Biblical Medicine

Daati Biblical MedicineWe all care about health for it is a priceless commodity that, like a rare and precious stone, must be guarded. The last century has seen an unprecedented effort to unify medical traditions, new and old, toward the single goal of advancing global healthcare. Hospitals, medical clinics, even college campuses now boast integrated facilities wherein doctors from many a diverse background can help patients meet their wellness goals. While medicine can get very complicated, in principle, it all really revolves around four distinct spheres: body, heart, mind, and soul. To say it another way, our defined self - who we are - is shaped not only by genetic factors (the body we occupy), but by our sense of self as it arises from our emotional (heart), mental (mind), and spiritual (soul) toil.
Hence, to be truly healthy, we must devote daily attention to our totality (our four spheres), for therein lies our wellness. There is one more detail that must be mentioned; for the above 4 spheres to function optimally, it is essential they learn to “flow,” to communicate as one. This “communicative unity” is termed simply integration - the ability for different (but complementary) systems to achieve optimal connection. Think of it like a car engine, all parts need not only be functional (“healthy”) in their own right, but able to connect (integrate) with one another. Combining all the above we can now say that human health depends on 4 factors that are in truth 5: body, heart, mind, soul, and integration - the web that unites them all. But how does any of this relate to the Torah/Bible? Explains the great genius Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna (affectionately known as the Vilna Gaon), each of the 5 dimensions of body (elucidated above ) corresponds to one of the 5 Books of Moses! Meaning, when we learn and practice the law of God (as contained in the 5 Books) we nourish all the above mentioned 5 spheres!

To briefly summarize the relationship:
Genesis = Integration
Exodus = Soul
Leviticus = Mind
Numbers = Heart
Deuteronomy = Body
To briefly explain:
Genesis relates to integration because it’s Genesis that deals with creation. As creation is common to us all (we were all created), it is the great web that binds all phenomena. Hence, when we study Genesis we tap into the Divine power that integrates all systems together.

Exodus relates to Soul because it is Exodus that deals with emancipation from slavery. Explain the Rabbis, leaving slavery (the laws of man) to embrace freedom (the law of God) is synonymous with “birthing” the soul - revealing its potential. Hence, when we study Exodus we tap into the Divine power that reveals the soul.

Leviticus relates to mind because it is Leviticus that deals with the laws of sacrifice. Explain the Rabbis, a Biblical sacrifice is only kosher when the mind is involved - when we Intend through the sacrifice to come closer to God. Hence, when we study Leviticus we tap into the Divine power that reveals the Godly mind. 

Numbers relates to heart because it is Numbers that deals with the rectification of the heart. This, explain the Rabbis, is the secret of Israel’s 42 encampments in the desert - from Egypt to Israel (chronicled in detail at the end of the book of Numbers.) The mystical significance of the number 42 relates, as explained at length in Kabbalah, to 42 specific traits of the “broken” (dysfunctional) heart. By encamping 42 times, Israel sought to fix these 42 broken traits by converting them into Holy qualities. Hence, when we study Numbers we tap into the Divine power that reveals the Godly heart.

Deuteronomy relates to body because it is Deuteronomy that deals with the consequence of going astray - departing from a Godly path. Explain the Rabbis, going astray (sinning) is only possible at the level of body because it is there, in physical consciousness, that good and evil are found. Hence, when we study Deuteronomy we tap into Divine power that reveals the Godly body.

In conclusion, by learning diligently the Torah/Bible - God’s law as contained in the 5 Books of Moses - we nourish each of the five spheres of the body. May God Bless us all to attain our most optimal and resplendent health.

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