|Psychoanalytic Review, 83(6),
December 1996 © 1996 N.P.A.P.
PSYCHOANALYSIS AND KABBALAH
Joseph H. Berke
Kabbalah are theories about the nature of existence. They are also
meditations, really methods for restoring shattered lives. These are
lives which have been separated from their source. The particular
domain of psychoanalysis is the head and the heart, that is, the
totality of an individual's mind and emotions, "the self." In
particular, I refer to a person confirmed in his subjectivity, as
agent of his thoughts and feelings, and confirmed in his
objectivity, the object of his own activity and focus of his
In contrast the domain of
Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition, is the soul, a person's
holy, timeless essence. I refer to an entity which is both elevated,
that is, exists in spiritual realms, and is part of a whole, the
primordial source, God.'
Needless to say, such a
capsule definition is limited and limiting. It doesn't take into
account many other facets of psychoanalysis or Kabbalah. Thus,
psychoanalysis, as currently practiced, is not just concerned with
an individual man, woman, or child. On the contrary, it strives to
see this person in relation to his family and friends. And to
complicate matters even more, it considers each person to be a
dynamic nucleus of relationships. Essentially he is a center of
energies, a world in and of himself, containing and being contained
by a myriad of other swirling worlds.
Kabbalah also focuses upon
worlds and worlds within worlds. So a further way of looking at both
psychoanalysis and Kabbalah, a further refinement, is that these two
disciplines aim to explore the obvious and the esoteric, the
conscious and unconscious aspects of existence. But they especially
aim to reveal that which is mysterious and profoundly concealed.
As you can see, my
introduction stresses the similarities, rather than the differences
between psychoanalysis and Kabbalah. This is because I think that
psychoanalysis may be seen as a secular branch of Kabbalah. Or, to
put it another way, psychoanalysis is secular Kabbalah.
What I have just stated is
not necessarily news. Several decades ago, Dr. David Bakan, who was
Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago, published a
fascinating study of the origins of psychoanalysis entitled,
S19mund Freud and the
jewish Mystical Tradition
(1965). Let me quote Bakan:
. . . the contributions of
Freud are to be understood largely as a contemporary version of, and
a contemporary contribution to, the history of Jewish mysticism.
Freud, consciously or unconsciously, secularised Jewish mysticism;
and psychoanalysis can intelligently be viewed as such a
secularisation. (1965, p. 25)
Nowadays Bakan's work is
generally ignored. This is probably because psychoanalysts prefer
not to be reminded that their origins lie in a spiritual, as opposed
to scientific, tradition. Bruno Bettelheim has documented this
position in his late work,
Freud and Man's
Soul (1983). It is also worth
mentioning that Bakan himself thought that Freud emphasized the
latter in order to avoid anti-Semitic attacks and professional
In this study I shall
consider psychoanalysis from the standpoint of two pioneers,
Signiund Freud and Melanie Klein. I intend to show that their
personal origins, concerns, and methods are intimately rooted in
Jewish religious and mystical traditions. To do so I shall
concentrate on two fundamental features of their work respectively.
Each of these has long been recognized as an outstanding innovation
and important contribution to our understanding of human nature. For
Freud this includes "free associations," his basic methodology, and
his theory of unconscious processes, the view that reality has both
a manifest and latent content. For Klein I shall discuss two of her
basic concepts, the container and the contained, and reparation.
But let me begin with a
brief discussion of their personal backgrounds. There are some
striking similarities which help to explain their direct and
indirect connections with Judaism and Kabbalah.
Freud was born in
Freiberg, Moravia, in 1856 but spent almost his entire life in
Vienna. Significantly, both his parents came from Galicia, a region
of Poland that, as Bakan points out, was "saturated" with Jewish
mysticism, especially Chassidism. Indeed, Freud explicitly
acknowledged that his father, Jakob, came from a Chassidic
environment. Moreover, Freud was familiar with mystical texts. He
had read with great interest the work of Rabbi Chaim Vital, a
renowned sixteenth - century Kabbalist and principle disciple of
Rabbi Isaac Luria (the Ari) and had many books on Judaica, and
specifically Kabbalah, in his library (Bakan, 1965, pp. xix-xx).
