What is Nanach All About?
Praying, Making Music and Dancing
A photo of the
"Letter from Heaven"
A Letter For You From Heaven
Nanach in a Nutshell
In Tiveria (Israel) 1923 the tzaddik Israel Dov Ber Odesser (aka the Saba) miraculously received a letter from heaven written by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, who left the world 100 years earlier. The letter said:
It was very hard for me to come down to you my precious student to tell you I have enjoyed your service very much. And it was about you that I have said, 'My fire will burn until the coming of the messiah’. Be strong and courageous in your service.
Na Nach Nachma Nachman MeUman
נַ נַחְ נַחְמָ נַחְמָן מאומן
The Saba taught that Rebbe Nachman is the greatest Rebbe that ever lived.
What the Petek Means to me: The Revelation of the Shir Geula (Song of Redemption)
To me, the most exciting thing about the Petek is that it contains the most important, significant, and beautiful song that ever was and ever will be: the song of redemption!! Rebbe Nachman signed his name in a special way explained in the holy Zohar as a “single, double, triple, quadruple” song. For reasons known only to him, Rebbe Nachman chose to reveal the words of this song, but not the melody. This opens up a myriad of questions. How does a single, double, triple, quadruple song sound?? Will we also receive a melody at some point (soon) in the dawning of the redemption? Is the melody here, and we just have to discover it? Perhaps if we listen carefully, tuning in, we can hear this melody reverberating throughout the universe now. Certainly, as is always true of Rebbe Nachman, the Rebbe desires our participation in the hastening of the redemption process and one crucial way is to invent many, many beautiful melodies for these holy words, and to sing, and play, and pray this song in all situations and times. Just as Miriam the prophetess made sure to carry her drum when the Jewish nation was redeemed from slavery in Egypt, knowing soon we would need to thank G-d with joyful song (this was one of the 10 songs of redemption, see below for the complete list), we too must be ready with our bodies, instruments, drums, and voices, to sing, dance and praise G-d for the final redemption as it comes. This is a process… Are you ready?!
This is not only a song to be sung in the future. By including it in the Petek, Rebbe Nachman is hinting to us that in the time of great darkness and confusion preceding the light of Geula (and in which we find ourselves now), we can use this song as a most potent and quick prayer, as a lifeboat in the stormy sea of heresy known also as the birth pangs of the Messiah. As a musician who has played in symphony orchestras, jazz ensembles, and other various musical experiences, I can say that chanting the song of Na Nach is the most powerful and transformative of all. I believe that singing Na Nach is a certain way to hasten the redemption.
The revelation of the Shir Geula in the Petek is a signal to our generation that the final redemption is very, very close, and that we need to prepare! Besides grabbing one’s drum, how else does one prepare for this final phase of history for which we have longed and prayed since the beginning of time? Rebbe Nachman teaches that the best way to prepare for the coming redemption is by practicing hitbodedut; speaking to the Creator in one’s own native tongue, as if speaking to a dear friend. He explains in The Outpouring of the Soul that one who does not practice hitbodedut will be very confused and disoriented when the redemption comes.
And now… the list of the songs of Redemption, (in chronological order)
1. Adam in the garden of Eden sang Mizmor Yom L’Shabbat
2. Splitting of the Yam Suf, Moshe led the men, Miriam led the women in a song of thanks and praise to G-d for their miraculous escape from Egypt
3. The nation of Israel praised G-d for providing the well of Miriam in a song
4. Haazinu- Moshe Rabbeinu sings his last before leaving the world, a call and response song.
5. Yehoshua sings a song of praise to G-d for making the sun stop in the sky and helping him win the battle against the Emorites
6. Devora and Barak won the battle and sang a song
7. Chana the Prophetess- sang after giving birth to Shmuel
8. King David- at the end of his life, to thank G-d for always saving him
9. King Shlomo- the Song of Songs
10. The 10th and greatest song will be sung by the Jewish people when G-d redeems us from the present exile
Quotes from the teachings of Rebbe Nachman about music and song
“By means of holy melodies one is able to merit to an aspect of prophecy, for the main way of cleaving to The Blessed Holy One is with melody.”
-Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
Likutey Etzot (“Collection of Advice”) On Melody 3
“Melody and instrumental music contains great power to draw a person to G-d. Therefore it is a good habit for a person to enliven themselves regularly through some melody, and thereby make their soul happy and cling to G-d through this.”
Likutey Etzot Melody 11
“There is great power in melody, even if only with voice, even more so when heard from a well trained musician playing on a good musical instrument. Then there is power in the melody to make a person happy even in the midst of his great worry and sadness. For all melody is drawn from the ten types of melody which have the power to grab ‘agony and woe’ and transform them to happiness.”
-Likutey Halachot “Periah U’Riviah” (Fruitful and Prosper) 3:4,5