Shiur#27: The Niggun (II): Exposing the Deficiency

  • Rav Itamar Eldar
The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash

Introduction To The Thought Of Rav Nachman Of Breslov
Yeshivat Har Etzion


Shiur# 27: The Niggun (II):

Exposing the Deficiency

By Rav Itamar Eldar

In the previous shiur, we noted that a niggun is rooted in a very elevated place, and that it constitutes the possibility of a connection between the Divine profusion and man. We also noted that while this profusion can invigorate goodness, it can also give life to evil in the form of the niggun of the wicked. We remarked upon the sweeping power of a niggun and its ability to conquer and "join two things."

A NIGGUN GIVES LIFE

In this shiur we shall try to reach a more profound understanding of R. Nachman's position, through an attempt to understand what a song does to the singer and to the person who hears the song. Let us start with the following:

"From the kenaf (corner) of the earth we heard songs, tzvi latzadik (glory to the righteous). But I said, A secret to me, a secret to me, woe to me! Traitors have betrayed; and beged bogedim bagadu (those who betrayed the traitors have betrayed). [Fear, and the pit, and the trap are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth]" (Yeshayahu 24:16-17).

"From the KeNaF (corner) of the earth" corresponds to KaNFei (corners of) tzitzit, in which there is the ru'ach (spirit) of life – the aspect of King David's harp, which was played by the northern ru'ach (wind), as explained. This is because melody and song are drawn from the ru'ach of life in the KaNFei rei'a (lungs). And this is the meaning of "we heard songs," which corresponds to the song of King David's harp, the ru'ach of life. This also corresponds to the corners of the tzitzit, as in, "From the corner of the earth." And through this the wicked are subdued, as in, "To take hold of the corners of the earth, that the wicked be shaken of it."

And this is "TZVi latzadik." Rashi explains: There will be a maTZaV (firm positioning) and a standing up for the tzadikim. As we have seen, through the ru'ach of life the tzadikim overcome the wicked.

"But I said, A secret to me, a secret to me, woe to me!" Rashi explains: Two secrets were revealed to me, the secret of suffering and the secret of salvation. However, the salvation remains distant, until… For the ru'ach of the wicked is mighty while it lasts, just like the ru'ach se'ara from which come all the suffering and the lengthy exile of the Jews.

And so, "Traitors have betrayed; and BeGeD bogedim bagadu." The traitors and wicked people draw from a blemish in the BeGaDim (garments) – i.e., a blemish of the tzizit, which are on the corners of the garment – which is a blemish in the four elements, whose attachment and transcendent root correspond to the four tzitzit.

But in the end, "Fear, and the pit, and the trap are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth." All the wicked are subdued and humbled, for they will eventually be destroyed and disappear. The perfect tzadikim subdue them and "cast down the wicked to the ground" through their ru'ach of life/the tzitzit, corresponding to, "From the corner of the earth we heard songs."

King David's harp had five strings. They are representatives of the Five Books of the Torah. The Zohar (III, 32a) likewise teaches: Those who grasp the Torah are like players of the harp.

"There are five lobes to the lungs" (Chullin 47a). This is because the ru'ach of life resides in the lungs, and it is from there that the ru'ach of the sigh is drawn, as is known empirically. Thus, the lungs have five lobes, paralleling the Five Books of the Torah, the five strings of King David's harp in which there is the ru'ach of life. (Likutei Moharan Kama 8:9)

In this teaching, R. Nachman deals with the niggun of the righteous, and here too he speaks of the root of the niggun. But whereas in teaching no. 3, which we saw in the previous shiur, R. Nachman sought the external and elevated source of the niggun, in this teaching R. Nachman turns inward: "This is because melody and song are drawn from the ru'ach of life in the kanfei rei'a (lungs)." As we shall see below, there is no contradiction between the two teachings.

Regarding the source of the spirit of life, this teaching contains another two important pieces of data that must be processed:

First, that spirit of life corresponds to the four corners of the tzitzit.

And second, that same source of the spirit of life, namely, the lungs, is also the source from which man's sigh is drawn.

