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.”
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
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.