The Sound Of Music

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught…

“When a person heard the melody of a wicked musician, it damages his service of G-d, but when he hears the melody of a “kosher” musician, it is good for his Divine service… Music is rooted in a very lofty place on high. When it is produced impurely, it is like the song of impure birds, like flying rumors that cause damage. But when it is produced purely, it derives from the same spiritual source as true prophecy.”
(Likutey Moharan I:3)

 

What does this mean to me?
As a lover of music and a person who also loves to play music, I always have this lesson either at the forefront or the back of my mind when engaged with music. I’m not going to address the whole subject of how we are to make the distinction between “kosher” and “impure” music, since Rebbe Nachman does not provide a formula for making such a judgment. Just prior to teaching this lesson, he did have a run-in with a certain chazzan, whom Rebbe Nachman indicated was focused on singing as a way of building his ego. So that is one problematic area. But really, Rebbe Nachman does provide some guidance: instead of seeing his words as only prescriptive, we can also see them as descriptive. If the aftereffects of listening to certain music lead me to better serve G-d, then it is likely to be positive. If they are negative, then I should avoid that music. Of course, a person needs to be paying close attention to his connection with G-d in order to discover this, but isn’t this what hisbodedus is for?

 

A prayer:

“In Your loving mercy, dear G-d,
Give me strength to praise You
With truly joyful, beautiful songs.

“Guide me so that I avoid music
Which has a bad influence on me.
Instead, help me raise myself to You
With holiness and melodies of rejoicing.”

(Between me and You: Heartfelt Prayers for Each Jewish Woman, pg. 44)

We encourage hearing your feedback and may anonymously publish your remarks. Please send email to: yehudis.golshevsky@breslov.org

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Your Feedback:
These words touched my heart and put into words that infinite light that Rabbeinu keeps shining so bright. Now I feel like the Torah is mine!
SC

Shalom dear Jews.
This is by far the best text I’ve read in a long, long time. Shabbat shalom.
YH

All of us experience times that are painful, sorrowful, and stressful. We occasionally wonder whether we can weather the current situation. Did we not summon the strength to pass all of the previous tribulations? When we summon our emuna and bitachon we will likewise pass the future ones. Not to worry. All is good and we are in good hands.
ML

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Author: Yehudis Golshevsky

Yehudis in her own words: When I first began learning Rebbe Nachman’s teachings with my husband and other teachers, I felt as though I had come home to the personal and vital relationship with G-d that I’d always sought. Today, a large part of my inspiration comes from helping other Jewish women discover their own spiritual potential through the meaningful teachings of Breslov Chassidut. Yehudis Golshevsky has been teaching Torah classes to women and working in Torah publishing for nearly twenty years. She’s a graduate of Yavne Teacher’s Seminary in Cleveland and holds a degree in Judaic Studies from SUNY at Buffalo. Currently, Yehudis is a contributor to Breslov.org and “Pathways”, the Breslov Research Institute’s weekly publication. Since 2006, she’s been taking women’s groups to Uman and other sites in Ukraine for prayer and study. Yehudis lives with her family in Jerusalem.

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