Kabbalah and Healing: The Healing of Body and Soul – Part 11 – Physiological Systems according to Kabbalah – Model One

So said God to these bones: ‘Behold, I shall bring spirit into you and you shall live. And I shall place blood vessels on you and raise flesh upon you, and cover you with skin. And I shall give spirit into you and you shall live, and you shall know that I am God.’

In the above passage from the Ezekiel 37 we find a four-level depiction of the body–bones, blood vessels, flesh, and skin–and a fifth, spiritual level that gives life to the body–spirit. The model most fitting for a comparative analysis of this structure is the four-letter essential Name of God, with the apex of the yud forming the transcendent fifth level.

The first of the four stages, the yud, alludes to the seminal, essential point of consciousness, inasmuch as the form of the letter yud is the most compact of all the Hebrew letters, serving as their structural core. Often taken to symbolize a seed, the yud in the life of the body can be seen as its bones (especially, the “seed” of the body is in the bone marrow, as will be explained). The skeletal system, the most basic frame of the human being, supports all the additional physiological systems that are layered upon it. Furthermore, the Hebrew word for “bone” (etzem) also means “self” or “essence,” which spiritually refers to the core of our being. Physically, this becomes manifest as the core frame of the body.

The next level of this meditation falls on the first hei of God’s four-letter Name. The hei is understood to be a three-dimensional letter with the two attached sides projecting length and width while the third dimension is suggested in the detached foot which we are taught to imagine as a line running through the page, thus manifesting the dimension of depth. Overall, the letter hei refers to expansion, in all three dimensions of the physical body, from the point of essence, which here is seen as the skeletal system. In spiritual terms, the hei corresponds tobinah, the understanding in the heart that spreads out to enliven the entire body (i.e., to “motivate” its myriad functions). Thus, physically, the first hei of God’s Name reflects the circulatory system–the basic inner communication of life force within the body–the body’s internal “understanding” and self-preservation.

Next, the vav in God’s name refers to the basic emotions or character attributes, of which there are six–the numerical equivalent of the letter vav in Hebrew. A person’s character attributes relative to his or her understanding are like the flesh of a person which fills out his or her body (the vav in particular corresponds to tiferet which is the torso, the “trunk” of the body) but which is itself filled with and enclothes the blood vessels.

Finally, the skin, as the most exterior layer and outer clothing of the body, displays the surface appearance that affects others, thus fittingly serving as the “kingdom” of the four general divisions of the body.

Whenever this four-level system is used to contemplate “existence,” there is always a fifth, higher and all-inclusive level that enlivens the other four. This fifth level is seen as the source of existence, and in the case of the body is the spirit of life, which comes to enliven all the other levels. As we will see presently, this corresponds to the respiratory system. The following chart summarizes the general model we have now described.

The spirit of life [respiration]

keter–crown

Thorn of yud

Bones

chochmah—wisdom

yud

Blood vessels

binah—understanding

hei

Flesh

midot—character attributes

vav

Skin

malchut—kingdom

hei


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