How the Secrets of Kabbalah Brought Me Home to My Body

Earlier this year, I picked myself up from my fast-paced city life in Tel Aviv, and made my way to Maui, Hawaii, to work on a farm for a few months. 

I can’t tell you what brought me there, but I can tell you that my body knew exactly what she needed. In the months leading up to the big decision, my body was aching for nature. I would close my eyes in the moments that were overwhelming to me, and imagine running my hands through thick patches of green grass, and covering myself in rich, brown soil. It was the only thing that centered me, the only thing that brought me back to feeling like Kayla — like myself. 

It wasn’t until after my trip that I fully realized the tremendous healing that had occurred during my time connecting with the Earth. I not only came face to face with deeper parts within myself, but met G-d in ways I had never experienced before. It was an intimacy with both myself and with the Divine, orchestrated by nature, as we danced together and became one. 

Looking back, it comes as no surprise that it was through nature itself — the most physical expression of life — that I rediscovered G-d. For in this very physical and human world, we do not need to look up to find G-d; we need to look around. 

Many of us grew up with the narrative that G-d lives in heaven. There is a certain safety in the childlike wonder we have when peering up at the sky, and knowing that Something great is looking out for us, catching us with each fall. We have a parent up above that we can depend on, pulling the strings in our favor, and holding our hand every step of the way. G-d is outside of us — above us — and we yearn to always reach higher, to spiritually transcend our humanity, and finally touch a piece of greatness. 

We were taught to look up, when really we must also be looking down and all around, right here, on earth. We were taught to look outside of ourselves — outside of this very physical existence — that we almost forgot to also look within, at what is happening right here. 

Both are true. Both are G-d. And we cannot have one without the other. 

Jewish Kabbalistic wisdom teaches us that G-d consists of two aspects; the feminine and the masculine. As humans, we have a distinct relationship with each aspect, as we learn alongside G-d how to hold the duality of our reality. 

G-d’s masculine side is Divine transcendence: that which is so large, it is almost untouchable. He contains us within Him.

G-d’s feminine side is Divine immanence: that which is right here, within our very own breath. We contain Her within us. This, Kabbalah teaches, is called the Shekhinah. 

While the masculine side of G-d may feel just out of reach on a spiritual high (as it should, it keeps us growing!), Shekhinah lives in the underbelly of life. She’s not found when you keep your head up high, eyes only looking to the sky. Shekinah lives in the soil, dancing in the muddy earth, and collecting our laughter and tears as She swirls them into the mosaic of humanity — a mosaic that is etched into earth for eternity.

It was on the farm in Maui — in nature — that I met Shekhina. I met Her in the blush hibiscus flowers and in the soft morning breeze. I met her among the babbling chickens as I collected their fresh eggs each morning. And I met her within myself, deep within my own body. 

There is an idea in Hasidic thought that the more lowly something is in this physical reality, the higher its spiritual source. The most physical entity is an expression of the most spiritual energy. Life as we know it, is therefore the most potent expression of the Divine. And that begins with our very bodies. 

Our bodies may be the most primal and animalistic part of ourselves. They hold our instincts, our base desires, and our visceral reactions. And yet, it is within our very bodies that we can experience the Divine in its most powerful form. 

In the bright and vibrant pinks and oranges of a sunrise at dawn, or the musical notes of a saxophone as it raises the tiny hairs on your arm. 

In the sweetness of a juicy watermelon as it hits your tongue on a hot summer's day, or the soft touch of a friend’s embrace after a tough day. 

We experience God in the deep love that lives within our hearts. 

I am often still rendered speechless by the beauty of this truth. We come face to face with G-d through our very bodies. Like many of my sisters who I both know and do not know, my relationship with my body has not been an easy one to cultivate. My past is bridled with eating disorders, body-shaming, body-shrinking, and body-rejection. For years it was in the very name of G-d that I disowned my body, in my many attempts at holiness and climbing the ladder of spirituality. 

I was taught that G-d only lived outside of me. And if G-d was outside of me, then wasn’t my very being just a hindrance, taking up space where G-d should be? 

So I turned off the lights within me, and shut down my inner compass. I got her as quiet and small as possible. 

I wish I had known that it was through me that G-d lived among us.

It is through my greatness that G-d can be great. 

It is through my love that G-d can be loving. 

And it is me, and my very body, that is the most precious piece of Divine art. 

Jewish wisdom teaches us that the world’s healing — otherwise known as Redemption — will come when we reveal Shekhinah (Divine Feminine) in this world. And yet, it is within our very human selves that Shekhinah exists. As we reveal Her, we reveal ourselves; and the more we reveal our truest, most authentic selves, the more She can dance in this world among us. 

We have been living alone in G-d’s transcendence for far too long. It is time we bring in G-d’s immanence, and feel Her Divine whisper as our own breath. 

G-d is already here. And She is waiting for us. 

At The Well uplifts many approaches to Jewish practice. Our community draws on ancient Jewish wisdom, sometimes adapting longstanding practices to more deeply support the well-being of women and nonbinary people. See this article’s sources below. We believe Torah (sacred teachings) are always unfolding to help answer the needs of the present moment.


Who Is Shechinah, And What Does She Want from My Life?,

Spiritual Physics,

How the Secrets of Kabbalah Brought Me Home to My Body
Kayla Rosen
Kayla Rosen

Kayla Rosen is a passionate teacher and group facilitator of embodied feminine Torah. She brings a holistic and therapeutic approach when teaching, and believes that Jewish spirituality creates a framework for our own personal healing. With a background as both a social worker and yoga teacher, her work brings Jewish wisdom down to earth in a relatable and personable way. Instagram: @_kayla_miriam

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