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 a person eats in holiness and purity, his physical face and the inner "face" that is his soul become radiant as a result. But if he eats without holiness, the food harms his heart causing him to lose this inner face, so that he falls into a "sleep". He may still imagine he is serving God, occupied as he is with Torah and prayer. But he is "asleep" in the sense that his devotions remain in the lower worlds and God has no delight in them.

When a person reaches the level of the land of Israel , he is worthy to be called "a man of strength and valor". Before one attains this level, "Let not he that girds his armor boast like he that removes it" (I Kings 20:11). However after winning the battle, he does indeed deserve to be called "a man of war".

When God is hidden with only one degree of concealment, it can certainly be hard to find Him. Yet with great effort and searching it is possible, because at least you know that God is hidden from you. However in the "concealment within the concealment", the very fact that God is hidden is itself concealed. The person has no idea that God is hidden from him. It is then very hard indeed to find Him.

When the slaughterer - the shochet - makes the blessing prior to the slaughter of an animal, he should have in mind to elevate the soul incarnated in the blood of the animal. The blessing of the shochet has an effect on the livelihood of the entire Jewish people.

When you just can't fall asleep, it's no use trying to force yourself to sleep. The more you try to force yourself, the more sleep will elude you. The same applies to many other things: it is not good to force yourself too much, because the more you try to force yourself, the stronger the opposing forces will become.

Who can say that he serves God according to God's true greatness? Someone who has even the faintest conception of God's greatness cannot understand how anyone could claim to serve Him. Even the highest angel cannot boast that he is able to serve God.

Trying to pray is like offering a sacrifice. "For Your sake we are killed every day, we are counted like sheep for the slaughter" (Psalms 44:23). This verse speaks of prayer as a sacrifice. When a person wants to pray, he encounters many distractions. Even so, he gives himself over completely to his prayers, making every effort to focus all his thoughts on the words he is saying and their meaning. Even if his prayers are not perfect, his very efforts are a sacrifice, as it says: "For Your sake we are killed every day."

What do I care about the money you owe me, replied the rich man. Of what significance is the tiny sum you owe me, whether you pay it or not, compared with the total sum of all the loans, which runs into tens of thousands? What I want you to do is to go to all the people who borrowed from me and ask them for the money. Remind them how much they owe me and ask them why they don't settle with me. Even if they don't pay everything, if each one would just pay back a small part of his debt, that alone would come to thousands of times more than the entire sum you yourself owe.

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

When a person realizes that he is on a very low level and far from God, this itself is a reason to feel encouraged. Before this, he was so far from God that he did not even know it. Now at least he knows it, and this itself is a sign that he is drawing closer.

When God wanted to create the world, there was no place to create it because everything was infinite. He therefore "contracted" the infinite light to the sides. As a result of this contraction, an empty void was formed within which time and space - the finite world - were created, as explained at the beginning of the Eitz Chaim of the ARI.

When the sons of Jacob were about to journey to Egypt with Benjamin, Jacob said to them, "May the eternal God give you love " (Genesis 43:14) . This expresses the very essence of Godly love, when He" gives you the love " - namely, when God puts His love in our hands.

When you look outside, what do you see? The market, wagons, horses, people running in all directions? Fifty years from now the market will be completely different, with different horses and wagons, different merchandise and different people. I won't be here and you won't be here.

Whoever breaks free from the lust for food can become a miracle worker. But someone who is stuck in this desire it is a sign that he is a liar. Even a Tzaddik who already freed himself from all desires and then falls back into the desire for food, it must be that something false left his mouth. It also shows that there is Judgment upon him from above and it is a sign of poverty.

Through the spread of peace the whole world can be drawn to serve God with one accord, because when men are at peace with one another they talk to each other about the true purpose of the world and its vanities. They discuss the realities of life and how, when a person dies, all that remains is whatever he prepared for the world of eternity after death, because neither silver nor gold accompany a person after death. When people come to understand this they will abandon their illusions and idols of silver, aspiring only to God and His Torah. Their only aim will be to serve God and seek out the truth.

Understand the tremendous power of speech. It can save you from destruction.

What do I mean by the land of Israel? I mean the actual country of Israel with its houses and apartments!

When a person falls and is sinking in the mud and mire, he must not allow himself to stay there. He must have one leg outside even while one leg is inside. One leg outside, one leg inside. until the other leg is also outside!

When a person recognizes the wrong he has done and how grossly materialistic and impure he is, he can become so depressed that he is completely incapable of praying. He simply cannot open his mouth to God. This is because of the deep sorrow and heaviness that overcome him when he sees his overwhelming distance from God.

When harsh decrees threaten Israel , they can be sweetened through dancing and hand- clapping.

When the time comes for a person to rise from one level to the next, he must first experience a fall. The whole purpose of the fall is to prepare for the ascent. Try to understand this and you will realize how determined you must be in order to serve God. No matter how far you fall, never allow yourself to be discouraged. Remain firm and resolute and pay no attention to the fall at all, because in the end it will be transformed into a great ascent. This is its whole purpose.

When you make an opening in some pathway of service and with it give some charity, this charity opens and widens the entrance even further. For charity is the beginning of all beginnings and opens and widens all the gates.

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.

Thus King David said: "In my distress you relieved me" (Psalms 4:2). You have helped me by means of the very trouble itself!

Understand this well: Learn to live within your means. Everyone is constantly in need of all kinds of things: this applies even to the very wealthy. It is best to be satisfied with a minimum and to run your household according to your means at the time.

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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