Kabbalah and Healing: The Healing of Body and Soul – Part 19 – Four Systems of Medical Practice

The following is a brief sketch of the four basic systems of contemporary medical practice, seen here to correspond to the four letters of God's Name:

1) Yud: Homeopathy. The underlying principle of this system is known as the "law of similars," where one paradoxically uses either the disease itself or something similar to the disease as the cure. This principle, long known to mankind, finds its explicit expression in the idiom of the sages as healing through "like by like." Furthermore, our sages teach that this is the method employed by God Himself, who heals ("sweetens") "bitterness with bitterness." "Like by like" implies that the cure lies within the disease itself; the disease is merely a foreign "shell" of evil concealing within it a kernel of good. This Divinely-inspired insight into the nature of reality in general and particularly in relation to the human condition corresponds to the wisdom embodied in the point of the yud of God's Name.

2) Hei: Allopathy (conventional medicine). This system is based upon the logic and reason that dictates that the way to fight off disease is by using an opposing force that confronts the illness head on. Human intelligence then proceeds to employ scientific methods to extract from nature chemicals whose properties are to counteract the symptoms of a given disease. The initial diseased state of the patient is regarded as a "given," which must be opposed with man-made products possessing an opposite nature to that of the disease. The hypothesis that an initial, given state is "incorrect" (i.e., "ill") and must be corrected by an opposite line of reasoning as expressed by the Talmudic phrase: "the very opposite makes better sense!" Conventional medical practice is based on the general pattern of logic and reasoning innate to the human mind (in contrast with Divinely inspired insight) that corresponds in Kabbalah to the first hei of God’s Name.

3) Vav: Osteopathy (chiropractic). According to this system, the body is rectified without any medicinal intervention, but only by the hands of the physician realigning the body to its proper state. Including such treatments as acupuncture and acupressure, osteopathy treats the muscles (the physiological system that corresponds to tiferet) and even deeper, penetrates to the nervous system (the system that corresponds to da'at) by treating the spinal cord. Tiferet–the torso, which corresponds to the vav of God's Name–means "beauty," in the words of the Zohar, "beauty [tiferet] is the body." A "straight" or "upright" body (the work of the chiropractor) is a beautiful one. Da'at is referred to in Kabbalah as the soul of tiferet,indicating that the nervous system (da'at) lies at the core of the muscular system (tiferet). In the form of the letter vav, the yud at the head of the vav alludes to da'at (the nervous system) while the straight and upright extension of the vav itself represents tiferet (the torso and muscular system).

4) Hei: Naturopathy. This system of healing through herbs and other resources taken directly from nature reflects the belief that God, the Creator, surely provided a cure, in His creation of nature itself, before He made possible a disease. Thus, there must be something in our world that can serve as a natural cure, something which does not require human manipulation to alter its state. This sense, which reflects a deep appreciation of the great latent potential inherent in the earth, is alluded to in the verse in Psalms that states, "Truth will sprout out of the earth." "Truth" in Kabbalah is the ultimate healing power, implying even the revival of the dead. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the natural method of healing on a human being is suggested by another verse found in Deuteronomy that, "the human being is a tree of the field," implying our essential connection to nature and nature's power to heal our ailments. In addition to herbal remedies, naturopathy recognizes and emphasizes the importance of proper diet and nutrition, physical exercise and healthy lifestyles in general. The final hei of God's Name refers to the level of Divinity inherent in nature itself, the healing power contained within every created being (to both heal itself and others as well).


the law of similars








fighting disease "head on"








straightening the body



midot–character attributes





tapping the resources of nature







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