- At Life In Israel, eyebrow shaping advertisements are not tznius. So too, Styrofoam sheitel heads.
- Lion of Zion on tuition relief, in the form of high school possibly only going up to tenth grade.
- Dreaming of Moshiach reports on the death of Moshiach ben David.
- At Mystical Paths, they continue their discussion and condemnation of yoga. Reb Gutman Locks used to be a guru, before becoming a baal Teshuva. There are two sorts of proof. One is mystical, showing the negative powers associated with yoga:
In the summer of 1972, I sat on a park bench at the corner of 86th street and Central Park West in New York City. I did not speak. I just sat there. After a few days, I looked up and saw some 125 people whom I did not know sitting silently on the sidewalk in front of me. Alan Ginsberg, the well known poet, was lying there, spread out on his face, worshiping me. Ram Das (Richard Alpert), the famous 1960’s guru, was washing my feet, and Peter Max was painting my picture. There were a number of television crews trying to record me while I just sat there, not talking. The reporters and camera crews were climbing over the crowd, struggling to get close enough to ask me a question.I don't put too much stock in such things. Ain Od Milvado, and there is no such thing as kishuf. This is just the reaction of foolish people following trends.
This is what they asked: “What is this power that we feel coming from you?”
I had been in India for a couple of years, meditating and learning the ways of the East. I picked up one of their “mystical” (unclean) powers.[ii]
The other sort of proof stems from an intimate knowledge of the intended meaning of many yoga practices, from being such a guru. For example:
Now look at the picture (above) that is featured on the Web site COLLIVE. You see what appears to be a religious Jewish man who says that he is teaching “kosher yoga meditation.” Look at his thumbs. They are purposely touching his forefingers, just as the books of Eastern idolatry teach. I doubt that he knows why his yogi guru taught him to hold his fingers like that, but I do.and:
There are many different types of yoga, and all of them are Hindu religious practices. For instance, besides the common hatha yoga (physical exercises and positions), there is bakti yoga which teaches devotional attachment and service to a deity. There is raja yoga which teaches the Hindu meditation techniques. There yogacara which teaches the Eastern “enlightenment,” and Jnana yoga which is the way of Hindu knowledge. One of the main goals of these yogas is “Moksha – freedom and trying to come to the realization of your identity with the Supreme Being.” This is called, “G-d realization.” Do you know who teaches this in the Torah? The Serpent in the Garden of Eden says the same thing! “…And you will be like G-d.”[iii] The “G-d realized” guru will say, “I am god.”Now, if the negative forces are real, and impure spiritual forces, and it is not just nonsense, then I can understand why one should not engage in it. And if kishuf is real, performing actual kishuf is a bad thing.
Actually, there is an entire yoga dedicated to this serpent and its power. It teaches a certain meditation system where you try to raise energy up your spine. This energy is called the Kudalini, or “Serpent Power.”
If it is not real, though, then we have the following halachic question. If something was originally idolatrous practice, but this is absolutely NOT the intent of those Jewish people who practice it -- but rather, to stretch, to quiet the mind, and so on and so forth; and not only is it not the intent, but they are entirely UNAWARE of the idolatrous origins, such that they could never have the intent, would it still be forbidden? Because intent may very well be critical when it comes to idolatry. For this, consult your posek. It is a good question, and should be resolved.
But at the least, the people behind Mystical Paths are convinced that there is a reality to yoga, which makes it very problematic; and it seems that they maintain that even without it, these idolatrous origins make it unkosher. As a result of their stance on that, they have received some negative email correspondence, calling them zealots.
We recently have been in touch with a few major publications in the Jewish world about our position on Yoga, as well as in direct communication with various people who have emailed us. Without violating anyone's privacy, here's the kind of responses we're getting...Check it out.
Still related to the above, they post a video of the Lubavitcher Rebbe about Non-Jewish techniques.
And see Shirat Devorah, who translates it for us.
- Various websites discussing the portable mechitzah for airplanes. (DovBear, Avakesh, Vos Iz Neaias). This is nothing new; I discussed this back in 2008. What is new is that some idiots are suggesting that people use it:
Haredi airline passengers are being advised to hang a new type of mehitza – a halachic barrier to separate the sexes – around the top of their airplane seats, to shield their eyes from immodest neighbors and in-flight movies.Of course, given that besides the movie projection, each seat has its own individual display, what will really happen is that chareidim will be free to watch whatever movie they want with others being none the wiser.
The Rabbinical Council for Public Transportation, which is also representing the haredi community on the issue of gender-segregated “mehadrin” buses, is now placing advertisements in haredi newspapers encouraging the community to purchase the traveler mehitzas.
This is actually a good thing! Let them use similar partitions on buses, and then do away with the idea of the "mehadrin" bus!
Meanwhile, the Muqata has exclusive photos of these partitions:
- Here on parshablog I translated the Aruch HaShulchan on getting drunk on Pruim.