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

When a person is patient and slow to anger, he fears nothing and lets nothing distract or deter him from his devotions. No matter what happens, he continues as best as he can, doing his part to serve God without worrying about anything or letting anything disturb him.

Teshuvah essentially depends on humility. One must make oneself into nothing, like a wasteland over which people trample: one must pay no attention whatsoever to opposition or abuse from others. One should train oneself to be silent and hear oneself insulted without answering back. Such a person is worthy of the name "wise" and will attain perfect Teshuvah, the "Crown" and summit of the Sefirot. This is the way to true and enduring glory - the glory of God.

The Hebrew letters are consonants: without vowels, they cannot be pronounced but remain like a body without a soul. Without the soul, the body is unable to move or do anything. The vowels - the soul that animate s the letters - are formed through yearning and desire, whether for good or bad. The yearning for evil creates bad vowels, which make the letters join together and interact to produce bad effects. But if a person yearns to repent, good vowels - good souls - are created and the letters join and interact to produce good results.

The secret of prayer is to be bold. We must have the audacity to ask God for everything we need - even if we need to ask Him to work miracles for us. Only with boldness and daring can we stand up and pray to God.

There are others who may appear to be observant yet display a certain sophisticated cynicism that can be quite as harmful as philosophy, if not worse. Most Jews are aware of the dangers of philosophy and avoid it, knowing that it can pull them down into the deepest pit. However there are many who are not on their guard against the kind of sophisticated cynicism that emanates from the mouths of people who seem to be observant and disguise their message in the language of truth, as if they are in possession of the absolute truth. These are the ones who can cause the most harm, confusing a person and holding him back from true service of God.

Through devotion to the Torah you can strip away all the veils and reveal God's presence even when the "concealment within the concealment" is most intense. At last the unremitting cry of the Torah is heard: "How long, thoughtless people, will you continue loving thoughtlessness?" (Proverbs 1:22). In the end you will be able to return to God regardless of where you have fallen.

What is free will? If you want, you do it, and if you don't want, you don't do it.

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.

Teshuvah has three aspects: seeing with the eyes, hearing with the ears and understanding in the heart (cf. Isaiah 6:10). A person must use his eyes to look towards the ultimate goal and purpose of this world. He must concentrate on this goal with all his heart, resolving to travel there and nowhere else. And he must use his ears to listen carefully to everything that our holy sages said. Then he will be able to return to God.

The Israelite man was created to have dominion over the angels, and this is Israel's ultimate destiny. Each one must make certain that he attains his destiny and rules over the angels. But you must guard yourself carefully to ensure that you have the strength to stand firm in this dominion and not let the ministering angels cast you down out of jealousy. The way to stand firm is by binding yourself to the souls of Israel. This is accomplished by bind ing yourself to the true leaders of Israel, the Tzaddikim.

The secrets of Torah are never revealed to a drunkard.

There are people who draw close to God but later fall away. Even so, the short time they serve God is very precious in His eyes no matter what happens later.

Through prayer we have the power to channel God's providence in a way that goes beyond nature. Nature may dictate one thing but prayer has the power to change nature. This is "greatness" - "For what great nation is there that has God so near to them as HaShem our God whenever we call on Him?" (Deuteronomy 4:7). Our greatness is that God hears our prayers and alters the course of nature through His providence. Thus Yehoram, king of Israel, said to Gehazi, "Please tell me the great things that Elisha did" (II Kings 8:4), for "Whatever Elisha did, he accomplished through prayer" (Megilah 27a). Thus prayer, which gives us access to the realm of miracles and providence, the very opposite of nature, is "great."

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

Inevitably you must encounter all kinds of difficulties and setbacks. You will fall down many times before you can enter the gates of holiness. Even the greatest Tzaddikim have gone through all this. There are cases when a person is already at the gate of holiness, only to slide back because of these difficulties. When a person is close to the gate, the forces of evil try to prevent him from entering. This pushes some people into retreat. That is the way of the Evil One: when he sees a person literally at the gates, he attacks more powerfully than ever. That is why you need to be so strong.

Know that the only reason we experience pain and suffering is because of a lack of Da'at, Godly knowledge and awareness. One who possesses this knows that everything is sent by God and therefore he feels no pain or suffering, because "God gave and God took" (Job 1:21). It is true that there is a certain kind of suffering that is inevitable. This is the pain felt when the soul leaves the body, the pain of illness that comes when the soul begins to separate itself from the body. The soul is so tightly bound to the body in this life that one inevitably feels pain at the moment of separation. Nevertheless this suffering is easy to bear if one knows clearly that everything is under God's providence. All the more does this apply to other kinds of pain and suffering, which a person who possesses Godly awareness does not feel at all. The main reason a person feels pain and suffering is that his Godly awareness is taken from him.

My book Likutey Moharan is the beginning of the Redemption. Now that it has come out, I very much want people to study it. They should study it until they know it by heart, because it is filled with guidance and has the power to arouse men to God in a way nothing else can compare with. Those who study it carefully have no need for any other work on ethics and moral guidance.

One who shows love to others is himself shown love.

Prayer helps for everything. Even if a person is unable to study Torah, he will be able to do so if he prays for it. Everything good can be attained through prayer: Torah, devotion, holiness... everything good in all the worlds! Amen.

Sometimes it may even be necessary to behave in a way that seems foolish in order to serve God and carry out His will. We may have to roll around in mud and mire for the sake of serving God and keeping His commandments. This applies not only to explicit mitzvot. Anything that God wants us to do is also called a mitzvah. Sometimes one has to throw oneself into the very mud and mire to perform a certain deed that will be pleasing to God.

It is a great mitzvah to be happy always! Make every effort to maintain a happy, positive outlook at all times. It is a natural human tendency to become discouraged and depressed because of the hard ships of life: everyone has their full share of suffering. That is why you must force yourself to be happy at all times. Use every possible way to bring yourself to joy, even by joking or acting a little crazy!

Know that there is healing to be found in every kind of herb and grass.

My dear friend and brother: the basic rule is to keep firm and be strong. Try with all your strength to be persistent in your devotions. Pay no attention to all these discouraging thoughts. And if you are very far from God and you feel that your every movement must be a blemish in God's eyes, you should know that on the contrary, if someone is all that coarse and materialistic, even the slightest motion he makes to try to detach himself from his physicality and turn towards God is very great and precious. If he moves no more than a hairsbreadth in his efforts to purify himself and come closer, that hairsbreadth makes him run thousands and thousands of miles in the worlds above. If you think about this, it will make you very happy. Indeed you should make a great effort always to be happy, because depression can cause tremendous damage. You should know that as soon as a person wants to start serving God, it is a very grave sin for him to be depressed. Depression comes from the Other Side, which God hates.

One who truly desires to draw closer to God should have faith that regardless of how much bitterness or suffering he may endure, everything is being sent to him out of love. If the suffering were really in proportion to the magnitude of his sins it would have been far greater. He would have been much too weak to bear it and he would have been totally lost. But God in His love only sends as much bitterness and suffering as a person can bear. This much he must bear, and it is certainly within his power to endure it

Prayer is the root of all attachment and devotion to God. Prayer is the gate through which we approach God, and through prayer we may come to know Him.

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