The Healing of Body and Soul

The Healing of Body and Soul – Part 20 Six Levels of Healing

In a Chassidic discourse, Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac of Homil (one of the greatest Chabad chassidim) outlines six levels of healing. These can be understood to correspond to the five manifestations ("ames") of the soul and the soul's very essence, as we will go on to elucidate. The correspondence from above to below is as follows:


Level of the soul

Level of Healing


etzem haneshama

the essence of the soul

miraculous Divine power



“the single one”

“as though the Holy One dwells within him”



“the living one”

“the light of the Torah gives him life”



“breath [of life]”

Holy Names







“innate life force”


We will describe these six levels in brief, beginning with level 1:

Healing at the level of Nefesh (“innate life force”)

The first level of healing, lowest yet most fundamental in the six-rung ladder of healing, is that employed by an expert physician. The skilled and accomplished practitioner knows the proper medicine to prescribe to treat any specific ailment of the body.

The physician's expertise and prescription relates to the natural level of the body, the level on which the body "lives"–the life force of the soul as it enclothes itself within the body.

The correct medicine for a given disease possesses the power to contact this lowest level of the soul–the nefesh–and draw it into the body. At this level, however, the consciousness of the physician is primarily, if not solely, directed to the body and its ailments (not consciously aware of the connection of body to soul).

The "connected intermediate," by which the soul–the nefesh–is bound to the body, is the blood. In the Torah we find explicitly that "the blood is the soul [nefesh]." The Hebrew word for "blood," (dam) is cognate to the word for "likeness" (demut). This level of healing relates to the Divine likeness in which man was created.

The very name of the first man, Adam, is cognate to the word for “blood” (dam). The name Adam can be read “I shall become blood,” alluding to the power to draw the nefesh into the body by means of the blood, the function accomplished by the expert physician.

Healing at the level of Ruach (“spirit”)

The second level of healing is through the power of charms (in Hebrew, segulot). Although in its origins this is a most authentic science, over the generations it has degenerated to a large extent and become identified with various superstitious practices.

An example of how the power of charms is applied, described by Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac of Homil in his discourse, is that by drawing the form of a man on a wall, the master of charms may spiritually influence and physically affect the pictured man by manipulating or altering the picture. In this way, a good master can heal a diseased patient.

The wisdom employed at this level is "suggestive" in nature. An act done here "suggests" that a similar act happen there. The power of suggestion relates in Kabbalah and Chassidut to the emotive powers of the soul, the general level of ruach ("spirit").

While at the first level, the body was affected directly by the soul–the level of nefesh–by means of the blood, here, the charm touches the level of ruach (by suggestion), which thereafter affects the body indirectly.

The master of charms is a true "spiritualist" (addressing the spirit of man, the ruach). The process of healing here involved is indeed a spiritual happening; it works on the self-conscious emotions of the soul. In Kabbalah, this level of consciousness is identified with the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Here, good and evil are mixed together, for which reason this level of healing is most susceptible to (often unintentional) misuse.

Here, the emotive powers of man are affected and aroused–his passions, anger, etc. When acted upon constructively, the ruach becomes sufficiently energized to affect and heal from above the body to which it relates.

All methods of healing that profess to employ vital energies projected from healer to patient belong to this level of healing. The cognitive basis for such methodology and techniques is referred to in Kabbalah as "the [intellectual] power of association," more literally: "the power of imagination." From this it is clear why so many so-called "healers" nowadays play solely on the imagination of both healer and patient.

Furthermore, in Kabbalah and Chassidut we are taught that the consummately rectified "power of imagination" borders on the power of prophecy. In the time of the exile of the Jewish people, the prophetic phenomenon disappears (replaced by false, illusionary imagination). Speedily, with the redemption of the Jewish people and the entire world, true prophecy will return and God "will pour out His spirit on all flesh."

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