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 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.

Trying to pray is like offering a sacrifice. "For Your sake we are killed every day, we are counted like sheep for the slaughter" (Psalms 44:23). This verse speaks of prayer as a sacrifice. When a person wants to pray, he encounters many distractions. Even so, he gives himself over completely to his prayers, making every effort to focus all his thoughts on the words he is saying and their meaning. Even if his prayers are not perfect, his very efforts are a sacrifice, as it says: "For Your sake we are killed every day."

What do I care about the money you owe me, replied the rich man. Of what significance is the tiny sum you owe me, whether you pay it or not, compared with the total sum of all the loans, which runs into tens of thousands? What I want you to do is to go to all the people who borrowed from me and ask them for the money. Remind them how much they owe me and ask them why they don't settle with me. Even if they don't pay everything, if each one would just pay back a small part of his debt, that alone would come to thousands of times more than the entire sum you yourself owe.

When a person fails to examine and judge himself, he is examined and judged from on high. God can use any means He desires to execute His judgments: He has the power to clothe them in anything in the world. All things are His messengers

When a person realizes that he is on a very low level and far from God, this itself is a reason to feel encouraged. Before this, he was so far from God that he did not even know it. Now at least he knows it, and this itself is a sign that he is drawing closer.

When God wanted to create the world, there was no place to create it because everything was infinite. He therefore "contracted" the infinite light to the sides. As a result of this contraction, an empty void was formed within which time and space - the finite world - were created, as explained at the beginning of the Eitz Chaim of the ARI.

When the sons of Jacob were about to journey to Egypt with Benjamin, Jacob said to them, "May the eternal God give you love " (Genesis 43:14) . This expresses the very essence of Godly love, when He" gives you the love " - namely, when God puts His love in our hands.

When you look outside, what do you see? The market, wagons, horses, people running in all directions? Fifty years from now the market will be completely different, with different horses and wagons, different merchandise and different people. I won't be here and you won't be here.

Whoever breaks free from the lust for food can become a miracle worker. But someone who is stuck in this desire it is a sign that he is a liar. Even a Tzaddik who already freed himself from all desires and then falls back into the desire for food, it must be that something false left his mouth. It also shows that there is Judgment upon him from above and it is a sign of poverty.

Through the spread of peace the whole world can be drawn to serve God with one accord, because when men are at peace with one another they talk to each other about the true purpose of the world and its vanities. They discuss the realities of life and how, when a person dies, all that remains is whatever he prepared for the world of eternity after death, because neither silver nor gold accompany a person after death. When people come to understand this they will abandon their illusions and idols of silver, aspiring only to God and His Torah. Their only aim will be to serve God and seek out the truth.

Understand the tremendous power of speech. It can save you from destruction.

What do I mean by the land of Israel? I mean the actual country of Israel with its houses and apartments!

When a person falls and is sinking in the mud and mire, he must not allow himself to stay there. He must have one leg outside even while one leg is inside. One leg outside, one leg inside. until the other leg is also outside!

When a person recognizes the wrong he has done and how grossly materialistic and impure he is, he can become so depressed that he is completely incapable of praying. He simply cannot open his mouth to God. This is because of the deep sorrow and heaviness that overcome him when he sees his overwhelming distance from God.

When harsh decrees threaten Israel , they can be sweetened through dancing and hand- clapping.

When the time comes for a person to rise from one level to the next, he must first experience a fall. The whole purpose of the fall is to prepare for the ascent. Try to understand this and you will realize how determined you must be in order to serve God. No matter how far you fall, never allow yourself to be discouraged. Remain firm and resolute and pay no attention to the fall at all, because in the end it will be transformed into a great ascent. This is its whole purpose.

When you make an opening in some pathway of service and with it give some charity, this charity opens and widens the entrance even further. For charity is the beginning of all beginnings and opens and widens all the gates.

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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