We shall try to open a window to that wondrous world that R. Nachman is presenting before us, through the meeting point of all the ideas mentioned above, namely, the lungs.[1]

R. Nachman, in his usual manner, tries to draw a connection between biological reality, as he understands it, and metaphysical reality, which is his primary concern.

The lung, "as is known empirically,"[2] is the source of man's breath. It is there that his "oxygen tanks" are located, and it is from there that his breath is drawn in and out.[3]

When a person is "out of breath," or in the words of R. Nachman, when there is no "drawing of life," his lungs enter into action and supply him with the required vitality. This is provided in different ways, as we shall see below, whether through a sigh, or through a song, but in any case we are dealing here with a renewed infusion of "life" into a place where there is currently an absence and deficiency thereof.

R. Nachman extends this model in a two-fold fashion - first from the biological to the spiritual level, and then from the individual to the general and universal plain.

TZITZIT – THE CONNECTING THREAD

Both man as a spiritual being, as well as the world in which the forces of good and evil, spirit and matter, operate, may find themselves in a situation "where they have no oxygen," where they are severed from the Divine vitality that operates and activates every living thing. We are dealing here with a kind of "loss of consciousness." The mind continues to function on the cognitive level, but there is no breathing, no flow of vitality. This is a situation of deficiency, in which the person is void of life, and the world is ruled by evil. It is here that R. Nachman introduces the tzitzit.

This mitzva bears a unique quality. The four corners of the tzitzit, argues R. Nachman, are, on the one hand, the four corners of the earth, while on the other hand, they are the four elements of the world. Tzitzit, then, are well connected to material reality, and it may even be said that in a certain sense they embody it. The four elements are the fundamental building blocks[4] which make up all of material reality, and the four corners of the earth comprise the place in which material reality is located. The spirit is above place and above matter, and the four corners of the earth and the four elements take us back down from the spirit to the earth.

The four elements and place, by their very nature, draw downwards: "For all the evil attributes are drawn from the four elements, the root of which is the four corners of the tzitzit," contends R. Nachman in the previous section of the same teaching.[5] And it is here that tzitzit enter the picture:

That you may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them; and that you seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you go astray. (Bamidbar 15:39)

The tzitzit worn on the four corners of a person's garment are meant to accompany him in his daily encounter with the four corners of the earth and the four elements – with material reality. The tzitzit are placed on a person's clothing! A person goes to the bathroom with his tzitzit; he wears them when he studies Torah, as well as when he engages in idle chatter. The tzitzit are supposed to remind a person,[6] even when he is deeply immersed in material reality, that there is something above him, that there is a spirit of life to which he must connect, and which is supposed to give life even to that reality in which he presently finds himself.

Tzitzit, then, symbolize a certain thing as well as its opposite. They mark material reality in all its diverse forms, but they also mark the potential to raise and elevate it to the knowledge that "I am the Lord your God who has taken you out of the land of Egypt to be your God" (Bamidbar 16:41).

When there is a defect in the tzitzit, that is, when the tzitzit do not fulfill their role as the connecting thread between matter and spirit, when they do not draw down Divine vitality from the source of life, it is the hour of the wicked to rule. When man and the world lose the root of their vitality, when man feels separate and distant from the source of the living God, when the great deficiency that threatens a man's life becomes exposed and he is left without air to breathe - all that is left for man to do is either to sigh, as a Jew knows how to sigh, or to sing, and again, as only a Jew knows how to sing, at the height of his pain and at the most intense moment of his suffering – to sing.

"From the corner of the earth we heard songs" is the way to repair the defect of the tzitzit, and create anew the relationship between "that you seek not after your own heart" and "that you may remember."

THE NIGGUN AS A SOLUTION TO SUFFERING

Both the sigh[7] and the song, each in its own way, draw vitality. Every song and every sigh are essentially directed at a deficiency that was uncovered and causes distress, and try to fill it with a renewed living spirit.

