Many years ago, after Rabbi Morris Lichtenstein had written his textbook, “Jewish Science and Health,” his wife and chief student, Mrs. Tehillah Lichtenstein, prepared a course to teach others to be “Jewish Science Practitioners.”

There were a surprising number of such “practitioners,” at addresses all over New York City. By the time I came to Jewish Science in 1979, Doris Freedman was the only one known to me, although I later found that Ms. Muriel Friedman had also been trained as a practitioner by Mrs. Lichtenstein. 

The only way for me to work with and learn from Doris was to travel out to her home in Hollis, Queens. It was almost a 2 hour trip each way, by train and bus. There was no place in Manhattan to learn; no one there to learn from. The building that now exists on East 39th St. was not yet even a thought. I traveled to Doris once or twice around 1979 or ’80, but found it too inconvenient. I regret now that I did not find another way — telephone conversations or letters, perhaps — to learn more from Doris. I also regret that I didn’t speak at greater length with Muriel.  

I took a month-long “Practitioner” course in 1987, taught by Doris Freedman. However, Doris basically presented some of the basics of Visualization, without necessarily going into length or depth about the principles behind this kind of healing prayer-work. There was also no “practice” element to it, nor any follow up regarding cases we might be working on. I heard that Mrs. Lichtenstein’s own course took place over 6 months, and that she had regular meetings with practitioners after the course, where she took questions and analyzed the experiences people were having. One quotation of Mrs. Lichtenstein’s that Doris repeated to me several times over the years I knew her, was that when we visualize, our image must be so real to us that if we visualize ourselves on a hot, summer beach, our concentration should be so deep, so absorbed in the image [to the exclusion of other thoughts or concerns], that we should actually begin to perspire! Much of what I know now about Visualization is based on work I did with it after Doris’ course, based on the information she’d given. 

Some time after the course, we were also given copies of a manual from an older version of the course as Mrs. Lichtenstein herself taught it. This contains Mrs. Lichtenstein’s comments derived from “Jewish Science and Health” — Rabbi Lichtenstein’s text book. I still have that manual. It has no title or cover page, but does have a table of contents. Leafing through it now, I understand much better how Jewish Science — much like Hasidut — expects us to reframe our thinking about the world; putting it in a context in which “Spirit” or “The Divine Mind” is Present in and around the world and adjusting our understanding to that reality.

Mrs. Lichtenstein contrasts “the Divine Mind” and and “the human mind” in various ways.

In one place, she makes a statement that, if properly understood, is quite startling:

“The human mind depends upon the brain for its existence.
The Divine Mind does not depend upon the brain, nor upon any other part of the body for its existence.” [1]

This statement is made in a chapter entitled “The Divine Mind and the Human Mind in Man”  — based on Rabbi Lichtenstein’s 2nd chapter — “The Divine Mind in Man.”

We are hearing from Mrs. Lichtenstein both what she learned directly from her husband as his closest student, and what she confirmed from her own experience over decades.

In this case, we are learning that Mrs. Lichtenstein observed not “two minds” (which I placed in the title merely to attract attention), but instead, that she observed two levels of our own mind: One level that was based on and depended on the physical brain, and another level which was the basis of our own consciousness but was not dependent on any physical part of us. It was from that “2nd” level (which in fact precedes the “1st”) that we derive endless healing, joy, inspiration, and so on.  

Rabbi Lichtenstein himself wrote:

“…although these two minds have distinct functions, fundamentally the human mind is an offshoot from the Divine Mind.” [2]

This also confirms what Rabbi Elazar says in the Talmud: [3]

אמר רבי אלעזר אור שברא הקבה בוים ראשון אדם צופה בו מסוף העולם ועד סופו

“Rabbi Elazar said:
‘There is a light that The Blessed Holy One created on the First Day.
In it [בו], Adam could see from one end of the world to the other’.” 

“In it” [בו] can also mean “in him” — i.e. in Adam himself; in his own self-experience.

In himself, Adam could see “from one end of the world [creation] to the other.”

If we put both meanings of [בו] — “in it” and “in him” — together, we can see that “he” and “it” are one and the same. Adam’s essence was that Light:

“God’s Light is Adam’s soul.” [4]

As is our own:

“God’s Light is any person’s soul.” [5]

Adam could see within himself the infinite possibilities of God’s own Light — God’s own Self-expression.

As can we.

We don’t see these possibilities with our eyes, as we do a tree or a lake.

Rather, as Mrs. Lichtenstein teaches us here and elsewhere, if we would see “the light from one end of the world to the other,” we must stop confining our imagination to  what we “think” or “believe” God can do. 

Instead, we must let our imagination open up to any and every possibility (regarding the condition or state about which we’re visualizing), thereby allowing the Divine to express Itself in, to and through us far more than what we might otherwise expect “reasonably.”

Imagining infinite possibilities expressed, we can come to see, too, That which is expressing them always.

Mrs. Lichtenstein shows us that this begins by knowing that there is a level of our minds, a level of what we are, that is utterly unlimited by the physical part of us; utterly beyond the “thinking” activity of the merely “human” aspect of our minds.

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[1] Lichtenstein, Tehilla (presumably); Practitioner’s manual; p. 8

[2] Lichtenstein, Rabbi Morris; Jewish Science and Health; p. 13

[3] Hagigah 12a
(Note: The Talmud uses “tzo’feh” [צופה] rather than “ro’eh” [רואה] for “seeing.”
“Tzofeh” is associated with “watching” rather than “seeing” or “staring.”
Thus, Adam is described as “watching” the Light in a non-active, somewhat meditative way.)

[4] Mishlei/Proverbs 20:27
The Hebrew original is “nishmat adam” — commonly translated as “the soul of man,” taking “adam” as the noun for “man” or “mankind.”
Here, I take “Adam” as a proper name, referring literally to the man “Adam,” to whom the preceding midrash also referred.

[5] My restatement takes “adam” as a noun referring to any person, male or female (following the translation as “the soul of man”).
The Hebrew original supports both interpretations.