23 Tevet 5769; January 19, 2009

Shalom to one and all...

Thank you all who have been showing your support for KOSHERTORAH.

Watch the world scene closely now and you will see a curious exchange of energies.... What you see is not always what you get...

Music and the Power in a Name
by HaRav Ariel Bar Tzadok. Copyright (C) 2009 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.
What is in a name? Isn't a name simply a title or a simple expression used to refer to something or someone? Isn't a name a rather arbitrary thing that may or may not have signifigant meaning? We know that Hebrew names, like names in many other cultures have a meaning. For example we know that Mikhael means "who is like G-d," and that Eliyahu means "Y-H is my G-d." These names are expressions of meaning or possibly an expression of one's faith. Nonetheless, they are mere simple words, with no implied powers in their meanings or recitations.

We have an old traditions that angelic names have a power to them and that the mere pronunciation of one of them invokes the presence and power of the entity known by that name. So, therefore we should expect that if we call out "angel so and so, come to me" that all of a sudden we should see the materialization of an extraterrestrial visitor. Anyone who has ever tried this knows for sure that you can recite every angelic name known and invite everyone of them to appear, even demand of them to appear, and still all one end up with is nothing. The truth is that calling upon a name obviously must mean a whole lot more than just reciting it out loud and expecting something magical to happen because of it.

Our tradition also teaches us about the holy Names of G-d. We have teachings dating back to Biblical times revealing to us various combinations of letters that have no apparent literal meaning to them and we are told that they are the most powerful "Names" of G-d. Through the usage of these "Names" it is said that one can perform many a fantastic feat. One Name supposedly can create artificial life; through another, one is supposed to be able to ascend to Heaven and a third is supposed to enable one to travel through space and time without movement. There are so many "Names" of this type that entire encyclopedias of holy Names and their usages have been written so as to keep track of them all. Yet, even with such knowledge ready at hand, one who wishes to merely recite these names, words or sounds, will not find any definable benefit from doing so. Ultimately, we must ask the nagging question, what's the point of it all?

To dismiss these names and this entire genre of literature and practice is to dismiss a major portion of Torah tradition and classical Judaism. Such a dismissal is unacceptable and possibly even heretical. We are left with this entire body of very important Torah teachings and we really do not know what to make of it or what to do with it. Many are just happy to have the books, to read them and wonder about them with awe. Yet, such emasculated contemplations certainly serve no purpose and are an affront to these ancient holy teachings. What good is a thing if one does not know how to use it? This can be compared to one who studies all the laws of the Shulkhan Arukh yet practices none of them; what good then is one's learning? Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel long ago stated (Avot 1:17), "it is not the learning, but the doing that counts" (lo hamidash haikar eleh ha'ma'aseh).

Using holy Names requires of us to understand the nature of their true power. It is clear that this power is not in their mere recitation. There must be something more to them. And indeed, there is. Holy Names, in their present form are nothing more than combinations of letters and sounds, which have no more power in their recitation that the recitation of any other word or combination of sounds. However, this is because this is how we look at these names and how we think they are to be pronounced. Modern science, on the other hand, knows very well that there are tremendous powers inherent within sound harmonics and vibration frequencies. There is definitive scientific record of certain sounds having the power to do many interesting things. Even certain decibels of the human voice are known to be powerful enough to shatter glass from a distance.

Sound is nothing more than energy waves moving through the medium of our atmosphere. Certain waves have a powerful affect not only on physical objects, but can also have a strong influence upon human consciousness. One must simply think of music to know how true this is. Certain types of music can prove to be very relaxing and calming to the mind. Other types of music can actually cause harm, not because it is too loud, but rather because of the inherent nature of its type, pitch and melody. Science is able to measure the types of waves that resonate from music and can tell what types of music are good for the mind/soul and which are actually harmful.

