Music and singing is a very important aspect of serving Hashem (G-d). Many of us are continually seeking out spirituality and enlightenment. Unfortunately, some of use look elsewhere, as we do not know how to find it in Judaism. If only we would realize the power of Jewish music, the nigun, we would draw ourselves completely to D’veikus (spiritual enlightenment) with Hashem, our Creator. As it says in Likutey Etzos, “Music has a tremendous power to draw one to Hashem. You should 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 G-d.” Let us not look to the music of other nations, when such glory comes from our nigunim and the words they contain.
It was this very music that brought simple devoted Jews to the high levels of prophecy. Maybe we have forgotten how to hear our own music. Klezmer music, chassidic negunim and Jewish music in general should not be lacking from our homes and lives. Was it not King Saul who brought in King David to play music for him? It is also said that music from a G-d-fearing individual has the power to lift one from depression and inspire him with joy (Likutey Etzos). The higher one strives for emes, the more the degree to which one can be attacked by depression. Therefore Saul needed the power of Jewish melody and song to lift him out from sadness.
A professional musician from the Baltimore Symphony ,whom is not Jewish, told me that she feels that the true art of music comes from the Jewish people. She also said how disappointing it is that many of our people don’t bring up their children to play musical instruments.
One cannot speak about Jewish Music without mentioning the Modzitzer Dynasty. Someone asked Reb Yisrael, “What does negina, accomplish?” He answered, “Negina causes people to do teshuva (repentance) and brings them closer to G-d.” He then went on to explain it in this mashel (parable): “A miller once went to the city to purchase an alarm clock. While wrapping the clock for the miller, the clockmaker ridiculed him. ‘How can you use an alarm clock? Your mill makes so much noise and yet you sleep through it all. You’ll never hear the ring of the alarm!’ The miller answered, ‘You may be a clockmaker, but you don’t know human nature. I’m so used to the mill that I can sleep through all the noise it makes. But I’m not used to the alarm clock, so its sound will awaken me.’ The same applies to negina. Everyone has his regular lifestyle with its sounds and rhythms, but a nigun will break him out of his reverie, and can bring him to teshuva.”
If you are unable to play an instrument do not despair. Hashem gave a beautiful gift with the ability to sing. When I sing I try to meditate on the sound as I exhale. I imagine in my mind that I’m fallowing the sound waves up to my ears. By doing this the nigun becomes a part of me. I especially appreciate chassidic nigunim which begin with words and continue as just a nigun, a repetition without words. To me it is as if these words, which the melody began with, are now being elevated higher and higher with the melody that continues. There is no better therapy then Jewish music for one’s soul. I hope that next time you feel a bit down you will turn to an uplifting Jewish song, that was made with the intensions of bringing the listener closer to Hashem. Blessed be our Creator who gave us ears to listen to these sweet melodies, and our mouths to sing praises to Him. May Hashem bless you with the ability to truly hear music like our sages and nevi’im of old.
Live a life of simcha through the Art of Jewish Music and nigunim!
THIS PAGE IS DEDICATED TO THE ONE AND ONLY TATI WHO FILLED MY CHILDHOOD WITH LOVE AND APPRECIATION FOR MUSIC~! I used to laugh when I saw him sing and dance to his favorite songs, now I myself do the same:)