‫בס״ד‬

Chassidic
Healing
Teachings on Physical and Spiritual Healing

TRANSLATED

FROM THE LETTERS OF

THE REBBE RAYATZ
‫זצוקללה"ה נבג"מ זי"ע‬

Compiled by

Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver

Contents
Admitting Sickness.................................................................3
Standard and Individualized Medicines...............................3
The Common Neglect to Imbibe Spiritual Medicine...........4
Treating Spiritual Denial and Delusion................................4
Various Methods of Healing Spiritual Ailments..................5
Standard Interim Recommendations...................................6
Direct and Indirect Healing....................................................7
Listening to doctors................................................................8
Overcoming one’s nature through Kabbolas Ol.................8
The damage of depression....................................................9
Bitterness only in the proper measure..............................10
Recovery through bitachon.................................................11
The sick person and his spouse should undertake to
increase in Mitzvah observance..........................................11

Admitting Sickness
Knowledge1 of the sickness is half the cure.
~~~
There2 are physical sicknesses of which the sick person may not
be aware, and only after undergoing various tests does he learn
the truth. Thus, it is vital that the sick person is aware:
1) that he is sick, and comes to desire and yearn to become
well;
2) that his health can be restored, and maintains full hope and
trust that with the help of Hashem, it will.
One must follow these conditions, and to an even greater extent,
with regard to sicknesses of the soul.
Guidance in applying these two criteria can be found in the
Chassidic texts, under the direction of a chossid who engages in
the study of Chassidus and has expert knowledge of the ways of
chassidim.
Standard and Individualized Medicines
In3 general, there are two types of medicines:
 A standard medicine that is already prepared, that the doctor
can prescribe for a more wide-ranging or common disease.
For example, there is a standard medicine prescribed for a
person with a very high temperature or a very low
temperature.

1 Sefer HaSichos 5703, p. 18.
2 Adapted from Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 4, pp. 353-354.
3 Adapted from Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 4, p. 28-29.

 A medicine prescribed for a specific illness only after the
doctor has carefully examined the patient and determined
his specific illness. This medicine must be prepared
according to specific requirements, which takes time.
The same holds true of spiritual cures:
 There are spiritual sicknesses of a more typical nature, such
as an intense desire for material indulgence, or a coldness
and apathy to the holiness of Torah and Mitzvos. These
conditions have certain standard cures, as described in the
holy books of Mussar and Chassidus, and they can even be
prescribed by a non-expert.
 Other spiritual sicknesses need to be correctly diagnosed by
an expert spiritual guide, who will then prescribe the
appropriate medicine. For those who suffer from these
sicknesses, standard medicines will be ineffective.
The Common Neglect to Imbibe Spiritual Medicine
There4 is a common problem with spiritual healing. People are
liable to incorrectly treat healing the soul differently from healing
the body:
If a doctor has prescribed a medicine, it must be administered. No
patient will think that enlisting the services of an expert doctor
and receiving a diagnosis and a prescription, and then ordering
the medicine and laying it sitting on his desk is enough to cure
him. On the contrary, then the patient’s condition will only
worsen. Rather, everyone knows that in order to become healed
one must actually take the medicine, and according to the
frequency and dosage that the doctor prescribed.
This is the sensible approach. But oddly, in spiritual matters,
many people do not think and conduct themselves in this way.
4 Adapted from Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 4, p. 29.

Instead, they approach a person for advice and guidance, which
they then receive, yet they then neglect to follow through,
thinking that the very fact that they spoke to a spiritual guide is
itself sufficient. Some people even feel truly bitter about their low
spiritual state, and yet they still fail to follow the advice given
them.
Treating Spiritual Denial and Delusion
We5 also find with respect to some bodily maladies, may G–d save
us, that the sufferer may not only be unaware that he is sick, but
mistakenly considers himself healthy. Some deeply afflicted
people even consider the healthy people to be sick, and
themselves—the sick ones—as healthy.
These emotionally sick people typically do not seek treatment;
some of them even oppose it, claiming that they are healthy.
Some of these people may even be very clever—original thinkers,
talented orators, and the like.
The root of this sickness is the fantasies that these people have
about themselves. One person has delusions of grandeur—he
fancies himself the leader of the community or the city. Another
views himself as the smartest fellow in the country, and the third
is afflicted with yet another illusion.
They are all so busy with their imagination that they have little
time to eat and sleep, and when they are brought to the people
assigned to heal them, they claim that they are the healthy ones.
The person suffering from spiritual delusion and denial is even
worse off than one who suffers from psychological delusion and
denial, for in the case of the former, there is usually someone to
help, while those who suffer from the latter are typically
abandoned, and their sickness worsens, and become gradually

5 Adapted from Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 4, p. 30.

more ingrained, and they degenerate more and more as time
passes.
The essential light of the philosophy of Chassidus has the power
to heal all spiritual plagues and sicknesses. However, for it to
work it is crucial that one imbibe the medicine according to the
rules outlined in the works of the philosophy of Chassidus, which
is to be found in the words of the Rebbeim.
Various Methods of Healing Spiritual Ailments
A6 person consists of physical limbs and the faculties of the soul
vested in each of those respective limbs [such as the faculties of
sight in the eyes, of hearing in the ears, and so on]. The limbs of
the body thus act as the vessel for these faculties, and physical
health depends upon the wellness of both these elements.
Thus, the first step in healing is to identify the general nature of
the sickness—whether it consists of a deficiency in the physical
limbs or in the faculties of the soul vested in those limbs.
Likewise, spiritual sicknesses may also stem from different
causes:
 The body’s natural coarseness: Some people are born
with a refined, sensitive body, while others are born with a
coarse, degenerate body.
 The soul faculties: The person may be naturally inclined to
certain bad traits, such as arrogance, deceit, lustful
thoughts, a jealous eye, and the like.
 Bad habits: Sometimes the root of the sickness lies in
neither of the above. Rather, the person has simply fallen
into bad habits. These bad habits may stem from an immoral
education or from an immoral environment. Although the
state of one’s physical health and his soul’s faculties play a
6 Adapted from Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 4, pp. 352-353.

significant role, the root of the sickness may lie in one’s
habits.
~~~
Cures7 vary both in their intrinsic makeup and in the way they are
used: Some cures involve guidance, education, and habit-forming,
while others involve shattering, severance, and coercion.
Generally speaking, a sickness in the soul’s faculties is cured
through the former approach, while a sickness that stems from
the body’s coarseness stems is cured through the latter approach.
Standard Interim Recommendations
One8 cannot begin treating a patient until the location of the
sickness and its root cause have been ascertained. Until then, one
can only prescribe proper conduct in general, and instruct the
patient to engage in certain practices and avoid others.
Following a schedule for sleeping, eating, drinking, and other
aspects of a proper lifestyle will certainly benefit the patient’s
health greatly, but will not cure his sickness. For this purpose an
individual medicine must be prescribed (in addition to following a
healthy lifestyle, as mentioned above).
Moreover, the patient must constantly rouse himself with the
desire and yearning to recover, and the intense hope that
Hashem will heal him, as it is written, “The spirit of a man will
sustain his infirmity.”9
The same holds true for treating spiritual ailments. It is true that
until the exact location of the sickness and its root cause is
7 Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 4, p. 355-356.
8 Adapted from Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 4, p. 353.
9 Mishlei 18:14.

