point in an earlier post, when I suggested that when the gemara states that "the best of women practices witchcraft" means particularly the best, who seek spiritual fulfillment, just as "the best of doctors" in that gemara meant particularly the best.

Thus, baking challah in honor of Shabbos is a great thing to do -- and halachic sources even insisted that the man should do this in honor of Shabbos (though Aruch haShulchan says that it is OK for the wife to do it because of ishto kegufo). But since this has developed into woman's work, and she is the one who does hafrashat challah, this has been changed into a ritual for a coven of women. They get together in groups made up of specific (in-)signicant numbers of people, have names of people who need a shidduch or a refuah sheleima, and have them in mind when they perform their ritual. And they come up with silly "fluff" about the mystical significance of the ingredients of challah, and so on.

Women's prayer groups are the efforts of feminists to practice rituals usually reserved just for men. But the "frum" variant is more problematic, in my opinion. They consider Amen to be a word of power, and they meet at the new moon.

A similar problem with Shir haShirim groups. Women like romance, and shir hashirim uses the metaphor of a man and his lover, so this is something women should form a group to say. And of course have in mind shidduchim. And women talk a lot! 9 measures of talk was given to women. So they should have Shmiras haLashon groups, once again having in mind particular people in need of assistance. So these become rituals and segulahs to bring about a particular desired result.

Sometimes, the transforming of life experiences into segulahs and rituals takes away from the living of those life experiences. I have seen kallahs shuffling down the aisle reading a list of names (of sick or single) or saying tehillim, while crying, rather than experiencing the joy and experience of getting married to her bashert. All because the time is portentous, and must be harnessed into a segulah.

Megeirot seems to be along the same lines. Women are overworked, but their role is surely in the home -- making me a sandwich. (I kid, I kid.) And so a ritual is made out of ... cleaning drawers.

I did not mention the competing group -- Chitulim. The idea in this movement is that before changing a diaper, the mother must say a prayer to Hashem. As she uses the baby wipe, she must contemplate what sort of c**p in her life she would like to clear away.

Such is obviously ridiculous. I made it up. Yet Megeirot is taken seriously! Chazal never ritualized drawer cleaning. This is a made-up modern ritual which fills a void.

I must hasten to say that that does not mean that there cannot be value in this. It is good to invest our lives with meaning, and to find meaning in the otherwise mundane.

But here are a group of women following what might be considered a guru figure who are coming up with tefillot to say at this particular ritualized act. I believe that part of the reason of Baal Tosif is to prevent this organic, wild growth of our religion.

That brings me to the founder of this group. There is nothing that says that a woman cannot be spiritual and knowledgable. But when men try to lead, they do so within the framework of established halacha, with a long and developed history behind it. And they do so as rabbis, where there is peer review. One rises in the ranks as one is recognized for knowledge and insight into halacha and hashkafa. And if one diverges, other rabbis are there to challenge it. (At least in an ideal world. But at least these checks are in place.)

Meanwhile, there is no post of "rabbi" for a woman. There is rebbetzin, which many may earn just by marrying a rabbi. In the case of Rabbanit Keren, I saw on a discussion board that a woman asked her rebbetzin whether Rabbanit Keren's practices were off the deep end. The rebbetzin responded that even though this is not our hashkafa, she is a rebbetzin, which means that she is married to a rabbi, which in turn means that he presumably knows about and approves of her message. So she is not off the deep end, but must be based on a legitimate position. Meanwhile, the husband in that case was not really a force in the home.

There are no checks and balances in place, the women who attend are used to fluff, and the connection is to a type of "guru" figure.

The head of Megeirot might not say a single word of kefirah, may say over divrei Torah, and want to bring people close to Hashem. That does not mean that she is a professional therapist who understands what will positively or negatively affect people in general and people in particular; it also does not mean that she knows what Torah sources should be brought to bear, and which to be given prominence, in any given situation.

Thus, this may be true:
No matter what the student said, the instructor was told to tell her: "Sheker (falsehood), that is a statement of the ordinary sechel (intellect) which is your non-sechel. You don't have any sechel." Then the student recited a prayer, intended to redirect the woman's thoughts.
If true, and if this is a bad thing, it is not because of any evil intent of the founder of Megeirot, but because she is not a trained therapist.

Furthermore, back to the fluff angle. I know that many, many things can be cast as a Jewish ideas, when one uses the right words and frames it appropriately. This has happened many times in the distant and recent past. If Rav Dov Lior "warned that it was not based on Jewish teachings," this is quite possible, even though followers of Megeirot will gladly and readily engage in argument that it does.

