Are Reiki and similar “therapies” consider Avizrayu D’avoda Zara?

Home Coffeeroom Bais Medrash Are Reiki and similar “therapies” consider Avizrayu D’avoda Zara?

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  • #1464219

    Sechel HaYashar
    Participant

    From other threads here, I’ve gleaned that we BH have many experts in the field of Avoda Zara in the Coffee Room, so I’d like your opinions on this matter, seeing as so many frum people use these “therapies”.

    #1464224

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    youll probably be sorely disappointed when you find out that half of Lakewood is actually not using this therapy and many people never even heard of it. But hatzlacha anyway.

    #1464233

    Sechel HaYashar
    Participant

    I didn’t think it was half. But there are plenty of people from Boro Park to Crown Heights to Lakewood who do use them.

    #1464236

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    yes, exactly. on page three there are many posts from me commenting on how peoples questions are being avoided, how unfair the criteria are to get answers, how comments are being slammed instead of responded to, how there seems to be a double standard in the process, how we are unfairly expected to give respect before being given reason to do so, and how questions seem to be distorted.

    #1464240

    Sechel HaYashar
    Participant

    @Syag,
    Wrong thread.

    #1464289

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Please list the other types of therapy that are similar to Reiki according to your definition.

    Some alternative therapies, such as Acupuncture are grouped in with Reiki, but have much more scientific evidence according to Western Medicine than Seiko.

    Thank you

    #1464285

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Lol the OP is pretty hilarious!

    #1465286

    Joseph
    Participant

    1. What is Reiki and similar therapies?

    2. Who uses them?

    3. I haven’t heard this is a thing in any frum community.

    #1465289

    yehudayona
    Participant

    LB, what’s the problem with my Seiko?

    #1465353

    yytz
    Participant

    A book came out recently by R’ Rephoel Szmerla saying most of these things are OK, but it’s controversial — I think others say they’re avodah zara.

    As Lightbright said, certainly acupuncture is OK and not avodah zara.

    #1465594

    Sechel HaYashar
    Participant

    Does scientific evidence of their success (which many would argue, acupuncture doesn’t have) erase it’s roots? If acupuncture is rooted in the same origins as Reiki, it too could be considered A”Z.

    #1466711

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Let’s say for argument’s sake it does have roots in a”z. (I never studied it and don’t know anyone who uses it.) So it’s assur, and quite a big issur at that. The practitioners’ beliefs are okay, but they’re doing an aveirah.

    Is that really on the same level as people who think a human being is omniscient, can do anything, and may be prayed to?

    #1467621

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    The practitioners’ beliefs are okay, but they’re doing an aveirah.

    This is upside down. How can someone be Oved Avoda Zara without Avoda Zara!? Please find me an example. Is this really worse than actual Kishuf? Kishuf is based on Avoda Zara ideology but is still not considered Avoda Zara.

    #1467633

    Sechel HaYashar
    Participant

    Here are the origins of Reiki as per the “memorial stone” of it’s founder, Usui Sensei:
    “One day, Usui-Sensei climbed Mt. Kurama, where he began to do penance while fasting. Suddenly on the twenty first day from the start, he felt a great REIKI over his head, and at the same time as he was spiritually awakened he acquired the REIKI cure. When he tried it on his own body and members of his family also, it brought an immediate result on them.”

    “Reviewing the fact, I understand what the REIKI cure is aiming at is not only to heal the diseases but also to correct the mind by virtue of a God-sent spiritual ability, keep the body healthy and enjoy a welfare of life. In teaching the persons, therefore, we are supposed to first let them realize the last instructions of the Emperor Meiji, and chant the 5 admonitions morning and evening to keep them in mind.

    The 5 admonitions in question are:

    1. Don’t get angry today.

    2. Don’t be grievous.

    3. Express your thanks.

    4. Be diligent in your business.

    5. Be kind to others.

    These are really the important precepts for a cultivation, just the same as those by which the ancient sages admonished themselves. Usui-Sensei emphasized that ‘This is surely a secret process to bring a good fortune and also a miraculous medicine to remedy all kinds of diseases,’ by which he made his purpose of teaching clear and accurate. Furthermore, he tried to aim at making his way of guidance as easy and simple as possible, so nothing is difficult to understand therein. Every time when you sit quietly and join your hands to pray and chant morning and evening, you can develop a pure and sound mind, and there is just an essence in making the most of that for your daily life. This is the reason why the REIKI cure can very easily spread over anybody.

