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King David, Rabbenu, and the importance of dancing


Following on from some recent comments about dancing and singing being somehow ‘unJewish’, I translated a recent shiur that sets the idea out more clearly.

The basic idea is that dancing and singing sweetens all the harsh judgements in the world.

Likutey Moharan is full of this idea, and BH, at some point I will try to bring more of the sources from there, too.

But in the meantime, this is some of what the Rav, Rabbi Eliezer Berland, had to say about it, a couple of weeks ago.


A shiur that was given over on Monday, of Parshat Beshalach, 8th Shvat

Amalek was a caster of spells.

The Parsha begins with Yosef HaTzaddik, and the taking of Yosef’s bones. Even Moshe needed to connect himself to Yosef.

A person needs to be connected to the Tzaddik every moment, and it makes no difference if the Tzaddik is alive or dead. Yosef was already dead, but it doesn’t matter. Moshe is: “Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him,” (Parshat Beshalach, 13:19) – because Yosef chai v’kiyam (is alive and exists).

Yosef chai v’kiyam! David chai v’kiyam!


So, the Ari showed everyone Avraham.

The Ari said today, you will see Yitzhak. Today, you will see Yaakov. Today, you will see Moshe. Today, you will see Yosef. Today, you will see David. And then he showed them the seven shepherds. He called up Avraham first, to the reading of the Torah.

All of them, he said to all the students of the Ari, this Shabbat, Shabbat Beshalach, Shabbat Kodesh you will see all the Seven Shepherds! The three Patriarchs and Moshe, Aaron, Yosef and David. And then suddenly, they saw Avraham. Avraham went up to the Torah, Avraham read the Torah, he said: ‘Barchu’, “Who chose us from all the peoples, and gave us His Torah, Blessed are You Hashem, Who gave us the Torah.”

Afterwards, Yitzhak went up, and they mamash saw Yitzhak. The students of the Ari saw Yitzhak, and afterwards, they saw Yaakov. Yaakov descended from the Heavens, said ‘Barchu’; said: “Who chose us from all the peoples, and gave us His Torah, Blessed are You Hashem, Who gave us the Torah.”


And after this, they saw Yosef HaTzaddik, the bones of Yosef, and afterwards, they saw Moshe, and Aaron.

Before David went up, the Ari said: Whoever laughs won’t see the year out.

Because David capered around with all of his strength, because the ikker is to dance around with all your strength.

And even Michal, who was such a tzaddeket, and who used to put on tefillin every day…. Once, women would lay tefillin, not like in our days. Every woman used to lay tefillin, and used to wear tzitzit….

So, Michal used to lay tefillin, that’s what is written (in Tractate Eruvin, 96a). (I don’t know who wrote it, but that’s what is written.) That she used to lay tefillin. (I don’t know who permitted her to do this, who gave her the heter, which Rav gave her the permission. I still haven’t discovered this, I haven’t checked it out.)


Michal used to lay tefillin – but she couldn’t stand David’s dancing, even though she was such a tzaddeket, who used to put on tefillin.

And she said, in my life, I never even saw my father’s little toe. I don’t understand what’s going on here! I don’t understand how something like this could be happening!

It used to be forbidden to see a person’s trousers. There was no such thing, as seeing someone’s trousers, also not for the men. Everyone used to walk along wearing a long robe, that reached the ground. The robe used to rub along the floor, you couldn’t even see the sandals.

Not even another person’s sandals! You didn’t see anything! If you saw someone’s else’s sandals, this was already called ‘pritzut’ (licentious). I have a book from the non-Jews here, and even they knew that seeing someone’s else’s sandals was ‘pritzut’, mamash. It was forbidden to see a person’s trousers, to see their sandals. It was forbidden to see anything.


Michal said: In my whole life, I never saw my father’s heel, nor his little toe. Now you are jumping around, and it’s written [that she called him a] clown.

David was jumping in the air, doing cartwheels in the air. There’s a Midrash Raba (BeMidbar Rabba, Parshat BeMidbar) here, that he was jumping and jumping and dancing around, with all of his might.

That David, throughout his whole life, only jumped and danced with all his strength. People didn’t recognise this service of Hashem.

Rabbenu came, and renewed it, the dancing with all your strength, the dancing around, the jumping, the singing.

Without the songs, the prayers don’t ascend. Unless a person sings before and afterwards.


The Zohar says in Parshat Terumah, that by way of the morning zemirot the prayers ascend. Without the morning zemirot, Hashem doesn’t accept the prayers at all.