It seems to me that this is the way to understand the following words of R. Nachman:

The Levites had a special song for each day, but now in the exile the songs have been forgotten. And when a certain calamity befalls a certain nation, then the song of the Levites that corresponds to that calamity sparkles. (Sefer ha-Midot, negina 2)

R. Nachman makes a strange connection between the songs of the Levites in the Temple and the condition of the nations of the world. Any calamity that befalls a certain nation leads to the revelation of the song that corresponds to that calamity. In light of the aforementioned teaching, the connection is understandable: When a song is forgotten, the vitality, which that niggun was supposed to draw into the real world, is cut off. That reality, which is now lifeless, is the ground on which the wicked nation will rise at the expense of Israel. The fall of that nation is merely an indication that the Divine vitality and idea that relate to that nation and to the deficiency that led to its growth are once again sparkling in the world. This sparkling is the restoration of that song, which expresses that idea and that spirit of life – the song made up the deficiency.

It is interesting to compare what is stated here with the following words of R. Nachman, which at first glance are quite astonishing:

3. And a majestic countenance corresponds to Torah expositions. For the Torah is expounded by way of thirteen principles, which are drawn from the thirteen rectifications of the ZaKaN (beard) – the aspect of a majestic countenance. As it is written (Vayikra 19:32), "Show reverence for the presence of the ZaKeN (elder)."

4. Commensurate with the refining of his wisdom by these thirteen principles, is the refinement of the voice of his song. This is as in: An elder is one who has KaNaH (acquired) wisdom (Kiddushin 32b). The KaNeH (windpipe) emits the voice.

[Let Me see your countenance, let Me hear your voice" (Shir ha-Shirim 2:14).] This is the meaning of: "Let Me see your countenance" – this is the concept of majestic countenance, the elder, as explained. "Let Me hear your voice" – for the voice is in accordance with the wisdom of the Torah expositions, in accordance with the intellect of the thirteen principles through which he is DoReSH (expounds) the Torah. And this is (Amos 5:4), "DiRSHuni (seek Me) and live," for "Wisdom gives life to the one who possesses it" (Kohelet 7:12).

5. Now, when his voice is refined, then by making only his voice heard, [even] without speech, the Holy One saves him in his time of affliction. This is as in (Tehilim 106:44), "He saw their affliction, when He heard their rina" – by making his voice [heard] the Holy One sees whom it is that afflicts him, which nation afflicts us.

This is the meaning of (Devarim 27:8), "a good ba'er (clarification)" – in seventy languages. By means of the expositions of the Torah, through which the voice is emitted, He gave us good in all [the seventy] languages. This is as in Besham'o et rinatam ("when He heard their song/supplication/outcry"), the first letters of which form the word Ba'ER, and ba'er indicates explanation and exposition…

The following relates to above:[8]

"He saw their affliction, when He heard their rina" – by making his voice heard the Holy One sees who it is that afflicts him, which nation afflicts us. And [R. Nachman] said that, therefore, when the Jews suffer some decree and affliction from some nation, God forbid, it is then good to play the music of that nation which afflicts them. This is the meaning of, "when He heard their rina." Specifically their rina – i.e., the singing and music of that nation that afflicts the Jewish people, God forbid. (Likutei Moharan Kama 27)

We shall first relate to the end of the teaching, where R. Nachman asserts that with the help of the sounding of the song of the nation that is afflicting Israel, Israel merits salvation from the hands of that nation.[9] The song is the breath of life of the nation that is afflicting Israel, and when Israel reveals the song, they redeem it and elevate it to a higher level (for example, by applying the tune to holy words). In this way, they remove the soul of that nation, paving the way for its extinction and death.

R. Nachman is not speaking here of "stealing a tune," but rather with our "pointing out" to God, as it were, that nation that is hurting Israel: "By making his voice heard the Holy One sees who it is that afflicts him, which nation afflicts us."

