Saturday, January 29, 2022



The Ch-i Concept as Kefirah B'Ikkar (Heresy)

26 Shvat, 5782 /Jan. 28, '22 /Parshas Mishpatim, "... V'Shaim Elohim Achairim Lo Saz'kiru - Lo Yi'shomah Al-Pi'choh" (23:13)

Copyright 2022 © by Noson Shmuel Leiter

When I was in sixth or seventh grade, I remember that my teacher emphasized what a noun was. A noun is NOT "a person, place or thing." A noun is a WORD which REFERS TO a person, place or thing. Little did I realize how important that distinction is. Failure to properly distinguish between a word and what it refers to has led to immense confusion in understanding the very concept of heretical/ idolatrous names, "shaimos Avoda Zorah," and, in particular, understanding the objections to the term "Ch-i," the "New-Age" term for their heretical notion of an universal Life-Force "energy."

In this week's parsha, the Torah forbids us to even mention the names of idolatry. Additionally, as our Sages explain, the Torah prohibits Jews to even to cause a non-Jewish idolater to take an oath in the name of idolatry. "... V'Shaim Elohim Achairim Lo Saz'kiru - Lo Yi'shomah Al-Pi'choh" (Shemos 23:13). (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 156.)

By using idolatrous names, often people unknowingly transgress an additional prohibition: Avoda Zorah by Attribution, described in Talmud tractate Avoda Zorah 27b [and, according to the view of Tosofos, in tractate Pesachim 25a as well].  There we learn that a mystical practice - when attributed to Avoda Zorah (idolatrous forces), by explicitly attributing its alleged effectiveness to a specified Avoda Zorah, or even implicitly - is absolutely prohibited. Such a practice/ therapy is prohibited even to the extent of obligating us to give up our lives rather than be healed thereby, lest someone be drawn to believe in the attribution to Avoda Zorah (i.e. to imagine that the foreign deity has independent power - a heretical belief). This law is cited by Rav Yosef Karo in his Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Daiyoh, 155:1 (end), without any mention of a dissenting view.

Also see Rashi on the aforementioned passuk (23:13),  citing the equivalence drawn between avoiding Avoda Zorah and observance of the entirety of the Torah (e.g. see further Bamidbar 15:22-23, Rashi, Ramban; Horiyos 8a; Rambam, M.T., Laws of Idolatry (Hil. A.Z.), 2:4). Note that this derivation is based on the very verse that prohibits pagan names. That juxtaposition perhaps suggests that the very names of Avoda Zorah ("A.Z.") are foundational to the broader idolatrous milieu, perhaps by serving as gateway notions. This observation is borne out by what transpires nowadays in the new-age milieu. Therein, words are used, and ideas are conveyed simply by identifying things by heretical names, like, as we explain shortly, terms such as Ch-i (or Qi, or Ki in Japan, or Prana in India, etc.).

When seeking to identify heretical and idolatrous terms, one needs to distinguish between words and that which they refer to. Idolaters generally referred to existing forces, but in a distorted manner, attributing independent will to them, and often ascribing other abilities to them that they lacked. Thereby, the very mention of the idolatrous name conveyed their erroneous ideas about the entity or force, without recourse to a even making a statement.

This arises constantly with regard to the aforementioned term "Ch-i."

What is "Ch-i"?

"Ch-i" is a word. It's word used widely in the western milieu of people dedicated to a variety of mystical ideas and practices based on far-eastern religion/ metaphysics, ancient idolatry and paganism, and the Occult. This milieu is commonly referred to as the "New Age Movement," ("the NAM"). The NAM is not at all new, or easy to define. Nor is it even a single, easily identifiable movement. It is primarily from the NAM milieu that this term Ch-i, and its attending ideology/ theology, has infiltrated many religious communities around the world.

