Everything that was made in the six days of creation was made with a soul and a body. This is equally true of each of the levels of creation.1

There are four categories in physicality:

Domeim - inert matter

Tzomeiach - growing things, plants

Chai - animals

Medaber - those that can speak2

There is no gray area between any of these four categories. The four categories are entirely isolated from each other and everything created in the world belongs to one of the four categories.

We will see later that a secret of a Jew’s mission in life is to elevate and refine himself through these categories.3

Every specie in each category has both a soul and a body. It is true that a soul is not so obvious in a stone or a tree as it is in a human being but it is there anyway. In exactly the same way, the whole of creation has a soul and a body. The soul (or spiritual aspects of the world) are connected to Torah and the body (or physical aspects of the world) to mitzvos.&4 Mitzvos are the 613 commandments that Hashem gave Am Yisrael at Mount Sinai.

It is explained in our oral tradition that the world is sustained by Jews learning Torah and Jews doing mitzvos. If Jews were to stop learning Torah and doing Mitzvos for a moment, the world would cease to exist.5 As we travel together, we will see the extraordinary logic of Jewish migration and its reason.

Here it is sufficient to note that Chassidus explains that Jews have never been permitted by Hashem, since we have been in Golus, to live together in one place. Being in different geographical locations has allowed those groups not subject to the decrees we have endured for thousands of years to sustain those presently persecuted. This sustenance is a result of the Torah being learned and the mitzvos being performed. In turn the world remains nourished.6

There are 613 mitzvos corresponding to 613 referent functions in the body. 248 positive mitzvos ( “ do’s ”), 365 negative mitzvos ( “ dont’s ”) correspond to 248 “ limbs ” and 365 “ sinews ” in the human body.7 The human body in microcosm, a small world, from which it is possible to observe and generalize about the larger spiritual and physical world.8 In the same way as a Jew has a neshomah and a body, so to does the world have a neshomah and a body.

A secret to which we ordinary people are not privy is the eerie way in which a Rebbe is able to analyze a physical defect in a Jew. What is clear is that the physical is affected by the defective spiritual position of the person. A Rebbe, recognizing the neshomah of the person, is able to then in some way generalize the defect in the mitzvah which is causing the resultant physical problem.

Conversely, if there is no mitzvah problem relating to that limb or sinew, the Rebbe instructs ignoring medical advice to the gasp of onlookers. Stories of this are legion.

One Sydney woman, diagnosed with a huge brain tumor, sought advice from three specialists, two of whom said not to operate and one to do so. With a healthy fear of doctors and the knife, she took the advice of the majority and decided not to have the operation. Her daughters wrote to the Rebbe9 asking for a berochah that, since she was not to have the operation, she should live a long, useful and healthy life. The Rebbe replied advising her not to listen to the doctors who said not to operate. She should have the operation and everything would be fine. The woman had the operation which was an entire success. Everything the doctors were worried about did not eventuate.

How can a Rebbe take such a responsibility? An uncaring person, let alone an ordinary person, would not be prepared to take the responsibility to advise someone to take a life decision choice of this kind. Who would do that? Who would take that responsibility? Not only once, but the Rebbe did repeatedly, daily, for members of Am Yisrael all over the globe. How could he do that? If he were guessing, sooner or later he would be wrong. What sort of human being would guess? What sort of human being would give advice in such circumstances?

The answer is the Rebbe is not guessing, he knows exactly. How does he know exactly? He knows exactly which Mitzvah is going wrong in relation to that function in the body which is physically sick. One of the members in our community, faced with amputation of one of his legs, asked the Rebbe for a berochah and the Rebbe’s reply asked for his x-rays. When they were dispatched, the Rebbe replied they were not the subject’s x-rays. A doctor reading this book will note that it is impossible to make a mistake with x-rays as the name is fused onto the photograph at the time it is taken. Nevertheless, the photographs were in fact not the person’s x-rays.

How did the Rebbe know this? Obviously, we do not know but we can surmise this: because the 613 Mitzvos relate to 613 specific physical areas in the body, a Rebbe can analyze whether a limb is affected by an adversely conducted Mitzvah. Nowhere is it written which Mitzvah corresponds to which item in the body. This appears to be a secret Tzaddikim have. When something goes wrong physically, it is because a Mitzvah or group of Mitzvos are not being performed properly. The koichus (power) that should be flowing to that limb is subverted. The power that should be coming from the soul (Torah) to the physical body (Mitzvos) is not flowing properly.

Another example. There was a child in South Africa in kindergarten who used to wander out into the road. The supervisors were beside themselves as they could not prevent this child repeating this behavior. Attempts were made to punish the child, then to bribe the child positively but, at every opportunity, the child escaped into the street. Twice the child was lost and twice found. In desperation, the parents took advice from the Rebbe. The Rebbe told them to check the mezuzahs on their doors. They checked their mezuzahs and found that the word oovishorecho (your gates) was defective. They changed the mezuzah immediately and the child never walked out of the gate again. How does the Rebbe know that a child walking out of a gate in their case is related to the mitzvah of mezuzah? We do not know. That is a Rebbe’s job. But we do know that the spiritual power flowing into physical activities flows out of Torah and down through mitzvos.

For many non-observant Jews, blindness is embraced. How many Jews are heard to say, confronted with a mitzvah, “ I am not that religious ”. Friends with their own shins bruised nod in sage agreement.

Know that this Jew is still, from his perspective, close to Hashem. That is not in issue. Indeed, it is this very closeness which makes him go wrong. He believes G‑d knows what is in his mind and will understand his limitations. In his heart, he is a good Jew and the fact that he does not keep the mitzvah is known to and conceded by Hashem because He understands individual weaknesses and He makes allowances. Familiar? All true but irrelevant.

Let us take the example of tuning in an amplifier. Badly tuned, there is a static response and an unclear signal. To receive the music clearly and beautifully, adjustment is as specific as possible and with the best possible tuning equipment. This is precisely what happens with a mitzvah. There are people who are so scrupulous about their mitzvos that everything else in life is eclipsed. But there is nothing else in life. That is the point. What such Jews are doing is drawing down life force power from Torah into physicality through the mitzvos which they do.

A moment’s reflection will lead to the realization that nothing a human being can do can in any way affect Hashem. So Hashem will have no benefit or detriment whether a man tunes in the signal clearly or poorly.10 It then becomes clear that the person receiving the benefit of the scrupulous adherence of the mitzvah is the person who is doing the listening rather than the Sender of the signal. No difference exists in the source of the signal whether a radio is tuned in or it is not tuned in. This concern with doing mitzvos properly, completely and exactly is therefore a concern of each individual in particular and Am Yisrael at a more general level. Indeed, at its most general level, the whole world benefits the more clearly the signals are brought in.