The Healing of Body and Soul

Kabbalah and Healing: The Healing of Body and Soul – Part 38 – Metal Correspondence to Wolf, Lion and Snake

In yet another vein: the word for "wolf" (ze'ev) is cognate to that for "gold" (zahav), both from the root zav.

The word for "snake" (nachash) is itself the root of the word for "copper" (nechoshet). At the word of God, Moses made a "copper snake" (nachash hanechoshet) to heal the people from the snake's bite. The copper snake has thus become the universal symbol of healing.

The three primary metals of the Torah, from which the Tabernacle and Temple were constructed, are "gold, silver, and copper." If gold alludes to the wolf and copper to the snake, this would imply that the lion corresponds to silver.

Silver is a pure white metal having a brilliant luster. It excels all other metals as a conductor of heat and electricity. It thus shines as (white) light. This relates the lion, whose name is cognate to "light," to the metal of silver.

Chassidut quotes and explains the Rabbinic teaching that the three metals of gold, silver, and copper allude to three levels of health vs. sickness and the manner in which the ailing soul gives charity, thereby arousing Divine mercy to heal him. The name of each metal is read as an acronym:

Zahav: Zeh Hanoten Bari

Gold: This is the healthy giver.

Kesef: K’sheyesh Sakanat Pachad

Silver: When there is the danger of fear.


Nechoshet: Netinat Hacholeh She’amar T’nu

Copper: The giving of an acutely sick person who said, "give!"

From this it is clear that the most dangerous state, the state of greatest fear, is that of copper, fear of the snake, fear of insanity. According to the sages, in any acute state of illness, one fears losing his mind and is quick to order those present to give of his assets as he desires.

The fear of the wolf is "gold," yet healthy, in comparison to that of the lion, "silver," and that of the snake, "copper." Corresponding to the three syndromes of fear described above and their rectifications, giving "gold" rectifies the triplet of the innate, behavioral powers of the soul (netzach-hod-yesod)–good deeds are "gold"; giving "silver" rectifies the triplet of the emotive powers of the soul (chesed-gevurah-tiferet)–good feelings are "silver" ("love" in Kabbalah); giving "copper" rectifies the triplet of the intellectual powers of the soul (chochmah-binah-da’at)–good, sound thoughts are "copper." Thus, though seemingly paradoxical, it is the most precious metal, gold, that rectifies the more feminine fear of rape, and the least precious metal, copper, that rectifies the acute fear of insanity.

In line with the theory of homeopathy–the great relevance of metals to curing disease–it may be worthwhile to examine the efficiency of these three metals in the cure of the three fundamental syndromes of disease.

Finally, let us note that when the three three-letter words for wolf (ze'ev), lion (ari), and snake (nachash) are arranged as a square:










the diagonal line of the square reads Zeresh, the wife of Haman, the principle archetype of Amalek in the Bible. As a feminine figure, Zeresh personifies all three syndromes of fear in the soul, from the fear of rape to the fear of insanity. The miracle of Purim, with the victory over Haman and Amalek, more than any other miracle or holiday, signifies the victory over fear. In the end, it is the "fear of the Jews" and the "fear of Mordechai" that falls on all the nations. The feast of Purim alludes to the feast of Leviathan in the world to come, no more to be afraid of anything else but God Himself, no more disease or death, the very origin of fear in the soul will laugh forever.

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