March 31, 2011
Kosher Sutra: Pay It Forward (Tazria)
Kosher Sutra: “when a woman gives birth to a male” (Lev 12:2)
As a child there was always something fascinating about the world-record-breaking domino contests where the flick of one domino would affect many thousands more. The film Pay It Forward tells of a similar effect with powerful results where every person has to do a huge favour that will help three other people, and those three ‘pay it forward’ to three more. We can take the butterfly effect into our own hands and raise the world on these wings.
“When a woman gives birth to a male” appears to speak to one half of the population until we analyse the Hebrew word _Tazria_ which means giving birth, but has the root of _Zarua_ meaning ‘planting’, and _Zera_ meaning seed. Rabbi Elimelech of Lizensk explained that when we plant sparks of inspiration in others, stimulating them to bring more light into the world through their actions, we ‘give birth’. He connects it to the psalm ‘a light is planted (zarua) for the righteous person, and gladness for the upright of heart’ (97:11). And so we lift others.
The space of the yoga mat is a private one, symbolising our own internal world, but the core of the philosophy is that there is no action without reaction. The Yoga Sutras are based around the principles of how our actions impact the world, such as _satya_ (truthfulness), _asteya_ (non-stealing), or _aparigraha_ (non-jealousy). When we meet teachers who truly embody these traits – which are a lot easier to talk about than they are to practice – we are inspired to embody these values within ourselves. There is nothing more powerful than a teacher who lives what they teach, and few things more disappointing than the mentors who fall short.
Next week we enter the spiritual month of Nissan, representing a time of freedom. We can be free to recreate ourselves, remodel our behaviours and get closer to our ideal self. Can you give birth to the true you inside, fulfilling the potential of who you know you can be? Free from the past, perhaps now is the time to start.
Shalom V’Ahava, Gut Shabbes-
i. Lie on your back with your feet in semi-supine (feet are hip-width apart and on the floor with your heels by your buttocks.
Marcus is the yogi-in-residence for Jewlicious Festivals and JConnectLA, and the President of the Jewish Yoga Network.