The Healing of Body and Soul

Kabbalah and Healing: The Healing of Body and Soul – Part 23 – The Hands, Eyes and Mouth of the Physician

There are fourteen appearances of the Hebrew root for healing (refuah) in the Five Books of Moses. Fourteen is the numerical value of the word for "hand" in Hebrew ( yad). This alludes to the thematic connection between healing and the hand, suggesting that there is healing power in the hand of the physician. The word "hand" in Hebrew can also signify "power" and "ability."

Beyond this, the total process of healing, according to the Torah, is accomplished through the inter-involvement of the physician's hands, eyes, and mouth.

As stated above, the fourteen appearances of the word for healing represent the hand of the physician.

The model physician in the Torah is the priest (kohen). In Kabbalah, the innate power of the priest’s soul derives from the sefirah of chochmah, which is associated with the sense of sight. The priest diagnoses the disease by sight and then heals it by sight.

The emotive correlate of chochmah is chesed, the power to heal through love (which itself is aroused by the physician observing and reflecting upon the patient's ailment).

The word for "healing" ( refuah) is composed of the same letters as those of the phrase, "the light of the mouth" (or peh). The physician's sympathetic advice and reassurance to his patient radiate healing light and energy.

As noted above, the Ba'al Shem Tov teaches that any complete process of spiritual growth or, indeed, any complete act of rectification (i.e., performance of a mitzvah in thought, word, or deed) must proceed through three stages: submission, separation, and sweetening. Since true healing is a spiritual as well as a physical process, the consciousness of a true healer must also proceed through these three stages.

Relative to one another, the sense of touch (in the hand of the physician) is initially "in the dark," and seeks to locate, contact, and feel the ailment and identify its source. In the soul, this demands a state of submission. Vision (the physician's sense of sight) sheds light upon the ailment, distinguishing the affected from the unaffected areas. This corresponds to the stage of separation. Finally, the good and reassuring words of the physician (the light of his mouth) "sweeten" the consciousness of the concerned patient, filling him with hope and confidence, the psychological state conducive to healing.

Indeed, all three senses can manifest the three stages of submission, separation, and sweetening as contained (in the terminology of Kabbalah and Chassidut, "inter-included") within the general level of sweetening. The touch of the physician soothes the wound. The light of his eyes brings healing energy into the affected area. His words not only reassure but actually complete the healing process itself, as if to pronounce to the patient "you are well" (and so, indeed, he becomes well).

1. submission


2. separation


3. sweetening


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