Q: Is there anyway to do to get out being lazy and to draw our hearts closer?

Question:

Is there anyway to do to get out of being lazi and to draw our hearts closer to Avodas Hashem?

Answer:

The Rebbe says in Sichos Haran 273, “It’s good for a person to accustom himself to liven himself up with a tune. A melody is a very great and lofty thing and has a great ability to awaken and draw the heart of a person to Hashem. Even someone who is unable to sing, still, when in his house or by himself he can liven himself up with a melody however he is able to sing it. The greatness of melodies is immeasurable.”

Chassidim have always accustomed themselves to arouse themselves to Avodas Hashem through songs of Dveykus and attachment to Hashem and of awe of Him, or joyful melodies. They would even spend much time on this. Even the Rebbe related about himself that there times that it was difficult for him to daven and he would liven himself up with a tune.

“As we see that even someone very far from Hashem and is on the lowest levels, usually can become aroused towards Hashem through a melody and begins to remind himself where he is in the world, as I’ve heard from the Rebbe, that the connection and attachment that we have with Hashem from the midst of this material world who is so exalted from us, especially for someone who has sinned and become very distant from his Father in Heaven, is primarily through melody and singing, which is the characteristic of all the songs and praises which we say to Hashem.” (LKH Nesias Capayim 5)

We should very much try to simply accustom ourselves with this habit of singing to ourselves tunes which have to ability to awaken our hearts towards Hashem, especially on Shabbos and Yom Tov, in order to draw our hearts to Hashem through singing.

It would be wonderful to try to gather a group of friends to sing together. Someone who gets into such a habit could potentially change completely, and to reach a strong connection with Hashem, even if right now he is very far. From the obstacles which there are in getting together to sing as a group we can understand how great is the power of song and how much the Yetzer Hara tries to stop it.

Question:

What is the inner power of a song?

Answer:

A melody has the ability to connect between two opposites because it touches on the innermost point in a person’s heart and draws a person after it. Therefore, it’s understood that when trying to inspire oneself in Avodas Hashem, one should sing proper songs through which the heart is awakened and drawn after Hashem.

We find such an example by the Neviim, the Prophets who when preparing to receive prophecy would play musical instruments in order to become joyful, and thus the spirit of prophecy would rest upon them. This is because both song and prophecy both draw their power from the same supernal source.

Even today, in exile, even though there aren’t prophets, it’s still possible to draw upon ourselves a flow of prophecy (LKM II 1), meaning that we can awaken in our hearts a spark of dveykus with Hashem and to enthrone Him with pure and clear Emunah so much that it encompasses all of the feelings in our heart.

The truth is that the entire universe, every stone, plant, animal and person, sings constantly to Hashem (as we see in Perek Shira). The only thing is, is that person doesn’t hear the sound of this wonderful melody because he is drawn after laziness and heaviness. Therefore a person should sing proper tunes and melodies in the style which is accepted by Tzaddikim and thereby open up his heart and be drawn after Hashem with wondrous dveykus.

Of course, this doesn’t always work immediately, and sometimes one has to start singing even without any feeling until he starts to feel something.

Question:

What is the root of falling into heaviness in Avodas Hashem?

Answer:

The Rebbe gave a clear answer: “Someone who hears a tune form an evil singer, has a hard time in serving the Creator” (LKM I 3). The entire cause of heaviness, that everything in Avodas Hashem seems to him to be a heavy load, is because he hears melodies from evil singers, which negatively affects his liveliness in Kedushah. He becomes like a Metzora, thrown out of holiness, and the light from Above is prevented from shining on him. On the other hand, the Rebbe says, “To hear singing from a proper singer is good for him”, that all of his Avodas Hashem becomes good and pleasant.

Question:

How can we know who is an evil singer?

Answer:

We cannot get into all of the details of who is that evil singer, if it is referring to a specific person or if we can listen to recordings or to listen to instrumental without lyrics or if we may sing songs for ourselves which originate by improper people.

We just have to know in general that melody has the power to bring a person to a level of building Hashem’s Kingdom and to feel a wonderful liveliness in connection with Hashem. A person can then understand by himself to use the power of song properly, to sing songs which come from Tzaddikim and those who serve Hashem which have the ability to truly awaken by him love of Hashem.

We should pay attention to whether involved in that “love” of Hashem there is also a little awe and fear of Him, as we see by the tunes of the Tzaddikim, or “love” that only strengthens the Yetzer. Someone who looks honestly will be able to differentiate.

[Someone once commented that a way of telling the difference would be whether it would be possible to sing a specific tune together with friends on Shabbos without the accompaniment of the beat of musical instruments. Although this is not a precise definition at all, it still contains some truth.]

Of course, even with proper tunes, we should pay attention that the singing should be for Hashem’s sake in a fashion that inspires the heart with dveykus and joy.

Author: Ephraim Portnoy

Ephraim Portnoy studied in both Beth Medrash Gevoha and the Breslov Kollel of Lakewood. He currently resides in Brachfeld, Israel.

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