Torah 3:1 ג׳:א׳
1 א

אָמַר רַבָּה בַּר בַּר חָנָא: לְדִידִי חָזִי לִי הַהִיא אַקְרוּקְתָא דְּהֲוָה כִּי אַקְרָא דְּהַגְרוֹנְיָא, וְאַקְרָא דְּהַגְרוֹנְיָא כַּמָּה הֲוֵי, שִׁתִּין בָּתֵּי, אָתָא תַּנִּינָא בָּלְעָהּ, אָתָא פּוּשְׁקַנְצָא וּבָלְעָה לְתַנִּינָא, וּסְלִיק יָתִיב בְּאִילָנָא. תָּא חֲזִי כַּמָּה נָפִישׁ חֵילֵיהּ דְּאִילָנָא:

Rabbah bar bar Chanah recounted: I myself saw this akrukta that was as akra deHagrunia (the city of Hagrunia) . And how large was the city of Hagrunia? Sixty houses. A serpent came by and swallowed it. A pushkantza came by and swallowed the serpent. It ascended and perched on a tree. Come, see how great the strength of that tree is! (Bava Batra 73b).

2 ב

הִנֵּה מִי שֶׁשּׁוֹמֵעַ נְגִינָה מִמְּנַגֵּן רָשָׁע, קָשֶׁה לוֹ לַעֲבוֹדַת הַבּוֹרֵא, וּכְשֶׁשּׁוֹמֵעַ מִמְּנַגֵּן כָּשֵׁר וְהָגוּן, אֲזַי טוֹב לוֹ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר.

Behold! when someone listens to the singing of a singer who is wicked, it is detrimental to his serving the Creator. But when he listens to a singer who is virtuous and worthy, it helps him, as will be explained.

3 ג

כִּי הִנֵּה קוֹל הַנְּגִינָה נִמְשֶכֶת מִן הַצִּפֳּרִים, כִּדְאִיתָא בַּמִּדְרָשׁ (ויקרא פ' טז): מִפְּנֵי מָה מְצֹרָע טָהֳרָתוֹ תְּלוּיָה בִּשְׁתֵּי צִפֳּרִים חַיּוֹת טְהוֹרוֹת, יָבוֹא קַלַּנְיָא וִיכַפֵּר עַל קַלַּנְיָא. כִּי נִלְקָה מֵחֲמַת קוֹלוֹ, שֶׁדִּבֵּר לָשׁוֹן הָרָע.

The reason for this is that the voice of song is drawn from the birds. As we find in the Midrash: Why is the purification of a leper dependent upon two live pure birds? Let the chatterer come and atone for the chatterer (cf. Vayikra Rabbah 16:7). For he was stricken on account of his voice, which spoke lashon hara (slander).

4 ד

נִמְצָא, מִי שֶׁהוּא כָּשֵׁר, נִמְשֶׁכֶת הַנְּגִינָה שֶׁלּוֹ מִן הַשְּׁתֵּי צִפֳּרִים חַיּוֹת טְהוֹרוֹת. וְכָתוּב בַּזֹּהַר (ויקרא נג:), שֶׁהַשְּׁתֵּי צִפֳּרִים הַנַּ"ל יוֹנְקִים מֵאֲתַר דִּנְבִיאִים יָנְקִין. לְכָךְ נִקְרָא הַמְּנַגֵּן חַזָּן, מִלְּשׁוֹן חָזוֹן, הַיְנוּ לְשׁוֹן נְבוּאָה, כִּי לוֹקֵחַ הַנְּגִינָה מֵאֲתַר דִּנְבִיאִים יָנְקִין.

We see, then, that the virtuous person draws his song from the two live pure birds. Thus it is written in the Zohar (III, 53b) that these two birds nurse from the same place that the prophets nurse. This is why a singer is called a ChaZaN, from the word ChaZoN, which connotes prophecy. [The chazan] takes his song from the same place that the prophets nurse.

5 ה

וּכְשֶׁהַמְּנַגֵּן הוּא רָשָׁע, אֲזַי הוּא לוֹקֵחַ הַנְּגִינָה שֶׁלּוֹ מִצִּפֳּרִים אֲחֵרוֹת שֶׁבַּקְּלִפָּה. וְכָתוּב בַּזֹּהַר, כִּי הַצִּפֳּרִים שֶׁבַּקְּלִפָּה יוֹנְקִין מִדַּדֵּי הַמַּלְכוּת, וְכַד אִתְפְּלֵג לֵילְיָא כְּדֵין כְּרוֹזָא כָּרֵז: כַּצִּפֳּרִים הָאֲחוּזוֹת בַּפָּח, כָּהֶם יוּקָשִׁים בְּנֵי־ אָדָם.

