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

Nachman of Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Bratslav, Nachman from Uman
1772
1810

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

Author Quotes

When you start looking deep within yourself, you may think there is no good in you at all. You may feel you are full of evil: a negative voice inside you may try to drive you into depression. But you must not allow yourself to fall into depression. Search until you find some little good in you. For how could it be that you never did anything good in your whole life?

To come to complete Teshuvah you must pass through all the places where you were prior to your Teshuvah. When you encounter exactly the same temptations as you experienced before, you must avert your eyes and control your impulses in order not to repeat what you did earlier. This is the essence of perfect Teshuvah: there is no other way.

We believe in God with faith alone, not because of philosophical analysis.

What people do at the end, I want you to do at the very outset. People usually pray when they see that all other means have failed. But you should pray at the very outset, when trouble first strikes.

When a person is attacked by negative thoughts and doubts but fights and struggles to overcome them, this is very precious in God's eyes and gives Him the greatest delight.

When a person sinks to these "filthy places", he is filled with doubts, questions and confusion. But when he starts examining himself and sees how far he is from God's glory and begins asking and searching, Ayeh? - " Where is the place of God's glory?" - this is the essence of the solution. He sees for himself that, having sunk to such places, he is far from God's glory . When he asks Ayeh? - "Where?" - this is his way to rise up and transform his fall into a great ascent. For the purpose of the descent is to lead to an ascent.

When one who is attached to the Tzaddik and leader of the generation takes a long, deep sigh, he draws life spirit from the Tzaddik, who is attached to the Torah, where the spirit resides. Thus the Tzaddik is called "the man who has the spirit in him" ( Numbers 27:18) - because he knows how to relate to each and every one according to his spirit.

When thought is concentrated intensely, it can exert great influence. All the faculties of the mind, conscious and unconscious, down to the innermost point, must be focused without distraction on the intended result.

When you start to examine the good you have done, you may see many flaws. Maybe you did what you did for the wrong reasons and with the wrong attitude. Even so, how could it be that your mitzvah or good deed contains no good at all? It must contain some element of good.

To draw God's providence upon ourselves completely, it is necessary to break the appetite for wealth. This is achieved through giving charity. When a person gives money to charity, it cools his urge to acquire. He conducts his business affairs truthfully and honestly and is satisfied with his portion in life, having pleasure and contentment from what God has blessed him with. Since he is not desperate to become rich, he is free from the constant struggle to make extra profit. The burden of this struggle is the fulfillment of the curse: "By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread" (Genesis 3:19). When a person gives charity he is freed from this, and it is accounted to him as if he has brought an offering of incense to God.

We believe that He created the whole universe, that He sustains His universe and that in time to come He will renew it.

What should a man do in this world? He must only pray and study and pray.

When a person is born, his understanding is in a state of contraction. It only begins to develop when he starts using it to think about how to serve God. But when a person admits alien thoughts and ideas into his mind, the holiness of his mind and soul is diminished in direct proportion to the space they occupy. All kinds of negative character traits develop from this alien mentality and cluster around it.

When a person sins, it makes a big difference if he comes to his senses at once and repents, in which case it is easy for him to return to his place because he has not yet strayed too far from the good path. For when a person sins, he turns from the straight path and enters a different, twisting pathway. A multitude of wrong turns branch off into ever deeper error and corruption. The person may stray so far and become so entangled that it is very hard for him to turn back and get off the wrong track.

When people make dishonest profits or refuse to give money to charity, this is nothing but a fool's game. The money plays with them in the same way that you can amuse a little child with coins, but in the end the very money kills them. "Who is the fool? It is the 'other god', the choking child-killer cough. It smiles at them with the allure of wealth in this world and ends up killing them. Why is it called a 'child'? Because those trapped in it do not have the sense to escape from it" (Tikkuney Zohar 140a).

When we consider God's utter greatness - if we can form any conception of it at all - and think of our own smallness and worthlessness, how can we stand up and pray before Him? Even so, when we pray, we must cast our timidity aside and boldly ask God for everything we need. Only with bold assertiveness can we overcome the obstacles and barriers that stand in the way of our service of God.

When you study, the main thing is to read the words aloud and in order. Understanding will then come of itself. Do not confuse yourself by trying to comprehend everything at once. You will have much difficulty and end up understanding nothing.

To experience the essential holiness of the Shabbat, which is the foundation of true faith, it is necessary to observe the purity of the Holy Covenant. Shabbat is deeply bound up with the Covenant, and this is why it is customary to spend Shabbat with Tzaddikim, whose holiness derives from their observance of the Covenant in purity in every way. Spending Shabbat with a Tzaddik enables us to experience the true holiness of Shabbat and deepen our faith.

We call the reward in the world to come "good" because there is simply no other term to describe it. Yet even the word "good" is quite inadequate, because this reward is far beyond good. Still, the only way to explain it to people is by calling it good, although in truth, "no eye has seen it, other than God" (Isaiah 64:3).

What will you answer the One Who sent you?

When a person is content to want only what God wants, this makes God the King. But when a person desires something other than what God desires, this gives strength to unholy forces. A person must nullify his own will to the point where he has no will and desire for anything except what God desires, whether it be that he should have wealth and children or not, God forbid. It should be the same with everything else he wants. He should desire only what God desires. This makes God alone the King

When a person stands in prayer, reciting the words of the prayers, he is gathering beautiful flowers and blossoms, like someone walking in a meadow picking lovely flowers and blossoms one by one until they make a bunch. Then he picks more, one by one, until they make another bunch, and he puts them together. So he goes on, picking and gathering more and more lovely bouquets.

When people seek to purify themselves and keep the Torah, they often feel overwhelmed with confusion and frustration. They encounter great obstacles in their path and they are uncertain what to do. The more they want to serve God, the harder it seems.

When we give charity, our main task is to break our innate cruelty, turning it into kindness in order to give generously. This is the main service involved in the act of charity. When one who is kind by nature gives charity purely out of instinct, this cannot be called an act of service because even certain animals are kind by nature. The main task is to break one's innate cruelty and turn it into kindness in order to give charity.

When you succeed in nullifying the shadow completely, turning everything into absolute nothingness, then God's glory is revealed in all the world. There is nothing to hide the light and cause a shadow. And then, "The whole earth is filled with His glory" (Isaiah 6:3).

Author Picture
First Name
Nachman of Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Bratslav, Nachman from Uman
Birth Date
1772
Death Date
1810
Bio

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