The Healing of Body and Soul

Kabbalah and Healing: The Healing of Body and Soul – Part 21 – Healing at the Level of Neshamah

The third level of healing is through the power of holy Names, such as those inscribed within an amulet carried on the body or retained in another conspicuous place.

A holy Name has the power to draw Divine influx to the super-rational aspects of the soul, producing a supernal, Divine experience that strengthens the soul and provides it with sufficient power to heal the body.

In particular, this method of healing relates to the third level of the soul–the neshamah–the soul's ability to perceive directly God's presence in the world and to sense the Divine breath of life entering his being.

The level of neshamah is initially super-conscious in the psyche of man, for his initial, innate state of consciousness is solely that of nefesh (physical, material consciousness) and ruach(spiritual consciousness).

The holy Name addresses the neshamah and brings it into a state of conscious awareness and experience. One feels that God is ever with him–"God is your shadow, on your right-hand side." God is always there to protect you and heal all of your spiritual and physical ailments.

The master healer who makes use of holy Names must be an "expert" Kabbalist. He must know the exact nuance and power of each of the holy Names, and when writing an amulet, must–in a state of sincere humility and selflessness, pray to God that his remedy be effective and meditate on all the Divine intentions prescribed by Kabbalah with regard to the specific Name (together with the name of the patient).

We are told that Rabbi Yisrael Ba'al Shem Tov would inscribe in an amulet written to heal an ailing patient his own proper name alone. By this he affected, at the level of the neshamahof the patient, consciousness of the presence of the soul of the true tzadik with him at all times. The true tzadik draws into the consciousness of all souls connected to him the true awareness of God's absolute unity and goodness (to heal all flesh).

Healing at the level of Chayah ("living one")

The fourth level of healing is that referred to by our sages: "if one's head aches, he should delve into the study of the Torah… if one's whole body aches, he should delve into the study of the Torah."

Similarly, our sages teach, "whoever delves into the light of the Torah, the light of the Torah enlivens him."

To draw physical vitality from the light of the Torah, one's soul must be bound to the Torah, the word of God, in truth. The light of the Torah is God’s transcendent light, the infinite light that "encompasses all worlds." The experience of the soul at this level is not one of God's presence being something other than the experience of the soul (radiating His Divine light into the soul and body), but rather that of the soul experiencing itself as one within the presence of God. This is so for "the Torah and God are one."

This consciousness is at the level of the chayah, "the living one," the awareness of the light of the Torah as "our life and the length of our days." The power of the reinforced bond of the soul to the Torah suffices to draw into the body healing force.

This level of healing is analogous to the law that an impure (sick) body of water instantly becomes purified when brought to "kiss" the waters of a pure mikveh. In the same way, when the soul touches–"kisses"–the pure waters of the Torah, it "blends" into the living waters, thereby receiving sufficient life force to heal the body.

Nevertheless, in the above saying of the sages–"if one's head aches…"–the term "aches" (in Hebrew, chash) is used (rather than a stronger word for physical illness), implying that the ailment referred to here is not one that has mortally impaired one of the vital, inner organs, but rather an "ache" alone of one of the body's limbs (or all of them–“if one's whole body aches…").

Here, continuing the analogy of the pure waters of the mikveh, the light of the Torah blinds the eyes of the impure "shells" (kelipot) responsible for the ailment. The negative influence of the "shells" disappears and the body recovers. However, when the vital, inner limbs of the body have been mortally impaired, the "kiss" of the light of the Torah is not sufficient to miraculously heal them (i.e., return them to their previously complete state of being).

The fourth level of the soul, the chayah, is identified in Kabbalah with the origin of the Divine wisdom of the Torah. This is higher than the soul's ability to perceive God's presence in the world and experience His breath of life entering his being, the level of neshamah, energized by holy Names, as described above. Of this level it is said, "the wisdom [of Torah] gives life to its possessors."

In Kabbalah we are taught that the chayah of the soul resides in the "air fluid" above the brain, beneath the skull. In our Divine service, this corresponds to a true state of selflessness–as that which one experiences when immersing in the pure waters of the mikveh–infused with a sense of infinite serenity.

We will note that from this level on, the healer and the patient become one; here, by the spiritual service of the ailing soul one succeeds in healing oneself.

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