Melanie Klein was born in
Vienna in 1882 and lived her formative years there. Many consider
her to be Freud's foremost follower. Klein greatly extended his work
by developing the field of child analysis as well as by pioneering
the psychoanalysis of psychotic patients. Like Freud, Klein had a
notable Jewish pedigree. Her father came from an orthodox Jewish
family and her mother was the daughter of a rabbi. Although she was
not observant or formally religious in adult life, she did have a
Jewish upbringing and maintained a particular fondness for Yom
Kippur, the Day of Atonement (Grosskurth, 1985, p. 13). As we shall
see, these backgrounds clearly influenced their accomplishments.
Freud and Klein were
healers. Their principal focus was damaged selves, that is, people
who were mentally, emotionally, and socially broken or, to use the
prevailing medical metaphor, "sick." Freud turned to the
psychological realm because he found that the symptoms of mental
illness could not be explained or treated physically. Instead he
found that by utilizing a special relationship, one where his
patients were able to speak freely about whatever occurred to them,
their symptoms diminished or disappeared and their lives became less
chaotic. The quality of listening was a very important element in
this "free association" process. Later analysts called it 1istening
with the third ear." It is a listening which is very attentive,
nonjudgmental, and highly sensitive to nuances of thought and
Bakan observed that
Freud's methods are astonishingly similar to those developed by the
early Kabbalists, notably the thirteenth century Spanish Kabbalist,
Rabbi Abraham Abulafia (1965, pp. 75-80). R. Abulafia strove to
"unseal the soul, to untie the knots which bind it." Basically he
developed a theory of repression and a means to deal with the
effects of repression six centuries before Freud explored similar
Firstly, R. Abulafia
emphasised "mystical logic" of letters, the logic of "God's real
world," which for Freud became the logic of the unconscious
especially as elaborated by linguistic processes (Freud, 1910).
Secondly, he described a form of free association which he called,
"jumping and skipping." The scholar, Gershom Scholem, comments that
... a very remarkable
method of using associations as a way of mediation.... Every "jump"
opens a new sphere.... Within this sphere, the mind may freely
associate. The `jumping" unites, therefore, elements of free and
guided association and is said to assure quite extraordinary results
as far as the "widening of the consciousnes? of the initiate is
concerned. The "jumping" brings to light hidden processes of the
mind.... (1955, pp. 135-36)
A comparable method
allowed Freud to peel back layer after layer of disturbance, to
penetrate anxiously concealed thoughts and feelings, and to initiate
understanding, first in him, then in his patients. The
transformation from sick to sane took place when the concealed
became revealed, when the unconscious became conscious, and his
patients were able to "know" themselves. Essentially he discovered a
process of de-mystification and de-alienation facilitated by the
free association of thoughts and feelings. Or to put it another way,
through encouraging his patients to free associate, Freud was able
to initiate a process of de-repression. What does this mean?
Freud saw that people
lived in two spheres simultaneously. One is the conscious level. He
called conscious thoughts and actions the manifest content of our
lives. The other is the unconscious level. This is not a static, but
a dynamic interplay of experiences which he called the latent
content. Freud saw (fiat it is an ongoing effort to keep things
latent or unconscious. Indeed, much of one's life may be devoted to
this effort, while the outer manifestations of such struggle often
emerge as "symptoms." But what are symptoms? Aren't they simply bits
and pieces of behavior, well-worn responses, that sit astride our
personality like so many clothes or garments? Usually no one
considers them to be indications of disturbance unless they become
too painful to wear. And much of this pain has to do with the inner
conflicts which keep a person from being at one with himself and his
Making the unconscious
conscious assists people to become less conflicted with themselves.
It helps them to gain peace and wholeness, or, what in Hebrew may be
Essentially it enables them
to regain choice as to what garments they need carry, which they can
shed. And it determines to what extent the light of their innermost
being can permeate and nourish their lives, and the community in
which they live.
