Someone said to me the other day:
‘The real battle today, in terms of idol worship, is in healthcare. We’ve got a real fight on our hands to show people that they don’t have to rely on doctors and medicines.’
My friend is a frum Jew, very involved in trying to promote more awareness about the potential harm associated with vaccines, and is part of the more alternative health scene, with a focus on healthy eating.
But here’s the rub: the big ‘healthcare’ idol worship problem we’re up against isn’t only on the conventional side of things; it’s also very much alive and kicking in the alternative healthcare world, too – and in some ways, even more problematic.
Before I continue, here’s the definition of ‘idol worship’ that I’m working with, so we’re all nice and clear what the problem actually is:
Idol worship is any time a person thinks they can cut God out of the picture, and achieve some aim or get some benefit ‘under their own steam’.
So, if you’re sitting with a doctor or psychiatrist who’s telling you how the latest little designer pill is going to cure all your woes without any further input, effort, or prayer from you – and you believe them – that’s idol worship.
Or, if you’re sitting with some meditation guru, who’s telling you how saying ‘om’ and emptying your mind completely of all thought is going to cure all your woes (again, without any further input, effort or prayer from you) – and you believe them – that’s idol worship.
As you’re probably working out for yourselves, idol worship is currently happening all over the place, from your dentist, to your reflexologist, to your macrobiotic diet expert, to your OBGYN, to your acupuncturist and your pediatrician.
The world is full of health ‘experts’, alternative and mainstream, physical and mental, Jewish and otherwise, who are trying to tell you that they can cure you, heal you, make you better, while God is completely out of the picture.
But while conventional medicine is only messing things up at the level of the body, or the Nefesh, which is the lowest and most coarse of the five levels of our soul, many alternative practices work on the principles of energy medicine, which tap right into the higher levels of the soul, namely the Ruach and Neshama.
To put this a little more clearly, Western medicine can (and often does…) kill your body. Alternative medicine can (and often does…) kill your soul.
There are three ‘cardinal sins’ that a Jew is meant to die, instead of transgressing: murder, idol worship, and sexual immorality.
If ‘murder’ is what Western Medicine specializes this (and please read THIS if you think I’m being overly dramatic, here) – then the other two are definitely the professional reserve of the alternative health world.
When God is out of the picture, for example, then you start getting all sorts of just plain evil messages about health and happiness being directly connected to your reproductive organs. Louise Hay, founder of the alternative health empire Hay House, regularly advises people to pleasure themselves as a ‘release’.
Spiritually, wasting seed is probably the worst thing you can do, in terms of destroying the world and fuelling the forces of evil (if you don’t know why, THESE ARTICLES set the problem out, very clearly).
But when God is out of the picture – hey, what do you care?
Even yoga, that kosher pig of a discipline, is very focused on reproductive energy. There’s all this talk about harnessing something called ‘kundalini’ energy, which is described as being a very powerful, ‘snake-like’ energy, that’s coiled at the bottom of the spine.
Hmm. SNAKE-ENERGY, anyone? Am I the only one picking up this clue?
Yoga journals are replete with stories of regular yoga fans who got zapped by a massive dose of ‘snake-energy’ and never recovered their mental or physical health, as a result. This stuff is dangerous, because it’s working at a much higher level of the soul, but still disconnected from God.
Maybe, the rest of the world can handle it better because their souls don’t have the huge spiritual potential of a Jewish soul. But for Jews, when their healthcare gets disconnected from God, that’s a disaster.
Because (and here I’m going to shout, sorry) NOTHING IS NEUTRAL IN THE WORLD.
Either something and someone is attached to God, and coming from a good place, or they’re disconnected from God, and coming from a bad place.
I will write more on this separately, as I experienced something recently (well, quite a few things actually) that really brought this point home to me in a very clear way.
If you asked me what’s better: go Western, and risk killing the body, or go Eastern, and risk killing the soul – at this stage, I really don’t know what I’d suggest.
But one thing I can tell you for sure, even at this stage of trying to figure it all out: If you don’t put God in your own personal picture, your chances of staying happy, healthy and holy are pretty much zilch.
And if that doesn’t scare you into doing at least a little bit of hitbodedut, at least a little bit of the time, then I don’t know what will.