If you listen to these ,”laws observing them and carrying them out, Hashem your G-d will guard for you the covenant and the kindness that He promised to your fathers.” (Deuteronomy 7: 12)
Dancing and hand-clapping mitigate harsh decrees (see Likutei Moharan I: 10). But when judgments are decreed against the world, it is very difficult to dance. The judgments, which correspond to the feet, make one’s feet heavy and sluggish.
In order to mitigate these judgments and regain a state of joy, one must judge and evaluate oneself. Through hitbodedut, personal prayer, a person should examine and correct each of one’s actions and relationships with others. In this way, the person mitigates Heavenly judgment, “for when there is judgment below, there is no judgment Above” (Devarim Rabba 5:4).
These ideas are expressed in this verse. Ve-hayah eikev tishma’un (If you listen)— the word ve-hayah connotes joy, and eikev alludes to the feet. If you want the feet to listen and “hear” the joy, then “to these judgments, observing them and carrying them out”— you must practice hitbodedut and judge yourself (Likutei Moharan I: 169).
Adapted from REBBE NACHMAN’S TORAH: NUMBERS – DEUTERONOMY – Breslov Insights into the Weekly Torah Reading by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, Chaim Kramer
By Yaakov Shmuel