The study of Torah
involves an almost identical process. I refer to the interplay
Torah, and Nistar,
the hidden Torah.'
Traditionally, Jews, including students of Kabbalah, of course,
believe that the Torah is the "word of God." It contains, but also
conceals, his direct radiance or illumination. But, it is possible
to gain a direct contact with God, thence the source of all
existence, by penetrating the outer garments or overt meanings of
the "word," a process well described by the Talmudic scholar and
Kabbalist Rabbi Adin Even Yisroel (Steinsaltz) (1988, pp. 20-25).
or Book of Illumination, is
the principal text of Kabbalah.
Traditionally attributed to
Rabbi Simeon Bar Yohai
in the second century, it
consists of a detailed commentary on the Torah in order to
distinguish between what is manifest and what is latent, and to
reveal the basic wellsprings of divine truth.'
In the chapter on
the book of Numbers, the
Thus had the Torah not
clothed herself in garments of this world the world could not endure
it. The stories of the Torah are thus only her outer garments, and
whoever looks upon those garments as being the Torah itself, woe to
that man.... Observe this. The garments worn by a man are the most
visible part of him, and senseless people looking at the man do not
seem to see more in him than the garments. But
truth the pride of the
the body of the man, and
the pride of the body is the soul. Similarly the Torah has a body
of the precepts of the Torah,
called gufe torah
principles of the Torah], and that body is enveloped in garments
made up of worldly narrations. The senseless people see only the
garment, the more narrations; those who are somewhat wiser penetrate
as far as the body. But the really wise, the servants of the most
high King, those who stood on Mount Sinai, penetrate right through
to the soul, the root principle of all, namely, to the real Torah.
(Sperling & Simon, 1984, p. 211)
As this passage reveals,
the development of Freudian psychoanalysis has meant that
Kabbalistic forms of interpretation can be used to understand the
profoundly human dilemma of being alive. By this I refer to the
almost universal fate of being imbued with life force and
simultaneously suffering from a self divided and cut off or
alienated from itself and from others, as well as from the source of
The Kleinian contribution
relates to the difficulty of containing or holding what the
Kabbalists would call the primary radiance of God, or what
psychoanalysts might term man's instinctual forces, and all their
derivatives. Together with Klein's views, I want to consider the
creation of the world, from the standpoint of Lurianic Kabbalah.
This is the principle stream of contemporary Jewish mysticism and is
a development of the work of Rabbi Isaac Luria. He lived and taught
in Safed in the sixteenth century and is one of the greatest of all
Kabbalists. Through his insights, the
has become accessible.
According to the Lurianic
understanding, when God created the world, he withdrew his light
into a single point, thereby creating a primary nothingness or
vacuum that became "the fertile teeming grounds of creation." This
act of withdrawal or contraction is known as
Then he retracted and sent
this light back into the world in the form of a very fine thread.
This is the process of emanation. From this thread a vessel was
created from God's radiance. As is said in Psalm 104, "He draws
forth Light as a garment."
In the vacuum left by the
original contraction, light continued to pour in. But it could not
be contained by the vessel that was created to contain, limit, and
shape existence. So the vessel shattered. This is known as
the breaking of the
vessel. The resultant disintegration of the Divine Light resulted in
a multitude of shards or fragments of the vessel, also containing
bits or seeds of the original light. The fragments with the embedded
light are known as
klippot or shells
and are responsible for the existence of evil. Evil therefore can be
seen as the manifestation of uncontainable disintegrative forces, or
primary chaos. This results in the "exile of the
the feminine, maternal aspect
of God's presence (Gottlieb, 1989, pp. 17-18).
The whole point of
existence is to free the light trapped in the shells, undo this
exile and reestablish God's unity. When a child is born, the unity
between the child and his mother is broken. Then the child cannot
contain the primary impulses, which Freud called
and which Klein recognized as
the life impulse and the death impulse. Essentially we can consider
the life impulse as the impetus to form and structure, negative
entropy, if you will. Concurrently the death impulse is the impetus
to randomise things, entropy itself (Berke, 1988, pp. 58~59).
