The Healing of Body and Soul: Part 1 – Introduction

In past generations, mainly those in the medical world studied the subjects of health and healing. However, today not only has knowledge within these fields extended to the general public, but more than ever before, new ideas are being sparked both in terms of applied technique and theoretical discussion in the world of medicine and within the scope and nature of healing itself.

Conventional medicine, once drawn only to seek out the immediate cause of an illness by empirically observing its symptoms, has now opened up its research into the psychological and spiritual origins of diseases and our capacity to recover from them. What was once a medical pre-disposition to separate the body and its physical systems from the inner person has begun to change. The abundant popularity of new medical alternatives has created a vast supermarket of new treatments that are constantly challenging our ideas about the nature of health and healing.

In light of this, it is most appropriate that the long-standing tradition of healing and medical practices within Judaism in general and Kabbalah in particular be presented. This work has been written for the person who wishes to begin to develop an understanding of the greatness of this tradition and its wisdom regarding the nature of the body and its spiritual roots. In addition, the uniqueness of Kabbalah, in its ability to systematically interpret all methods of secular healing and their spiritual correlations, is here demonstrated.

The Image of God

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

 

 

One of the most fundamental teachings of Kabbalah is the system of the ten sefirot, or channels of Divine life force. As a concept, special attention must be paid to the term sefirot, for its meaning fluctuates according to the context in which it is used.

When speaking of our perception of Divinity, the manner in which Godliness–God’s self-expression–is perceived, the ten sefirot are understood as ten manifestations of Divinity. We find this phenomenon reflected in ten essential Names for God, each of which corresponds to a given sefirah.

When reflecting on how this display of Divinity is projected into the living experience of a human being, the sefirot become intelligible as the ten powers of the soul. Here, a person can relate all the facets of the human condition to these ten basic properties. They, in turn, become the conceptual tools for the contemplation and analysis of ourselves and our service of God.

Finally, one finds that the sefirot are also cast as the basic structural forces orchestrated in forming our outer reality. All of the worlds that we inhabit, both spiritual and physical, display the same array of supernal characteristics.

In short, each sefirah or channel can be understood as a mode of Godly manifestation with respect to our perception of Divinity–a creative force at work behind the scenes to create worlds, or most personally, the basic properties or powers of souls.

The following table summarizes the sefirot as they apply to the powers of the soul and as one’s inner experience:

Sefirah

Power of the Soul

Inner Experience

keter

crown

super-consciousness

faith, pleasure, and will

chochmah

wisdom

insight

selflessness

binah

understanding

analysis

joy

da’at

knowledge

concentration

unification

chesed

loving-kindness

giving

love

gevurah

might

restraint

fear

tiferet

beauty

balance

mercy

netzach

victory

overcoming obstacles

confidence

hod

thanksgiving

perseverance

sincerity

yesod

foundation

self-fulfillment

truth

malchut

kingdom

influence on one’s environment

lowliness

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