Uplifting the Five Souls or Finding Music to Gladden the Heart


Music in Judiasm
David HaMelekh / the King had a Kinnor / Harp. He would play it and the midnight wind that blew through the strings would awaken him. He used it to reach a higher state of Joy to learn Torah.

Music is an essential part of Judaism. We sing or chant many of the prayers in the daily prayer services.

The Usual Mood of a Person

Usually – we are to be in a state of happiness. Prayer and serving G-d with happiness is a way to reach high spiritual heights. The Ariz”l reached his heights due to his serving G-d with happiness.

Music can lift a person to higher spiritual heights and can help them shirk off sadness. Music can en-wrap a person and change his mood. The Levite musicians, outside the Beit Hamikdash, were able to look at a person and play the precise melody to improve his mood.

Moroccan Jewish Prayer is known for its beautiful melodies, cantillations and Torah reading. Some say the Melodies in Moroccan prayer are from the melodies played by the Levites at the Time the Beit Hamikdash / Holy Temple.

Using Music to Improve Mood

Jewish kings would ask their court musicians to play for them music to allow them to reach the level of happiness needed to reach higher spiritual heights.

Yaakov Avinu / Jacob Our Forefather heard his granddaughter, Serach Bat Asher / the daughter of Asher to singing to him a song that “Joseph is Alive.” He was rejoiced. He blessed her to live forever. She did live many years afterwards. (She was alive at the Time of Moses – hundreds of years later).

I believe his Ruach HaKodesh / Spiritual Holiness – returned to him when he heard this song. For 22 years he lacked this state of holiness because he was saddened when he heard that his son Yosef was attacked by an animal and was missing. Music brought him back to a higher level of happiness that he lost.

I read once a person who was down started listening to comedies and comedians. He got as many as he could. He listened. He laughed in bed for days. He kicked his sadness away.

Good for him. If it works for you – good too.

Being Attuned to Music – What mood it Evokes

Some music brings you up. Some Down. One can recognize what mood it evokes. Some music is made to evoke happiness. or Sadness. Desire. or Melancholy.

Ask yourself, what mood does this music evoke for me?

Then choose the one that makes you happy.

Music & the Soul – When Music Just Doesn’t Do it for You

Yet some try comedy. Some try music. Some try amusement parks.

But they still say – “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”

Why?

Apparently a person is composed of several souls. One is an earthly Soul – that craves physical satisfaction to assure the health of the body. A more lofty soul exists as well that craves the spiritual. To uplift the soul – one chooses music that lifts up the spiritual soul – rather than engaging the physical soul.

The Five Souls

There are five souls – Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Haya Yeh’ida.

Some people have more souls than others. I guess the more spiritual one becomes – the more souls they acquire.

Spirituality – we define as the process of becoming closeness to G-d through Torah guidance.

Different kinds of music will evoke different feelings. Music can uplift a person spiritually. And music can evoke other negative spiritual outcomes.

I remember I used to listen to certain rock music. When I reflect upon the music I listened to I find that it evokes for me feelings of melancholy. Not only for the memories of the my youth past. But in the music itself I feel melancholy.

When I go to a Jewish Wedding the music is uplifting. Apparently some music provides spiritual happiness and some provides impurity. The spiritually uplifting one will bring a person up. The other music will do the opposite – it might bring negativity, or desire or sadness into the person. Thus being selective about music can change a person’s mood.

Contemporary Jewish Music usually brings one up. Apparently one should be concerned about the spirituality of the singer.

Years ago a Jewish singer that was following Torah. He continued singing Jewish songs, but went off the Torah path. A well-known great rabbi said that one should avoid his music being used in the prayers from the period he left the proper path.

When Music Doesn’t Work

At times a person is depressed. They feel life is caving in on them. They feel like they can turn to no one. Unfortunately, many feel that way – but if one were to make a small inquiry one would find that many avenues exist of people more than willing to help you. (you can always contact us – friend@jerusalemlife.com. And remember to carry the “You are Special Card.” 🙂 )

So people try the clubs. They try the bars. Music. Comedy. Sitcoms. Classical. Rock. Nothing. Nothing. Emptiness remains. I talk from experience.

