Refuat haNefesh v’Refuat haGuf
March 15, 1996
When a person is ill we pray for his complete recovery. In Hebrew, the terminology used is ‘refuat haNefesh v’refuat haGuf ‘ – ‘the recovery of the spirit (soul) and the recovery of the body.’
Why, when a person has the flu, should we pray for a complete healing of the spirit? The answer, as deep as it really is, is also quite simple: when a person is ill, the illness inflicts all components of the body. A ‘minor’ infection in a finger, for example, can be the cause a major ailment if not treated properly and in time.
In the same way, a physical illness affects a person’s spirit – his soul. We are aware of ‘hypochondriacs’ – people who imagine physical illness. Medical studies also prove that a person’s mental state influences his physical state. The opposite is also true. Sometimes the physical sickness is a result of the mental problem. Other times, mental illness is the root of physical problems.
An extremely serious illness has pervaded us, here in Israel. No one is immune; no one can escape it. It has invaded and spread rapidly throughout the Land. It has physical implications, as well as mental ones. Any country, any people, any religion which can allow itself to commit national suicide via intentional self-destruction, is sick. The physical appearance, a ‘piece plan’ which chops up the Land of Israel into itsy-bitsy pieces, is literally self-destruction. Release of thousands of murderers and terrorists, is absurd. But entrusting them with arms is beyond belief. And then, confiscation of arms from those who need them most, to protect themselves from the above-mentioned animals – this is too much.
However, the roots of this madness are beginning to see the light. Slowly but surely, the Labor regime is incarcerating leaders of the spiritual element of Israel. Rav Ido Elba, Rav Moshe Levinger, Rav David Shirel, Baruch Marzel, and now, Rav Yitzhak Ginsburgh. Preceding the Ginsburgh administrative detention, the clearest example was the refusal of the DA’s office to allow the release of Rav Ido Elba, following his completion of two-thirds of his prison sentence. The Israeli intelligence services admitted in court that Rav Elba is not ‘criminally’ dangerous. He is classified as a ‘spiritual’ leader and is ‘spiritually’ dangerous. When the Tel-Aviv Court judge ordered his immediate release this week, the DA appealed to the Supreme Court against the decision. Rav Elba is being held in jail until the Supreme Court hearing, most probably to be heard next week.
However, the administrative arrest and two month detention of Rav Yitzhak Ginsburgh takes the cake. Rav Ginsburgh is, to say the least, a genius. His knowledge is encyclopedic, both in matters concerning Judaism as well as secular subjects. His mathematics abilities, musical aptitude and philosophic erudition are considered to be extraordinary. But the heart of Rav Ginzbugh’s strengths is his spiritual depth: It is almost impossible to describe in words. (Anyone wishing to view an example of Rav Ginsburgh’s work is (). His classes are fascinating excursions into the profundity of Judaism. The clarity of the ideas presented is astounding, considering the intensity of the subject discussed. In short, Rav Ginsburgh can undoubtedly be classified as a primary Jewish thinker-educator, of the highest caliber.
As with almost any aspect of Judaism, there are many sides to any particular idea – and Rav Ginsburgh represents a particular school of Jewish thought. His ideas are different from those of others, even among the Habad Community, of which he is a member. But this doesn’t detract from his scholarship: to the contrary, it distinguishes him and presents a unique approach to the deepest teachings Judaism has to offer.
The present regime sees Rav Ginsburgh as a threat: He is a spiritual leader in Shechem and in Hebron. He has students throughout Israel, in Judea and Samaria, as well as in the United States and Europe. He has been accused of incitement, yet the DA has yet to indict him for any crime. The judge who heard this week’s appeal in Tel-Aviv admitted that Rav Ginsburgh is not ‘dangerous’ and has committed no crime. Yet, he must remain in jail. WHY?
Shimon Peres et al, without really fathoming any of Rav Ginsburgh’s teachings, do understand that he is a threat to them, to their outlook on life, to their very existence as leaders. For they represent the diametrical opposite of Rav Ginsburgh – where he is deep, they are superficial. Where he is knowledgeable, they are ignorant. Where he is spiritual they are physical. Where Rav Ginsburgh represents the future of Israel, they represent the destruction of Israel. Where Rav Ginsburgh represents good, they represent evil.
Even without understanding his works, they sense it, they feel it in their bones. And it scares them. Because if Rav Ginsburgh succeeds, they, in their own eyes, have failed. This is the reason they are, slowly, slowly, attempting to remove the ‘Rav Ginsburgh element’ from Israeli society – Rav Levinger, Rav Elba, and others. If they cannot do it legally, they do it illegally. Nothing can be more morally illegal than administrative detention of spiritual leaders, teachers, Rabbis.
However, we will continue to pray for a complete and total recovery: for the People of Israel, for the Land of Israel, for the State of Israel. And we will pray for refuat haNefesh v’refuat haGuf – for the spirit and the body, and, with the help of G-d, will witness this complete recovery very very soon.