Klein pointed out that the
child cannot contain these powerful impulses. In order to protect
himself from terrible internal tension (experienced as incipient
death), he splits or shatters his mind and being. Concomitantly, he
tries to deal with the tension by evacuating, literally projecting,
large parts of himself outwards, into others, even into inanimate
objects. Consequently, his outer world becomes full of bad
persecuting bits and pieces, while his inner self becomes emptier
and emptier. Then, in order to deal with the emptiness, he may take
back or introject many of the bad bits. All these activities lead to
an internal world which is also highly threatening, indeed, very
persecuting. Klein called this state of affairs, the
paranoidschizoid position. The term denotes a dynamic configuration
of persecutory fears, annihilative and disintegrative defences
(splitting, projection, denial) and "part-objects" or what I call,
"part people." that is, a relation to a function: feeding or
cleaning, rather than a complete human being (1946).
How does the child
overcome this dreadful situation. How does he reestablish his
container and containing function. How can the bad bits become less
toxic, more containable? Kabbalists would say that we can undo the
broken vessel and subsequent exile, by establishing and
reestablishing a close relationship with God. In the same vein
Melanie Klein and her colleagues would argue that the child can
become a functioning container of his own impulses (and thereby life
forces), by establishing and reestablishing close relationships with
those who love and care for him.
This process has been very
well described by Dr. Hanna Segal, who is one of Melanie Klein's
principal disciples. Segal comments on what happens during a good
mother-child relationship, and, by direct implication, a good
When an infant has an
intolerable anxiety, he deals with it by projecting it into the
mother. The mother's response is to acknowledge this anxiety and do
whatever is necessary to relieve the infant's distress. The infant's
perception is that he has projected something intolerable into his
object, but the object was capable of containing it and dealing with
it. He can then reintroject not only the original anxiety, but an
by having been contained. He also reintrojects an object capable of
containing and dealing with anxiety. The containment of the anxiety
by an internal object capable of understanding is the beginning of
mental stability. (Segal, 1975b, p. 135)
It is worth asking what
happens if the child is not blessed with a containing parent, or the
patient with a containing therapist. Usually he will try to project
more and more of his bad feelings, somewhere, anywhere. And even
more ominously, he will do this deliberately and maliciously. But,
malicious projection is an operational definition of envy. So a
failure of containment will lead to the explosion of envy, really
evil, the yetzah
harah, into the
world (Berke, 1988, p. 268). A world full of bits and pieces of
envious hatred is identical with broken bits of the primary vessels,
each replete with embedded chaos. Interestingly, the Chinese word
for chaos, Luan,
also means envy.
The opposite of chaos is
order. A strong container and containing function is a prerequisite
for such order, which is closely connected with peace and wholeness,
Klein discerned that the time
for accomplishing this goes back to the first months of life. Then
the child begins to realise that the mother he loves and the mother
he hates are the same person. This instigates what she called the
depressive position. The depressive position, when the child becomes
more concerned with preserving another, rather than preserving
himself, is a psychological milestone. It marks the onset of mental
and emotional integration. It means that the child is able to face
reality, whatever he feels inside himself, and sees outside himself.
Moreover, it means that he is able to take responsibility for what
he does, good and bad; and is able to acknowledge and contain a wide
variety of experiences: love and hate, guilt and despair (Klein,
1937; Hinshelwood, 1991).
The onset of the
depressive position signals the growing capacity of the child to be
a container of his own impulses. If the elucidation of this dynamic
milestone is one of Klein's major contributions, perhaps her
greatest, is the concept of reparation. Reparation is the means of
repairing an inner world shattered under the pressure of destructive
impulses and an outer world of damaged relationships, peoples, and
things. Reparation is a goal and the moving to this goal. According
to Klein reparation is never complete, rather it is an active
process of striving toward completeness, whether of the head or
heart or entire being. It is intimately related to the Kabbalistic
concept of tikkun.