    The phase of life is very changeable in these days, and people’s thoughts are apt to change, too. Could we fortunately succeed in spreading the REIKI cure everywhere, we feel sure that it would have to be very helpful in order to prevent people from disordering their moral sense. It never extends people anything but the benefits of healing long term illness, chronic disease and bad habit.”

    It definitely sounds like it’s roots are in Avodah Zara.

    From the Reiki dot org site:
    “He had an avid interest in learning and worked hard at his studies. As he grew older, he traveled to Europe and China to further his education. His curriculum included medicine, psychology and religion as well as the art of divination, which Asians have long considered to be a worthy skill. Usui Sensei also became a member of the Rei Jyutu Ka, a metaphysical group dedicated to developing psychic abilities.”

    Art of divination? That is called קוסם in Hebrew, one who uses the services of a קוסם receives מכת מרדות. Here’s how the Rambam describes divination:
    אֵיזֶהוּ קוֹסֵם זֶה הָעוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה מִשְּׁאָר הַמַּעֲשִׂיּוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּשּׁוֹם וְתִפָּנֶה מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ מִכָּל הַדְּבָרִים עַד שֶׁיֹּאמַר דְּבָרִים שֶׁעֲתִידִים לִהְיוֹת וְיֹאמַר דָּבָר פְּלוֹנִי עָתִיד לִהְיוֹת אוֹ אֵינוֹ הוֹוֶה אוֹ שֶׁיֹּאמַר שֶׁרָאוּי לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן וְהִזָּהֲרוּ מִכָּךְ. יֵשׁ מִן הַקּוֹסְמִין שֶׁמְּשַׁמְּשִׁים בְּחל אוֹ בַּאֲבָנִים. וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁגּוֹהֵר לָאָרֶץ וְיָנוּעַ וְצוֹעֵק. וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁמִּסְתַּכֵּל בְּמַרְאָה שֶׁל בַּרְזֶל אוֹ בַּעֲשָׁשִׁית וּמְדַמִּין וְאוֹמְרִים. וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁנּוֹשֵׂא מַקֵּל בְּיָדוֹ וְנִשְׁעָן עָלָיו וּמַכֶּה בּוֹ עַד שֶׁתִּפָּנֶה מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ וּמְדַבֵּר. הוּא שֶׁהַנָּבִיא אוֹמֵר עַמִּי בְּעֵצוֹ יִשְׁאָל וּמַקְלוֹ יַגִּיד לוֹ:
    Who is practitioner of divination? He who occupies himself with purposeless actions so as to divert his thoughts from all relevancy, thereby preparing himself to prognosticate, and, then, foretells, saying: “That thing will come to pass,” or, “it will not come to pass”, or he will say: “It is proper to do so, but beware from doing otherwise.” There are some soothsayers who use sand or stones as a medium, and there others who spread themselves out on the ground and fall in convulsions and cry out; there are some who look into an iron mirror or goblet and imagine things and say them, and there are others who carry a cane in hand upon which to lean, wherewith a process of knocking is continued as a diversion until the mind is ready, then the speaking starts. Upon such the prophet proclaims, saying: “My people ask counsel at their stock, and their staff declareth unto them” (Hosea, 4. 12).9Sanhedrin, 65b; Sifre, Deut. 18. G.
    הל’ ע”ז פרק יא הלכה ו.

    “The depth and breadth of his experiences inspired him to direct his attention toward discovering the purpose of life. In his search he came across the description of a special state of consciousness that once achieved would not only provide an understanding of one’s life purpose, but would also guide one to achieve it. This special state is called An-shin Ritus-mei (pronounced on sheen dit sue may). In this special state, one is always at peace regardless of what is taking place in the outer world. And it is from this place of peace that one completes one’s life purpose. One of the special features of this state is that it maintains itself without any effort on the part of the individual; the experience of peace simply wells up spontaneously from within and is a type of enlightenment.”

