The Rebbe’s Call for Kosher Therapeutic Meditation
My Response to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Call for Kosher Therapeutic Meditation
On July 8, 1979 (the 13th of Tammuz, 5739), 51 years ago this week, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, spoke publicly about the dangers that Eastern cults and their forms of meditation pose for many Jews. He also spoke at length about the need for professionals to offer meditation without idolatrous trappings. This public address followed months of confidential contact with Jewish medical professionals, urging them to develop a medical form of meditation to help people calm their nerves.
The Rebbe specified that healthy people should not use meditation, in part because prolonged practice could separate the meditator from his surroundings. The Torah recipe for mental health is to participate fully in work, family, and society. Retreating from the world is not a Torah ideal. People who need meditation should utilize it in appropriate doses, similar to medicine. The ultimate goal is not for meditation to become an integral part of a healthy person’s life but use it as needed to deal with stressors that prevent us from functioning optimally.
The Rebbe also realized that many ordinarily healthy people who wanted to meditate would go to Eastern cults if not offered an alternative (B’Or HaTorah, Landes 2014–1015, pp. 172–185). In private communications as well as public addresses, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, discussed an array of holistic health issues. At times he recommended very specific therapies or techniques that predated current medical treatments. One example is value-free therapeutic meditation to relieve stress and bring peace of mind (see: B’Or HaTorah Journal Ophir 2012–2013 and Landes 2014–2015). Today, with the high-speed of life and our digital distractions, anyone owning a smartphone could use such stress-reduction techniques.
As an observant therapist inspired by the Rebbe’s call for new therapies, I developed rabbinically approved meditations for my patients. Today, research on the benefits of meditation abounds, and medical professionals around the world use many formats of meditation to alleviate anxiety, stress, and other ailments. However, despite their proven benefit, many of the available methods contain subtle Eastern religious elements. Lack of access to the value-free meditation methods the Rebbe recommended exposed thousands to practices violating Torah law. For over a decade I had been working to fulfill the Rebbe’s wish by creating kosher relaxation and meditation scripts and recordings for my clients. Read my entire response to the Rebbe HERE. Today, more than ever, various formats of meditation are ubiquitous on the internet, however, some of them contain elements that may be based in Buddhism or Hinduism.
You can find NOGA Sound Solutions™ in my store and you can start by downloading my free Beginner’s Meditation on the Breath™ HERE. You can also enjoy my explanatory video of the on YouTube HERE. Again, to read my entire response to the Rebbe, click HERE.