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

It was through music that prophetic spirit rest ed upon the prophets (see II Kings 3:15). A musical instrument is a vessel containing air (ruach, spirit). The air in the instrument is a mixture of good and bad. On the one hand there is the anxious, depressed spirit - a bad spirit, as we find in the case of King Saul: "and an evil spirit terrified him" (I Samuel 16:14). On the other hand, there is a good spirit, as it is written: "Let Your good spirit lead me in an even land" (Psalms 143:10). This good spirit is the spirit of prophecy: holy spirit. But when good and bad are mixed up, it is impossible to receive true prophecy.

Many sincere people become highly discouraged when they find themselves suddenly confronted by all these desires and obstacles. They start to think that they must have fallen from their previous level because for some time they have not experienced them with the same intensity - since they were dormant. 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.

Not a single effort, thought, word or deed or even the slightest gesture is ever wasted when trying to accomplish a holy goal. 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. At last you succeed in accomplishing the task. Your every movement, every thought and even the confusion you suffered are registered for good. They are raised on high to be transformed into something very holy and exalted. Happy is the person who leaps over all the barriers to accomplish a holy task!

Patience depends upon faith, for "as long as there is idolatry in the world, there is anger in the world" (Sifri, Re'eh). Faith is the opposite of idolatry and therefore dispels anger, bringing the person to patience, which is the opposite of anger.

Someone who no longer tastes flavor in their food, has probably also drifted further away from G-d

In this verse, God addresses the Jewish people, recalling their acceptance of the Torah. The Midrash asks: "Why does the verse say, 'with one of your eyes'? The answer is because the other eye was already looking at the Golden Calf!" At the very time when they accepted the Torah, they already had ideas of going astray! Yet even the short time they were close to God was still very dear to Him, and this is why He says, "You have heartened Me with one of your eyes."

It's not hard to push a person away. The real work is to draw him close and uplift him.

Many thoughts are in man's heart - these are the many extraneous thoughts a person has when he prays. Yet "God's counsel is what stands". This means that there is an innermost point in your heart where your thoughts are directed to God alone. This innermost point is called "God's counsel." Within this point, your intent is to God alone. This can never fail, for "God's counsel is what stands." You therefore need pay no attention to irrelevant thoughts and distractions. Simply ignore them and continue with your prayers.

Nothing is worse than giving in to discouragement. In time of war, the Torah says: "Do not be afraid and do not be terrified" (Deuteronomy 20:3). The rabbis explained: "Do not be afraid." - "of the hordes of troops," ".and do not be terrified" - "of the sound of the war horns" (Sotah 42a). Whoever wants to enter the service of God must endure all this, for he will face a multitude of fearsome struggles - "the hordes of troops and the sound of the war horns". You must stand firm. Never surrender your ground. Trust that God will help you and don't turn aside from Him. "Retreat is the beginning of defeat" (Sotah 44b). In any case, where can you go to escape from God? "Where can I flee from You? If I rise to heaven, You are there; if I descend to Hell - You are there too!" (Psalms 139: 6- 7). For God is everywhere.

People are often very confused as to the best way to serve God. Sometimes it seems necessary to follow one practice, but later this appears to have been wrong and another way seems better. This can cause a person to become very confused and disturbed. But why do you need to confuse yourself? Whatever you do, you do! As long as you don' t do anything bad, heaven forbid.

Someone who wants to develop original Torah insights may expound and innovate as much as he wants according to his level of mental attainment. The only condition is that he may not deduce any new law from insights based on expository interpretation (Drash) or mystical teachings (Sod).

In this world it is completely impossible for a person to know where he is holding. Not knowing where one stands is one of the main tests in life.

Jealousy leads to anger. Anger leads to depression.

Melody sweetens the harsh judgments. When you sing the words of your prayers in a clear, bright voice, the Indwelling Presence is robed in radiant garments, and this is how the harsh judgments are sweetened

One person can alter the universe.

