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

Sometimes when people don't want to suffer a little, they end up suffering a lot!

It is best to pray early in the morning. Prayer is of supreme importance - who knows if you will be able to pray later? Make every effort to pray as early as you possibly can.

Know therefore that whenever you encounter very great obstacles in any holy pursuit, you should infer from this just how great and precious is the object of your desire. This is why the obstacle is so great. If your desire is very strong, you will certainly be able to accomplish what you want and bring it from potential to actual. For the main purpose of the obstacle is to strengthen the desire. When the strength of your desire matches the strength of the obstacle, the obstacle becomes surmountable.

Never give up hope! There is no despair.

One who wants to taste the taste of the hidden light - the secrets of the Torah that will be revealed in time to come - must elevate the attribute of fear to its root. This is done through Judgment. Examine yourself and your life and carefully weigh all your various activities and interests. This will enable you to dispel all your fears of people and forces other than God. These are called "fallen fears". You will then be able to elevate your fear and attain true awe of Heaven. When a person fails to examine and judge himself, he is examined and judged from on high. God can use any means He desires to execute His judgments: He has the power to clothe them in anything in the world. All things are His messengers. This is visible in practice. When something bad happens to a person, the precipitating cause often seems quite insignificant. One would never have expected such a tiny thing to cause such a train of illness, suffering and other dire consequences. What has happened is that the Divine decree against the person has been clothed in these mundane circumstances in order to send him what he deserves. However, when a person takes the initiative to examine and judge himself, the heavenly decree is removed and there is no need to fear anything. Worldly objects and occurrences will no longer veil and cloak God's decree. Taking stock of oneself dispels the heavenly judgment, because the person is already sufficiently aroused and spiritually awake not to need things of this world to shake him. He has elevated fear to its root: he is not afraid of anyone or anything except God. This will enable him to attain God's hidden light.

Prayer must be spoken out in actual words - literally. It is not enough to think the prayers. It is true that God knows what we are thinking. But the words have to be spoken, because speech is the vessel with which we receive the flow of blessings. According to our words, so is the blessing we receive. One who perfects his speech can receive abundant blessings through the vessels he forms with his words. This is why we must actually articulate our prayers with our mouths.

Sometimes when you pray, you must likewise work yourself up into a passion. You must force yourself to put fire and emotion into the words. Eventually the enthusiasm will become real: your heart will burn for God and you will pray with genuine fervor.

It is good to make a habit out of looking at the sky. Certain places are more germane to good than others. Be careful when and where you teach Torah. Don't say Torah in a place where it will not be heard. And even when it will be heard, weigh up how much Torah to give and how much to hold back. Never say over all you know at once. Not every place is conducive to Torah and good deeds. This is why a person is sometimes destined to move from one place to another. It's wonderfully beneficial to study near a river. It's easier to understand and comprehend something from a mountain or other high place.

Learning my works is the beginning of the Redemption - may it come speedily in our days. The best way to study them is with two separate routines. The first should be one of brisk study in order to become thoroughly conversant with them. The second should be one of in-depth study, because these works contain the profoundest depths.

Never insist on anything in your prayers. Ask for what you want as a request. If God grants it, He will grant it. And if not, then not! Regardless of what you need - livelihood, children or anything else - it is forbidden to insist stubbornly that God should fulfil exactly what you are asking for, because this is like taking something by force: it is a kind of robbery. Just pray and entreat God for kindness and mercy.

One who wants to turn aside from evil but sees that there is no truth in the world must act as if he is crazy.

Prayer originally began with each person pouring out his heart before God in his own words and language. This is explained by Rambam (Maimonides) in his Code of Torah Law (Prayer 1:4), where he states that personal prayer was the main form of prayer prior to the institution of the set prayers by the Men of the Great Assembly. According to the law, even today the original form of prayer remains primary. Besides following the order of prayers established by the Men of the Great Assembly, it is extremely beneficial to make a regular practice of offer ing your own prayers and requests from the depths of your heart in the language you understand best, asking God to help you serve Him truly. This is the essence of prayer, and this is the way all the Tzaddikim attained their high levels.

Sometimes you may feel no enthusiasm during your prayers. You should then act as if you feel enthusiasm, making your heart burn with the words of the prayers. This is similar to the way a person can work himself up into such a temper that he actually becomes angry. People then say, "He's making himself angry."