But when a singer is wicked, he takes his song from other birds, [from] those of the kelipah (evil forces). Thus it is written in the Zohar (I, 217b) that the birds of the kelipah nurse from the breasts of Malkhut (Kingship): When midnight comes, a cry goes out, “As birds are caught in a trap, so are the children of man ensnared” (Ecclesiastes 9:12).<And if the singer is wicked, then when a person hears him and is attracted by his singing, he, too, becomes trapped in that evil snare. As is written in the Zohar (ibid.): “… so are the children of man ensnared.”>

6 ו

וְהַתִּקּוּן הוּא שֶׁיּוּכַל לִשְׁמֹעַ נְגִינָה מִכָּל אָדָם, הוּא עַל־יְדֵי שֶׁיִּלְמַד בַּלַּיְלָה תּוֹרָה שֶׁבְּעַל־פֶּה, הַיְנוּ גְּמָרָא שֶׁהִיא בְּחִינַת לַיְלָה, כִּדְאִיתָא בַּמִּדְרָשׁ: כְּשֶׁהָיָה מֹשֶׁה בָּהָר אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם וְאַרְבָּעִים לַיְלָה, לֹא הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ מָתַי יוֹם ומָתַי לַיְלָה, רַק עַל־יְדֵי־זֶה כְּשֶׁהָיָה לוֹמֵד תּוֹרָה שֶׁבִּכְתָב הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁהוּא יוֹם, וּכְשֶׁלָּמַד תּוֹרָה שֶׁבְּעַל־פֶּה הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁהוּא לַיְלָה.

The remedy, which makes it possible to listen to the <voice> of any individual <without being harmed>, is studying the Oral Torah at night. This refers to the Talmud, which is an aspect of night. As is brought in the Midrash (Shochar Tov, 19): When Moshe was on Mount [Sinai] for forty days and forty nights, he had no way of knowing whether it was day or night. Except, that when he was taught the Written Torah, he knew it was day, and when he was taught the Oral Torah, he knew it was night.

7 ז

נִמְצָא, שֶׁתּוֹרָה שֶׁבְּעַל־פֶּה הִיא בְּחִינַת לַיְלָה, וּכְמוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה (סנהדרין כד.): בְּמַּחְשַׁכִּים הוֹשִׁיבַנִי – זֶה תַּלְמוּד בַּבְלִי, וּכְתִיב (בראשית א): וְלַחֹשֶׁךְ קָרָא לַיְלָה.

We see, then, that the Oral Torah is an aspect of night. As our Sages taught: “He seated me in dark places” (Lamentations 3:6) —this is the Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 24a). And it is written (Genesis 1:5), “and the darkness He called night.”

8 ח

הַיְנוּ עַל־יְדֵי שֶׁיִּלְמַד שַׁ"ס, יְתַקֵּן הַשִּׁית עִזְקָאִין שֶׁבַּקָּנֶה, שֶׁמֵּהֶם יוֹצֵא הַקּוֹל. וְזֶהוּ (איכה ב): קוּמִי רֹנִי בַלַּיְלָה, הַיְנוּ שֶׁתִּהְיֶה תְּקוּמָה לְהָרִנָּה, הַיְנוּ עַל־יְדֵי הַלַּיְלָה, שֶׁהִיא גְּמָרָא שַׁ"ס.

By studying the six orders <of the Mishnah> a person rectifies the six rings of the windpipe, via which the voice emerges. This is (Lamentations 2:19), “Rise, sing out in the night.” Song is raised up by means of “the night”—i.e., the six orders of the Talmud.

9 ט

אַךְ כְּשֶׁלּוֹמֵד שֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ, הַיְנוּ בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁיִּתְקָרֵא רַבִּי, הַלִּמּוּד אֵינוֹ בַּחֲשִׁיבוּת כָּל כָּךְ, וּכְשֶׁלּוֹמֵד בַּלַּיְלָה חוּט שֶׁל חֶסֶד נִמְשָׁךְ עָלָיו וּמֵגֵן עָלָיו, שֶׁלֹּא יַזִּיק לוֹ הַמַּחֲשָׁבָה הַנַּ"ל:

However, when a person studies not for learning’s own sake [but] in order to be called rabbi, <such> study is not all that meritorious. Yet if he studies at night, a thread of lovingkindness is drawn over him <during the day> (Chagigah 12b), and it protects him from being adversely affected by this intention.