It seems to me that R. Nachman is remaining faithful to his position. The niggun, according to R. Nachman, fills a deficiency. Its absence is the space in which the situation of affliction and subjugation is created. When Israel sings the song of the subjugating nation, they point out the deficiency that must be filled in.[10] Just as the fall of a wicked nation reveals the song of the Levites, so too the revelation of the song leads to the fall of the subjugating nation. The ability to sing the song of the subjugating nation is the ability to clarify and define that which is missing. This is also the implication of what precedes this assertion in sections 3-4.

EXPOSING THE DEFICIENCY

In these sections, R. Nachman speaks of "the refinement of the voice." He is dealing specifically, and perhaps in contrast to what one might have expected, with the rational process of using the thirteen principles by way of which the Torah is expounded. "Commensurate with the refining of his wisdom… is the refinement of the voice of his song," just as first "Let Me see your countenance," and only afterwards, "let Me hear your voice."

Gaining Torah wisdom by way of the thirteen hermeneutical principles is not merely a rational, informative process. The thirteen hermeneutical principles are the garments of the Divine wisdom that reveals itself in the thirteen rectifications of the beard that bestow a majestic appearance.[11] Wisdom gives life to those who have attained it, according to R. Nachman, in that it provides a person with the ability to clarify and draw from within him the spirit of life within him, and that spirit of life is exposed by way of "the voice without speech." R. Nachman emphasizes that we are dealing with voice alone without speech. Since speech expresses itself through letters, words, and definitions, it misses the inner, refined truth which is elevated above definition. Only the voice, therefore, can draw that spirit of life from potentiality to actuality.

This ability to clarify also provides a person with the ability to understand what is missing in the Jewish people, because of which there arose for Israel a nation that subjugated it. The niggun of that nation is but the drawing of the spirit of life to that deficiency. Essentially we are dealing with a sort of prayer, and drawing of Divine profusion to that weak link. In the words of R. Nachman: "By making his voice [heard] the Holy One sees whom it is that afflicts him."

When a certain nation afflicts Israel, the natural instinct is to adopt a defensive position and negate everything connected to nation or issuing from it. We shall not buy its products, nor sing its songs, for they are haters of Israel. Comes Chassidut in its various ways and asks of Israel to act against its instinct, and not as a gesture or seeking of peace, but rather out of the desire to vanquish the enemy. Hide not your face from him, suggests Chassidut; look directly into his eyes, and then one of the following two things will happen.

According to Chabad, by looking directly at him, you will be able to draw from him the little good that is found within him, and thus you will leave him without that good. As long as the good was within him, the enemy had an objective, destination, and role within the framework of the Divine process. Once you remove that good from him, you have removed his inner self and his kelipa can be discarded.

According to R. Nachman, by looking directly at the nation afflicting Israel, you can understand what is missing within you. The place where he wishes to attack is vulnerable, and therefore it must be strengthened. If he comes to steal our land, this is only because of a flaw in our relationship to it. If he comes to violate the holy things of Israel and its Torah, this is only because of a deficiency in our safeguarding them, in our loyalty to them. Understanding the enemy's song will expose our own deficiencies, and this is the first step to repairing them. The enemy, contends R. Nachman in perfect faith, is a fiction! We are dealing with a mirror image of our own faults, and so the treatment must be performed not on the mirror, but on what is reflected in it. This is what R. Nachman means when he speaks of taking the songs of the nations of the world.[12]

Using this principle, it may be possible to understand this difficult passage of R. Nachman:

The evening of Shabbat Chazon 5569, when they related before him the great troubles and unusual deaths suffered by the people of Ostrov, may the Merciful protect us, at the time of the fire the previous Friday night, he said: They suffer terrible troubles by way of the niggun, namely, the niggun with which we conclude the "U-netane tokef" piyyut. For we first sing the well-known melody "mi yanu'ach u-mi yanu'a," and we end with the singing of "mi yishafel u-mi yarum." And then we conclude with the melody alone without words, before we begin "u-teshuva u-tefila utzedaka," as everyone knows. The melody that continues after the end of "mi yarum" also indicates certain decrees, God forbid. For at the beginning, he explicitly mentions various decrees, "mi yanu'ach" and "mi yishafel," and he sings them using the known melody. And afterwards the melody alone continues without words, as if were concluding with an allusion using a melody alone without explicit words. From this melody come the decrees, God forbid, that are not stated explicitly in the "U-netane tokef" piyyut. The chazan alludes to them when he sings the melody alone. The matter is understood by those who are familiar with the melodies of the High Holidays. (Chayei Moharan, Service of God, 23, 466)

