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

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

Founder of the Breslov Hasidic Movement, Great Grandson of the Baal Shem Tov

Author Quotes

The only way to attain God's glory is through repentance. And the true sign of a person who has returned to God is the ability to hear himself insulted and remain silent. He endures even the most murderous abuse with patience, thereby reducing the blood in the left side of his heart (seat of the animal soul) and annihilating his evil inclination. Such a person is worthy of a share in God's glory.

The whole earth is full of God's glory. No place is devoid of God, Who fills all the worlds and transcends all the worlds. Therefore even one whose occupation involves contact with non-believers cannot excuse himself from serving God on account of being constantly surrounded by gross materialism. Godliness can be found everywhere, in all material things and even in the languages of the nations. Without Godliness they could not exist or endure at all. It is just that as the levels descend, Godliness becomes increasingly "contracted" and veiled in many garments. Accordingly, even if you are sunk in the very lair of evil on the lowest of all levels, even if you believe you are so far from God that it is impossible for you to draw closer, you can still find Godliness in the very place to which you have sunk. There too you can attach yourself to Him and repent with all your heart. Even there, God is not far away. It is just that the veils are thicker.

This is how songs are made! In essence, music is made by sifting the good from the bad. The musician has to find the "good spirit" - the good air - and reject the bad. A musical instrument is a vessel containing air. The musician produces the sounds by causing the air to vibrate. His task is to move his hands on the instrument in such a way as to produce good spirit, "good vibrations", while avoiding the "bad vibrations" - the dissonant winds of gloom and depression.

We only need to live a little - as long as we live right!

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!

Strive to nullify every one of your negative traits until you become absolutely nothing before God. Start with one trait until you nullify it completely. Then work on your other traits, one by one, until they are totally non-existent. The more you nullify your negative traits, the more God's glory will shine and be revealed in you, until "The earth radiates with His glory" (Ezekiel 43:2).

The greatest of all religious devotions is still easier than making a living and trying to acquire worldly possessions!

The passions that wear man down do not really exist. We have to eat and drink and do what is necessary to sustain the body. Likewise, we must have children. All this is necessary, and can be accomplished in holiness and purity. Man's mind has the power to withstand all temptations. Every person has the potential of wisdom. You must bring out this potential wisdom and make it actual. With this potential wisdom alone you can overcome all temptations.

The world to come that we can experience even in this world, when God helps us at certain moments, is quite indescribable!

This one day is more precious than all treasures. For what does a person gain from all his worldly effort? Nothing remains of your entire life other than this one day when you return to God.

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 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

Take my advice and don't let the world fool you. No- one ever came to a good end by pursuing worldliness. Even those who hold the entire world in their hands end up badly, losing out both in themselves and for generations to come.

The greatest possible religious devotion is prayer. And yet, when we stand up to pray, we pray and we manage to complete the prayer!

The places that seem lowest of all and furthest from God actually contain the most exalted life force of all, albeit concealed: namely the "secrets of Torah". One who has fallen very far should therefore understand that in the very place in which he finds himself he can still draw close to God because of the exalted life force that is concealed there. When he succeeds in returning to God, exalted levels of Torah will be revealed through him. These are the "secrets of Torah".

The worst of all obstacles is the confusion caused by other people. You yourself may personally know certain individuals who act as self-appointed experts in philosophy or use science to mock at everything holy. Such sophistry can be extremely confusing to others as it teaches that all values are relative and therefore everything is permitted. Such ideas deter people from the path of life.

This world exists only to bring about God's eternal purpose. There is no need to be upset about whether or not you have money. Even with money, you could waste away your days. The world deceives us completely. It makes us think we are constantly gaining but we end up with nothing. People spend years working to make money, but in the end, when they come to the final reckoning, they are left with nothing in their hands. Even when someone becomes rich, in the end he is taken from his money. Man and wealth cannot remain together. Either the money is taken from the man or the man from his money. No- one has ever stayed with his money. Where is all the money people have been making since the beginning of time? People have always been busy making money - so where is all the money? It has all become absolutely nothing!

Wealthy people constantly travel from place to place, spending enormous sums in order to be able to boast about where they have been. In the same way, in this life you should visit all the holy places in the Torah. Then in your future life you will be able to take pride in having visited every place in our holy literature. For in the world to come you will remember everything you have ever learned.

When a person is in special need of God's love, God sends him an opportunity to show love to someone else. This is what makes it possible for God's love to be channeled to the person himself, because "Everyone who shows love for God's creatures is himself shown love" (Shabbat 151b). Thus it is written: "And He will give you love [i.e. He will give you the opportunity to show love to someone else] and [then] He will show you compassion" (Deuteronomy 13:18).

Talk over spiritual matters with your friends. Each Jew has his own unique good point. Thus when two friends have a discussion, each can benefit from the other's good point. Sometimes your friend's good point may shine to you during a conversation that is outwardly about mundane topics - because at times even mundane conversations may give rise to new ideas and inspire you spiritually. At times a person's good point may be veiled - and the words of the conversation become a kind of clothing for it.

The hard part of anything one has to do for God is the part left to one's own free will. These are the things that one has to decide for oneself without being explicitly commanded or asked to do them. It is then entirely up to oneself to do as one chooses.

The profit you can gain from this world is indescribable. You don't even need to lay out money to make a profit from this world. All you need to do is reach out and take advantage of the many opportunities God constantly provides for you to make a very great profit.

There are certain questions that trouble many people, such as how we can have free will if God knows the future. You must accept that it is beyond the capacity of the human mind to understand such things, because the answers lie on a level of wisdom so transcendent that the human mind is unable to fathom it. This wisdom can never enter the human mind, but it encompasses the mind from the outside. If a person could grasp this wisdom, he would no longer be human but an angel.

Those who abuse language fall into forgetfulness, which is the death of the heart. Their heart dies within them and they never remember that the true goal of our life in this world is the eternal life of the world to come. Such people are dead even in their lifetime, because they have no conception of their true goal and purpose.

What about sin and evil? God's glory is not present there, for "I will not give My glory to another" (Isaiah 42:8). There is a limit that prevents the glory from spreading there. Although "the whole earth is full of His glory", there is nevertheless a limit that prevents it from spreading to the "outside places", which are beyond the bounds of holiness - for "I will not give My glory to another". But know that in spite of this, even the "filthy places" and even idolatrous temples necessarily derive their life-force from God. But know that they receive it from the Hidden Utterance of Bereishit, "In the beginning" (Genesis 1:1). This utterance includes all the others, and all of them derive their vitality from it. The glory of the Hidden Utterance is concealed to the ultimate degree. It is from there that they derive their life-force. For it is impossible for the "filthy places" to receive their vitality from the revealed utterances, because "I will not give My glory to another". Only from the Hidden Utterance, which is concealed to the ultimate degree, can they receive vitality. It is impossible to understand this with human reason, and we are not permitted to delve into it.

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

Founder of the Breslov Hasidic Movement, Great Grandson of the Baal Shem Tov