The poet and Kabbalist
Pinchas Sadeh has described what the process,
or restoration of the heart,
has meant for him:
This evening, while I was
still engrossed in thought on a certain topic, a thought entered my
mind regarding "repair of the heart."
A few years ago, when I
edited a book of the writings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, I chose
to call it Tikkun
Ha-Lev, repair of
the heart. I thought that the meaning of the name, simple in itself,
was absolutely clear to me. But I am thinking that perhaps only now
its meaning is becoming clear to me.
. . . Time, fate, life and
death - all these powerful forces prevent the possibility of
repairing that which is broken. If so, what is possible? What
remains for man to do, after all? What can save and rescue the
things that are smashed? Maybe only -and even this only through
tremendous effort, through difficult struggle, through great pain
-this; repairing the heart. In other words, repairing the heart,
which was broken when all those things were broken.'
These words convey a
particular state of mind, perhaps not unlike that of Melanie Klein
when she was grief stricken after the death of her eldest son in a
mountaineering accident. This shock was the occasion for Klein's
struggle to define "the depressive position." For Klein, this
struggle was her way of mending a broken heart. The resultant
was a powerful and far
We all know a popular
children's rhyme which expresses similar fears and needs:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses and all the King's men,
Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again.
The despair in this
refrain echoes with that of Pinchas Sadeh about the difficulty, even
impossibility, of effecting a repair. I think the sentiments are so
moving because they are so elemental. How can one put together a
loved one, loved ones, after we have hurt them? And how strong are
our reparative capacities, really equal to our life forces, when, to
quote Dr. R. D. Laing, "the dreadful has already happened"? (1967,
p. 134) Surely this is the case with Humpty Dumpty. For he is not an
ordinary creature. Rather he embodies the cosmic egg, the primal
contents, and container of all life (Cirlot, 1962, p. 90).
As in Kabbalah, Klein sets
out to describe how to overcome fragmentation and loss, evil and
exile. Only the terms of reference are different. Klein is concerned
with the self, and this self in relation to others. To her, exile
may mean separation from Mother. For Kabbalists, evil also means
fragmentation, disintegration and ultimately death. Exile means
separation from God.
The psychologist Harriet
Lutzky, in a paper on "Reparation and Tikkun," points out that both
the Kabbalah and Klein use similar processes and symbols to effect
repair. In the first instance reparative energies involve
"unification/integration," and in the second,
"containment/internalisation" (1989, p. 455).
Similarly, in the Jewish
mystical tradition the focus is on the
" the feminine, maternal
aspect of God's presence, while in psychoanalytic practice it is on
a "the good internal object," really a representation of "the good
breast" (Berke, 1988, pp. 78-98).
Hanna Segal has provided
an excellent example of this process of reparation during the course
of her treatment of a manicdepressive woman (1975a, pp. 93-94). It
occurred in a dream after the patient had read a book about the
Warsaw Ghetto. The woman dreamed that she was driving to work. As
she was doing so, she felt upset because the electric current
suddenly cut off. What could she do? Quickly she saw that she had a
torch battery of her own and could use it.
Eventually she arrived at
her work place. In the dream she realized that what she had to do
was to open up an enormous mass grave. She started to dig and dig.
But she was all by herself and only had the light of her torch to
guide her. After a while she saw that some of the people in the
grave were alive. So she dug them out, and was very pleased when
they began to help her. Then, more and more people emerged, more and
more bodies were pulled out. In the end she had the strong feeling
of rescuing everyone who had been buried alive. They had become her
helpers. As for the dead bodies, she had the satisfaction of
removing them from an anonymous grave and knowing that they would be
named and buried properly.
The patient was able to
make amends to those bodies which were beyond life by properly
mourning for them. This meant she had to recognize, name, and bury
each one separately. Thus, the dreamer was able to
for her hatreds and become
with everyone she had hurt.
Truly the occasion of the dream was a
day of atonement.
