|February Purim 1999|
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Mental Health and the Torah
By David WexelmanIn the story of the creation of the world as explained by the Arizal in Sefer "Etz Chaim" is contained important knowledge for man striving for the perfection of himself and to help others reach their own perfection. This knowledge is useful in healing mental illness. The knowledge of the soul is called Torat HaNefesh. It is not Kaballah but it is interwoven within Kaballah.
Mental illness more than physical illness affects the soul. The soul of man is a part of God, a spiritual spark connected to an eternal source and truth as it says, "the candle of God is the soul of man," "my soul, you gave it to me, it is pure, you formed it, you blew it into me." The soul has three garments which are thought, speech, and action. The soul is above these three garments clothed within them. Mental illness affects these garments, primarily thought, but does not pollute the pure Jewish soul. The pure Jewish soul suffers exile under these polluted garments.
Most people neglect the study of the soul and truth. They are content with life in its simplicity. These topics are deep, confusing, and dangerous. They need to be taught by a Rebbe, a teacher and guide, who has answered the difficult questions which are forbidden to ask oneself. This teacher may have himself suffered mental illness before beginning his search for truth.
Those that suffer mental illness are forced to look into themselves, to be introspective. They begin to think deeply, to ask deep questions. They become tormented by these questions about themselves which they cannot answer. Depression and anxiety is the result. A thought can get into their heads which they cannot remove. This thought can become infected. It can infect other thoughts, resulting in psychosis. Once a person begins to ask questions about himself, he cannot stop. Therefore the sages tell us, "Learn Torah." Understand the Gemora in its simple context. The evil inclination is telling you to think and eat from the tree of knowledge.
There are two alternatives for those that are depressed. The first alternative is to heal the depression without changing the life of the person. This can be done in cases of light depression caused by trauma. They return to the simplicity of life. They get the bug out of their heads. If the depression returns, it is a sign that changes have to made in the person's life. They need a closer relationship with God. They cannot ignore the hidden secret of life which resides within their soul. They must find within themselves the divine presence. About this it says in psalms, "God the healer of the broken hearted, he bandages their depression," "Close is God to the broken hearted," He lights my candle, God reaches into my darkness." Only when they find this close relationship with God can they be healed. They must work to sustain this connection with God, that it should grow. To do this they need the Torah.
The first connection with God for the mentally ill is through prayer and meditation. Prayer is with the eyes open in most cases, and meditation is with the eyes closed. Meditation is an extension of prayer, the service of the heart. The work of the healer is to bring God closer, from the distant heavens down to the earth below in the heart of flesh. To do this is needed a correction of the soul, to unite the soul with its source which is above thought. About this its says in prophets, "I will remove from you the heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh." With this connection to its source which is above thought, can be controlled and overcome the bad destructive thoughts of the mind. These thoughts can be pushed away from the conscious mind.
The two primary connections to the soul which must be made in healing mental illness are through the eyes and ears. The ears are a more internal connection than the eyes. Hearing is more internal than sight. Sight and sound are two worlds. The eyes and ears are windows of the soul. They should be open and clean. In the mentally ill these windows are blocked. First the window of sight should be opened. Then by closing the eyes and listening to the sounds of nature is opened the window of sound, most important to experience peace and tranquillity the inner silence.
To know yourself and to know God
are interwoven one within the other. God is hidden behind the
stress of life. When you calm yourself, you discover God in his
own house which is your soul. Stress can separate the soul from
God. When you become relaxed they are reunited. You feel this
connection when you close the eyes. To find this connection requires
a teacher. The teacher opens up the windows so the light of God
can shine through them. The teacher solves the problem of an empty
heart by filling it with the light of God. He does this through
visual contact and through speech.
The Torah teaches that 99% of all
people die of the evil eye. This means that most diseases are
rooted in spiritual causes, especially the diseases of the soul
called mental illness. Our father Joseph endowed with the holy
spirit to interpret dreams is the Torah Mystical Psychologist.
His eye is the eye of mercy, and his tool for healing sick souls
is his silver cup. About Joseph is said in Genesis by his father
Jacob, "Ben Porat Joseph, Ben Porat the revolving(inner)
eye." With his Eye of Mercy he heals diseases. With the power
of his soul, he lifts the sick out of the mud; brings them up
to stand firmly on dry land. The Torah mystical psychologist
is the student of his father Joseph. He heals with the energy
of the soul through transferring this energy through the eyes.
