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

When you want to do something holy, at first you are uncertain and confused. You weigh up all the factors, deciding whether or not to do it. Obstacles seem to spring up on every side.

To understand this, consider how a small coin held in front of your eyes can prevent you from seeing a great mountain, even though the mountain is countless thousands of times larger than the tiny coin. However, because the coin is directly in front of your eyes, it blocks your entire field of vision.

We received the holy Torah from Moses our Teacher. It has been handed down to us by outstanding Tzaddikim in every generation. We can rely on them without resorting to philosophical theories. Our task is to follow in their footsteps and believe in God with pure, simple faith, observing the Torah and its commandments as taught by our ancestors.

When a person conducts his working activities with faith and honesty, he fulfills the commandment to "love HaShem your God" (Deuteronomy 6:5) , which is the root of all the commandments, and his livelihood will be sent to him without struggle and toil.

When a person is sincere and unquestioning, he can attain holy desire, which is even higher than wisdom. It is true that wisdom is higher than faith, but one must avoid sophistry and speculation, relying on faith alone. Faith has the greatest power. When you follow the path of faith, you can attain desire, which is even higher than wisdom.

When a person wants to pray to God and ask for what he needs, he should first thank God for all of His past kindnesses and only then ask for what he needs. Because if he starts by asking only for what he needs, God says, "Have you nothing to thank Me for then?"

When someone wants to serve God or travel to the true Tzaddik, he is bound to face obstacles. Each person imagines that the obstacles he faces are greater than those facing others and finds it hard to withstand them. But no-one is ever confronted with obstacles that are beyond his ability to overcome if he really wants. The truth is that there is no obstacle at all, because God is present, albeit veiled, in the very obstacle itself.

When you come to such a person with a smiling face, you can literally give that person life. To give a person life is not an empty gesture. It is something very great.

Whenever a person rises from one level to the next, it necessitates that he first has a descent before the ascent. Because the purpose of any descent is always in order to ascend.

Treat yourself to all kinds of delights in the food you eat, what you drink, your clothes... whatever you can afford. The food of Shabbat is completely holy. It is purely spiritual and filled with Godliness. It rises to a totally different place from that of the food of the six working days.

We should pray for our friends when they are in trouble. Why our prayers for friends are effective can be understood from the story of a certain king who was angry with his son and sent him away. The prince came and placated his father, who agreed to have him back, but afterwards the prince again offended his father, who sent him away again. The prince again placated his father and the same thing happened several times.

When a person discusses devotion with a friend, it creates "direct light" and "returning light."

When a person knows that everything that happens to him is for his own good, this is a foretaste of the world to come. To be serene and patient regardless of what you encounter in life is the highest level of knowledge and understanding of God. Have faith that everything is for your ultimate good.

When a person wants to purify himself and return to God, they tell him "Wait!" (Yoma 38b-39a) . It is true that he should hurry to free his soul and escape the darkness. But he should not allow himself to become discouraged and dejected if he sees that he is far from true prayer and other holy devotions. Waiting patiently is a necessary part of the process. In the end he will be worthy of making amends completely and everything will be rectified.

When speech comes forth, it comes from the soul. The utterance comes forth and is heard by the ears, for "you must let your ears hear what you bring forth from your mouth" (Berachot 15). The utterance then begs and pleads with the soul not to leave it behind. As soon as the first letter comes forth - the Beit of the word Baruch , "Blessed" (opening word of the Amidah prayer) - the letter begs and pleads with the soul not to part from it.

When you give charity to Torah scholars, the money becomes actual Torah. No sin can extinguish the merit of giving money to Torah scholars. For no sin can extinguish the Torah, and the money given to Torah scholars is actual Torah.

Whenever you encounter distractions and barriers in your prayers and devotions, you must take a dee p breath of patience and bear everything patiently. Do not allow yourself to become discouraged, depressed and apathetic. Breathe deeply and don't take it to heart. Continue doing what you have to do and try your best to ignore all the distractions and obstacles. This is the mark of true patience, which comes through faith, the growth-generating power.

True devotion is to bind the thought to the word, focusing your mind on the words of the prayers by listening and paying careful attention to what you are saying. This way your inner power will enter your prayers automatically.

Wealth is a "wall" ( ch O mah ), while anger ( ch EY mah ) ruins the wall. Thus when the evil one sees that a flow of wealth - chomah, a "wall" - is being sent to a person - he turns this flow into anger, sending something to make the person angry. Thus the "wall", chomah, is ruined because of the anger, cheymah. Since anger and wealth are at root one category, the evil one can easily turn the flow of wealth into anger.

When a person does this, he will certainly not succumb to arrogance. The root of arrogance is when a person prides himself on having qualities which his friend lacks. But when a person believes that the only cause of his friend's deficiency, spiritual or material, is the barrier that he himself has erected between his friend and the Holy One, blessed be He, Who wants to bestow blessings at all times, he will certainly not become arrogant. On the contrary, his pride will be broken and he will achieve genuine humility.

When a person makes a start and tries to bring himself closer to God, he usually experiences a feeling of rejection. It is as if forces beyond his control are trying to prevent him from entering God's service. Yet in actual fact this apparent rejection is nothing but a way of bringing him closer. But it takes tremendous determination not to become discouraged when you see that the days and years are passing and in spite of all your efforts to draw closer, you are still far away.

When after a life devoted to worldliness a person feels an arousal to God, the attribute of Judgment rises to accuse him and does not permit him to follow God's ways. It does this by confronting him with an obstacle. But God loves kindness and hides Himself within the very obstacle itself. One who lacks good sense sees the obstacle and retreats at once. But one who possesses good sense examines the obstacle and discovers God within it.

When such a person experiences a spiritual arousal and wants to return to God, he finds it very difficult to pray and express himself to God because of all the strange thoughts and feelings surrounding him on every side. Each person experiences this in his own way. One finds it impossible to bring out the words before God with the proper reverence, love and vitality. None of one' s words and prayers are able to penetrate the screens and barriers separating one from God, and they remain down below.

When you have purified your mind, there is no difference between this world, the grave, and the next world. When you only desire God and His Torah, all are the same. In all three you can be attached to God and his Torah.

Wherever I go, I am always only going to the land of Israel . I am only here in Breslov temporarily.

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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