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 we consider God's utter greatness - if we can form any conception of it at all - and think of our own smallness and worthlessness, how can we stand up and pray before Him? Even so, when we pray, we must cast our timidity aside and boldly ask God for everything we need. Only with bold assertiveness can we overcome the obstacles and barriers that stand in the way of our service of God.

When you study, the main thing is to read the words aloud and in order. Understanding will then come of itself. Do not confuse yourself by trying to comprehend everything at once. You will have much difficulty and end up understanding nothing.

To experience the essential holiness of the Shabbat, which is the foundation of true faith, it is necessary to observe the purity of the Holy Covenant. Shabbat is deeply bound up with the Covenant, and this is why it is customary to spend Shabbat with Tzaddikim, whose holiness derives from their observance of the Covenant in purity in every way. Spending Shabbat with a Tzaddik enables us to experience the true holiness of Shabbat and deepen our faith.

We call the reward in the world to come "good" because there is simply no other term to describe it. Yet even the word "good" is quite inadequate, because this reward is far beyond good. Still, the only way to explain it to people is by calling it good, although in truth, "no eye has seen it, other than God" (Isaiah 64:3).

What will you answer the One Who sent you?

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

When a person stands in prayer, reciting the words of the prayers, he is gathering beautiful flowers and blossoms, like someone walking in a meadow picking lovely flowers and blossoms one by one until they make a bunch. Then he picks more, one by one, until they make another bunch, and he puts them together. So he goes on, picking and gathering more and more lovely bouquets.

When people seek to purify themselves and keep the Torah, they often feel overwhelmed with confusion and frustration. They encounter great obstacles in their path and they are uncertain what to do. The more they want to serve God, the harder it seems.

When we give charity, our main task is to break our innate cruelty, turning it into kindness in order to give generously. This is the main service involved in the act of charity. When one who is kind by nature gives charity purely out of instinct, this cannot be called an act of service because even certain animals are kind by nature. The main task is to break one's innate cruelty and turn it into kindness in order to give charity.

When you succeed in nullifying the shadow completely, turning everything into absolute nothingness, then God's glory is revealed in all the world. There is nothing to hide the light and cause a shadow. And then, "The whole earth is filled with His glory" (Isaiah 6:3).

To gain spiritual understanding and awareness, you must sanctify the seven "lamps" of your head: your mouth, nostrils, ears and eyes.

We eat on Shabbat not to gratify our physical appetites, but in order to open the channels of blessing for the other six days of the week.

Whatever evil and suffering you endure, God forbid, if you just look at the ultimate goal - God's purpose - you will not experience it as suffering at all. On the contrary, by realizing the purpose of this suffering, you will be filled with joy at so much good. For the ultimate purpose is entirely good, all unity! And the deep truth is that there is no evil at all in the world: everything is good.

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 13:1 ).

When a person starts to serve God and draw close to a true Tzaddik, he is often filled with negative thoughts and inner turmoil.

When reciting Psalms and prayers, make sure you find yourself in everything you say. It is simple and easy to find yourself in all your prayers: you don't need to be clever.

When we want to look at a distant object, we narrow our eyes and screw them up in order to focus our vision on the object. Vision is the agent sent forth by the mind to bring the object into the brain. When an object passes by at high speed, we may not know what it is even if we actually see it with our own eyes, because there is not enough time for the brain to register it. Likewise when something is very far away, our power of vision may not reach there to bring it back into the brain. We are distracted by what we see at the edges of our field of vision, and in addition our vision becomes diffused over such a great distance and lacks sufficient power to bring the object into our brain.

When you want to develop new Torah ideas, you must concentrate on one subject. Turn it over and over in your mind, knocking and beating on the gate until it opens.

To separate the light from the darkness requires the ultimate level of faith. This can be attained only in the land of Israel.

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

When a person attains truth, it is as if God's own light is clothed in him, since truth is God's seal. Someone like this can rightly say, "God is my light and my salvation" (Psalms 27:1) . Because God shines to him, he can find plenty of openings to escape the darkness and exile in which he is imprisoned.

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.

When a person uproots his business dealings from the Torah, relating only to the externality of the business transaction itself without binding his thoughts to the Torah within it, he is later punished by having to go to a Torah court of law. He must then review all his thoughts and deeds from the start of the transaction to the end and bring them back to the Torah. He must tell everything to the judges, who then determine the Torah ruling in the case.

When someone asks his friend how he is and the friend says, "Not good", this can be an opening for trouble. Because God says: "You call this not good? I'll show you what not good is!"

When words and cries don't help, cry deep in your heart without letting out a sound.

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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