Monday, July 13, 2015

Keep Dancing!

Otzar Nachmani #231
Collected Talks of Rabbi Nachman Burstein, zatzal
Translated by Dovid Sears

People often ask in amazement, “What’s with you Breslover Chassidim? You dance every day after davenning Shacharis and Ma’ariv. Today isn’t Purim or Simchas Torah, what are you celebrating?” We reply: There are many reasons for these rikkudim (dances).

1) Our Rebbe [Rabbi Nachman], of blessed memory, writes in Likutey Moharan (Lesson 10, “Vi-eileh ha-Mishpatim”), that through dancing and clapping hands, heaven’s harsh judgments are “sweetened”; see there at length. And many other lessons in Likutey Moharan discuss clapping hands during prayer (Lessons 4, 45, and 46). Therefore, we fulfill our Rebbe’s holy teachings. Indeed, Chazal state that [since the destruction of the Holy Temple] each day is more accursed than its predecessor, may the Merciful One save us (Sotah 49a). So it is urgently necessary that harsh judgments on the world be mitigated. That’s why we clap our hands during prayer, and right afterward, we dance: so that the harsh judgments on the world will be sweetened, as our Rebbe taught. Thus, all Breslover Chassidim fulfill his words in simplicity every day, including on Shabbos and Yom Tov and even during the Three Weeks [of mourning over the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple], except for the Nine Days. We believe with a whole heart that this truly has a great effect, and surely nullifies many harsh decrees on the world; Hashem derivers gratification from this (so to speak), and the divine wrath is assuaged.

2) Another reason for the rikkud after davening in the morning is so that we will begin the day bi-simchah—with joy. For our Rebbe said, “Mitzvah gedolah lihiyos bi-simchah tamid, it is a great mitzvah to be happy constantly!” And dancing makes a person happy.

3) By doing so, we demonstrate to Hashem that we are happy to get up in the morning and pray with a minyan—and we express this joy in a rikkud in honor of Hashem. This is also an expression of thanks for the kindness Hashem has done for us by restoring our souls that had been entrusted to His care during sleep. 

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