    “Usui Sensei understood this concept on an intellectual level and dedicated his life to achieving it; this is considered to be an important step on Usui Sensei’s spiritual path. He discovered that one path to An-shin Ritsu-mei is through the practice of Zazen meditation. So he found a Zen teacher who accepted him as a student and began to practice Zazen. After three years practice, he had not been successful and sought further guidance. His teacher suggested a more severe practice in which the student must be willing to die in order to achieve An-shin Ritsu-mei.(9, 10)

    So with this in mind he prepared for death and in February, 1922, he went to Kurama yama, a sacred mountain north of Kyoto. He went to fast and meditate until he passed to the next world. It must be kept in mind that he was not looking to discover a method of healing, but was seeking to experience this special spiritual state. In addition, we know there is a small waterfall on Kurama yama where even today people go to meditate. This meditation involves standing under the waterfall and allowing the water to strike and flow over the top of the head, a practice that is said to activate the crown chakra. Japanese Reiki Masters think that Usui Sensei may have used this meditation as part of his practice. In any case, as time passed he became weaker and weaker. It was now March 1922 and at midnight of the twenty-first day, a powerful light suddenly entered his mind through the top of his head and he felt as if he had been struck by lightning; this caused him to fall unconscious.

    As the sun rose, he awoke and realized that whereas before he had felt very weak and near death from his fasting, he was now filled with an extremely enjoyable state of vitality that he had never experienced before; a miraculous type of high frequency spiritual energy had displaced his normal consciousness and replaced it with an amazingly new level of awareness. He experienced himself as being the energy and consciousness of the Universe and that the special state of enlightenment he had sought had been given to him as a gift. He was overjoyed by this realization.

    When this happened, he was filled with excitement and went running down the mountain to tell his Zen master of his great good fortune. On his way down he stubbed his toe on a rock and fell down. And in the same way anyone would do, he placed his hands over the toe, which was in pain. As he did this, healing energy began flowing from his hands all by itself. The pain in his toe went away and the toe was healed. Usui Sensei was amazed by this. He realized that in addition to the illuminating experience he had undergone, he had also received the gift of healing. He also understood that this was his life purpose; to be a healer and to train others.”

    After reading all this, it’s very clear to me the Reiki has it’s roots in actual Avodah Zara. It’s shocking that any Yid would use such “healing methods” or defend their use.
    There are frum people who use there methods, look around, ask around. You can find their blogs explaining how they were helped by this. Rav Belsky A”H has a Tshuva about it, where he calls it Avodah Zara, and says whoever disagrees hasn’t studied the sources of it well and doesn’t understand it’s origins. Indeed, after reading the above quotes, that is very apparent.

    #1467750

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    So a spiritual dream is Avoda Zara?

    There is no Avoda.

    #1467786

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Why would people do something that might be Avoda Zara just for the placebo effect?

    #1467833

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    RebYidd23, meditation, positive thinking probably helps more than placebo.

    #1467838

    Sechel HaYashar
    Participant

    Reiki is based on Zen, which to me seems if not outright Avodah Zara, very close. I’ll let you Google Zen yourself.
    @rebyidd23, beats me.

    #1467861

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    How can someone be Oved Avoda Zara without Avoda Zara!? Please find me an example.

    Someone bows down to an idol on threat of death. It’s an aveirah, but the person doesn’t believe in it at all.

    #1467889

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Why would people do something that might be Avoda Zara just for the placebo effect?

    Who says it doesn’t work? I once saw somewhere (I don’t remember where) that the ta’ava for a”z was that it worked – through koach hatumah. Not ch”v a separate r’shus, but rather allowed by Hashem to to give us s’char for following His will even if it means foregoing the benefits.

    #1467893

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Daas Yochid, that is in front of the idol. Bowing is an Avoda to it. Besides, as you probably know, Ahava v’Yirah is actually not considered real transgression of Avoda Zara. Only when it is actually accepted. If the person bows in front of the idol but has in mind that he is bowing to Hashem (sort of how Yaakov Avinu bowed in front of Esav — no Issur anyhow) he did not actually transgress Avoda Zara and it isn’t punishable.