identified, the person cannot be healed individually. However, it is
nonetheless certain that proper conduct will strengthen and
elevate him, with the help of Hashem.
This conduct should include:
 Doing good: An organized approach to doing good deeds by
performing Mitzvos, fixing times for Torah study, and
acquiring good character traits,
 Rejecting evil: Taking care in one’s speech to avoid idle
chatter, shutting one’s eyes from seeing evil and blocking
one’s ears from hearing wicked speech. 10 When discussing
the condition of another person, the way that he runs his
home, and so on, one must also be vigilant, for praise of
another person can often end up in denigrating that person
and his home. This may contain a significant amount of the
filth of gossip, talebearing, jealousy, hatred, the spreading of
malicious lies, and the like.
And yet the above conduct will not be sufficient to cure a person
of his illness, as mentioned.
Direct and Indirect Healing
In11 general, there are two approaches to healing the body:
1) healing the afflicted or weak organ or faculty directly;
2) bolstering the healthy organs and faculties so that they may
overcome the sick or weak organ or faculty, and heal it.
In terms of spiritual maladies, these two approaches correspond
to Teshuva and good deeds, respectively. Both need to be planned
out carefully, such that each is done in its proper time, in
10 Cf. Yeshaya 33:15.
11 Adapted from Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 4, p. 354.

accordance with the dictum: “Live in them.”12 This involves an
organized life directed by Torah, with the distinct emphasis laid by
the philosophy of Chassidus, which is able to provide accurate
guidance for every person on his level, whether a businessman or
a full-time Torah scholar.
Listening to doctors
Your13 neglect to take the medicine from [forbidden] fat as per the
doctor’s orders is wrong and against the Halacha.
The Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek stated:
One who is careful to follow the words of the sages and
perform Mitzvos in a beautiful manner does a wondrous
thing, as our sages say: “[G–d says:] The words of the sages
are sweet for Me.”14 Likewise, and to an even greater degree,
one who disregards a doctor’s orders in an area vital to
health and healing has sinned—even if he was instructed to
consume something forbidden.
Overcoming one’s nature through Kabbolas Ol
You15 ask me for a solution to your natural inclination to
constantly tell jokes. You cannot restrain yourself, and even after
you feel guilty over it, all your resolutions to abandon the way of
constant joking are not effective for longer than several days.
Your soul will only be saved though Kabbolas Ol—by placing a bit
and a rein on your mouth, not to speak anything until you have
considered carefully whether to speak or be silent. This is what
12 Vayikra 18:5.
13 Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 4, pp. 229-230.
14 Avodah Zara 35a, Rashi.
15 Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 4, p. 355.