In this regard, Hanna
Segal makes one more point, really a very important point. A
complete reparation involves a third step. It the first has to do
with acknowledging destructive impulses, and the second focuses on
restoring the damaged object or person, then the third has to do
with repairing a wounded relationship. So this last step is
unification. It literally involves
bringing together a damaged
dyad, and reestablishing the love and completeness that once existed
between them: mother and father, parent and child, sibling and
sibling. True reparation is only complete when all three tasks have
These formulations of
Melanie Klein and Klein's disciple Hanna Segal bear an exceptional
resemblance to Kabbalistic and Hassidic thought. In particular, I
shall refer to the work of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, the great
grandson of the Ba'al Shem Tov. Rabbi Nachman passed most of his
short life (1772-1810) in the Ukraine and Russia. Many of his
teachings emphasize the conflict between good and evil and the
possibility of achieving
restoration of the "soul,"
even after a person has sunk to the lowest depths.
There are people who have
done so much wrong that they fall to the level of the "concealment
within the concealment." Because of this they come to believe that
there is no longer any hope for them, God forbid. This is because
when a person does something wrong several times, the matter becomes
permissible in his eyes. This is the first "concealment." But when
he does still more wrong, then God becomes hidden from him to the
point of the "concealment within the concealment." Then it is hard
indeed to find him. (Greenbaum, 1980, p. 20)
How does a person overcome
these concealments?' Rabbi Nachman speaks of various means, of which
the most basic is prayer, especially prayers of repentance. These,
such as Avinu
Father, Our King, begin the repair, the
by acknowledging the
transgression. So, the first step in overcoming concealment, as with
Freud and Klein, has to do with facing reality.
Secondly, repentance or
itself has the power "to
transform a person's transgressions into merits. [So] what was
damaged can be restored" (Greenbaum, 1980, p. 58). Rabbi Nachman
goes on to explain that the reason for this is that transgressions
draw down the divine light into lowly places. Then the light becomes
trapped within thick vessels (the sinner). But repentance refines
and purifies the vessels so that they can receive and hold "a new
radiation of light." This process, called "relining the vessel,"
corrects the original damage (that is, the effects of transgression
on the transgressor) by allowing divine light to radiate to places
where it might never otherwise reach.
In many ways the
consequence of a thickened vessel is similar to that of a broken
vessel. In either case the divine illumination is trapped by its
container. Thus "relining" is like restoring (the broken shards). It
draws the infinite into the finite and permits the third stage of
reparation to take place. This is the process of
not just between man and man,
but between man and his maker, the primal source,
In the Jewish mystical
tradition this last step, unification, is a fundamental prerequisite
for overcoming man's wandering in the wilderness, "the exile," for
Jews, and for all mankind.
Unification is the central
issue for restoration or reparation, which I have traced according
to the formulations of kabbalah and psychoanalysis. In so doing, I
have shown how these two disciplines are closely related. 1 would
like to conclude by considering how they may differ. That concerns
my point of departure, the subject which requires healing or
restoration. In psychoanalysis this is "the self." In kabbalah this
is "the soul."
The "self' is a slippery
entity. Although everyone agrees that it pertains to psychological
realms, the term encompasses a plethora of meanings. Most narrowly,
these include identity, self-awareness, a part or parts of the
mental apparatus (the ego), the subject as agent, and the subject as
object of his own activity. On the other hand, Jungian psychology
provides a broader, almost too broad view. It sees the self as "the
unifying principle within the human psyche." Thus, for Carl Jung,
the self is both the centre of as well as the container of all
conscious and unconscious contents and processes (Samuels, 1986, p.
psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut, whom many consider to be the progenitor
of self-psychology, contends that the self is essentially "not
knowable" (1977). Before reaching this conclusion he reviews various
attempts to refine the term ranging from mental structure to
psychological center. Subsequently he describes the constituents of
the self: ambitions, ideals, talents, and skills. A secure self is a
cohesive whole. The converse lacks cohesion and remains a
fragmented, chaotic mess. Ultimately Kohut refuses to assign a
specific, that is, inflexible definition to "the self." While he may
not believe that "the self' is ineffable, he does point out that the
term is best left undefined.