A niggun, according to what we have said, sometimes exposes what is lacking in the world, and sometimes this deficiency which brings afflictions upon Israel cannot even be expressed in words. "Mi bamayim u-mi ba'esh" and "mi bara'av u-mi batzama" are definitive terms that well explain, with intensity and pain, the deficiency and the price it exacts. But there are deficiencies that only a niggun can expose, and this niggun is a bitter tiding of the price that will be exacted if the deficiency is not repaired.[12]

REPAIRING THE WORLD

We have noted that there are times when the niggun of a nation that is afflicting Israel points out Israel's deficiencies to Israel and to God, and in that way begins the process of tikkun (repair).

In the following teaching, R. Nachman proposes another way to understand a niggun's capacity "to mitigate judgment" and prevent punishment:

"Vayar batzar lahem (He saw that they were in distress), when He heard their song. [Then He remembered His covenant for them and in His abundant lovingkindness relented"] (Tehilim 106:44-45).

Judgment is mitigated through song, as it is written in the holy Zohar. The keshet (rainbow) is the Shekhina (Divine Presence), and the three colors of the rainbow are the Patriarchs, who are garments of the Shekhina.

Now, when [the Shekhina] dresses in radiant garments, then, "I will see her and remember the everlasting covenant" (Bereishit 9:16). Then, "the king's wrath abated" (Ester 7:10). It is like the parable of the king who got angry at his son. But when the king sees the queen in her radiant garments, he takes pity on his son.

And the letters of prayer are the Shekhina, as it is written (Tehilim 5:17), "Adonai (My Lord), open my lips" – the spoken word being the name Adonai. And it is called a keshet (bow), as Rashi explains (Bereishit 48:22): "with my sword and my bow" – this connotes prayer.

Now, the sounds of song are the three colors of the rainbow, for the voice consists of fire, water, and wind. These are the three Patriarchs, the Patriarchs being the three radiant colors in whom "I will see her and remember [the everlasting covenant]."

Thus it is that when someone sings the letters of prayer, and the sounds of the singing are very pure and clean, then he clothes the Shekhina – i.e., the letters – in radiant garments. And the Holy one, blessed be He, sees her, so that "the King's wrath abated."

This is the meaning of Rashi's commentary: "When He heard their song" – in the merit of the Patriarchs. In other words, when song, which is the three colors of the rainbow, is very clear and pure – because the three colors are the Patriarchs, and they are the garments of the Shekhina, so that when the garments are radiant in ZaKuT (purity) and clarity they are called "the ZeKhuT (merit) of the Patriarchs" – then, "I will see her and remember the everlasting covenant." Then, "and in His abundant lovingkindness relented," i.e., "the King's wrath abated" and the judgments are mitigated. (Likutei Moharan Kama 42)

R. Nachman speaks here about clothing the Shekhina in radiant garments. When God sees these garments, He relents and His wrath abates.

What are these radiant garments that have the capacity to move God from the attribute of judgment to the attribute of mercy?

R. Nachman uses an exceedingly difficult parable, when he speaks of a king who relents when he sees the beauty of his wife. He goes even further when he uses the verse, "And the king's wrath abated" which deals with that hedonistic and voluptuous king, whose wife's beauty drove him crazy. Not so the King of kings, for while we may invoke the rule of "speaking in the language of man," we must clarify and sharpen the difference between God and man.

We have previously mentioned that underlying the divided world in which we live stands the exile of the Shekhina and its separation from its infinite source, the Holy One, blessed be He. This Shekhina is "imprisoned" in the darkness of matter and seeks redemption. It yearns to return to its source and cleave to the light of God, life of the universe. And as we have already mentioned, it is man upon whom falls the task of liberating the Shekhina.