Music is merely sound waves. Yet, music can have a hypnotic affect upon the mind. Our brain also generates waves called brain waves. Music waves that resonate with brain waves have an effect upon human consciousness for either better or worse. As it is with music, so can it be with singing and chanting. When song or chant is recited with the proper resonance, the sounds can penetrate deep into the human psyche and cause all kinds of physiological changes that manifest all kinds of psychological altered states of consciousness. This is the key to proper usage of meditation.

Here now is the real secret and key to the usage and recitation of "holy" Names. It is not the sound of them that activates their power, but rather their resonance. It is not that one just recites holy Names, but rather how one recites them that counts. The secret of the usage of holy Names lies within the proper pitch, that which creates sympathetic resonance between the sound waves of the harmonics and the brains waves of the mind. Thus song and chant when performed correctly can alter human consciousness with as great effectiveness as can any drug. In such altered states of consciousness, one can tap tapping into inner, latent powers of the mind. These extra sensory, para-psychological powers have a long track record of enabling one to perform feats unexplainable within the context of standard science and observation.

Herein lies the secrets known to the ancients about the usage of so-called "holy" Names. The Names in question here are not actual names of anyone or anything. They are not titles of reference. Rather, they are sound combinations that when chanted with proper pitch and resonance activate certain specific areas of the brain enabling one to access specific extra sensory perceptions and powers.

The knowledge of these correlates has been known for centuries and variations of them have been practiced in every society and culture throughout recorded history. This explains why meditation was never supposed to be a silent sitting experience, but rather one that involved music, movement, chanting and singing.

King David was known to be prophetically trained and what did he produce? He wrote songs; we call them Psalms. They were no mere poems simply to be read as we do in modern fashion. King David's psalms were written to be put to music, a special kind of music, known specifically by the Levite singers in the Tabernacle and later Temple of his son Solomon. Tradition teaches us that the songs of the Levites had an almost hypnotic effect upon those who heard them.

Throughout the TaNaKh we have recorded numerous examples that when the prophets sought the spirit of prophecy, they first had music played for them. They swirled to the music as they whispered certain combinations of sounds, and the combination of music, sound and movement put them into the altered state of prophetic consciousness. Once achieving their desired state, the music was stopped and they sank down into stillness and silence. Like a rocket into space, they first needed a tremendous burst of energy to be launched and then once orbit was achieved they used a different type of energy.

Today, we have lost the music of the Levites and the prophets. To the best of my knowledge, we have absolutely no idea as to what manner of tunes they used to achieve their hypnotic and prophetic states. Although we may have lost the original tunes, we still have the lyrics of the Psalms, the letter combinations of holy Names and the techniques how these were supposed to be used.

With regards to music itself, there is an interesting discussion in Halakha (Jewish Law). The question is asked whether or not one can take a lively enjoyable tune that is not Jewish and holy in origins and apply holy words to it and thus elevate it. There have been answers to this both prohibiting and permitting it. What is interesting is that among those who permitted this practice were many of the original Hasidic masters who received this permission from the Ba'al Shem Tov himself. Now, the Ba'al Shem Tov was known to be a master practitioner of the prophetic techniques. If he permitted them, it must be because he knew from experience a simple secret about music; a secret that is even echoed in the Talmud.

The Talmud (A.Z.) records an opinion that with regards to the study of Torah one should study those areas that arouse his heart. In other words, rather than study be dry and boring, one should choose to learn those sections which arouse some emotion and passion. Using this same concept we can state that the type of music that arouses one should be the type one should listen to, with the one condition that such arousals be for holiness and not for anything mundane or prohibited. As such, one should be able to take a catchy secular tune and apply to it holy words, thus transforming it into a holy song.

This is what the Ba'al Shem Tov would do. He would follow the Talmud's directives and follow his heart, not for evil, but for good. He would reach down into the depths and pull up the fallen entrapped sparks, clean them up and release them to ascend on high. To this day many a Hasidic niggun (tune) may have had its origins in less than holy circumstances, but has since been raised to the heights of holiness because of the united heart and mind of those who would hum its tune for holiness.

