The Misuse of Kabbalah
The power of the soul to affect events in our world, not necessarily by means of Kabbalah Ma’asit (“practical Kabbalah”), is called conscious determination. This power of the soul originates in one’s simple and absolute faith in God’s essence, as taught by the Ba’al Shem Tov. Simple faith is strengthened and brought to the forefront of one’s consciousness by the inspiration that comes from the true study of Kabbalah. When God’s light penetrates and permeates the soul, it imbues one with the power to project his simple faith, via the processing faculties of will and intellect, onto the screen of outer reality, and thereby to affect actual events in our world.
The power of conscious determination is greatly misunderstood and at times misused. We will examine here some issues of which the beginning student of Kabbalah must be aware so as not to stumble into practices entailing spiritual impurity and darkness.
Healing with Kabbalah
Because some great Kabbalists of the past have been known as healers, there exists a great deal of misunderstanding regarding the use of Kabbalah to access spiritual healing powers.
In general, unless the healer is a true tzadik, “righteous one,” his healing or psychic powers are always a mixture of light and darkness, good and evil, in unknown proportions. When good and evil, or truth and falsehood, are mixed together, the final result is usually negative. Thus, it is better to stay clear of these practices lest they cause one irreparable harm.
However, it is permissible to use the letters of the Hebrew alphabet to focus the intentions of one’s prayers in order to heal. If, for example, the letter tet is known to correspond in Kabbalah to the left kidney, it is permissible to meditate on the letter tet while praying to God, the true Healer, to heal this organ of the body. One may even pray to God that healing energy be channeled and projected by the letter tet to the ailing person. (This, of course, is not to say that sincere prayer to God will not help as well or even more without this Kabbalistic knowledge and focus. This is a most individual matter, and only a mature, sensitive soul, a true servant of God, knows whether or not it is advisable for him to include such thoughts in his prayers.)
Under no circumstances should this form of healing be given a foreign name, such as “Jewish reiki,” as this involves linking a holy practice with idol worship and turns its power to evil. Great harm can come from such “mixing.”
Many of the great tzadikim “righteous ones,” of the past who possessed supernatural powers in their youth later abandoned them. They related that when they arrived at a certain maturity of understanding in their study of Torah and Kabbalah, they came to see these powers as detrimental to their own progress in the service of God and to their ability to truly help others. Thus they asked God to take these powers from them.
At the beginning of his public life, the Ba’al Shem Tov, who was a healer, used amulets (to be worn by the recipient for protection and healing), but later he abandoned the practice. Even when writing an amulet, he would not inscribe holy Names of God but only sign his own signature, thereby radiating blessing from his own soul.
Every Sunday, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, would hand out dollar bills to thousands of people, for the sake of charity. His actions were based on the teachings of the sages of the Talmud that whoever receives money from the hands of a tzadik receives a blessing.