In the NAM milieu, the CONCEPT of Ch-i is commonly understood as follows:

They imagine that the force(s) that "energy healers" (and others) ostensibly manipulate in their "energy-channelling" practices is/are (1) a single universal force, (2) a vital-life-force which animates the entire universe, & (3) THE Source of all being, R"L. 

THAT conception erroneously attributes corporeality (physicality) to The Source of All Being, i.e. G-d. In other words, Ch-i refers to
 his'gamshmus HaBorei. Thus, the notion of Ch-i is a form of Kefirah B'Ikkar (Heresy). It is HaShem (G-d) who is The Exclusive Source of all, and He has no connection to physicality (see Rambam, M.T., Hilchos Yedosei HaTorah, 1:1, 5,6,7,11; Hil. Teshuva 3:7). To assert that the Source of All Being, meaning G-d, can be channeled or manipulated, or is  subject to change, location or movement is absolutely heretical (kefirah)(Rambam, YH"T, 1:11).

(4) Many new agers ALSO clearly attribute independent will to this force as well, R"L, and therefore ask it permission if it's "ready and willing" for the practitioner to perform a muscle test, or dowse, especially in Health Kinesiology.  THAT conception of Ch-i is clearly heresy on an additional count (see Ikkar #5, Chazon Ish Y.D. 62:19, for example.)

Thus, the New-Age TERM Ch-i refers to a kefirah CONCEPT. If some frum Ch-i advocates opt to use the term differently, that doesn't change the fact that the TERM is a Shaim-Kefira/Avoda Zorah.

Q: One question that confuses many people is this: What if there is an existing force similar to their distorted notion of Ch-i?

A: That doesn't alter the fact that the TERM "Ch-i" refers to a kefira distortion/ misconception of such a force, which, by definition, doesn't exist. Most Avoda Zorah names referred to some existing entity, but in a distorted way, attributing independent will to it [as Rav Ovadia Seforno mentions repeatedly in sefer D'varim]. That fact by no means circumvents the prohibition of using idolatrous names.

If those using the term Ch-i wish to refer to some existing entity, they need to use the term to identify it - rather than using the term Ch-i, which refers to something else altogether, or, at best, refers to a grave misconception of the existing entity, which by definition, is a mere figment of the imagination.

Moreover, even IF the Ch-i propagandists could establish that "the force" that the "energy-practitioners" are manipulating in their "energy-work" is a real entity, it's an entirely different entity than fictitious notion to which the NAM term "Ch-i" refers. Referring to THAT existing entity as "Ch-i" doesn't render the TERM "Ch-i" something other than what it is: a heretical term (shaim AZ/ Kefirah). 

In other words, the only other way to describe the term Ch-i is that it erroneously refers to the actual force or forces - that energy workers purportedly are using - but attributes to that ostensibly existing force/s their fictitious and heretical notion of His'gashmus HaBorei.

If said Ch-i advocates truly wanted to avoid promoting heresy-related concepts, they would simply use different terminology. And they would benefit greatly by sidestepping much of the controversy. But they refuse. Clearly, they're intent on promoting Ch-i ideology, which, as evidenced from the above, is actually New Age heresy.

Accordingly, said Ch-i advocates need to be avoided altogether, with their never-ending stream of propaganda, as per the published Psak signed by Rav Dovid Feinstein, Rav Yisroel Belsky,, OB"M, published at the end of the Sefer "Rav Belsky on Alternative Medicine" et. al (Judaica Press). It is this endless propaganda that's instrumental in ensuring that many very confused people never understand the foundational concepts relevant here, or the monumental objections to Ch-i theology and the practices attributed to it.

May we witness the Final Redemption in the merit of helping identify and eradicate the cardinal transgressions which impede its arrival.

Rabbi Noson Shmuel Leiter,

Executive Director,

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1 comment :


    no clear or official definition of what chi is, hence cannot call it avodah zarah.
    It can be oxygen, it can be glucose produced in our muscles, or a nerve synapse.
    Hence nothing heretical with any of these working definitions.


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