What now?

Apparently you have to define where the sadness is coming from. Is it a deep sadness due to the fact one feels no purpose? Is it a sadness that one has no job? Is it sadness due to not being married? Is it sadness due to not having children?

Apparently all stem from – the spirituality soul. A person doesn’t usually become depressed because he has no candy to eat. Maybe annoyed. Depressed, not really.

If a person is abused. Or insulted. Or beaten. This requires immediate consultation with close family members or friends on what is the best path. Or speak with a reputable social worker that preferably has daat Torah / Torah knowledge.

Prayer to Hash-m / G-d helps in all cases.

You might need a friend. A good friend. A very good friend that will hear with patience your concerns. Who will not misjudge you.

The Spiritual Health

A definite connection exists between psychology & attitude of a person and their mental & even physical health.

But after all is said and done aside from physical & mental health – a person’s own spiritual health has a bearing on their happiness.

One’s spirituality has an effect on their happiness and state of mind.

The more spiritual – one becomes – the more one relies on the Creator. One puts their burdens on Him – rather than keeping everything on their heart and on their back. Our G-d / Hash-m is a kind Creator. He is our Father that wants the best for us.

The closer to Hash-m / G-d one feels – the close one is to spiritual satisfaction.

If you are spiritually satisfied – that will have an effect on mental and physical well-being.

So what is a good place to start – if you are far from the spiritual?

Becoming Close to Spiritual

First believe in yourself. Know what you are an important person in the world and important in G-d’s eyes. Know that G-d loves you and wants your best. Know that challenges and problems are here not to break you but to guide you to the proper path.

Three Steps for Relieving Depression – Knowing the Good in You, Seeing Good in Life and Becoming Closer with Hash-m / G-d

Write down all your good points. Brainstorm. Don’t criticize any idea. Just keep writing all your good qualities. Continue. Now Take another sheet of paper. Or keep typing. Now write all of the good things you have in life. Print and post in front of you. Write all the people who you love. Write the people who love you. Call to Talk to some of them.

Now write very precisely and concisely write your greatest problem on a piece of paper. Now write the 5 main causes in five separate columns. Now under each cause brainstorm for solutions. Do not evaluate. Just keep writing – solutions. Solutions. Solutions. Then take that paper and discuss it with others and implement the solutions daily.

Overcoming problems takes patience and prayer to Hash-m. Simple overnight solutions may not always be available. But commitment to a long term solution will usually relieve the problem. If not more prayer, consultation with people, effort for physical solution and spiritual solutions will usually help.

Listen to Torah Lectures. Change slowly. Take one step at a time into Jewish spirituality. Commit to one small Mitzvah and when ready take another.

Learn Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers with an Orthodox Rabbi – or listen Torah Lectures on audio. Listen to Jewish Music.

Take one step at a time. Be in touch with a caring, reputable Orthodox Rabbi. Speak with friends & family. Grow. Be Positive. Get Help. Talk it out. Share your burden with Hash-m and others. You’ll overcome it.

Sometimes problems are like growing pains. They are there – to help you grow into the best person you can be. But have a friend or a mentor to help you on your path to growth.

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Sometimes a person has a physical problem linked to the spiritual. Each member of the body corresponds to a Mitzvah. I heard from a lecture of R. Yeshayahu Pinto (Parasha Vayigash) that the eyes, correspond to the Mitzvah of Honoring Parents (A person has 2 – Eyes and 2 Parents). If a person was having eye trouble – aside from visiting the ophthalmologist – it might be good to improve their deeds towards their parents. I also heard shoulder pain being linked to interruption between Mayim Acharonim / washing Fingertips after a bread meal and the Birkat Hamazon / Grace After Meals. The reason – תכף לנטילת ידים ברכה Tekef LeNetilat Yadaim Beracha & Ketef – Shoulder.