It is impossible to do anything unless you have desire. Even merely to say something, you must first have a desire to speak. Likewise, in order to do something, you must first have the desire to do it. Therefore when a person needs to perform some holy task, whether it is to visit the Tzaddik or any other holy mission, he is first given the desire to accomplish it.

Listen carefully to every word you say. Concentrate on the meaning of the words without letting your thoughts stray. Keep your mind focused entirely on the words of the service. Follow the order of the service, even if you feel no inspiration. Continue word by word, page by page, until God sends you true arousal. And even if you complete the entire service without any feeling, you can still say an extra Psalm or prayer with devotion.

Never let a word of wickedness leave your mouth. Don't ever say you will be wicked or commit a sin, even if you mean it as a joke and have no intention of carrying out your words. The words themselves can be very damaging. They can compel you to fulfill them even though you did not mean them seriously. This was what caused King Jehu's downfall, because he said, "Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve him very much" (II Kings 10:18). When King Jehu said these words, he had no intention of committing idolatry. He said them only to trick the Baal worshipers, as explained in the following verse. Yet these words were his downfall, because he later came to commit idolatry. From this the Talmud learns that "a covenant is made with the lips" (Sanhedrin 102a). You should therefore be very careful about what you say.

One whose love of God is sufficiently strong becomes His dearly beloved child. God will show him abundant love and kindness, permitting him to explore the King's hidden store-chambers and even to understand what is beyond wisdom, including the deepest of all secrets, such as why the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper.

Repentance never comes to an end: it must be continuous. Even at the very moment that a person is confessing, it is impossible for him to say the words, "I have sinned, I have transgressed, I have rebelled." with perfect sincerity free of all extraneous motives. Thus he must repent for his earlier repentance and for the flaw in his previous confession.

Sometimes you may pray a section of the service with great devotion but suddenly the feeling vanishes and you find it impossible to pray properly. Don't be discouraged, because this is inevitable: it means you have left your part of the spiritual form. For the rest of the service, just try to say each word with perfect simplicity. Like a child learning to read. Sometimes you may make great efforts but find that you still cannot pray. No matter what, do not allow yourself to become discouraged. This is the most important rule of all. Force yourself to say each word of the service with complete simplicity, like a child who is just learning to read. Keep saying the words. In most cases God will then touch your heart with a flame and you will pray with great feeling. However, you should not make a test of this. Deep inside yourself you well know that you are very remote from true prayer, which is supremely exalted. Prayer is even above the study of Torah. How can you be worthy to serve God in such a lofty way? Do your part. Simply begin the words of the service - Adon Olam Asher Malach, "Lord of the world, Who ruled."

It is impossible to explain to someone else how you personally perceive God's greatness. You can't even explain it to yourself from one day to the next. Tomorrow you will not be able to recapture completely the understanding you had today. It is impossible to describe one's perceptions of God. They are so lofty - higher than high! They cannot be put into words.

Man is unique in his greatness. When a person does like this with his hands, a movement like this takes place in all the worlds! And when he does like that with his hands, a movement like that takes place in all the worlds!

Never think that you cannot make an enormous difference to this world.

One, who gives a penny to a poor person, is blessed with six "measures". However, one who speaks nicely to him, builds up his confidence, and treats him with dignity, is blessed with eleven "measures". Hospitality is a wonderful thing. Kindness draws those who are far away, nearer. It also sets a welcoming distance between ourselves and those (in our family) who are too near. Kindness in the first instance it bridges the gap. In the second, it creates space. Someone, who gives with joy, has a large and full heart. A kind person no longer needs the influence of his father's merit. When you want to become close to a Tzadic, go to a Tzadic who shows compassion.

See that you make your days very long. With every new day and moment, make sure that your time is longer, fuller and richer with added holiness. You must continually extend your days, filling them with greater holiness and purity. This is the secret of long life. 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.

Sometimes your prayers become like flames and the words flow from your lips with burning fervor and desire. This is God's own light within you, calling you to draw near. Your fervent passion is a spark of God's own essence - for "He is your praise, He is your God" (Deuteronomy 10:21). God Himself is your praise and prayer. Sometimes you can literally pray before God Himself.

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