It is also worrisome that in defending the group and the group leader, someone would see fit to compare Sylvie to Rav Nachman of Breslov or to the Baal Shem Tov. This suggests that the group is more serious about themselves and their practices than I first thought. Usually, we try to vet our leaders more thoroughly. As the saying goes, "Sunshine is the best disinfectant."

I do not know of any particulars of it, and do not intend to get into any particulars. However, perhaps in the next post (if I decide to post it), I will discuss a bit about why I think discussing perceived problems, or problematic experiences, about something which has the form of a cult, might be a good thing, even if (and I am not saying it does or does not) such goes against the laws of lashon hara.

21 comments:

mother in israel said...

I have read everything I could get my hands on about Keren, and this is the first time I have seen it written that her husband was a rabbi. He was a baal teshuva and met her while they were in the air force. Very few haredi baalei teshuva go on to get smicha. Rafi can probably confirm the facts in this case.

Yehuda said...

Joshe,

When you said that "it is also worrisome that in defending the group and the group leader, someone would see fit to compare Sylvie to Rav Nachman of Breslov or to the Baal Shem Tov."

I don't think I saw that anywhere, or were you referring to the end of my own original post?? If so, I never made such a comparison between the megirot founder, and R.Nachman or the B.S. Tov, I did make a comparison to the label of "cult" which was applied in all of these 3 cases. I will try to respond to the rest later....

joshwaxman said...

mother in israel:
you are no doubt correct. This rebbetzin presumably heard rabbanit and interpreted it as wife of a rabbi.

Yehuda:
I stand corrected. (I did not want to identify you by name, since I was criticizing such an attitude.) Still, this seems to me (rightly or wrongly) to be elevating this *group* and its practices to the level of Breslov and chassidus.

Kol Tuv,
Josh

Yehuda said...

Josh,

It seems to me that there is really a great void of facts, which lead to "maybe this,maybe that", etc, and in the end, your post sounds like a long drasha in philosophy. I would like to, as much as possible, stick to facts. Because when we avoid the facts,whether due to not knowing them, or because we wish to create our own outcome, (which I do not believe is the case by you,)we will not have accomplished anything.
Firstly, Megirot did not start out as a gathering for the masses, to enhance their religion, nor to do psychotherapy.
Secondly, a women decided she wanted to work on her middos, and not to live the life of the stereotypical almanah. She finds out after much work, etc by cleaning, and organizing drawers, shelfs, closets whatever , that she was able to create seder in her chashiva, which in turn gave her more strength in all facets of her life.
So, being a religious women, as she was doing this, she would ask Hashem to assist her (the religious part)...that she would be matzliach in removing her negative middos, and strengthening her positive middos.
she has hatzlacha, and then there is one close friend that joins her, then a neighbor, (no advt. in the newspaper), no posters in the ezras nashim, "new guru will take care of all your problems" She had no kavanah of any big operation. But, women experienced tremendous growth. the same women that went once a week to Rebbetzin's so and so shiur, on emunah, bitachon etc. Year after year, with relatively no improvement. similiar to reading the mussar sefer, but in the end..no change. So, the word spreads over the years, and it travels to the chareidi camp, (oh, oh), well that was the beginning of the end.
So, now a jewish women who talks to hashem, and tells groups of women to do the same, (There was no special prayer, no special cantalation,) but whatever she would be working on, she would ask hashem for assistance, (not limited to the 3 times/day shmoneh esrai. So, now she is teaching our women religion,!!
Women see and feel that this is the only time they have really experienced big improvement.
The main problem with the origianl article was not L"H, because in fact, there are many times that L"H is mutar when you fulfill the tannaim. But, I saw blatent Motzei Shem Rah, defamtion when I knew differently.
I am pasting here what I had written on a previous post concerning the "philisophical" views on what is religion, and what is a psychothereapist.

Kol Tuv

yehuda said...

