The octopus is one of the most intelligent creatures in the ocean. It's famous for opening jars and escaping from complex enclosures. The octopus is also notable for having most of its neurons reside in its arms, enabling them to perform complicated tasks even when severed from the octopus.

Human beings have been dreaming of having octopus-like qualities for ages. Wouldn't it be easier to serve the kids dinner with eight arms? Interestingly enough, the Kabbalah/Chassidic philosophy actually do mention a human-cephalopod connection, although unfortunately it doesn't give us eight arms.

The Kabbalah writes that people have intellectual 'brain-power' in our very limbs, just as the octopus does. This brain-power that human beings have in their limbs is, Chassidic philosophy writes, bone marrow. In Hebrew bone marrow is called 'Mo'ach' (מוֹחַ), which is the very same word used for 'brain'.

The Kabbalah explains that this is because bone marrow also functions as a 'mini-brain' that enables the mind's complex intellectual powers and spiritual sensitivity to manifest themselves in other limbs (e.g. it enables a hand to produce detailed, complex works of art etc.).

Once on the topic of 'brain-power', let's speak about the mind and it's capacity for grasping spirituality for a moment. It's not for naught that intellect and mind-based spirituality have such high standing in Judaism. Our physical actions and experiences crave inspiration and direction. The brain's intellect has a unique ability to grasp spirituality and to discern right from wrong. It also has a powerful capacity for leadership.

Where the mind goes, the rest of us follows soon after. If we fill our minds with good things, Torah and positivity, sooner or later we'll be doing good things, and if we fill our minds with negative things, they're bound to quickly influence our action too. Hence we find little 'representatives' of the mind scattered around the entire person, within the marrow.

Everything blossoms from filling the mind with Torah and positivity. Yes, true meaning in life is only attained in the physical world of action - dinner with family, time with the kids, even time at the office. But that very action should be guided and inspired by positive thoughts of the mind. The true joys of family, friendship and love - all of which are found in exclusively the world of action, not in the world of the mind - are unlocked when guided by a mind filled with Torah and positivity.

Like the octopus, we have 'mini-brains' embedded in every limb, highlighting the critical importance of having our entire being guided by positive thoughts, Torah and a healthy state of mind. The objective is to use that intellectual, spiritual inspiration to transform all of our day to day actions into delightful, inspired and meaningful experiences with family, friends and community.

Rabbi Avrohom