The dancing cure for depression
“Dancing and clapping hands sweetens all the judgments” (Likutei Moharan, I:10).
Why are our hearts so heavy and fearful? What’s the root of a person’s fears? All this stems from the heavenly judgments he has hovering over him, as a result of his sins.
When we dance and clap our hands to honor Hashem, then all these judgments are sweetened. When the judgments disappear, the fears and the heaviness – which are the masks covering the heart – also disappear.
Then the light of Hashem can reach our heart, and when that happens, we suddenly start to feel light and happy. All this comes from the sweetening of the judgments.
Dance five minutes every day! In Breslov, this is known to be a great remedy.
Yosef was in prison for 12 years, trying to clarify the point of not despairing over everything that had happened to him. What advice did Yosef use, to get through all those difficult times?
It’s written in the Midrash Rabbah: “everything he did, Hashem made it successful”.
“Because Yosef was an ‘ish kafuz’ – a man that danced”. The word ‘kafuz’ means a dancing bear. Yosef would dance like a bear every single day of the 12 years he spent in prison.
According to our commentators, some bears love to dance, so Yosef learned these ‘bear dances’ and every day he would dance in prison.
The secret of dancing
This is the secret of dancing. Dancing is not a profound intellectual pursuit, but it’s really good advice to get out of sadness and depression. It’s the remedy. Today, we know that there are many illnesses related to sadness and depression, and that there are so many things that people can take to try to ameliorate the problem, like Ritalin for kids and Klonix for adults.
Although it’s possible to take pills to relax, anyone who wants to steer clear of these drugs needs the advice of the Tzaddik.
We need to remember that Yosef was in prison from the age of 18 until the age of 30. This wasn’t 12 years of mochin d’gadlut (expanded consciousness), the Holy Zohar states that Yosef went through tremendous suffering in prison, and that he needed to deal with very difficult feelings of sadness and sorrow.
Yosef danced to keep his spirits up
One of the ways Yosef managed to succeed was by following the advice of dancing. He would also do somersaults, and say “Ain od Milvado” after each one.
This is called raising ourselves up to the ‘World of Circles’: another somersault, another “Ain od Milvado”. By doing this he was able to break free from the clouds of sadness, because the yetzer hara continuously brings these clouds. This was Yosef’s work during his 12 years in prison.