Here is that Pasting I was referring to:

You stated that" It is pop-psychology by people who are not trained psychologists.The question is: since megirot was never meant to be Psychology, so what then is the fine line between changing one's middos, i.e anger, procrastination, lack of bitcahon, and in your case,being an "introvert" (unless by choice),and psychology? Are the changing of these Middos as is brought down over and over again in our mussar sefarim, RELIGIOUS avodah,or psychological work? Are these then in fact Psychological books, and NOT religious sefarim? And, when I say on Yom Kippur the Al Chets, for all of these numerous middos,that I have trangressed,i.e.anger,Tieva,Kinah, etc, am I doing my vidduy for my psychological downfalls or my improper level of Torah observance?
It must then be that whenever I myself do a cheshbon hanefesh as chazal recommend,I am turning myself into a "not trained psychologist". OH WELL!!!
You also thought that " And it is masked as religion, and specifically Jewish religion, but it is really folk-religion with a Jewish tinge,",
Once again what part of it is "masked as religion"? I personally asked the founder of Megirot what her main goal was, and she answered, "to get everyone to talk to Hashem",and the truth is,if we don't believe this truth that it IS ALWAYS HASHEM, and that no one else can help us, then we are lacking the fundamental emmunah in hashem. It is nice to say, "I believe that everything in my life comes from Hashem", but if you really did, wouldn't you talk to him more? And, is talking to Hashem, the creator of the universe... religion? Which religion is it? Isn't all of the creation, including goyim supposed to talk to their creator? So, when I do it too, which religion am I belonging to? So, when I ask hashem to open up a parking space for me on a crowded street, am I practicing a religion or am I using the emunah pashuta that probably every briah in the universe SHOULD have awareness of? By the way, when in megirot one would say "Anah hashem...this was when they had identified a particular middah they wanted to change, as reflected in their particular drawer, or shelf etc, they would then ask Hashem for assistance in being metaken this particular middah. Is not proper to ask Hashem to help in every proper indeavor?
As far as the placebo affect, I do believe there is such a thing, but this is usually relevant with pills where the choleh believes the pain will be removed, and they just lay there. But, in megirot, my wife mamash worked very very hard every day. IT wasn't easy for her to change middos, as is the norm with the placebo affect. She struggled, she misgabered, and in the end she succeeded. Those who went to the shiur alone, and did not work on themselves at home, could expect minor improvements at best.
I would like to exchange your word above of psychology and use the word Targil, (excercise) I don't believe I was delving in psychology when I kept looking at my messy desk. Here it is right now as I type, messy, unorganized, with many different things thrown on top. Papers, mikvah towel, screw driver, pens, etc. etc. I don't like it messy, but then why do I leave it like this? The emmes is, when I have organized it many times, and put everything in it's proper place, and yes, thrown some things out, i did feel much more focused in my head. A messy head resulted in the creation of a messy desk. By doing a change on the outside, it can affect the inside. Can we call this a Targil instead of psychology?
And finally, you said, "even if a strict reading of Shmirat haLashon would indicate otherwise".
Yes, but NOT motzei Shem Rah which is Lies. Kol Tuv

joshwaxman said...

Yehuda:
It seems you are averse to the term psychology. Many things are psychology, including what you would like to term "targil." And many people, not only the mentally unstable, could do well to see a therapist.

I disagree with you that this is introspection and therefore not (the dreaded) psychology. Sylvie and the mentors in Megeirot are directing people to approach life and their problems in particular ways.

Sylvie may not have started out as a guru, but that certainly *appears* to be her role at present.

My post did not go into the specific recent accusations which MAY INDEED have merit. Or may not. But that is not the purpose of this present post. People looking for that information can read the original article, or the posts at mominisrael.

Do you think that what I have said in the post, about reasons to be worried, constitutes Motzi shem ra? All I rely upon in the public description of the group, what they would agree to, and put it into a framework of what I see going on *in general* in Orthodox Judaism nowadays. Such that it is *worrisome*. (Note I did not say "certainly bad," but rather that there is what to potentially worry about.) What the public, what many, many people are engaging it, and which seems to half aspects of cult-ness to it, should surely be subject to public scrutiny and discussion. No?

I try to not assert things, which is why you are able to cast my post as "maybe this, maybe that." Yet even though *you* confidently assert things, this does not make me automatically agree that you are right. (In fact, the assertiveness makes me doubt it.) Megeirot looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck. It may or may not be a duck (cult), but it certainly gives me reason to be cautious.

BeEzrat Hashem, my take on the lashon hara issue in a later post, perhaps this week or the next, but no promises.

Kol Tuv,
Josh

Yehuda said...

Josh,

You stated:
"Many things are psychology, including what you would like to term "targil." And many people, not only the mentally unstable, could do well to see a therapist".

To be honest, I agree with the above, and I protest this fact.

