Nachman of Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Bratslav, Nachman from Uman

Nachman of Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Bratslav, Nachman from Uman

Ukrainian Rabbi, Chasidic Leader, Great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, Founder of the Breslov Hasidic Movement

Author Quotes

You may imagine that your wife and children need clothing. Indeed they may need it very badly. Even so, don't press the hour and take loans or buy on credit. Wait until the time is ripe, when you are able to pay for what you need.

You need to know that just as evil arrogance is a very bad character trait, so too a person needs to have holy arrogance. Because it is impossible to come to the true tzaddikim or to draw near to holiness without arrogance as our rabbis taught, ?Be bold as a leopard?

Yesterday and tomorrow are man's downfall. Today you may be aroused towards God. Don't let yourself become discouraged because of what may have happened yesterday or what may happen tomorrow.

You may think you are far from certain major desires, such as the lust for wealth. Yet you may be in a worse position than someone else who is sunk in that desire, because you may be deeply sunk in some other craving that wholly overshadows even the lust for wealth. If you are so deeply immersed in some craving that is powerful enough to overshadow another strong desire such as the lust for wealth, you are surely worse off.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:5) . The Talmud (Berachot 61b) says that with all your soul teaches that one should give one ' s very life for God. With all your might means that the same applies to one's money - because some people value their wealth more than their lives!

Yet even one who gains some understanding of the Kabalah, the true wisdom, must recognize that in the transcendental worlds there are likewise levels beyond levels, high above high, without end or limit, for "His greatness is unfathomable" (Psalms 145:3) .

You may understand this through a parable about a certain king who went hunting dressed in ordinary clothing for greater comfort. A sudden cloud-burst, a literal flood of water, sent all the ministers scattering in search of shelter. The king was in great danger but finally found the house of a villager, who invited him inside with great honor, dressed him in warm clothes and gave him simple peasant food, lighting a fire and leaving him there to sleep and warm up. The king was so exhausted that the food and rest in the home of the peasant were the sweetest delight, the like of which he felt he had never tasted.

You should always try to be happy and serve God with joy, and even if you sometimes fall short of your level, you can still encourage yourself by thinking of earlier times when you did have a taste of the light.

You can also seclude yourself with God when you lie in bed under the covers. This was King David's custom, as it is written: "Each night I converse from my bed" (Psalms 6:7) .

You must accept all your troubles and suffering in life with love. You must understand that, considering all the wrong you have done, God is actually treating you very mercifully and sending you less suffering than you really deserve. If God were to mete out the full punishment for your transgressions , you would have to suffer much more, God forbid.

You should be able to feel another person's pain in your heart - all the more so when many people are suffering. It is possible to know another person's pain and suffering yet still not feel them in your heart.

You can also sit down with some book and let others imagine you are studying when in fact you are speaking to God. There are many other methods you can use if you truly want to practice Hitbodedut . Nothing is loftier than Hitbodedut, which is the root and foundation of holiness, purity and repentance.

You must ask God persistently to be able to draw close to the true Tzaddik. Happy is the one who succeeds in drawing close to the true Tzaddik in his lifetime - happy is his lot! For after one dies it is very hard indeed to draw close. One must pray over and over again to come close to the true Tzaddik in one's lifetime. For the Evil One has made it his mission to confuse the world. Israel is very close to redemption now and people have tremendous longing for God, the like of which did not exist in earlier times. Everyone is longing for God. This is why the Evil One has craftily sown dissension among the Tzaddikim and established many false popular leaders. Even among the true Tzaddikim there are divisions, to the point that nobody knows where the truth is. This is why one must beg God to succeed in drawing close to the true Tzaddik.

You should constantly lift up your heart to God in exactly the same way. Go aside and cry out to God. For everyone is in great danger in this world - as you know very well deep inside your soul. Understand these words very carefully.

You can crease and wrinkle my book any way you like when it comes to your own interpretations - as long as you don't violate a single paragraph of the Shulchan Aruch.

You must be as nothing in your own eyes. Then you will be worthy of attaining true self-nullification and your soul will be merged with its root. The whole universe will be merged with you in your Source. You and everything with you will be merged in the Unity of God.

You should constantly review my teachings until you know them by heart

Why don't you turn your wives into Chassidim?

You can shout and scream with a "still, small voice" without anybody hearing you. Everybody can do this. Imagine the sound of such a scream in your mind. Imagine the shout exactly as it would sound. Concentrate on hearing the scream in your mind until you are literally screaming with this soundless "still, small voice" - and nobody else will hear anything.

You must be very careful to cultivate a good memory and not fall into forgetfulness.

You should force yourselves to pray with great devotion, powerfully binding your thoughts to each word. True devotion means listening attentively to the words you are saying.

Why engage in lustful thoughts? Why trouble your soul for nothing? Man has the power to control and direct his thoughts as he wants.

You cannot always prevent bad thoughts from entering your mind. However, you do have the power to reject them once you become aware of them. This is very important, because this is how you can make amends for sins you may have committed earlier on in your life. Perfect repentance has to balance the original sins exactly, and this is literally what happens here. Before, when you sinned, it was because the desire entered your mind and you succumbed to it. Now the same thought is in your mind , but this time you reject it.

You must be very stubborn in serving God.

You should hold these conversations in whatever language you speak best. Our set prayers are said in Hebrew, but if this is not one's native language, it is difficult to use it to give expression to all one's innermost thoughts and feelings and the heart is less drawn after the words. It is easier to pour out your heart and say everything you need in your own language.

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Nachman of Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Bratslav, Nachman from Uman
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Ukrainian Rabbi, Chasidic Leader, Great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, Founder of the Breslov Hasidic Movement