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Sing to God!

by Yehudis Golshevsky

Reb Moshe Breslover provided a glimpse into the depth and beauty of Reb Noson’s Divine service. “Once I was traveling to Uman with Reb Noson. Our covered wagon served as a kind of traveling beit midrash for prayer and Torah study. Reb Noson would always cover his face with his tallit while praying. Although he usually prayed loudly and joyously, on this occasion he seemed preoccupied and intoned the prayers in a still, pained voice filled with longing. Every word was uttered in a brokenhearted way.”

Reb Moshe resonated so deeply with Reb Noson’s mood that his own heart was filled with bitterness and he began to weep. When Reb Noson got to the verse in the prayers, “Sing to God, His chassidim,” he paused for a few minutes. Suddenly he began to hum Rebbe Nachman’s tune for Eishet Chayil (“A Woman of Valor”) with great yearning. Reb Moshe trembled all over. After Reb Noson sang this tune for twenty minutes, he slowly began to clap his hands with force and belted out a livelier tune to “Sing to God, His chassidim!”

His prayers were so loud and joyous that the people in the town they passed through were astounded. Entranced by the deep attachment to God that they could hear in Reb Noson’s voice, they chased after the wagon. Clearly, they wanted to hear him sing as long as possible.

After Reb Noson finished his prayers, he said to Reb Moshe, “You know, I felt very brokenhearted when I began to pray. I recalled how every time I would visit Rebbe Nachman, he would ask me what was new in my Divine service. It would give me so much hitchadshut (self-renewal). But now I feel nothing at all.

“I felt very dispirited until I reached the place where we literally call out to God’s chassidim, that they should sing to Him. I didn’t know how I could even say that. Then I remembered the Rebbe telling me that if things are hard, one should encourage himself with a niggun, a holy melody. I began to appreciate all the kindnesses that God has done for me. After I sang for twenty minutes, the bitterness was gone. I was so filled with vitality that I was able to say the prayers with real joy!”

Based on Tovos Zichronos

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