In contrast, "the soul"
belongs to spiritual realms. The Kabbalah describes five levels of
ruach, neshamah, chaya,
For each of these levels,
there is a separate degree of healing or
a separate reparation and
re-pairation. 1 shall base this final section of the paper on the
model of the soul delineated by the contemporary Israeli Kabbalist,
Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh (1992, pp. 30-31).
The lowest level concerns
the work of the physician. He works on the
Here healing consists of
binding the soul to the body through the medium of blood. ("The
blood is the nefesh.")
refers to physical or
Next is the domain of
psychology and psychoanalysis. This concerns the
or spirit, and is the level
of soul associated with the emotions. Thus, the
effected by psychoanalysis
has to do with perceiving psychic reality, unblocking the flow of
feelings, and reaching towards "spiritual consciousness."
The third higher level of
soul, is the
neshamah. This is
about as elevated a state of consciousness as it is possible for a
person to attain. And only a few, those who have risen above egoic
concerns, can manage that. At the level of
refers to the power "to draw
the Divine influx to the supra-rational aspects of the soul."
Clearly, this is not the province of psychoanalysis. But by means of
psychoanalysis a person might be able to clear the blocks in himself
that prevent him from seeing or reaching toward transcendental
the fourth level of soul, and
is connected with wisdom and pure consciousness. The degree of
healing associated with
involves a state of absolute
binding of the soul to Torah and the word of God. I think that this
is the domain of the tzaddik and "corresponds to a true state of
selflessness" and "sense of infinite serenity."
refers to a state of
unification with the Almighty. A person on this level might continue
to exist even though his body was mortally ill, "as though the Holy
One dwells in his guts." Here healing denotes physical (and
concurrent psychological) resurrection.
The problem with Rabbi
Ginsburgh's paradigm is that it refers to realms which most people
don't recognize. Perhaps it is true that "self' and "soul" denote
different phenomena? Does this matter? Isn't it sufficient to
demonstrate the close connection between psychoanalysis and kabbalah
by noting similar methods and goals? Or, could it be that the
differences between "self' and "soul" are more apparent than real?
Jung delineated a close
link between self and soul. He argued that the self is fundamentally
a component of a transcendental entity which he called, the
God-image. For Jung the God-image is "a unifying and transcendent
symbol" capable of drawing together different psychic components,
themselves related to "higher" or non personal spheres (Samuels,
1986, p. 61).
Moreover, as we have just
seen, Kabbalists themselves specifically equate the self with the
second level of soul,
But perhaps Heinz Kohut has
provided the most moving connection between "self" and "soul," and
by extension, between psychoanalysis and Kabbalah, in his book,
The Restoration of
the Self (19 77).
In the epilogue, he
ponders the capacity of art and artists to depict the central
dilemma of our age, how man can manage "to cure his crumbling self."
Kohut confides that nowhere has he found a more accurate account of
the yearning to restore a shattered self than in Eugene O'Neill's
play The Great God
Brown. Toward the
end, the central character, Brown, contemplates his wrecked life and
shattered self. Kohut concludes, through the words of Brown:
Man is born broken. He
lives by mending. The grace of God is glue.
1. The themes of this
paper are being expanded as a book under the same title by Dr.
Stanley Schneider, Jerusalem, and myself. This will be published by
Jason Aronson Inc. in 1997.
2.	Torah is the
Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. But the term is also
used synonymously with the entire body of Jewish sacred literature.
also translated as the "Book
of Splendor," has also been attributed, in whole or in part, to the
thirteenth-century Spanish kabbalist, R. Moses b. Shem Tov de Leon.
4. I am grateful to Rabbi
Shmuel Lew and Dr. Naftali Loewenthal for their translation and
discussion of this passage.
5. A further way of
considering "the concealment within the concealment" is that it
refers to the moment when a person continues to do the prohibited
act, but also forgets the prohibition.
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