Translated by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum



In this material world, especially if we have sinned and are very far from God, the main way to attach ourselves to God is through melody and song.

Likutey Halachot, Nesiat Kapayim 5:6

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It is good to get into the habit of livening yourself up with a tune.

Holy melodies are very exalted, having great power to stir the heart and draw it to God.

Even if you cannot sing well, you can still inspire yourself with a tune. Sing it as best as you can, in privacy if you wish. The loftiness of melody is beyond all measure.

Sichot Haran #273

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Music and prophetic spirit

A holy melody can bring you to the level of prophecy. Music is the foundation of true attachment to God.

Likutey Moharan I, 3

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It was through music that prophetic spirit rest ed upon the prophets (see II Kings 3:15 ) . A musical instrument is a vessel containing air ( ruach , spirit). The air in the instrument is a mixture of good and bad. On the one hand there is the anxious, depressed spirit - a bad spirit, as we find in the case of King Saul: "and an evil spirit terrified him" ( I Samuel 16:14) . On the other hand, there is a good spirit, as it is written: "Let Your good spirit lead me in an even land" (Psalms 143:10) . This good spirit is the spirit of prophecy: holy spirit. But when good and bad are mixed up, it is impossible to receive true prophecy.

The musician playing the instrument must gather the good spirit - the spirit of prophecy - and separate it from the sad, depressed spirit. He must understand music in order to know how to sift out and gather up the parts of the spirit and put them together in order to construct the melody, namely the joy, in order to build the good, prophetic spirit, which is the opposite of the depressed spirit. He must move his hand up and down the instrument in order to channel the joy and bring it to perfection.

And when the prophet hears a melody from an expert musician, he receives a spirit of prophecy, the very spirit that the musician gathered with his hand and separated from the depressed spirit. Thus the attendants of the depressed King Saul said to him of the young David: "And he will play with his hand and it will be good for you" ( I Samuel 16:16 ) .

Accordingly, by playing the musical instrument with one's hand, one sifts, purifies and elevates the good spirit and separates it from the bad. This is the way to overcome the evil spirit of folly that seeks to spoil and upset the good, prophetic spirit. The bad spirit is dissipated through the joy that comes through the hand of the player.

For the root of the power of the spirit of folly lies in sadness and depression. Therefore the only way to receive a holy spirit of prophecy is through joy - the joy created by the hand of the player. Thus, "It was when the musician played that the hand of God was upon him" ( II Kings 3:15 ) ; "and he will play with his hand and it will be good for you". The player who has the power of the hand can sift out the good spirit from the bad and thereby subdue the evil spirit.

Likutey Moharan I, 54

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Melody, health and healing

The life and workings of the body are governed by ten basic pulses. These in turn are vitalized by ten kinds of melody emanating from the soul. Negativity, anxiety and depression weaken the pulses, and this can cause illness. But when the melody of the soul is joyous, it strengthens the vitality of the pulses and brings health to the body.

Likutey Moharan I, 24

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Sweetening decrees

Melody sweetens the harsh judgments. When you sing the words of your prayers in a clear, bright voice, the Indwelling Presence is robed in radiant garments, and this is how the harsh judgments are sweetened

Likutey Moharan I, 42

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When harsh decrees threaten Israel , they can be sweetened through dancing and hand- clapping.

Likutey Moharan I, 10

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Joy of the mitzvah

Dancing for joy over a mitzvah is a wonderful thing. There are times when it is a mitzvah to drink wine, as on Shabbat and festivals, or at weddings and other religious celebrations. If you drink on such occasions, do not drink to excess but in moderation. Your intention should be for the sake of Heaven, to experience the true joy of Israel , which is to rejoice in God, who chose us from all the nations.

As the joy begins to radiate within you, it will spread to your legs until you literally start to dance for joy. This will banish the forces of impurity, which take hold of the legs, mitigating harsh judgments and enabling you to receive blessings.

The fervor with which you dance is "a fire offering, a sweet savor to the Lord" (Numbers 28:8) . However, when a person dances with the heat of the evil inclination, this is a "strange fire" (Leviticus 10:1) , while the wine he drinks is the "wine of drunkenness", which allows the forces of impurity to take hold .

Holy dance has the same power to sweeten harsh judgments as a redemption performed by a Tzaddik.

Likutey Moharan I, 41

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By Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
© AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5767 - 2006-7 All rights reserved