How Close Can We Get To God?

What is your earliest memory of having faith?  

“When I was nine or ten, I laid down on the grass, turned to the sky, and I saw a blue, blue sky. I was in my home’s garden. And I saw a small cloud. And when I turned towards the sky I thought “I want to be that cloud, I want to be so close to God like that cloud.” And I remember – I feel God is here. I don’t feel his presence because for me God is energy. It’s an energy that contains you, where one returns.


Tell me about a time you had to or chose to rely upon God as you understand God:  

[I was performing Reiki during surgery and]…so when the doctor finished he turned to me and said “Give him energy…so that I don’t lose the kidney. Give him energy”…I was on top of the patient inside the surgery where the anesthesiologist was. I was not washing, I’m not septic, I’m not clean. And he says “Give the energy to the patient please”. All the doctors went out, the patient was open. And I said ok, God please help me…I didn’t touch the patient but it was like this…I was sweating and it was totally different. When I finished I said “I’m finished thank you” the doctors came and I was looking at my hand and inside here it was an Aleph (the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet). And I was so surprised. Because I have spots on my hand but never I saw this. An Aleph. I said wow “This is a gift, a real gift.” And since then when I say all the names of God I also said the Aleph. Because the Aleph was the gift, not for me, for these people. I don’t know – it was so amazing. In all the surgeries now the Aleph is with me. So I know really that God is with me, really. I can show you pictures.  I was taking pictures of my hand today just to show you. Because now my hand is clean. I want to show you. 


…Every name of God has got different kind of energy so I know most of them and I used them as I think I have to use with each patient (Note:  in Kabbalah, many believe there are 72 names of God). As I don’t know how to do all of them I always ask God to send what they need. What they need for them. So really – I ask also God to be my heart and my hands. So I’m putting my hands to God. I always ask him. And I think, I’m always speaking with God. I think now I have a direct channel. I don’t need a Church, I don’t need a synagogue, I don’t need a special moment. I’m so grateful with God. So everything that happens to me I say “Thank God, really thank you.” And I’m always giving thanks for everything. So I’m speaking with God most of my day. Most of my day. I don’t know. I really – if you ask me “when, how’ – What I’m doing now so also is to say the Berachah for the Netilat Yadayim (blessing for washing of the hands) everytime I wake up. Because I think it’s going to help me, or help the people to receive better energy. So that’s what I’m saying. I’m not religious. I’m very spiritual.”




I met Yemile Mizrahi Efrato in Mexico City where she is a Reiki healer who uses her Jewish understanding of Kabbalah (Jewish Mysticism) in her work, especially her work providing Reiki in hospital surgeries.  I love Yemile’s story from her childhood, when she wanted to be a cloud so that she could be closer to God. And today as an adult, Yemile says “I ask God to be my heart and my hands. …I’m always speaking to God. I think now I have a direct channel. I don’t need a Church, I don’t need a synagogue, (or) a special moment.”  


This raises for me the question of just how close can we be to God and are we ever separate from God?  And if we are never separate from God, what is the point of prayer and healing work?  


This whole area of reflection is often referred to as “dual” vs. “non-dual” understanding of God and the world.  The “dual” school of thought would say that God and our soul are separate from our body and our mind. In this case, God would be external to us, whether that God is a personal God or a non-personal energy.  The “non-dual” school would say that we are one with God (however you understand God) and each other. Here are three perspectives on dual vs. non-dual thinking, one each from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam:


  • Judaism:  Jay Michaelson beautifully describes the Jewish Kabbalistic understanding of non-dualism like this:  “In the Zohar and elsewhere, the deepest secret is that, despite appearances, all things, and all of us, are like ripples on a single pond, motes of a single sunbeam, the letters of a single word.  The true reality of our existence is One, Ein Sof, infinite, and thus the sense of separate self that we all have — the notion that “you” and “I” are individuals with souls separate from the rest of the universe – is not ultimately true.  The self is a phenomenon, an illusion, a mirage.”


  • Christianity:  One of my favorite new teachers, Franciscan priest Richard Rohr, beautifully describes the non-dual this way:  “Dualistic or divided people, however, live in a split and fragmented world. They cannot accept that God objectively dwells within them or others.”  And in his new book, The Universal Christ, Richard Rohr says “I doubt if you can see the image of God in your fellow humans if you cannot first see it in rudimentary form in stones, in plants and flowers, in strange little animals, in bread and wine, and most especially cannot honor this objective divine image in yourself.”  


  • Islam:  In the Quran 50:16 it states:  وَلَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ وَنَعۡلَمُ مَا تُوَسۡوِسُ بِهِۦ نَفۡسُهُ ۥ‌ۖ وَنَحۡنُ أَقۡرَبُ إِلَيۡهِ مِنۡ حَبۡلِ ٱلۡوَرِيدِ  “And indeed We have created man, and We know whatever thoughts his inner self develops, and We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein.”   


I subscribe to the non-dual understanding of God and that to believe in a God-energy or universal benevolent force I must see God in all things and in all people…and that God cannot be separate from anything in God’s world.


So back to Yemile Mizrahi and her beautiful Reiki healing work using the Jewish Kabbalistic names of God.  I love how she says she “asks God to be in her heart and hands, that she has a direct channel, and does not need a church or synagogue or special moment to connect to God’s healing power.”  I believe this is true because we are not ever separate from the Divine Source. It raises a good question of what is the purpose of prayer or energy work if we are never separate from God. My own understanding is that prayer and energy work provides an intention for us and a focusing power for the person being prayed for or receiving the energy work so that blockages to us receiving that Divine healing are broken open.


I realize that “Jewish Reiki Healers Using The Kabbalistic Names of God” is not a frequently Googled search term!  Yet I am so very grateful that Yemile Mizrahi Efrat came to understand this as her path.