by Marthajoy AftWhat does it mean to be healed? A person can have serious difficulties that manifest in many ways. Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, teaches that there are four interconnected worlds; problems may appear in any of them. The four worlds are: the world of Action, physical existence, the body, work, this existence’s; the world of Formation, emotional realities, the place of angels(*1) and psychiatry; the world of Creation, the intellectual realm; and the world of Drawing Near to God, the spiritual plane. (*2) In our practice, we assist Jews and non-Jews with their spiritual healing process. We are often asked, “What is spiritual healing? What do you do?” and sometimes, “Is what you do Jewish?” Our goal is to re-align the client with Divine energy. The “we” I refer to includes a collaborative effort between my colleague Ann Asnes, myself, the client who’s seeking healing, and–our Higher Partner. We may be guided to invoke angelic presence, sing prayers, meditate, consider our bodies as vessels for Divine light, recite Psalms or Biblical texts, or sometimes just to sit and listen. These practices are derived from Jewish traditions. If you know where to look, Jewish sources provide many suggestions for healing practices. Some of our sources include:
- Psalms: Psalms are a powerful source of healing. Many of the psalms speak of Divine power as the source of rescue, capable of pulling us from the pit. We often read the 23rd psalm, and meditate on its meaning. We also follow the Chassidic custom of studying the psalm of your year. This means that if you are 42 years old, you would read the 43rd psalm every day, since that is the year of life you are experiencing.(*3) Frequently, a single word or phrase appears in psalm that is healing in some hidden fashion. And if a good translation is available, the beauty of the language used in psalms is very soothing.(*4)
- Talmud: Various Talmudic texts present the mysteries of healing and need for assistance from someone else, even if the person afflicted is himself (herself) a healer. (*5) Use of the hands in healing is presented in the Talmud. We hope to serve as focusing lenses for Divine energy, to bring spiritual healing; as the Talmud states, the client himself (herself) plays an active role in the healing process.
- The siddur, the prayer book. Great comfort and peace can be obtained from traditional sources, even for people who may feel themselves to be quite distant from their religious origins. Finding the appropriate texts or translating into English can be challenging but well worth the trouble. Prayers are recited daily asking Divine intervention for healing (*6); recited at the reading of weekly Torah selections, requesting healing for someone not able to be present at services(*7); recited every time one recognizes the miracle of the body’s holes and tubes that open and close properly, so that one can have a bowel movement (*8). In addition to these daily prayers, the prayer recited before sleep (*9) includes a recognition of Divine messengers, angels, surrounding us. For healing purposes, we are especially aware of Rafael behind us. Rafael is the angel who represents God’s healing energy.
- Musical settings, in Hebrew and English, or many prayers are available on cassette and C.D. Our clients respond to the music of Reb David Zeller, Reb Shlomo Carlebach (of blessed memory), Debbie Friedman, Hannah Tiferet Siegel, Shefa Gold…And we do, too.
- These worlds are Asiyah and Yetsirah.
- These worlds are Breyah and Atzilut.
- I am grateful to Rabbi Nehemiah Polen for introducing me to this teaching of the Baal Shem Tov (1700’s).
- We recommend Jewish Publication Society’s new translation.
- B’rachot, 5b.
- Halulim halulim. I am indebted to Dr. Saul Wachs for introducing the many meanings of this prayer to me.
- Sh’ma al ha mitah