Take Hannukah Lights with You – Put Light into Your Life

I Love Hannukah. I wish the candles would remain lit the whole year.

The Lit Menorah

I heard in a Shiur / Lecture of Rabbi Akiva Tatz on Channukah, that when H’izkiyahu hamelech / the King knew that our enemies were going to destroy the Temple, he hid the Menorah and other utensils of the Beit Hamikdash / Holy Temple for the time of Mashiach / Messiah. He said that the Candles of the Menorah remain lit till Today.

For me it’s always Hannukah. my name is the same as that of the Cohen Gadol / the Chief Cohen – Matatia – that started the rebellion against the Greeks. So I have Hannukah with me all year round.

The Year Hannukah Menorah Candle

I usually use a lot of olive oil – allowing the candles of Channukah to remain lit for hours. I figured out about 1.5 ounces of olive oil burns with a small wick for about 12 hours. So 3 ounces would last one day. Multiply that by 365 or 360 (for Hebrew Year) and you get about 1095 ounces. One Gallon is 128 Ounces. That Comes to about 8.55 Gallons. I am considering getting a 10 gallon fish-tank for next year to let at least one Hanukah light burn the whole year. (If “the boss” lets.). Even better, would be to get 9 tanks (One for each Menorah Branch). But I guess its better to start small.

That’s one way for you to keep the light of Hannukah with you.

Hannukah Lights Light the Soul

Rabbi Reuven Elbaz said a Jewish Law – “What can’t be lit with Shabbat – can be lit on Hannukah.”

It means certain types candles that cannot be used on Shabbat – can be used on Hannukah.

But it has a deeper meaning that a soul – searching for spirituality – that cannot be inspired by the Shabbat or other holidays, can be lit up by Hannukah.

Why?

Because the lights of Hannukah have a certain Kedusha / Holiness that emanates from the candles of the Beit Hamikdash. Just looking at them one gains holiness. (see segulas)

Holiness brings Happiness

Spirituality is closeness with G-d. G-d gave us the path to spirituality through Torah. Holiness is acting in the ways of G-d. Holiness allows us to be connected with Him. Holiness is Light. Holiness is Happiness. Anyone can do it.

We learn:

Ner Mitzvah ve Torah Ohr./ A Mitzvah is a candle and Torah is Light.

Ner Hash-m Nishmat Adam. / A candle of G-d is the Soul of man.

One Candle can light another candle. The Candle of a Mitzvah can ignite the soul of man.

Holiness of Hannukah candles can ignite the candle or soul of man.

A person feels greater happiness on Hannukah – because holiness brings happiness.

So what can you take with you?

A Mitzvah.

A dark room can be illuminated by one small candle.

A Mitzvah will help to ignite a dark soul.

Doing one Mitzvah brings light to the soul.

A person can choose a small one. But better something regular. Saying Morning Blessings. Saying Shema Yisrael Before sleeping or upon awaking. Say the Blessings on food. Or the Blessing of Good Health – Asher Yatzar. (all cards are available free by emailing info@jerusalemlife.com or through freebies / store page).

Learning Torah brings light to soul.

This allows a person to take light with them throughout the year.

Share Your Joy. Share your Mitzvah with others.

Dear Friend or Dead-End

Be nice with everybody.

Do kindness with as many people as you can.

But choose your friends.

Have as many as you can.

Make sure they bring you up not bring you down.

I was looking at the dead-end sign today. I noticed something interesting. If you add an upside down “V” to the bottom of the last “D” of the word “DEAD” – you get the word DEAR. And if you add the letters “FRI” to the word “END” you get the word “FRIEND”.

Interesting?

The Weekend Friend

I don’t know if it’s a coincidence that “FRI” are added to the word “END”. Because sometimes you a friend who’s just a friend on the weekend. Meaning to have a good time. But when you need them you cannot find them.

