Is singing songs and zemiros called avodas Hashem?
Now, this question I happen to like. The first tape in the list is called “Singing in this World.” It’s a very important subject. It says in the possuk, Shiru lo zamru lo – Sing to Him and make music to Him. Now, many people fulfill the lo, to Him, but they lack the shirah, the singing, the enthusiasm. They say, “Hashem we thank You,” but they’re not singing to Him. They’re not really grateful. They’re not happy.
So the first thing is to realize that this is a happy world. I don’t care what you’ll bring me, even proofs from tzaddikim, what I’m telling you is the truth – it’s in the chumash. Vayar Elokim es kol asher asah v’hinei tov meod – Hashem saw everything He made and it’s a very good world. And Dovid Hamelech said, Ani amarti – I came to the conclusion, olam chessed yibaneh – that the world was built for kindliness.
Now, when a person begins to realize that this is a very good world – what a pleasure it is to be alive! Even just to sit here without money, without a penny in your pocket, is a pleasure! Just to be alive! It’s happiness! When a person comes to that realization, then that person can start singing.
And you have to take singing lessons until you learn to sing all day long to Hashem. L’hagid baboker chasdecha – to start in the morning, ve’emunascha balaylos – and to sing all day long down to the nighttime when you go to sleep. And therefore, singing is certainly avodas Hashem.
Now, if you’re going to sing things that are meaningless, if you’re going to sing without thinking anything, that’s worse than a waste of time. It’s insanity. If you want to find a place that looks most like a lunatic asylum, pass by the music stores. That’s the craziest place. They’re singing for nothing. What are you happy about? Not the slightest machshavah, not the slightest understanding. And the fools who sing about love? That’s the most stupid thing. What is love? Love is just a delusion. What is love? It’s an emotion that ends up in a uterus. That’s the end of love.
Of course, a husband and wife have to develop a relationship of respect and affection; certainly. A husband and wife are the closest relatives. Certainly there is a loyalty to each other and they’re happy with each other, but it’s not an ideal about which you have to sing all your life. There are certain things in life that Hakodosh Boruch Hu wants us to sing about always, and the most important one is He Himself. Sing about Hashem! Hodu laHashem, sing to Him.
And therefore singing is a very great form of service of Hashem. A very great form. If you sing Shabbos at the table, do it with machshavah. Think about what you’re saying. The beautiful songs of Shabbos express great ideals! But to go to places to hear singing or to go let’s say to Brooklyn College to concerts, it’s 100% waste of time and money because what you’ll hear there when a lot of hippies and bums gather together is garbage; the atmosphere is tamei sh’betumah. It’s the worst; you’re not singing to Hashem.
If you walk in the streets, however, and there’s a big din of traffic – nobody can hear you so you open up your mouth and you sing to Hashem on the street, that’s a wise man. Practice it up. You never did it before? Try it. Walk under the L (the elevated train tracks) as the trains are thundering overhead, and open up a big mouth and sing to Hashem. For what? Sing to Hashem that you have no colostomy. “Ahh! Baruch atah Hashem! I have a normal aperture where it belongs! Am I not happy? Oh, it’s such a big happiness! Boruch Hashem!”
Sing to Hashem you’re able to hear. Hearing is a very great gift. You put two ears on the side of my head in the right place where I need them. It’s a wonderful arrangement. Sound is a miracle. Those who didn’t study physics don’t understand what a wondrous phenomenon sound is. You don’t hear with your ears. You hear with your brain. There are sound waves that travel in a marvelous fashion. One wave pushes the other and jumps back again. It pushes the next wave and jumps back again, and the waves finally reach your ear drum. It’s very sensitive your ear drum. Very sensitive. Then there are three bones attached to the eardrum and they magnify the sound, and then it goes to nerves and it goes through to your brain. By that time it becomes something that we call sound.
The question is, suppose there’s nobody to listen and the music is playing. Will there be sound? There’s no sound if nobody is hearing it. Sound is right here (the Rav pointed at his head),not in the musical instrument. Sound is only in your brain. That’s where the nissim v’niflaos happen. So you should sing to Hashem that you can hear.
There’s so much to sing for we’ll never get through. But you have to learn how to sing. And let me tell you, if you do that, you’ll be rewarded in this world with great happiness and you’ll be rewarded in the World to Come too. Like you always hear in this place: Kol haomer shirah b’olam hazeh zocheh v’omro l’olam haba, if you say a song in this world, you’ll be rewarded to sing to Hashem forever in the World to Come.
TAPE # 729