I personally, being very knowledgable in different types of healing ,i.e. natural, have always protested the strong handed medical monopolizing of this industry. What makes one a "healer", does this depend upon the one who in fact heals people, (the Rambam for example), or does this depend upon some organization, (a medical school) issuing the diploma. Well it depends on who you ask and what country you live in,i.e. the culture creates the metzios in some cases, and the "healing" being done is the determining factor in other places.
Anyone can claim that they are a plumber, mechanic, tailor, or whatever, and USUALLY, we determine this by the end product.Did they do a good job. BUT, when it comes to healing, i.e medicine,including psychological healing, this is a very well maintained and protected cult. who determines what someone who has not received a diploma from an "accredited" school can do.
I know plenty of psychologists, who learned in school, have a diploma, treat people yet their homes are a disaster and they can't even take care of their own lives.
Same with Dr's. The medical schools are controlled by the multibillion pharm. companies. It was documented that when a medical school began studing "natural" therapies, i.e. herbs or whatever, the pharm. company threatened to cut off their subsidies.(this could potentially cause a tremendous loss to the pharm. co's if the natural treatment prove successful. So,now the medical schools are unable to teach "natural" therapies, and those who learn "natural" therapies,and do not graduate from a medical school also prove to be a danger.
By the way, here in Israel, the Psak of g'dolei yisroel is, if the natural Dr. does have some type of formal training, (i.e. he didn't just read a book on herbs etc,) than you can go to him.
Now, the same thing with psychological refuah. I personally know of a man who was teaching people how to become mentally healthy. Most people all day long are thinking thoughts of lack and limitation. They get a bill in the mailbox.The response, "OY VEY", or you can think, B"H I have the money to pay this bill, or the electric company trusts me to pay etc. He was on radio, taught groups of fortune 500 companies so that the workers could empower themselves, which of course will end up empowering the company financially.According to the above, this is psychotherapy-RIGHT?? Well here to, people are saying how they feel lighter, stronger, experiencing improvement in many different tchumim, and relationships etc, because now they are changing their thoughts, eliminationg negative thoughts, and replacing them with positive thoughts. (psychology)
Do you think that the schools who teach psychology are threatened by this? But, what can they do
to continue the story: the man teaching these fortune 500 companies,.(this man is a Cohen) had some difficulty in his life as well. He developed severe head pains, and was diagnosed has having inoperable brain cancer-3 months to live.
What did he do? Every time he felt pain, he would reach for the pain killers, and then stop,and say "no, no" the pain is coming from my negative thoughts.(negative thoughts make a disharmony in the brain that thinks them), and then he began thinking and saying with feeling, "I can hardly wait to see the unbelievable life enhancing experiences that Hashem is going to show to me today", he would say this over and over until his mind started to really believe it, i.e he started to feel a "feeling tone" in harmoney with this thought. When this happened, the pain would go away, and in 3 months he was diagnosed cancer free. So of course this man should be put out of business asap. Certainly the medical schools, (if he became guru status)i.e. he cought people's attention, and they began to flock to him, they would try their very best to discredit him, and as you mentioned above about the duck, they would certainly say "quack".
And of course, with religion, this may be the 3rd department that needs the same type of "control". We are taught to believe in hashem, daven to him, we can ask him for anything and everything, (that is kosher), health,parnassa,shidduch, simcha, children, to do tshuva, but if some small person somewhere on the earth is doing it better, and they don't come from some major top notch yichus,(university degree)l'havdil. Here too the siren goes off.
Call it what you want. Quackery, cult(ish) "maybe yes", "maybe not",
"all of the above", non of the above"
I don't know about you, but, I want to be healthy and happy.

joshwaxman said...

I, too, have quite some knowledge of alternative medicine practices, but here is not the place to go into it.

Rabbanit Keren was also an alternative medicine practitioner, and she was giving alternative therapy to her followers. That does not mean that all practitioners are like her, but it does show the potential for abuse.

The Rambam studied medicine in Fez under prominent Muslim physicians. Thus, his practices were the standard medical practices of the day.

Kol Tuv,
Josh

avi said...

Yes, drug companies are mostly interested in things that will make them lots of money. But there are also thousands of biomedical professors and researchers funded by the government, and *they* make money by making discoveries that are recognized as useful. If there was any value in alternative medicine, the professors would have adopted it already, out of their own self-interest.

yehuda said...

Josh,
you wrote:
"That does not mean that all practitioners are like her, but it does show the potential for abuse."