The word for Eye in the Hebrew language is equivalent to five
times the name of God YHVH whose attribute is mercy. The word
for cup is equivalent to the name of God whose attribute is justice.
The word for silver cup is equal to five times the numerical value
of the word Good. The result is changed over justice to mercy.
The patient is healed.
The Torah Mystical Psychologist or Kaballist examines the patient by looking into his eyes with the silver cup. After looking into his eyes the cup is placed on the table between him and the patient. The patient is instructed to look at the cup. If the patient has a blockage it is reflected into the cup. This reflection appears as a shadow that hovers over the silver cup. The next step is to open the sense of sight to be again a clear window of the soul. This is done in a procedure which takes from one half hour to two hours depending upon the severity of the condition. Finally the mind has been cleaned out of all delusions, infected thoughts, and other blockages. The patient can now close his eyes to receive Menuchat HaNefesh(the resof the soul) or inner peace and tranquillity.
With the silver cup of Joseph and the Eye of Mercy is opened the blockage preventing the light of God to enter the eyes. The eyes become relaxed. They can be closed to receive the sound of silence and peace. The Torah teaches, "You should not go after your eyes and your heart." The eyes should be relaxed which is the mind and the heart relaxed which are the ears. They should be ready to receive the light of God hidden under the stress of life. About this it says in Genesis, "it was evening and it was morning the first day." When the stress is removed which is the night, than day is discovered, which is God's day." An additional soul is granted to those that have conquered the night which is anxiety and depression. This additional soul is to know God hidden under the stress of life.
Through the correction of the eyes with the use of the silver cup is brought down the concept of God from the distant heavens onto the earth below into the heart of flesh. The attribute of justice is changed over to mercy. At the same time the self image which had become blemished is repaired. The difference between the divine attribute of justice and mercy is that mercy allows God and man to exist together, the love of God and the love of your neighbor like yourself. The attribute of justice demands complete self sacrifice. Personal feelings are suppressed. The righteous man who serves God whose attribute is mercy, serves God with joy and delight. He receives pleasure from his service of God. God's mercy is primary for the mentally ill. They need God and His mercy upon them. The attribute of mercy heals them. They need God to be closer than the heavens above. They need Him in their heart and in their souls.
The Kaballah teaches that the Black of the Eye is the attribute of justice and the white of the eye is the attribute of mercy. In people with depression and anxiety, the black of the eyes became damaged through stress and trauma. In the black of the eye there is a fluid which strengthens the ego. In the black is the animal instincts of man. A healthy person has a strong will to survive. The will to survive is in the black of the eye. The shortage of this fluid in the black of the eye must be replenished. This fluid is produced by the white of the eye during rest with the eyes closed. In this way relaxation exercises with the eyes closed heal the black of the eye and restore the ego to the person. The correction with the silver cup washes out and cleanses the black of the eyes to be able to receive this fluid through relaxation exercises.. Afterwards follow up treatment with relaxation exercises like listening to the sounds of nature with the eyes closed and the healing breath meditations. The ego is restored to the person. He is again in control of his life. The "I am" of the person which means "if I am not for myself who will be for me," rules over the "me." The "I" and "me" have been united again in the proper balance. The "I" is the ego. The "me" is his sensitivity and emotions.
The "I" and the "me" are the man and his reflection. The "me" is his self image. In mental illness the self image has become blemished. There are bad feelings about oneself. This is due to not being satisfied with oneself for many reasons. There is a bad self image with depression and anxiety. The self image is in the mind, the thought of oneself. Depression is thinking about oneself too much. Anxiety is the bad reactions to the self image. The correction made with the silver cup separates the "I" and "me" which had become tied up in knots. It unties these knots. Then through relaxation they can be united again in the right way. The "me" is not real; it is only an image called myself. Between the "I" and the "me" should be HaShem(God) who unites them like male and female in one person. HaShem is the attribute of mercy.