    #1467895

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Who says it doesn’t work? I once saw somewhere (I don’t remember where) that the ta’ava for a”z was that it worked – through koach hatumah. Not ch”v a separate r’shus, but rather allowed by Hashem to to give us s’char for following His will even if it means foregoing the benefits.

    You are referring to the Machloqes Rebbi Yosi and Rebbi Akiva in Sanhedrin 90.

    #1467894

    yitzyk
    Participant

    Rabbi Yisroel Reisman gave a shiur on this topic a few weeks ago. His opinion is that almost all of these ‘alternative cures’ ‘are not only totally Assur, they are also completely fraudulent.

    The gist of the issur is that Avodah Zarah means ‘serving’ – by attributing any power to ‘zarah’ – any being, creature, or spirit other than Hashem Echad.

    So therefore, using any ‘method’ that involves tapping in to the hidden/secret/invisible/spiritual/virtual/imaginary power of’ [insert wacky name or concept here] is almost always going to be real Avodah Zarah. It might not even matter whether you actually believe in it or not, if the practitioner or inventor believes in it.

    Mema Nafshach – if you believe that they have powers that don’t come from Hashem, it is Avodah Zarah. If you don’t believe that they have any power at all, then you are an absolute fool for going to them for a non-existent cure.

    BTW – even if they somehow did have actual power to heal, it doesn’t make it muttar. Kishuf was also assur, even though it had real power. It came from Tamei sources. I am not saying that this exists today – just “even if.”

    #1467927

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    If the person bows in front of the idol but has in mind that he is bowing to Hashem (sort of how Yaakov Avinu bowed in front of Esav — no Issur anyhow) he did not actually transgress Avoda Zara and it isn’t punishable.

    Let’s fix that up a bit. This is correct only if bowing is not actually its Avoda. If bowing is its Avoda then he has to bring a Chattas but there is no Misa.

    #1467929

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Are you saying that whoever does Kishuf also did Avoda Zara? So does a Kishuf practitioner get Skila? Does someone getting healed through Kishuf get Skila? The Rashba suggests that Kishuf is actually Muttar for healing. If you want to invoke Darkei Emori that’s one thing. But calling everying Aoda Zara just because you already hate it and consider it fraudulant is not Kehalacha.

    #1467933

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    We know it doesn’t work because people who use it instead of conventional medicine don’t get better.

    #1467934

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Avoda Zara means one thing only, Avoda. Avoda is worship. Believing or attributing things and power is bad Hashkafa. Call it Apikursus if you want. It’s not Avoda Zara.

    Now, it’s obviously funny to call an act Apikursus. Well, it’s worse to call an act in your own livingroom Avoda Zara.

    Our Masechta Avoda Zara is growing larger than that of Avraham Avinu. Add alternative medicine, joining the Israeli army, having a smartphone, going to a Mekubal, getting a Bracha from a Rebbe, asking advice from a Talmid Chacham. Wow. Each one has many Prakim. Vehamachmir Tavi Avdo.

    #1469148

    Drosen
    Participant

    In Daf Yomi, one relevant sugya just came up this week, in Avoda Zorah 27b.

    There we learn of an issur (prohibition) of עבודה-זרה
    that does NOT require ANY ACT of Avoda (worship).

    This prohibition applies to merely benefiting from a mystical/ non-understood therapy – when it’s effectiveness (real or not) is merely being attributed to some Avoda Zorah notion/ entity/ force.

    That attribution is itself kefirah, a heretical belief. That’s because it implies that Avoda Zorah has some INHERENT power to help or harm, on IT’S OWN IMAGINED WILL.

    The general principle is: As Jews, we are required to give up our lives to avoid benefiting or using any mystical therapy attributed to Avoda- Zorah.

    This is cited as actual Halacha lema’aseh in Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Daiyoh 155:1, at the end.

    See Minchas Yitzchak 6:80, end, re that Halacha. On p.112 (col.2), he applies this prohibition to a case of Kishuf. Even though one could reasonably attribute the reported effects to Kishuf, the attribution to Avoda Zorah prohibits it even in a case of danger to life.