Yes, but the potential for abuse is in EVERY thereapy, natural or conventional. Not so long ago in Israel they caught a Dr. who during an operation carved his initials into the intestines of his patient. There are many other stories. It has NOTHING to do with the therapy, but everything to do with the person/practitioner doing the therapy.My point above was that there are those who have interests and will use whatever muscles they have to keep things under "their" control.I can no longer have my own daas. I am alway M'shubad to someone else's daas, (even when I know better). Conventional medicine is NOT "the" form of acceptable medicine, unless those who have their "interests", can make it that way. The same with conventional psychiatric therapies. They are NOT "the" only "right" form of treatment, ....unless those who are nogeah b'dvar can make it, and keep it that way.
My point about the Rambam is, that in this day, he most likely would not have been recognized as a medical practicioner. And, since, if he became widely accepted, and cause threat to conventional system, and the pharm. companies, he would probably have to run for his life.
"Im Ain Ani Li, Mi Li....?"

AVI,

You should know that the Pharm. companies have one of the strongest lobbies in the government. If the mulit billion $ pharm. companies were to lose it to natural remedies, the government would fall as well. $$$$

mother in israel said...

Yehuda, you are skeptical of conventional medicine. I am too. I would hope, however, that you are equally skeptical of alternative medicine, and when someone tells about curing his brain tumor with positive thoughts you look into it further. Even if the story is true (have you seen the medical records?) there is no way to know why and how his tumor disappeared.

Ariella said...

just a quick note on alternative medicine and such: I recall one of my teachers in seminary telling us that there was a family in Israel that did not want their children to get the standard vaccines as it went against their approach to medicine. The rabbi ORDERED (sorry, must be Yehudah's influence -- I don't usually resort to all caps, but at least I haven't found myself straightening up any more than usual ;-))them to have the children immunized, saying it is halachically required. Another story with the Lubavitcher rebbe. A father-to-be did not want to let the doctors go ahead with a c-section until he had spoken with the rebbe. The rebbe took the time to speak to him just to reassure him that he should cooperate with the doctors.

Personally, I find that current medical practice tends to be more invasive than necessary, particularly with respect to births and babies. But that does not mean that I would willingly risk the health of a baby by refusing what medical professionals say is required. That's another religion -- not Judaism.

Ariella said...

What I really came back here for was a comment on the segula coven thing Josh discussed here. I plan to write a post on the subject myself. Here is a post that just cam in the 5 Towns shuls list (not that Josh requires such evidence, but it is convenient):

"Shir Hashirim Project

Erev Shabbos and the time of Kabbolas Shabbos are special times when a Jew
can reaffirm her connection to Hashem. It is for this reason that many Jews
have a custom of reciting Shir Hashirim at this time, a Song that speaks of
the special, reciprocal love between Bnei Yisroel and Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
Because of this connection, Hashem is receptive to our tefillot at this time, especially in reference to requests for shidduchim. Therefore there is a practice of having forty women say Shir Hashirim at this time, in their
own homes, all having the name of the same specific individual in mind for a shidduch, or at times for a refuah sheleimah. Each week we pray for a
different person. It is our hope that Hashem will answer these special prayers in the affirmative.

I would like to begin such a project in our area (although anyone,anywhere can join us). If you would like to be part of this group, or know someone who would be interested,pleaseemail me back with your name, email address and your phone number.

Tizku lemitzvot."

joshwaxman said...

yehuda:
"Yes, but the potential for abuse is in EVERY thereapy, natural or conventional."

There is potential for abuse, but there are greater safeguards in conventional therapy. Whereas any lunatic can set up an alternative therapy.

Further, what I meant by the danger is the danger of an alternative therapy developing into a cult with the leader attaining guru status. Particularly as alternative, rather than conventional therapies, are free-er to recast the therapy in a *religious* light, as Rabbanit Keren did, and as Sylvie has.

Kol Tuv,
Josh

joshwaxman said...

Ariella:
interesting. bli neder, I'll link to your blogpot in my next roundup.

Yehuda:
"My point about the Rambam is, that in this day, he most likely would not have been recognized as a medical practicioner."
True. And it is likely that even the *Rambam* of this day would not recognize medieval Rambam as a medical practitioner. See Rambam and his son's rejection of the medical remedies suggested by the Talmud.

Kol Tuv,
Josh

yehuda said...