We need to hear the song of the birds, to get up in the morning, and hear the birds’ song – this is the angels. (I.e., angels disguise themselves within the song of the birds)…

So, the Rebbe says that everything comes by way of the niggunim (melodies), and by way of raising up our legs. And that’s how the parnassah continues. The Rebbe says that by way of dancing, the parnassa continues. By way of the dancing, a person gets his parnassa, his healing.

Parnassa is the legs. And so, we need to jump up with our heels…


The Rebbe says, that whoever doesn’t dance, it’s because they have dinim (harsh judgements) upon them.

It’s not that he decides not to dance, but rather, because he has dinim on him, so he thinks that he’s smart, for not dancing, and not singing.

Everyone is singing, but he thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. But really, this is because there are harsh dinim on him.

And suddenly, the child gets ill, suddenly, the wife gets ill – and he doesn’t understand why.

It’s impossible for you to dance! But you aren’t dancing because you have dinim against you. You don’t sing, because you have harsh judgements against you.


I went down to the Rav again yesterday night, for the first time in a fortnight.

There was a lot of dancing going on again, and hand-clapping – I literally was jumping for half an hour.

When you are there, you can feel that there is serious spiritual work going on, to ‘sweeten’ the harsh judgements in the air.

I don’t know what more is coming down the pipe, but judging from all the singing and jumping the Rav wanted us to do, there is something,  that still needs a lot of sweetening.


Personally, we’ve been having quite a rough time the last few weeks, so all the ‘encouragement’ I’ve been posting up here is first and foremost for myself.

The last three weeks, we’ve had massive bills come due (that we didn’t know about for literally three years….), massive tax bills that suddenly ‘appeared’ because our accountant forgot to clue us in to how much we’d end up having to pay at year’s end, a lot of difficult health issues, massive arguments….

And most of all, the feeling that whatever was left to ‘ride’, in terms of the bad middot, is now not being left to ‘ride’ anymore.

The bill is coming due, and payment is being demanded.

If not for all the dancing and clapping, and hitbodedut, and pidyonot, and prayers and teshuva, we would be in quite a mess, right now.

As it is, it’s tough, but we’re getting through it, somehow.

Only in the merit of Rabbenu, and the Rav.


There is so much I could say… but I feel I have to keep shtum.

But let me say this: Just like in the non-Jewish world, there is ‘controlled opposition’ that looks like the real deal, but really is just there to confuse people, and pull them away from the truth, so that’s also happening – and going to happen way more – in the Jewish world.

Particularly around the subject of ‘who is a real Tzaddik’.

It’s going to be a very hard test, and I can already see that a whole bunch of people are going to get badly burned, God forbid.

More than that, I can’t say.

But keep dancing, clapping and singing, in the meantime.

It really does work, to keep you going when the tough times really start to drag you down.


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29 replies
  1. Nahman
    Nahman says:

    “We need to hear the song of the birds, to get up in the morning, and hear the birds’ song – this is the angels. (I.e., angels disguise themselves within the song of the birds)…” wow trop beau ❤️😃

  2. Nahman
    Nahman says:

    עוֹד יוֹסֵף חַי וּמֶלֶךְ בְּמִצְרַיִם וְלוֹ שְׁנֵי בָּנִים מְנַשֶּׁה וְאֶפְרָיִם’

    “Yossef is still alive, and he is the King of Egypt, and has 2 sons Menashe and Ephraim”.

    Looks like was from Serach bat Asher to Yaakov Avinou.

    Beautiful song and niggun Baruch Hashem!

    Tziku leMitsvot


  3. Nahman
    Nahman says:

    Look at this prayer from HaRav Eliezer Berland shlita to merit a true happiness and the importance to sing and to sweeten dinim



    And through this may we merit the aspect of Dikna Kadisha, and through this may we merit to make song with a pure and clean sound.

    And through this we will mitigate every harsh judgment in the world, as it says, “And He saw their struggle by hearing their song”, that the mouth of no man or boy should be caused to should stop studying [the song of Torah].

    And through this every single person will merit a pure and clean voice and to sing with exaltedness, with a clear and refined voice, that through this all the harsh judgments in the world will be sweetened and all wars will be nullified from the world.”

    Wow Baruch Hashem !

