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Thursday, 8 January 2015

Better than Feng Shui

Daf Yomi Yevamos 96

In our age of globalization, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from cultures far and wide.  One of the new trends in the west that has become popular over the last number of years is Feng Shui.   Everybody wants positive energy in their home.  Until recently, we didn’t put much thought into how the furniture should be arranged.  But Feng Shui has clear guidelines as to how everything in a room must be positioned in order to achieve maximum positive energy in the house.

Our tradition has a much more effective method of ensuring the right flow of positive energy throughout the home.  We have been practicing our own form of Feng Shui for millennia.

Rabbi Elazar went to the study hall and taught a lesson of Rabbi Yochanan without crediting him.  Rabbi Yochanan heard and was bothered.  Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Assi went up to see him.
They said to him:  Don’t you recall the story that happened at the shul in Tiberius?  The rabbis were arguing so vehemently about the status of a bolt with a knob on its end for use on Shabbos that they tore a Torah scroll in their anger! 
The Gemara interposes:  You really think they would tear a Torah scroll?  Rather, say that a Torah scroll was torn by accident due to their anger.
Rabbi Yossi ben Kisma was present.   He declared, “I’d be surprised if one day this shul doesn’t become an idolatrous temple.”   And so it was. 

Our Sages teach us that ‘Anyone who gets angry, it is as if they have worshipped idols.’  Anger, explains the Maharsha, drives out the Divine flow of energy and allows the energy of the Sitra Achara – the Other Side – to enter.   Even though these rabbis in Tiberius believed that they were arguing for the sake of Heaven, their rage got the better of them, which was clearly manifest in the tearing of the Torah scroll.  At that point, Rabbi Yossi realized that it had gone too far and the forces of evil were present.

When you get angry at home – at your kids, your spouse – you banish the flow of positive energy and welcome negative energy to enter.    Just like the person who is so careful about what enters his mouth – that the food must adhere to the highest standards of kashrut – but is then reckless in terms of what comes out of his mouth, you could spend months designing your home for perfect positive energy but as soon as you begin to get angry, it is all for naught. 

Physical attributes are important to the design of any house.  But spiritual attributes are what transforms your house into a home.  You need to be so careful that you are constantly inviting the Divine flow of energy throughout your home.  Never leave room for the Sitra Achara to enter!  When your home is filled with Divine energy, you guarantee the health of your family, material and spiritual success, and happiness for all the inhabitants of the home.

Never get angry.  It’s the next best thing to idolatry, you’re only asking for trouble.  Just keep that Divine energy flowing into your home.   When you feel the urge to get angry, take a time out and picture yourself bowing down to a statue and inviting other gods into your home.  That should do the trick!  May you merit a calm and peaceful home that is filled with Divine energy so that your family is always healthy and prosperous in every aspect of their lives!