People can easily cease serving God, especially if they become trapped in some evil craving or sin. Many such people hate those who are still trying to serve God and want to see them give up. They discourage and disparage them, telling them that they too will give up. There are numerous people who were once highly devoted but have since lapsed in various ways. On the other hand, many of today's younger generation have a great longing for God and have started praying with earnest intensity and studying zealously. When those fallen Chassidim see these young people, they ridicule and abuse them. They do everything they can to discourage them, telling them that their service is not genuine. All this is out of jealousy - because they themselves have fallen and want everyone else to be like them. However, the truth is that one should want the opposite. Even when a person feels unable to serve God, he should be happy when others are making an effort.

Someone with the awe of heaven totally implanted in his heart, will find that all of a sudden people will begin to listen to him. He will also find that in a situation where others may become frightened or scarred, he will know no fear. Fear causes one to stumble. If you get scarred, think of our father Avraham, as his image can dispel fear. Fear saps you of your strength. Sometimes you become frightened but don't know why. If this happens, recite the Shema. You may require some form of protection. Although you might not be able to perceive danger at that time, your heavenly guide sees what you cannot see. If you feel fear, try to sing a happy tune. Worry and stress cause us to become fearful. Fear causes us to lie.

In this world it is impossible for everything to go the way one wants it. Those who ignore the true, enduring purpose of life, satisfying only their material desires, are doomed to a life of constant pain and suffering without having any way to console themselves. But if you have true faith, your main hope is in the world to come and you therefore have a very good life. Whatever happens to you, you have faith that everything is for good - whether it comes to remind you to repent or to atone for your sins so that you may be worthy of the everlasting good of the world to come. Your sins and wrongdoing may cause you great anguish. You may suffer the worst agonies of regret. Yet your very contrition over your sins actually increases your days and adds to your life, for "The fear of God increases one's days" (Proverbs 10:27).

Joy is the world of freedom - "for you shall go out with joy" (Isaiah 55:12). Through joy we become free and leave our exile. When a person maintains a happy, joyous attitude, his mind and thoughts become free and he is no longer in exile. He can then direct his thoughts as he wants and settle his mind so as to focus on his goal and draw close to God.

Most of the things a person fears cannot harm him at all. But this only becomes clear to him when he is dead, lying on the ground with his feet to the door. He will then have true clarity of mind, and he will look at himself and understand the truth. He will see that his fear of the various people standing in his way was vain and foolish. All that fear was for nothing - for what could a mere mortal do to him? The same goes for his desires and temptations. Lying there dead, he will realize that he wasted his days. He will know that his strongest desires were mere foolishness. For who really forced him? Only then will he clearly see the truth. There is a very deep point in all this. There is something inside a person that makes him afraid of various things. The person may fully understand that the things he fears cannot harm him at all, yet he cannot help being terrified. This is because of that something within him that causes him to be afraid.

One should never despair. A person may be robbed and plundered time and time again, yet he should never despair of God ' s mercy and kindness. In the end the robber will suffer a fall from which he will never rise again, while the one who was robbed will recover all the holiness, goodness and devotion that were stolen from him and return to his wealth and eternal goodness.

People say you should not seek greatness, but I say you should seek only greatness. Look for the greatest possible Tzaddik. Choose only the greatest Tzaddik as your teacher.

Someone, who is easily irritated, can have no real quality to his life.

In this world many people of little substance are considered great while genuine merit is unrecognized. There are many different kinds of life. Some lead very troubled lives though this may not always be outwardly apparent. There are different degrees of troubled lives. One person's suffering is never quite like another's. Even the life of a person who does not endure actual suffering may not necessarily be comparable to that of somebody else in a similar category, because the various forms of life differ markedly from one another.

Just as it is a commandment to have children in order for the world to survive, so it is a commandment to instill awareness and knowledge of God in our children and anyone else whom we are in a position to influence. Teaching our children to know God is the essence of the commandment to have children. It is vital to ensure that future generations will be true Children of Adam and not wild animals who merely look human on the outside. Those who have no knowledge of God and do not feel His power cannot be called Children of Adam, because the ability to know God is the defining feature of the Children of Adam.

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