    Tziku leMitsvot Mamach

  4. moshe parry
    moshe parry says:

    I never said dancing is unjewish… u twist my words to extreme levels of absurdity… of course dancing in judaism is tantamount to a mitzvah as david hamelech demonstrated so thoroughly while bringing the aron hakodesh up to ir david as recorded in shmuel beis… and as described in the final perek of mesches succos by the breathtaking imagery of the yearly dancing chol hamoed succot in the beis hamikdash simcha beis shoevah celebrations…

    what I did say was that bnai yisroel did not sing and dance much during the yetzias mitzrayim as u claimed they did… “dancing their way out of mitzrayim ” or words to that effect…

    for as I pointed out… they only did so twice both times interestingly enough were motivated by the joy of Hashem rescuing us from our enemies… having just wiped out the egyptian army at yam suf and later on the canaanim lying in ambush to attack us by stealth yet both times Hashem foiled their plans and wrought huge yeshuos for us which touched off our erupting in song and dance in a sponteanous display of our praise and thanksgiving to Hashem for these great miraculous salvations…

    other than that the only other record in the midbar was the erev rav by the chet haegal parading around lewdly… not exactly a mitzvah of any great moment or achievement…

    so if you’re going to take me to task for something I said that has upset you then please quote me accurately and portray me in the light of the proper context of what I have actually said… don’t make up accusations to hurl at me just because you can and because it satisfies your desire to always be right… i would appreciate that… truth.out…

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      QUOTE from Moshe Parry: “what u say on here is absurd… u don’t know what true torah judaism is… u think it’s clapping and jumping up and down and dancing all the time.” END QUOTE

  5. moshe parry
    moshe parry says:

    and yes I am on record as saying what you describe as your breslov mintage of clapping and dancing all the time is not part of authentic torah judaism but is an invention of chasidic rebbes and their innovations they brought into the torah world when they came on the scene which never before had been the practice of jewish avodas Hashem except on yomim tovim and by actual simchos… but they were never the practice of say some random tues night in a group shiur or prayer service… it just did not occur previously and was met with much consternation and contention when it was first introduced… truth.out…

    • Chaim
      Chaim says:

      Moshe, not everything was revealed to us by the Sages in the Talmud and Midrashim. A lot of it had to be revealed afterward with the Arizal, Ba’al Shem Tov and some Chassidic Rebbes.

      The Arizal is universally accepted, but we can find proof for Rebbe Nachman through many Ashkenazi and Sephardi Tzadikim who accepted his teachings.

      One such case is Rav Kaduri’s writings on Kameot (really dangerous Kabbalah Ma’assit). One would think Rabbi Kaduri would never deal with Chassidut in this book of heavy Kabbalah filled with names of Hashem we also never saw before.

      But, lo and behold, the Zaken HaMekubalim himself quotes Rebbe Nachmans’ Likutey Moharan extensively throughout his writings. Personally I found it pleasantly shocking when I read it in a Shul I frequently go to.

      Someone of his level would never quote Rebbe Nachman if he thought he was a “phony” as you imply since “clapping and dancing all the time is not part of authentic torah judaism”.

      Let’s not forget many of these non-Breslov Tzadikim nowadays could quote many of Rebbe Nachman’s works by heart, if not all of them.

        • Chaim
          Chaim says:

          In all volumes there’s an extensive hakdamah that explains the dangers of playing with Kabbalah Ma’assit and the requirements to achieve a supremely high level in Avodat Hashem along with “doing it all l’shem shamayim, using it only when all other venues are exhausted, for no personal gain, the need to unify all spiritual worlds” and so on.

          That is, assuming someone can even understand what is being said and knows the correct Kavanot and other conditions (such as time and day) to write these Kameot.

          Rav Kaduri himself used these notes more as “reminders”, than as real instructions on how to write them, as R’ Meir Eliyahu explains in a shiur. So there’s also the challenge of learning the proper way of doing it.

          Even if someone would attempt to use the book, unless he has achieved these conditions, best case scenario nothing happens. Worst, the angels can destroy the person. This is all more or less part of the hakdamot.

          One could wonder why, then, anyone would consider buying such books and the answer is for the segulah of the holy names inside which can inspire a person in Avodat Hashem, and bless his house.

          • Dean Maughvet
            Dean Maughvet says:

            Thanks, Chaim
            I’m talking specifically about the Breslov kameot that everyone is sporting these days, with HAESH SHELI on the outside.
            Know anything about these?

          • Chaim
            Chaim says:

            You are welcome, Dean.

            To be honest I’m really not so knowledgeable about Kameot and don’t know what these “Breslov” Kameot are about.