Just a thought. But I do know people like that.

A Real Friend

Once two drunkards were lying in the gutter. One asked the other “Do you love me?!” The other replied “Of course I love you!”

He responded “If you love me, tell me what I’m lacking!”

A friend is here more than just to have a good time together. A good friend will help you to make yourself greater.

He will tell you the truth so that you will improve. Obviously in a tactful way. But nevertheless, a good friend will be there to help you be the best that you can be.

Good Friends Make Good Spouses

Our best friend is supposed to be our spouse.

One of a woman’s roles, in Judaism, is to help her husband become the best that he can be. That’s what we call her in Hebrew “a help mate against him”  –”Ezer Kenegdo”. A helpmate – when he is doing the right thing. And against him – when he’s not.

That is the definition of a good friend.

A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed

A good friend is one which one can learn Torah together with Him or her. A good friend is there to give you advice or just and ear to listen or a shoulder to cry upon or a hug when it’s needed. A good friend will answer your calls, even if he’s busy or not in the mood.

If your friend is dragging you into doing bad – obviously that is not a friend. Maybe an accomplice – but a friend, not.

Friends in the Torah

Avraham, our Forefather, had three friends – Aner, Eshkol & Mamre. Each one gave him advice regarding whether he should do circumcision at his age of 100. Yehuda had friends that he could confide his deepest secrets – like the incident of Tamar.

One can confide secrets and ask for advice from good friends. I had a question recently. I asked a rabbi for Daat Torah – what is the Torah’s perspective. The question had nothing to do with Torah Observance. The answer I received was different than I thought was good. I changed my decision based upon my consulting the Rabbi.

Family or Friend Priorities

One should not have too many friends over one’s house. Apparently because our main focus for Spiritual Growth and doing kindness is ourselves and our family.

In Tzefat / Safed in Israel, there was a period where there was tremendously great rabbis living in one epoch. The Ari z”l – the Kabbalist, Rabbi Yosef Caro, The Alshich, HaKadosh. They made groups – that some still emulate today – whose purpose was to learn Torah Mussar / Ethics together help to each member of the group improve.

If you see a friend is bringing you down doesn’t mean you you have to be cold to them. You can be warm – but it’s prudent to limit your involvement with them.

And involve yourself with positive people. This is one of the reasons why the Torah states – let the Torah scholars part of your household – because they will bring you up. You and your family.

At times a spouse also must be pushed away. If they are bringing the other spouse down in Torah and Mitzvot, a competent Rabbi must be consulted to determine whether the relationship should continue.

A spouse can improve. But if there’s no hope for improvement, a competent Orthodox rabbi should be consulted.

If a Jewish person married a non-Jew, the non-Jew has the opportunity to convert to Judaism with an Orthodox rabbi. Because if one is Jewish and the other is not they are on two different wavelengths.

A Jew is to observe the 613 commandments from the Torah. A non-Jew only required to follow the Seven Noahide laws for all humanity from the Torah. So it behooves the couple for the non-Jewish partner to convert to Judaism if they are already married. Otherwise, each member cannot really reach their potential. Because one is observing one set of laws from Torah and the other is observing the other set of laws from Torah. They live in two different worlds.

Our job in this world is to become as great as we possibly can be. The Torah teaches us how.

Real Success

Success is not measured based upon your bank account. Success is measured by how much you have in your “kindness account”. And how well one is performing serving God the way he wants us to serve – ie, in Torah and Mitzvot.

A simple way to prove that a person’s bank account is not correlated with his personal potential that he or she has achieved – is to look at many of the rich. Many have big bank accounts, but not necessarily the best character traits. A person that is kind is more successful in the eyes of most than a person who is rich yet beats his wife.

This is obvious.

Our goal in life is to become best we can be in terms of being a good person. Surrounding us ourselves with friends, family and Torah scholars that will bring us up – is one way to make the path easier and to improve your chance of success.