you should do daily: when you wake up in the morning, place a bit
and a rein on your mouth, and do not diver your attention from it
the entire day, until you sleep.
The task of Kabbolas Ol in general, and in overcoming a natural
trait to which one has become accustomed in particular, is
extremely difficult. However, once one realizes that this is needed
in order to save one’s soul, one ought to compel oneself to
overcome the test with tremendous might.
At first it will be very difficult for you, but then Hashem will help
you, and from day to day the struggle will become easier, until,
with the help of Hashem you will eliminate the base trait from
within, and reach a state of spiritual illumination.
The damage of depression
I16 have heard that you are worried and sad, and consequently
you are neglecting your health and proper behavior in your
eating, drinking, and sleeping. This is obviously disturbing your
work to disseminate Torah and strengthen those who engage in
Avodah and study Torah.
All those who study the teachings of Chassidus know that the
worry and depression, even when it stems from concern over
one’s spiritual level, is a wicked trait. Not only should one
distance oneself from it, but one should uproot it at the root, for it
opens the way for all kinds of evil.
Our sages have said: “Such is the craft of the evil inclination.”17
The bestial soul [another term for the evil inclination] is a
seasoned craftsman, and his craft is to come to each person with
a different tactic. To the small, the average, and the great—each
one he approaches on that person’s level.
16 Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 4, pp. 356-357.
17 Shabbos 105b.

Sometimes the bestial soul comes wrapped in a Tallis not his own
—with the appearance of the good inclination. He reminds the
person of his personal faults, and rebukes and torments him. He
advises the person to study works of mussar and threatens him,
and his entire goal is to degrade the person and distract him from
the tasks that he needs to do.
This is the entire intention of the evil inclination—to preoccupy
and distract the person from engaging in good things. When he
sees that he can only accomplish this through a method
apparently related to fear of Heaven, he will slip on this garment
in order to perpetrate his wicked plot. This is why he is called a
craftsman, for his enticements are committed in such a way that
when he reprimands and torments the person for something not
good, or bad, it is impossible to recognize his true face—that in
reality this is the evil inclination.
Therefore our holy fathers, the Rebbeim, decreed that worry and
depression, even from one’s spiritual state, is a wicked character
trait, and they forbade it completely and utterly. They sentenced
it to the four death penalties, that it be banished from the domain
of chassidim, and uprooted until no minute trace remains, for
even that brings great damage.
Bitterness only in the proper measure
Concerning18 the topic of worry about one’s spiritual state, we find
an entire, systematic literature [from the Rebbeim of Chabad]
concerning the practice of bitterness from time to time, at select,
fixed, and auspicious occasions.
And yet even then, our holy fathers, the Rebbeim, may their merit
protect us, strongly warned and instructed that this bitterness be
brief. This demonstrates the tremendous damage that this
medicine is liable to bring, just as a very powerful medicine will
cure the person when several drops are administered, but will be
18 Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 4, pp. 357-358.

dangerous if several more drops are added. So is it with the
practice of bitterness, that it will only heal when practiced in the
proper measure.
It is known that bitterness leads to joy, for after one has become
bitter over the sin of which he reminded himself, and come to
fully regret it, he is joyful, and increases his efforts in his divine
service to do good. In this way not only is his sin atoned for, but
Hashem shines for him with the light of Torah and Mitzvos.
Recovery through bitachon
It19 is written in the holy Torah that a person’s mood can weaken
his sickness: When the person encourages himself, Hashem
assists him and heals him. Be strong in your hope that Hashem,
may He be blessed, will heal you, and He will.
The sick person and his spouse should undertake to
increase in Mitzvah observance
Our20 sages say that “one should take an oath in a time of
distress.21 The sick person should take upon himself an extra
measure of caution in his observance of Mitzvos with fear of
Hashem in the observance of Shabbos, Tefillin, prayer, and
keeping kosher. His wife should also resolve to observe Mitzvos
with fear of Hashem in family purity, observance of Shabbos and
keeping kosher. In this merit Hashem will heal the sick person.
Hashem will bring him to recover, and strengthen him materially
and spiritually.

19 Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 5, p. 341.
20 Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 12, p. 41.
21 ‫—צרה בעת נודרין‬Chullin 2b, Tosafos s.v. avol omar