Rav Avigdor Miller on Yoga or the Rabbi
If somebody suffers from emotional tension, is he allowed to go to Yoga courses or maybe to meditation, or to a kind of healing by healers where they put their hands on the head?
These practitioners are in most cases ovdei avoda zara. It’s a form of idolatry. Al pi din, it’s strictly forbidden. TM which means transcedental garbage is a form of idolatry. It’s a form of Buddhism. People deceive themselves that it’s something intellectual. I know a case, a young man who became a TM man. So he went into business, and he told his mother that he’s succeeding in business. Why? Because he lights a punt and he chants something in front of the punt. So it’s nothing but avoda zara; it’s idol worship.
If people need relief from emotional tension, go to someone who’s capable of giving you advice. In most cases, a physician is capable of helping also. Not a psychologist. A physician can prescribe certain modes of living that will ease tension because he has a lot of experience. Physicians have dealt with these problems all the time, and before the advent of psychology, they were the ones who people came to. But as I’ve told you before, if you want to get to the root of the problems, seek out some venerable talmid chochom. And I want to tell you something. When you come, let’s say, to an old chassidishe rebbe, and you want to sit for an hour with him, just as you sit with a psychiatrist or a psychologist. If you want to sit there for forty-five minutes, it’s not yosher, it’s not right to expect him to do it for nothing. A psychiatrist will take fifty dollars. A psychologist takes thirty-five or more.
Now, you come along and you take out the time of this elderly man. He wants to learn. He wants to do something else. So what will he do? He’ll telescope for you the advice into a few minutes. So he’ll speak to you five minutes, and he’ll say, “My child, that’s my advice. There is no use repeating it. Go home and do it.” But you feel that it’s not enough for your needs. So if you want a session with him, don’t wait. Immediately take out the greenbacks. And a lot! You have to make it worth his while. It’s not mercenary. It’s not wrong at all! He’s doing a mitzvah!
People forget that. They think that a rabbi has to give time for nothing! So if you go to somebody who’s a reliable man, he may refuse money. But disregard it anyhow. Take out thirty-five dollars, put it on the table, and refuse to take it back. And then he’ll feel obligated to spend time with you. Now, most people who are worth something, will absolutely refuse any money, but at least let the money be on the table while you are talking. It’s important. You have to pay for services.
Now, if you come to me, all you get is five minutes and it won’t help any money. Besides, it’s not worth coming to me! The advice that you get from me is worth what you pay for it!