    Energy therapies are all definitely mystical. There is no sane natural /scientific explanation for any of them. (The New Age pseudoscientific nonsense used to market this to dupey clients is not only filled with lunacy, it’s fulled with New Age missionary propaganda).

    Nor do these “energy” therapies and techniques even operate consistently enough to be considered natural – albeit non-understood – phenomenon.

    Ok, so they’re mystical. But do they involve attribution to Avoda Zorah?

    Well, Reik-i certainly does. It’s considered a loving, benevolent force, ie. maitiv on its own imagined “will.”

    But what about all those other Universal Energy methods and systems making money for New-Age practitioners?

    Is any crazy therapy attributed to Ch-i automatically presumed to reach the level of severity of Avoda Zorah?

    Well, yes. And I’m sorry so many people need to lose money here, but this bubble is overdue a big pop.

    Ch-i therapies claim that they work with a “koach baGuf,” a force subject to gashmiyus limitations. Eg. they imagine they can channel Ch-i, that it occupies physical locations in bodies, that it flows, gets clogged up and unclogged.

    At the same time, they describe this force as THE force that animates the entire Creation.

    We know ONLY G-d animates the Universe.

    Thus, this is a denial of G-d, or attribution of physical aspects to Him. Both are kefirah.

    So either way, Ch-i, K-I, Pran-a, Universal Energy, ad nauseum, all are some form of High Heresy.

    So any attribution to them would render your NON-Reik-i, non-volitional, “sanitized” “energy therapy prohibited across the board, “yaihoraig ve’Al yaavor,” be’pshutoh.

    There are other arguments that reach this same basic conclusion, but this one should suffice for those seeking the truth. And for all the others, sorry we can’t help you.

    #1469443

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    The issue is not that by being healed the person is actually being Oved the AZ. The problem is that he’ll follow the belief. This can obviously not apply when there is no belief and only the detractors are trying to dig up Apikursus origins. The issue applies to the belief of the practitioner, not the history.

    As I said, the Rashba even suggests that Kishuf should be Muttar for healing.

    I have no issue with complaints against alternative stuff. You wanna make a public awareness of the dangers of not following your doctor? Fine. You want to explain that this is in fact Assur? Go ahead. Just don’t make up Halachos. We have enough things labeled Avoda Zara, Kefira, and even Chazer Traif. It’s time to pick another Issur. Conflating these Issues is Mamesh Kali Hakerem.

    #1469446

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Conflating these Issues is Mamesh Kali Hakerem.

    Lol, nice.

    #1469676

    mentsch1
    Participant

    I believe I was one of those referencing reiki in a previous thread . But I thought I made myself clear. I wasn’t giving my opinion rather I was quoting Rav Belsky.
    An entire book was recently published with his opinion of various alternative medicines and his first hand accounts of their fraudulent providers.
    It’s available in every bookstore and amazon
    Google Rav belsky and alternative medicine
    Feel free to purchase and read.
    Incidentally, matt Walsh the famous conservative commentator, made the national news last week when he called yoga “idol worship”. He questioned whether good Christians can adopt a practice with unholy origins even with proven health benefits . If a Christian recognizes the inherent issue, don’t you think a frum yid will be asked (acher meah vesrim)how he can do something that even Christians realized was wrong?

    #1469684

    mentsch1
    Participant

    Btw as a health care professional I often get requests from patients for alternative treatments. Usually the patient has specific requests and I weigh the request on its merits.
    One recent conversation stands out in my mind.
    The patient simply asked if there was an alternative medicine option without any specific knowledge. I pointed out how since she had no clue about anything on the subject I can simply make anything up and call it alternative and she would accept that. I suggested that an approach to medicine that simply accepts any non standard approach may not be the wisest approach to ones health. Considering she started the conversation by telling me her views on medicine including one gem where she told me she advised a relative who was about to start chemotherapy to forget it and just get vitamin c transfusions, I’m guessing she didn’t appreciate my logic. That could be why she didn’t come back for her traditional medicine appointment.

    #1470021

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    If a Christian recognizes the inherent issue, don’t you think a frum yid will be asked (acher meah vesrim)how he can do something that even Christians realized was wrong?

    Do you know Reb Moshe’s famous retort to that?

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