KOSHER SUTRA ‘seven candles shall cast light’ (Bamidbar 8:2)
SOUL SOLUTION Unify body and soul, be majestic
BODY BENEFITS Grounding, strengthening

There are few things that rival the peaceful end of a successful yoga class. By ‘successful’ I mean the state when all of the students are feeling physically invigorated (or calmed, depending on the intention of the day), everyone’s minds are fully alert and their bodies are feeling that deep sense of calm. In short, we all feel tremendous.

Our Kosher Sutra comes from the passage where God presents Moses with a vision of the Menorah, the seven-branched candelabra. Kabbalists explain that each of the candles actually represents one of the sefirot, the Divine attributes that reside within our body. The Ben Ish Chai (1832-1909) explained that :

‘When we call the sefiros ‘light’, that does not mean that they are like the light that we see with our eyes. Rather, since our intellectual grasp is limited by our physical body, and we cannot truly grasp the nature of spiritual things, we call the sefiros by the term light, since light is among the more important and lofty sensations. It is also the more spiritual of sensations’*.

By bringing unifying the seven lights into one candelbra, we can discover hints towards a deeper process. Rabbi Elimelech of Lizensk explains “the Menorah alludes to the final complete unity…the ideal is to bring everything to complete and total unity since this is the root and fundamental purpose of everything. Understand this”*.

This is why I love Bibliyoga; because it gives us tools to elevate our body and soul. Rabbi Elimelech could have been quoting directly from the Yoga Sutras. The purpose of yoga is to bring an internal unity between our body, mind, breath and soul. We aim to heal our body through asana (posture) vinyasa (movement), yama and niyama (moral principles/actions) and eventually reach a state of Samadhi (enlightenment) when we are fully at one with ourselves and the world around us. There are many different kinds of yoga to suit different types people, including Karma Yoga (through actions), Bhakti Yoga (yoga of love), Raja Yoga (the Royal path of yoga through meditation) and Hatha Yoga (e.g. your 'standard' yoga class). Nonetheless, all are concerned with unification.

Tonight’s festival of Shavuot is the culmination of seven weeks’ preparation, and according to the Kabbalah, every week corresponded to a certain emotion and a specific part of the body***. Today is final day of Malchut where we find our inner leader, our deep sense of grounding, and prepare to share our light with the world.

*As quoted in Mipinenei Noam Elimelech, trans. Tal Moshe Zwecker, p221.
***The Tikkunei Zohar explains that this week, Malchut (Nobility, Dignity, Leadership) corresponds to the mouth, possibly because it is through our words that we lead others.