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

With happiness you can give another person life.

You may feel you have not even begun to enter the gates of holiness. You may see yourself as still being coarsely materialistic and feel that your mind is confused. No matter what you try to do to serve God, it seems as if the evil forces will not allow you to succeed. You may start thinking that God is paying no attention whatever, as if He has no interest in your devotions. You keep calling out to Him, pleading with Him to help you. Yet you feel as far away as ever.

You must search and search until you find some good point within you to give you new life and happiness. When you discover the good that is still inside you, you literally swing the scales from guilt to merit. This will enable you to return to God. The good you find inside you will give you new life and bring joy to your soul.

You surely understand that you are but a stranger on this earth. All the days of the years of our empty vanity are "like a passing shadow and a scattered cloud".

With physical illnesses there are times when the body becomes so weak that the invalid cannot bear the bitterness of the medicines. The doctors despair of ever curing him and simply abandon him. Similarly, when a person falls under the influence of sin, which is the sickness of the soul, he may be unable to bear the bitterness of the remedy. There may seem to be no hope for him at all.

You may find it difficult to speak to God. You may also find it difficult to speak to a true Tzaddik. This is only because you are shy and lethargic and lack sufficient boldness.

You must search for the good in yourself.

You therefore need pay no attention to irrelevant thoughts and distractions. Simply ignore them and continue with your prayers.

Within the bounds God has set for man's intelligence it is a great mitzvah, a positive duty, to sharpen the mind and understand as clearly as possible whatever the human mind is capable of grasping. However, there are certain questions (such as the paradox of man's free will and God's foreknowledge) the answers to which are beyond the capacity of the human mind to understand. Only in time to come will the answers be revealed. On no account should one delve into these questions.

You may have no desire for strife: you may only want to live quietly and peaceably with everyone. Even so, you may find yourself forced into conflicts and disputes.

You must then make yourself like nothing. Anyone can do this. Close your mouth and your eyes and don't think about anything - as if you have no mind and no thoughts. You are completely nullified before God.

You want to speak to God but find it hard? You are like a warrior who girds his loins to overcome a mighty wall but when he comes to the gate, he finds it blocked with a spider's web. Could anything be more foolish than to run away from the battle because the gate is covered with a spider's web?

Woe to such a shochet! Woe to the soul he has killed and betrayed into the hands of her enemies. This adversely affects people's livelihood, and the little that is available can only be acquired with great toil and effort. Such shochtim cause the soul to become enslaved by the physicality of the body, strengthening material cravings and desires.

You may have succumbed to the desires of this world and sinned in many ways. You may have damaged your mind, leaving it weak and confused. But you still have some intelligence. With this alone you can overcome all desires. One grain of intelligence can stand against the whole world and all its temptations. Wherever you are, you can be close to God. You can approach God and serve Him even in the lowest pit of hell.

You need to greatly encourage yourself in His service as much as you can, even if you are the way you are, you should rely on His abundantly great mercy which is beyond limit, for certainly he will not forsake you, no matter how badly you?ve acted. The past doesn?t exist. The main thing is that from now on you honestly resolve not to do it again.

Your thoughts are completely in your power. You can turn them in any direction you want. Sometimes your thoughts may run wild and fly to areas from which you should keep away. Nevertheless, it is within your power to take your thoughts in hand, even against their will, and direct them to the true path.

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 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?

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 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!

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 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.

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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