Rabbi Doniel Katz: Spirituality is Reality
By Ariel Dominique Hendelman
“What so many don’t realize is that when you’re dealing with some people’s healing, it’s not just their own,” remarks Rabbi Doniel Katz. “It is their soul family’s as well. Whether we are aware of it or not, many of our challenges are an extension of previous generations; things that they either didn’t deal with or weren’t able to deal with. A person may carry anxiety and questions that are not just their own, but that have accumulated over generations.”
Rabbi Doniel — a captivating speaker, an internationally acclaimed teacher, and a devoted student of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) — recalls the first time someone told him that ideas of reincarnation and ancestral healing are found throughout Jewish sources. “As a secular Jew growing up in Melbourne, Australia, I remember thinking, ‘They’re just stealing that from Hinduism,’” he says. “Now that I’ve been blessed to spend the last couple of decades immersing myself in Kabbalistic and Torah sources, I’m embarrassed at the ignorance of that statement. I can tell you that this is one of the world’s deepest and most ancient mystical traditions, and its insights, particularly in the area of the afterlife and consciousness, are abundant and profound.”
Whether in seminars, retreats, or private sessions, Rabbi Doniel has guided tens of thousands of people in traditional Torah forms of healing. He also teaches internationally through the Elevation Project, with the goal of taking the mystical Jewish tradition’s most profound teachings on meditation, spiritual transformation, and healing, and bringing them to a wider audience — both online and around the world. His experience has shown that, for many people, ancestral healing is a practical reality.
For example, Rabbi Doniel recently facilitated a healing session with a woman who was unable to conceive a second child, despite many costly and emotionally draining medical interventions. The session began with Rabbi Doniel bringing the woman to a state of deveikus (connection to one’s Divine soul), and then asking her Higher Self about her feelings regarding having children and the health of her body. This woman had worked through eating disorders, addictions, and other challenges in her life, and even though that dark period of her life was behind her, she still felt a need to identify as a sick person. In the past, being sick had allowed her to get attention, love, and validation. Despite having grown and developed positively in many ways — she even works now as a healer for others — her body hadn’t caught up to that shift, and was still holding on to the feeling of not being healthy enough to conceive. In addition, she discovered a lot of abandonment in her ancestral history, which she was carrying with her.
“Emunah (faith) exists on different levels,” Rabbi Doniel notes. “There is a soul level, a heart level, and a physical level. The light of faith has to penetrate all the way in. This woman was still carrying the belief in her body that there was a benefit in being perceived as sick.
“Then another question arose from within her: What kind of mother do I perceive myself to be? This is a mindful, conscious woman who is a wonderful mother. But her self-perception is different and stuck in the past. Psychologically, it stems from a challenging relationship with her mother, who had experienced a similar relationship with her own mother — a painful pattern that had continued for many generations. But in the midst of the meditation, she suddenly became aware that all those past generations of souls were surrounding her right then. Their challenge seemed to be present within her and had unknowingly been contributing to her challenge. Through an ancient tikkun (mechanism of spiritual healing), she was able to illuminate and heal their souls in a few moments, which then released and transformed her own. Only a few weeks later, she conceived. These transformations are incredible to watch. Spirituality is reality.”
According to Kabbalah, there is a specific process that occurs when a person dies and transitions into the spiritual world. Although the soul is divine, it takes on the identity of the body it has been encased within and, to some degree, forgets itself and its true nature in the process. At the moment of death, the soul may find it more or less difficult to disconnect from the body, depending on the way we acted during our lifetime. If we spent time cultivating spiritual connection, then the soul will want spiritual connection after death, and can easily ascend. But if we spent our lives chasing after bodily desires or various addictions, the soul will continue wanting that and will not be able to fully transcend physical reality. Thus, after death, the soul must go through an uncoupling process to realign to Source before it can transition to the higher worlds. The healed soul ultimately realizes that everything it seeks can be found in the Divine Light, but that purification process can be more or less difficult, depending on the decisions we make when we’re alive.
