If you hear something, and it really affects you, and something really happens to you, it means it’s really living, and anything that is mamash [really] living is growing.
The Bal Shem Tov says, not only can you hear living words, but you can even hear living letters. One living letter, and it makes a whole explosion in your heart.
Yet from dead people you can hear entire sentences, and it has no meaning.
He says, everything is put into the earth; dead bodies, and seeds. When someone puts something into you, it’s like putting something into your soil. If he puts in dead words, he makes your heart into a cemetery, but when he puts in holy words, it’s like a seed, it’s growing.