            To my little understanding, there are 2 components to a Kameah:

            1. The power and functions of the names in it (whether Holy or otherwise)
            2. The power of the person writing

            You have to inspect if these Kameot have any divine names in it. Rav Kaduri was also able to spot names of demons in Kameot easily so you should also be careful.

            But assuming there are no names, then it pays to know who wrote it because the intention and holiness of the individual is part of the power that is put into the Kameah. Keep in mind printed Kameot are useless.

            I doubt the “Esh Sheli” writing style has any intrinsic value except for artistic purposes so I don’t see any problem with it (also no use as a Kameah).

            The only concern would be if someone slip a real parchment with unholy names inside a crevice and don’t tell you about it.

  6. Simon
    Simon says:

    My father knows I follow Rav Berland. And he read to me all the slanders about him: he supposedly has “religious police” who killed some people, and he killed some guy called “shitrik” or something.
    Now, I DO NOT believe this stuff.
    But I don’t know much about it. What is he talking about, and what actually happened?
    (After my father told me I was being complicit with Rabbi Berland, who he thinks is on par [God forbid] with Charles Manson, “my heart was like wax” and my blood “was poured out like water.” And I said the Tikun Haklali with great, great emotion.
    My father says I’m in a cult.)

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Yeah, some cult…

      There’s a ton of slanders on the web about the Rav. The ‘religious police’ are connected to a person who married in to the Rav’s family, and became one of his two main persecutors, once the Rav ran away from the racket they were running charging visitors $1000 to just visit the Rav, and keeping the Rav a virtual prisoner in his home.

      Basically, these persecutors are working hand in hand with the State of Israel….

      So, do your hitbodedut, and come to your own conclusions.

      Knowing how much the media lied about R Berland gave me a massive head start when all this corona pandemic stuff started up…. I could spot the lies and manipulations a million miles away. But for people who are still caught up in the MSM…. it’s very hard to sort fact from fiction.

  7. cs
    cs says:

    Its good to sing and dance, i agree and before and after praying.
    what if you are old, and you cannot just up and dance, except in your mind, then just sitting and clapping would be alright too?

    Thanks for help..

  8. Simon
    Simon says:

    Because my father wants me to research all the slander against Rabbi Berland (to realize he’s a “criminal” and that Shuvu Banim is a “cult”), I started looking it up, delving into the stories about him in the news. But the news articles go so little into detail (like 7 paragraphs), I can barely find anything.
    Do you have any actual sources of information about what happened, in detail?
    Does “One in a Generation” go into it?

    (For example, about the death of Nissim Shitrit, literally the only thing I could find was 20 parroted (which shows they’re all working for the sams people) articles from [Am] Haaretz, Times of Israel, etc. With no real info.)

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      One in a Generation II goes up to around 6 years ago.

      I need to write number III already…

      Well done for noticing the ‘copy and paste’ nature of the slanders against the Rav. We saw the same thing with Covid, with the shots, with the ‘war in Ukraine’…

      Once you have eyes to see, you see.

  9. Rivka Levy
    Rivka Levy says:

    Thanks for all the bizayon, Moshe.

    Please stop commenting on the blog, if all you can do is engage in terrible slanders and hate speech.

    • Simon
      Simon says:

      Very interesting how many different people have come on this blog — routinely — just to mock you and/or Rabbi Berland.
      Don’t people have better stuff to do with their time than to argue with a “crazy” person on the internet?

    • Yossi
      Yossi says:

      The childish sentence structure and leaps of logic that he clearly can’t see himself make me smile. The truth.out endings literally make me laugh out loud. I think I’ll dance a little right now. 🙂

  10. Adelle
    Adelle says:

    in relation to dancing I often think of yaakov avinu. all through bereishit we see the verb וישא this raising of eyes, lifting your gaze to see har hamoriah from afar, the ram, yitzchak lifts his gaze to see the camels coming and rivka raises her gaze towards yitzchak… I think three times there is a lifting of voice to weeping – hagar when she fears yishmael may die, eisav when he realizes he’s cheated out of the bracha and yaakov when he meets rachel. but there’s one time where vayisah is used in a more active way, following his night dreaming of the ladder it says וישא יעקב רגליו. there’s always something I feel drawn to when I read that pasuk. it’s a phrase that only appears once in all of tanach (thought by david hamelech it does says vayisah vayelech, vayisah raglav only happens with yaakov. sometimes I wonder if this is an allusion to dancing even as he’s leaving his father’s home under difficult circumstances his whole body knows he’ll soon meet rachel and there’s an elevation to his very movements in anticipation…


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