The union of the Holy One, blessed be He, and his Shekhina is not a "marital solution," involving the establishment of peaceful relations between man and wife. Rather, it is the redemption of the world, and the ability to see how each and every element of existence uses the same life force the root of which is infinite light. When this perspective is perfected, a person succeeds in redeeming that element and returning its vitality to its source.

The Shekhina's garment is at all times clothed in garments. In effect, the garments are the Shekhina's chains which prevent it from uniting anew with its source. The niggun, argues R. Nachman, is merely the removal of "soiled garments" from the Shekhina, and dressing it anew with clean garments, which diminish and blur the partition between it and the Holy One, blessed be He. Let us allow ourselves to haltingly take one more small step along the daring path of R. Nachman, and say that the will of the Holy One, blessed be He, is to see His queen when she is intoxicated, and this will is the Divine movement that seeks to reunite the divided reality.

The niggun, it would appear to me, is the first step in this direction. We are not yet talking about drunkenness, but we are certainly talking about a kind of exposure, of undressing – these are "the radiant garments," which reveal the "body of the queen" of the Shekhina with fewer and fewer partitions, and the light of God continues to undress itself, expose itself, remove its garments, and come closer to the perfect union, and then when "the queen is drunk," then "those impudent dogs go out and do not enter."[15]

R. Nachman expresses a similar idea, using a different parable, in the following:

He said: It is good to make a habit of inspiring yourself with melody. For a niggun is a great thing and exceedingly elevated. And it has the great power to arouse the heart of man and draw it to God, may He be blessed. Even someone who cannot sing well, nevertheless when alone in his own home, he can still inspire himself with a melody sung to the best of his ability. For the loftiness of melody is beyond all measure.

Already explained in the words of our master, of blessed memory, are several towering teachings speaking of song. See the end of The Story of the Seven Beggars, which alludes to the importance of melody. For it is stated there that the unconscious princess is cured mainly through melody, through the ten categories of song, as it is explained there. Understand the depth of this.

The divine soul in every Jew is a princess – a king's daughter. She lies where she lies by each and every one, weary, faint and weak because of her sins, which are the ten kinds of arrows that were shot at her by the king who held her captive, as is explained there. And we need a tzadik with great strength, who can enter into all the places where the soul has fallen, and remove all ten kinds of arrows, and to know all ten kinds of heart beats, so that he may know how to cure it, and to play all ten kinds of song, for the most important element in its healing is song and joy. (Sichot ha-Ran 273).[16]

R. Nachman speaks here explicitly of man's soul, which he likens to a king's daughter who is being held captive by another king – a king of flesh and blood who shot ten arrows at her. It falls upon man to remove these arrows, and thus repair the "ten kinds of heart beats."[17]

The ten kinds of song constitute the means by which to rescue the king's daughter and liberate her from those deadening arrows that keep her chained to the material world.[18]

Song, then, is an act of "rescue" – of exposure, of elevation over the restraints of reality. With the flow of song, the soul becomes liberated from its bonds, and finds the path that will lead it back to cleave to its source.

If we summarize what we have seen thus far, it follows that, on the one hand, song is the Divine vitality that gives life to all the worlds, as we saw in the previous shiur. Its source is from on high and it is the source of inspiration for all spirits, as we shall also see in the next shiur.

On the other hand, song is itself the way to expose and elevate the soul and return it to its source. It is the means by which to uncover what is lacking and fill in the deficiency. It "remembers and reminds," as we saw with respect to speech. We are dealing here with psychological movement as well as with psychological content. The two together create the full and complex picture of the enormous strength of song and its amazing qualities.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] In this teaching R. Nachman also mentions David's lyre. In our next shiur, we shall relate to this point at length.

[2] A clear R. Nachmanian expression!

[3] Let us once again emphasize, as we have already noted in the past, that we do not wish to draw a precise biological picture, but rather that "which is known empirically." First, because that is also what R. Nachman saw. And second, because we are dealing here with an attempt to draw a connection between what the eyes see and inner vision, and therefore we are particularly interested in "what is known empirically."

