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Wednesday, May 21, 2008


An Appreciation of Song and Dance

Tonight and tomorrow is the 17th of Iyar, and the Yahrzeit of the Baal Shem Tov’s grandson, Rebbe Moshe Chaim Efraim of Sudylkov, known for his sefer, the Degel Machaneh Efraim. [The full text of the sefer can be found here, in PDF format.]

Be sure to read my previous posts, if you haven’t already:
Rebbe Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sudylkov - A Simple Jew


The following is part of a response of the Baal Shem Tov, to one of his closest Talmidim, Rebbe Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye, the "Toldos." It is taken from the sefer Sarei HaMeah, who quotes the sefer Degel Machaneh Ephraim [Parshas Yisro]. He was explaining to the Toldos the significance of song and dance.

"Believe me, my honored friend, that in the same way that our Sages say [Brachos, 3b] that a 'harp hung over the bed of King David, and when midnight arrived, a north wind would blow and the harp would play by itself.' So too, there is a north [hidden] wind [spirit] within me, and when I wander among the hills and mountains, fields and vineyards, and see the vast expanse of G-d’s Creation, that north wind / hidden spirit blows through my limbs and I sing on my own - I chant praises to the L-rd Above for such a wonderful world!

"Of course, this takes a special sensitivity that not everyone is blessed with. You may understand this better with the following parable:

There was a musician who played his instrument beautifully, full of sweetness and pleasantness. Whoever heard his tunes could not contain himself; he was impelled to dance fervently to this great music. Whoever was closer to the musician, would draw himself even closer, had the greatest pleasure, and would dance most fervently.

In the midst of this crowd of people there was a deaf man. He could not hear one note of the music, but he saw the people dancing with intense fervor. He looked upon them as if they were crazy, and couldn’t understand what all the fuss [joy] was about.

But in truth, if were truly wise enough to understand that the people were dancing because of the intense pleasure they derived from hearing the music, he too, would dance with them.


Zechuso yagein Aleinu – May the Degel’s merits protect us!

just an fyi...
the link you left for the full text of the degel sefer doesn't seem to work.

Thanks for the great post!
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