According to Kabbalah, many souls end up stuck because of this. If these souls happen to be in our ancestral families or soul families (an inherent bond between groups of souls that reincarnate together from lifetime to lifetime), then it may be our sacred task to help them get unstuck, and thereby heal ourselves from those ancient wounds as well. Rabbi Doniel explains, “We are all really one soul — but over generations of gilgulim (reincarnations), that soul splits off and divides into branches. Kabbalah teaches that all of humanity is really one united consciousness that has become fragmented, eventually losing its sense of unified identity. It’s like a tree, where you can see at the root level that all the branches are fundamentally connected. Thus, the perception that we are each on our own spiritual journey is inaccurate. Through our own personal spiritual mastery, we are healing each other, supporting each other, and elevating the greater collective.”
This idea creates a powerful opportunity to look at our family heritage in a deeper way. When a soul is not healed or aligned, its opportunity for ascent and elevation can become dependent on us. When we perform a mitzvah (a potent spiritual act), or transform ourselves in any deep way, not only are we blessed through that action, but the souls around us and connected to us are also healed, illuminated, and elevated in the process. “In Torah sources, this is called an aliyas ha’neshamah,” Rabbi Doniel explains. “Even through as small an act as giving charity in the name of a particular person, we cause a spiritual ascent for that soul.”
According to Rabbi Doniel, the farther back in our ancestry we go, the level of souls we connect to gets higher and higher, until we can re-access what the Kabbalists call Adam HaRishon — the unified consciousness of all humanity. Rabbi Doniel teaches advanced meditation techniques to access this state, and thereby attain states of higher unity with God and Source. By reconnecting to and healing the chain of previous generations, we are in fact rebuilding the chain of direct energetic connection to all human consciousness — opening ourselves to a river of blessings flowing through time, through history, through worlds, and ultimately down to us.
“Our own spiritual heritage holds profound gifts and revelation for those ready to open themselves and reconnect to it,” emphasizes Rabbi Doniel. “When we choose to live our life with the utmost spiritual integrity, and turn whatever darkness we carry — fear, anger, lust, regret — up to the light, then we release that darkness for all the individuals who came before us as well. Every moment carries infinite potential for elevation, and there are generations of souls riding on it. I mean this literally, not metaphorically. The more conscious we are of it, the more deeply we can heal and elevate, and the more we can make ourselves, our family tree, and all of humanity whole.”
Rav Doniel Katz is a visionary educator, internationally sought-after speaker, and the creative force behind the Elevation Project, a lucid, comprehensive, and powerful system for self-transformation and spiritual development. For more than a decade, Rav Doniel’s open and compassionate teachings have been a catalyst for change in the lives of thousands of people worldwide.
Born and raised in Australia, Rav Doniel abandoned his award-winning film and theatre career in his mid-twenties after a year of intensive spiritual awakening. Exploring many wisdom paths and traditions in search of deeper clarity to explain his experiences, he was finally led to Jerusalem in 2000. Since then, he has spent nearly two decades immersed in the world of Torah and Kabbalistic teachings, learning from some of the city’s great rabbis and spiritual masters.
Rav Doniel has lectured extensively around the world for the last eight years, during which time he was also a faculty member at Neve Yerushalayim and Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem. In addition, he spoke at a 2015 symposium on science and the meditational tools of Abrahamic traditions at the Mind & Life Institute in Massachusetts; was invited by the Chief Rabbi of South Africa to speak at the Sinai Indaba conference in Johannesburg and Cape Town, during which over 5,000 people attended his Elevation sessions; and presented at the 2016 Wisdom 2.0 conference in Tel Aviv.
By nature an integrator and systems thinker, Rav Doniel is a deep spiritual seeker with a gift for awakening those same spiritual sensibilities in those he encounters, whatever their backgrounds or beliefs. Challenging conventional paradigms of self and the nature of reality, his teachings exist at the nexus of ancient and modern, intellect and emotion, spiritual and practical.
Rav Doniel’s mission is to reveal the unity among different paths of Torah — to allow all people, everywhere, to experience its spiritual depth, beauty, and transformative power.