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 this happens, you must understand that what you are experiencing is not a fall. The time has come for you to advance from one level to the next. This is why these same old desires and obstacles have reared their heads again. Whenever this happens, it takes great strength and courage not to lose hope but to overcome all the desires and obstacles again.

When you start each new day, at first the day is very short. What you need to accomplish spiritually today may weigh heavily upon you. It takes great determination not to be discouraged as you feel the weight of the devotions you have to undertake today.

Why does the Tzaddik tell stories? It's like when a doctor becomes sick and is forced to put himself in the hands of an outstanding expert. The sick doctor wants to be given the kinds of simple treatments he understands, but the expert knows of unique cures. Similarly a person may come to the outstanding sage and Tzaddik of the generation, who is doctor of the ailments of the soul. The person wants the Tzaddik to give him medicines - spiritual pathways of the kind he understands. However the Tzaddik has far more exalted medicines to administer.

Thus when a person throws an object upwards, the force that he applies distances it from the earth: the greater his strength, the higher he can throw it. Afterwards, however, when the countervailing force is spent, the object falls back down to the ground because of the gravitational pull of the earth, which draws everything to it. Were it not for this, nothing would stay on earth, because the earth is a round ball and everyone in the world stands on its surface. It is because of the earth's gravitational pull that a thrown object falls back down to earth as soon as the countervailing force ceases.

We are fortunate that Moses our Teacher showed us the right way. The Torah begins without any philosophical proof: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1) . We must believe in God through faith alone without demanding philosophical proof. Fear of retribution is the main gateway to true devotion.

What is there for you to be afraid of about dying? The world there is far more beautiful than here.

When a person has spent all his days immersed in materialism and suddenly feels a strong desire to walk in the ways of God, the attribute of Judgment rises up to accuse him. It will not allow him to walk in the ways of God and creates an obstacle. But God loves kindness and hides Himself in the obstacle itself. Someone with understanding looks carefully and discovers God in the very obstacle itself!

When a person rises from level to level in this world, never ceasing to make fresh advances in serving God, so too in the world to come he will continue rising from level to level.

When one prays with all his energy as in ?my entire essence speaks?? (Tehilim 35), the energy (co?ach) that he enters into the words are the 28 (co?ach) letters which the world was created with. The 10 sayings of creation receive their energy from these 28 letters. The words that come out of this persons? mouth are then actually the words of Hashem, as in the verse ?I will place my words in your mouth? (Isaiah 51).

When this Tzaddik is revealed and known throughout the world, he has a name in the world. And attached to and clothed within the name of the true Tzaddik is the Name of God, for "His Name is attached to our name". Thus when the name of the Tzaddik is magnified, the Name of God is greatly magnified, for "His Name is attached to our name" ( Yerushalmi Taanitch. 2) . Through the magnification of God's Name that comes through the revelation of the true Tzaddik's glory and beauty and the fame of his name, people's consciousness and power of vision are expanded and their eyes are opened.

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).

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