There is a difference between God the attribute of justice and the attribute of mercy. God the attribute of justice never unites with man, always remains separate. The Etz Chaim of the Arizal separates The Infinite One Blessed be He and the first of all emanations which is Admon Kadmon, the supernal man. The Infinite One is separate from his creation and the Supernal Man is united with the earth and man below. The Infinite One has no form or name while the supernal man is related to man below. The Kaballah added to the Infinite One whose attribute is justice, the supernal man the attribute of mercy. The supernal man is God. The infinite One is God. Since there is only One God and not two, the Infinite one is the attribute of justice, and the supernal man the attribute of mercy of the One God. The Kaballah added the image of the supernal man to God which is the attribute of mercy which allows the Love of God to exist with the Love of one's neighbor, like its says, "Love your neighbor like yourself." Man and God are united by the attribute of mercy. It is possible to unite with God whose attribute is mercy but not with God whose attribute is justice.
The book, Etz Chaim of the Arizal, teaches that the supernal man is divided into five levels. The supernal man stretches out from the top of the highest world to the bottom of the lowest world where the man of flesh dwells. Everything is included in the supernal man. The supernal man is one. There is no other. There is nothing separate from him. He is the life of the universe. Only the infinite One transcends over the supernal man. God's justice transcends over his mercy. Mercy and justice are one.
Within the supernal man is contained this world and man that dwells in it. This world is the lowest world called the world of action. In the supernal man is contained the macrocosm of the universe and microcosm of the universe. Man is the microcosm of the universe. Just as there are five levels of the supernal man which is the macrocosm of the universe, in man, the microcosm, there are five levels of the soul. These five levels are called NaranChay. They include all four worlds and the world of the infinite. At the bottom of the lowest world is man. In the soul of man at the bottom of the supernal man, there are also five levels. About the supernal man and man on earth it says, "the heavens is the place of God, and the earth the place where he rests his feet."
The soul of the man below also has five levels like the supernal man the life of all worlds. The first of these levels within the soul of the man of flesh is the resting of the soul and breath called Menuchat HaNefesh. In Menuchat HaNefesh is contained all the other levels. Menuchat HaNefesh is also called Shabbat. From Menuchat HaNefesh or the resting of the soul emanates peace, faith, and joy. Similarly it is taught in the Kaballah that there are four fundamental elements which interact in creation, earth, water, fire and air. It is taught that Earth is the vessel for everything. In earth there is water, fire and air which is the energy of creation. Earth is the ground in which the breath rests called Menuchat HaNefesh. Menuchat HaNefesh, is also called Shabbat, the seventh day of rest.
The intellect should rule over the heart. This is in a majority of cases. When the intellect breaks down, it is a sign that it is time to incorporate the heart and emotions into your life. Feelings are usually repressed. People ignore their feelings. They are afraid of their feelings. People live their whole life with intellect. They get away with it; but sometimes the heart and emotions rebel against the intellect. It is time to make peace; to learn the secret of the heart.
The work of directing special souls to serve God from the heart with Menuchat HaNefesh (tranquility) belongs Torah Psychologists that know how to unite the heart and mind with God. Torah psychology is a very high level of knowledge. It includes the knowledge of Jewish Law, the knowledge of the soul acquired through meditation and prayer, and the knowledge of the Kaballah. Most religious leaders are experts at Jewish law, but have not reached deeply into the knowledge of the soul and the Kabballah. The Torah Psycholwith his knowledge opens up to others the secret of the Shabbat, Menuchat HaNefesh, resting of the soul which includes in it peace, faith, joy and the entire Torah.
Modern Psychologists know how to relax people. They know how to hypnotize people. They reveal to people their inner feelings. The problem with modern psychology is that it does not connect these feeling with faith in God and the way of God. They do not make the complete and perfect correction of the soul. Torah psychologists make this complete and perfect correction. The correction is made in all the garments of the soul thought, speech and action. Torah and mitzvahs offers a constructive moral life for those who have suffered from mental illness. After the Torah psychologist has made the connection between God, the Torah and his patient, the spiritual disease of the soul has been cured. The mentally ill and depressed have a new life, a Refuah Shelaima like it says in Psalms, "I today have been born."
There are many souls that need spiritual
help. To save one soul is to save the whole world. There is no
disease that cannot be cured especially mental illness. The cure
for mental illness is to find God, and the divine presence which
dwells in each and every soul.
Rabbi David Wexelman affiliated with the School of Kaballah of Haim Vital in Jerusalem runs the Jerusalem Free Clinic for the mentally ill using Torah Psychology. If you are interested in corresponding with him his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone # 011-972-2-5859-452. He has a Web page at Http://www.carasso.com/kaballah
from theFebruary Purim 1999 Edition of the Jewish Magazine