1) A holy melody gives strength to the forces of holiness. But the music of the Sitra Achra, the Other Side, damages these forces and lengthens the exile. It makes people stumble and traps them like birds in a snare. Be very careful never to listen to this kind of music at all. The musicians and singers who produce it have no religious intentions whatsoever. On the contrary, they only want to make money or become famous. Listening to this kind of music can seriously weaken your devotion to God. But the melodies played by a truly religious, God-fearing musician can be very inspiring. They can strengthen your devotion immensely (Likutey Moharan I, 3).

2) Studying the Gemarah at night is a protection against being influenced by the music of the Other Side (Ibid.).

3) A holy melody has the power to bring one to the level of prophecy. Music is the foundation of true attachment to God (Ibid.).

4) One who sings with purity has kingship and power. He has the power to do whatever he wants. He can give life or death to whomever he wants. But he must be careful to judge all people in the scale of merit so as not to destroy the world. For God desires lovingkindness, and He wants the world to endure (Ibid.).

5) When a person achieves moral purity, his voice is also purified. Simply through hearing the sound of his voice singing, God sees which enemy is oppressing us, which of the seventy nations with their seventy languages. Then God saves us from trouble. When a harsh decree is passed against the Jews, God forbid, and one of the nations rises up against us, it is very good to sing the song or anthem of that nation. When our cries and singing are directed towards Heaven, it arouses God's love. He looks down upon us in our trouble and saves us from the people oppressing us (27).

6) From a person's voice you can tell whether he is powerful or not and to what degree. Everybody has a certain degree of power and influence, and it is recognizable in his voice (230).

7) Music sweetens the harsh judgements. When you sing the words of the prayers in a clear, bright voice, the Shechinah is robed in radiant garments, and this is how the harsh judgements are sweetened (42).

8) Man is endowed with an image-making faculty, which is one of the most powerful forces in his life, because it is through this that he forms his concepts. But because it is linked to the imagination, it is seriously prone to error. Good and evil are mixed up. But music played by a truly God-fearing player for the sake of Heaven has a wonderful power to subdue the wildness of the imagination, and the good is sifted from the bad. Such music has the power to lift you from depression and inspire you with joy. This is the way to develop a good memory, which means to remember at all times the goal of the World to Come and to understand the things God sends every day to draw you closer to Him. When you have a good memory, you are free of the deceptions of surface appearances (54).

9) There is a form of atheism from which there is no return. But the melody of the truly great Tzaddik has the power to raise up the souls which have fallen into this (64).

10) The miserable wailing of the songs of the wicked does a great deal of damage because people are easily influenced by them. But when the Tzaddikim sing these songs on Shabbat they elevate and purify them (226).

11) Music has a tremendous power to draw you to God. Get into the habit of always singing a tune. It will give you new life and send joy into your soul. Then you will be able to bind yourself to God. It is especially good to sing on Shabbat and the festivals, and at a wedding celebration (273).

Online English translation of Likutey Etzot
A compendium of Rabbi Nachman's practical teachings on spiritual growth and devotion.
© AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5766 / 2006