The power of the union of heart-felt passion with a mind focused on Heaven is the prime ingredient in any prophetic meditative ascent into an altered state of holy consciousness, referred to usually as Ruah HaKodesh. Although we may have lost the original tunes used in ancient times, maybe we do not need the exact ones to accomplish spiritual ascents. Maybe any set of tunes that can cause similar states of arousal can be combined with the proper combinations of letter recitations to achieve the desired effects.

For those who practice the prophetic techniques today, there is no "maybe" about it. They very well know the answer to this and have proved it through the numerous experiences they have within the contexts of their meditative experiences. Music is a means to an end. It this world of ours, under the influence of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, Good and Evil, everything has within it the potential to either be used for good or evil. With music especially, we see how true this is.

In modern secular culture, music is often used to evoke altered states of consciousness. This is unfortunately often accompanied by the usage of dangerous mind altering drugs. These open the mind/soul to numerous nefarious forces who seek to provoke sexual behavior in those under their control. In this way numerous pregnancies can occur and the nefarious non-human souls can thus sneak their way into human bodies. We have often seen certain types of individuals whose depravity defy description. In most cases, these individuals do not have human souls. When impregnations occur under circumstances of negatively altered states of consciousness, this is more often the rule than the exception to it.

Proper usage of music tames the libido energy of sexuality and instead of channeling it down below through the genitalia allows the energy to ascend above in the form of creative passion to enable the mind/soul to imagine and then experience the higher states of consciousness and hidden realities. This is the holy power innate within music and sound when used properly to solicit a proper connection with Heaven.

Music, as I said, is a tool, a mere means to an end. Yet, the specific letter combinations, that we call holy Names, are not so arbitrary. These letter combinations are important for they are like keys that unlock specific concealed areas within the mind/soul. Their order is important; their sequence is important; how many times they are repeated in important and how and when one makes use of them is also important.

When Torah mentions a specific Name of G-d, be it Shad-ai, Elokim or YKVK, these Names themselves like the much larger letter combinations are actually codes and keys that unlock many things. Most individuals are totally oblivious to this reality and consider the Names of G-d to be like any other set of Names, only these Names are holy. Well, G-d's Names should more accurately be understood as mathematical formulas, similar to E=MC2. Each Divine Name has potent meaning to it, far beyond the limitations of a mere title or appellation. Thus when G-d's Names are combined in specific manners in accordance to specific formulas, they too serve as keys to unlock the deepest strata of human consciousness and more. Indeed, the proper mind using these holy sound Names is the proper way can cause actual changes in the physical world of time and space around us. In the proper mind set, one can honestly say, Abracadabra, which is actually an Aramaic/Hebrew term for "I create what I speak."

The Names of G-d in the Torah are important and they are holy. They should never be bantered about and spoken without proper intent and devotion. Violation of this is not only a religious sin, but it also has severe ramifications upon the individual's psyche. Even in writing essays of this nature, as I myself did above, Names should be written in a way that does not lead to their proper pronunciation. Holy Names should only be pronounced in prayer. If one violates the sanctity of holiness, the other nefarious entities take note and magnetically are attracted to a like-minded soul. They eventually seduce these souls turning them into agents of evil; all because they began with not showing proper respect to Heaven as is required.

Energy is energy; it has its own natural laws to it. It is not subject to religious manipulation or reinterpretation. When the energies of holy Names are used properly then the right means in the right hands work the right way. Of course the opposite is also true; the right means in the wrong hands causes the right means to work in the wrong way.

Cracking the codes of holy Names is no easy task. It has been the work of many a Sage for many a century. Only the very committed have gained insight. For us, we should remember that when Torah makes mention of any holy Name, we should immediately know that there is more to it than meets the eye.

Indeed, our Sages have revealed to us that the entire 300,000+ letters of the Torah are actually one long Name of G-d. There are many great secrets with regards to this. These are not mysteries of religion, but rather the secrets of the laws of natural and supernatural law made accessible through the windows in expanded human consciousness. When we seek a proper understanding only then will we receive one. We should never allow ourselves again to look at another holy Name without awe and wonder.


Shalom, HaRav Ariel Bar Tzadok

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