- Question: [Thursday, 19th Teves 5783]
How important is it to sing on Shabbos by the Shabbos table and does Chassidus talk about its importance?
The Alter Rebbe in Torah Or discusses the importance and value of singing on Shabbos in order to bring oneself to Kelos Hanefesh. In his words “It is a Mitzvah to sing on Shabbos, as writes the Arizal, that it is the aspect of Kelos Hanefesh, and also in the Temple, the song was doubled…..This is what the Sages mean when they say “Yotzin Bashir Vinimshachin Bashir,” meaning to say that they experience expiry of the soul to the level that they can reach…..Niggun is the level of Bittul without any letters” The Talmud and Rishonim likewise speak about the concept of singing on Shabbos. Now, although the Alter Rebbe did not record the Zemiros in the Siddur, the Rebbe Rashab states that this is because he expected the Chassidim to sing Shirim [i. e. Niggunim without words] which are higher than Zemiros. Likewise, the Rebbe Maharash relates that their were times that Zemiros were sung on the table of the Tzemach Tzedek. Likewise, the Rebbe in a Sicha in Nun Beis makes mention of the custom that “families gather together in unison on Shabbos and sing Niggunei Shabbos together, and bless each other, and help each other with the Niggun and Shira so it be better and sweeter.”
Sources: See Torah Or Hosafos Ki Sisa p. 113a; Or Hatorah p. 1900; Mamarei Admur Hazakein Parshiyos Bo. P.251; Igros Kodesh 8:70; Hagahos of Rebbe Rashab on Siddur, printed in Siddur Tefilos Lekol Hashanah p. 644 and Sefer Haminhagim p. 29; Sefer Pokeiach Ivrim Hakdama p. 7; Toras Menachem 17:96; Sichos Kodesh 5752 1:53; Maaseh Melech p. 134; Sefer Haniggunim 2:16; Niggun 189; See in general regarding singing on Shabbos: Megillah 12b; Midrash Raba Shir Hashirim 8; Zohar Parshas Eikev p. 272; Sefer Chassidim 271; 409; Rokeiach 54; Shelah Yeish Nochlin 36; M”B 289:9; Piskeiy Teshuvos 289:9