The Kabbalah Approach to Mental Health: Part 40 – Mashiach: the Ultimate Psychologist

At the end of the book of Job, G-d Himself addresses Job and unfolds all the mysteries of creation before him. In the final analysis, Job merits this revelation of the Torah’s secrets due to having suffered anxiety. His suffering brings him into full consciousness of the greatness of G-d and the lowliness of man. The end of his journey recalls the end of the book of Ecclesiastes: The end of the matter, all having been heard, is: fear G-d and keep His commandments, for this is the whole man. Ecclesiastes 12:13.

Job’s five partners in dialogue (his three friends, Elihu, and G-d) correspond to and express the five levels of the soul described in Kabbalah and Hassidism. The three friends correspond to the three levels of the soul which are invested in (and are therefore limited by the parameters of) the body. These are the animating power of the soul ( nefesh ), the emotions ( ruach ), and the intellect ( neshamah ). These levels of the soul are incapable on their own of solving the problems that surface from man’s subconscious. Elihu corresponds to the fourth level of the soul, the will ( chayah ), which, although it acts upon the body, is not localized within it, and thus is partially free from the constraints it imposes on the lower levels of the soul. G-d’s revelation to Job corresponds to the fifth, highest level of the soul ( yechidah ), the source of the soul as it forms part of G-d Himself, as we explained above.

The psychological odyssey of Job is thus the revelation of deeper and higher aspects of the soul, accomplished by the successive divestiture from the limitations of the body. The idea that by engaging in a dialogue with a therapist a person can divest himself of his problems and address the strata of his soul being exposed one after another, is documented extensively in psychological literature. The process of talking with oneself as mirrored in another person helps along the therapeutic process.

Still, the ultimate key to unraveling and healing the world will be available to us only when Mashiach comes. Until then, in the words of the Talmud, we can understand neither the tranquility of the wicked nor the suffering of the righteous. Certainly we cannot hope to understand all the awesome tragedies that have befallen our people (and all people). Only when Mashiach , the arch-psychologist, comes will we be able to discern the hidden good within the apparent evil. For then darkness will turn into light and bitterness into sweetness. The light will shine out of the darkness itself as the new revelations of the Torah that G-d will reveal to us. Then we will be able to truly say, I will give thanks to You, O G-d, for being angry with me, as He reveals to us His inner goodness.