[4] Based on the understanding of the Greeks, which was generally accepted throughout the Middle Ages and until the modern period.

[5] This idea is fairly well accepted, and brought down also by R. Shneur Zalman of Ladi in his Tanya, chap. 1. He adds that its source is in the kelipa and that it is part of the esoteric teaching regarding the breaking of the vessels.

[6] Especially its blue thread, which is similar to the sea, which is similar to the sky, which is similar to the Throne of Glory.

[7] We shall not deal here with R. Nachman's understanding of sighing, which constitutes an independent topic of discussion.

[8] At the end of this teaching, R. Natan brings addenda. This is the addendum to what is stated in the last section of the teaching.

[9] This idea of using the enemy's niggun is not exclusively R. Nachman's. When Napoleon's army invaded Russia, many Chasidic courts were concerned about the negative influences of the French reformation, and therefore supported the Russian defense forces. The Chabad Chasidim took the French anthem, and set "Ha-aderet ve-ha-emuna" to it, thus "taking from them their niggun."

"Stealing a niggun," as it is formulated in the teachings of Chabad, is well understood in light of the classical theory of "nitzotzot," which asserts that when we succeed in freeing the Divine spark from evil and from the kelipa, we thereby nullify them, for all of their vitality comes from that spark. When evil and the kelipa are left without that spark which was now redeemed, they are nullified, for in the absence of their vitality, they perish from the world.

[10] This is also the way to understand the following words of R. Nachman: "Through the niggunim that you sing, you arouse the Holy One, blessed be He, to look at that nation, whose song you are singing, [and see] why it has subjugated you" (Sefer ha-Midot, Yeshu'a 28).

[11] We shall not go into a detailed explanation of these concepts. We shall merely note that we are dealing here with the process of selecting "that which is eatable from the refuse" and exposing the inner truth, through the concealment of the lies and kelipot.

[12] In our previous shiur, we discussed confrontation with the songs of the wicked. Here we are talking about confrontation with the songs of the nations afflicting Israel. It seems to me that we are dealing with different confrontations. The difference between them lies in the person's activism. Regarding the wicked, R. Nachman speaks of "hearing the song of every man," whereas regarding the nations, he talks about "playing their song." This activism is not a technical matter; we are dealing with an attempt to repair the world. As we have explained, the enemy is a fiction, and his song is my deficiency. In contrast, the wicked carry within them an inner essence that has value, and here the question arises whether we can absorb the value reflected in their song without ourselves suffering damage, whether we have the ability to refine and reveal that inner essence.

[13] The singing of that melody here does not serve to "point out" the deficiency in an attempt to fill it in, as discussed above. Rather it lists the judgments and troubles that are liable to befall Israel: "On Rosh Hashanah their destiny is inscribed, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed." This is the heading, below which the various types of salvation are entered, or God forbid, the troubles, among which are troubles that cannot be expressed in words, but only in melody.

[14] And similarly: "And I heard from his holy mouth, he himself saying: This year I danced a lot, for it was heard then that decrees are being issued against Israel. For through dancing and clapping, the judgments are mitigated and the edicts nullified, as explained in the Torah, Ve'ele ha-misphatim, 10, 1" (Chayyei Moharan, The Greatness of His Comprehension, 23, 263).

[15] From the "Benei heikhala," passage written by the Ari z"l. "The impudent dogs" refer to the judgments found in the world which remove themselves when the king is drunk.

[16] R. Nachman based the end of his story about the seven beggars upon this idea. There he describes how the king's daughter was shot by ten kinds of arrows bearing potions that cast her down into weakness, and it was only by means of the ten kinds of song that she could be cured.

[17] We already noted how the heartbeat symbolizes a person's vitality.

[18] The number ten – ten kinds of arrows, ten kinds of heartbeats, ten kinds of songs – has great significance in kabbalistic terminology. This is not the place for us to dive into these deep waters.

(Translated by David Strauss)