MoM in Israel:

I personally have treated many people who have come from the conventional medical route. My teacher was one of the most famous here, and was the healer of many of the G'dolei Yisroel. What did he do? He was a genious, and he study the same books on physiology that they taught in med school, and he had a tremendous gift to loook at person, and see what they were all about.
When he went to treat one of the past G'doelei Yisroel, the personal conventional Dr. (as they are taught to be) was very skeptical, and so he tried to shlug him up in complex medical talk. But, in the end he said "he is o.k!!!)
Basically we look for the cause of the disease, and treat the cause, the shoresh, rather than treat the symptom.
Example: If you keep banging your arm against the wall, it will probably turn red, then become more inflamed, swollen, etc. etc. Now when you are experiencing severe pain, you can either take a pain killer, (the pain is gone), but the underlying cause remains. So, what happens. If we don't treat the cause, (stop banging the arm), the person will need to take the pain killer for the rest of their lives. (which is very good for the finances of the Pharm. companies. And, of course the chemical residues of the drugs will build up in the persons body.
Now, this does not just apply to the physical body. We know that thoughts also cause physiological change in one's body. If a person sees or thinks (even mistakenly) that someone is running after them with a knife, so just check their pulse,and their blood pressure,and you will see that things have really changed. And, these real changes came as a resutl of a belief.
Now, just like most of know that our diet, (the food we feed our body) will have an affect on our health), so too the diet of thoughts we feed our brain will have an affect. So, if a person is "poisening their mind everyday with negative thoughts. Mental pain,it is the same as the one hitting their arm on the wall. We are much more than just skin and bones. We have electricity flowing through us, and many different energy fields,( which are measureable). This is similiar to Norman cousins. He wrote a book about his cancer. Someone who is not happy, and just the opposite-depressed, there are major changes in their body.
so, he hired comedians to come to his hospital room, and they had him laughing all day. His energy changed, and when the body is healthy, it has the ability to heal cancer or whatever.
So, the man I was writing about, knew that he was feeding himself with very negative thoughts. And, when he got his cancer, he understood where it was coming from. And, so, as I have been trying to prove a point until now, HE, yes HE (capital letters), to responsiblilty for his situation, and so he changed his thoughts to positive ones. We are not talking about just saying things like a parrot. He had to say them over and over again, with a true niggun, and fealing, like someone who really believes what he is saying, and, when you change the energy of the body, or the brain, it only know how to get healthy, and repair itself...once you give it the chance.
Now, we wanted to help this man with diet and other treatments, but he said NO, I don't need to change anything except my thoughts. So, he continued to eat ice cream every day, and drink coca cola, (these can themselves cause cancer), and the only thing he did was NOT to take the pain killers, and work on his mental state.
there are really so many books and other accounts similar to this.



Ariella,

I personally am not so pro all vaccinations. Some yes. many years ago, 2 of my children were in a gan here in israel, and it turned out, 2 children there had diptheria. They wanted everyone to take anti biotics. (I personally am against anti biotics, (in most cases), but in the case I had to be responsible. (by the way, in my family, with my children, all of them, we never had one case of strep throat, and ear infections...) so, there is something to the "natural approach"
Anyway, afterwards, I saw in the hamodia a report on this case of diptheria, and they quoated the Misrad habriute,that are taking care of the situation,and that these 2 children were NOT vaccinated. I was suspicious, and I called the mother of the children, and they were in fact YES vaccinated.

yehuda said...

who was rabbinit keren???

and please...only the facts,if they are clear.

joshwaxman said...

a google search should tell you all you would need to know.

yehuda said...

I did hear about it but didn't know of her name.

Yehuda said...

Josh:
You wrote yesterday in reference to megirot:

".....and put it into a framework of what I see going on *in general* in Orthodox Judaism nowadays. Such that it is *worrisome*. (Note I did not say "certainly bad," but rather that there is what to potentially worry about.) What the public, what many, many people are engaging it, and which seems to half aspects of cult-ness to it, should surely be subject to public scrutiny and discussion. No?

Do you think that your post on "The "Problem" With The Sefer Chofetz Chaim", ,and similiar type posts here, and on other blogs. i.e. posts which challenge the status quo,challenges things that have already been accepted in Klal Yisroel as Torah M'Sinai,challenges the already accepted views by g'dolei Yisroel,
Do you agree that these would/should also be worrisome? Do you agree that if your blog caused more and more people to approach the Torah in this way, that you would/may very likely appear in the next issue of the Hamodia?


you wrote yesterday that:"

Ariella said...

Yehudah, things are not quite as monolithic in the "status quo" of the Torah world as you would indicate. Speaking of the Chofetz Chayim, he endorsed a revolution in girls' education because he recognized that times had changed and a new approach was necessary to deal with that reality. He did not say to hide our heads in the sand and hope this new fangled notion of girls' education goes out of fashion along like the bustle.

I am certain that Josh is in far less danger of heresy than people who start substituting rituals for actual Torah.

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