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

What is a good memory? It means keeping the world to come constantly in the forefront of your mind, never forgetting it.

When a person falls from his level he should know that it?s heaven-sent, because going down is needed in order to go up, therefore he fell, in order that he arouses himself more to come close to Hashem. Advice for him - Begin anew to enter into service of Hashem as if you have never yet even begun

When a person refuses to allow himself to fall into despair but instead vitalizes himself by seeking out and gathering together his positive points, this produces melodies, and he can then pray, sing and give thanks to God.

When I was a boy I was very afraid of death. Exactly when I was most frightened of dying, I would ask God that I should die sanctifying His name. This lasted a long time - I don't remember how long - but I know it was a long time, maybe a year. I would constantly make the same request. There was not a prayer or conversation with God in which I did not ask to leave this world sanctifying His name. I was so afraid of death that it was like a self-sacrifice for me just to pray for what I was so afraid of.

When the time comes for an idea to be revealed to the world, the necessary inspiration is granted from above to some thinker or scientist. A thought enters his mind and is thus revealed. Many people may previously have sought this idea but it eluded them. Only when the time comes for the idea to be revealed does the inspiration come to the discoverer.

When you say your prayers, separate yourself from all other thoughts and focus only on the words you are saying to God, just as a person speaks to his friend. Your heart will then be naturally aroused and you will come to genuine tears.

Why do people shed tears when in pain? Tears draw down God's providence. This we learn from the rabbinic interpretation of the verse, "And the clouds return after the rain" ( Ecclesiastes 12:2) - "This refers to a person's vision, which becomes weaker through tears" ( Shabbat 151a) . From this we learn that tears take away part of one's vision.

Thus one who is in need of God's compassion must show compassion for others, and this depends on deepening his Godly understanding.

Use your ears to listen to the words of the Sages: believe in what they say. The way to sanctify your ears is through discretion and loyalty. If people tell you secrets, be sure to keep them and not reveal them to anyone.

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

When a person finally attains a holy goal, all his earlier obstacles become transformed into the most exalted things.

When a person repeats a lie twice, it becomes the truth for him. Having repeated it twice, he believes it is the truth. Not only does he deceive himself; he even has the power to deceive others and to cause such intense concealment that it seems as if even God agrees with him.

When many people are suffering, you should certainly feel their pain in your heart.

When things are very bad, make yourself into nothing.

When you speak to God, make it a habit to express your longing and yearning to extricate yourself from evil and attain true good. Putting your longing into words is the way to draw your spiritual power from the realm of the potential and possible to the realm of the real and actual.

Why does Ezekiel stress that Abraham was one? Because Abraham based his whole service of God on the fact that he was alone. He looked on himself as the only person in the world - as if everything was up to him - and paid no attention whatever to all the other people who had turned away from God and who were putting obstacles in his way. Abraham paid no attention to his father or any of the other people who tried to stop him. He carried on as if he was alone in the world. That is the meaning of Ezekiel's statement: "Abraham was one."

The thing to do is to make an entirely new start. Start serving God as if you had never started in your whole life. This is one of the most basic principles of serving God. We must literally begin all over again every day.

The whole world needs me. You (my students) already know how much you need me, however, even all the Tzaddikim need me, for they too need to be benefited. All the nations of the world need me as well. Our Rabbi of blessed memory already assured us during his lifetime, and designated two kosher witnesses on this, that when he passes away, when [people] come to his grave and give a pennace to charity and say these then tehilim/psalms that we have recorded for remedy for nocturnal emission, Heaven spare us, then our Rabbi himself will span the length and width [of the universe], and will surely save this person. And he said, that he will pull him out of Gehinom/hell by his peyot/sidelocks, even regardless of how that person be, and even regardless of what happened, only from now on he must accept on himself to not return to his wicked ways, Heaven forbid. And the night before he passed away he said: "What do you have to worry about, since I go before you; and if the souls who did not know me at all, look forward to my tikunim/remedies, all the more so [should] you" etc. (And likewise even those who were not privileged to know our Rabbi of blessed memory during his lifetime, when they come to his holy grave and rely on him and learn his holy books and accustom themselves to walk in his holy ways that are mentioned in his holy books, surely they have on what to rely. Fortunate are they! Fortunate is their portion! "And none of them that take refuge in Him shall be desolate" [Ps. 34:23], for he already revealed his mind in several terms, explicitly and by hint, that all that he is involved in with us is not only for us, but with "those who are here...and with those who are not here" [Deut. 29:14)

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.

There is nothing I need to do for myself in this world at all. I came into the world only to bring Jewish souls closer to God. But I can only help someone who comes to me and tells me what he needs.

This empty void was essential for the creation of the world, because without it there would have been no place to create the world. However, it is impossible to grasp or understand the "contraction" that brought about the empty void. This will only be possible in the future. For we have to postulate two opposites: existence and nothingness.

This is similar to a seal. The writing on the seal is unreadable because the letters are back to front. Only when one takes the seal and stamps it on wax can one understand the letters and designs inscribed on the seal, and one then sees what is written on the seal. Similarly, through the Tzaddik's followers one can come to understand something of the Tzaddik himself.

This was how King David composed the Book of Psalms. King David's main time for his private prayers to God was when he lay on his bed at night. He would hide under the covers and pour out his heart to God. King David said: "Every night I converse from my bed in tears." (Psalms 6:7). Happy is the person who makes this a regular practice, because it is supremely exalted.

The time will indeed come when you will need them. You will then be able to make use of your reward without having to ask the storekeeper for credit.

The wicked walk on every side (Psalms 12 :9). This means that the unholy surrounds the holy, because God made the one corresponding to the other (Ecclesiastes 7:14). This applies especially to someone who has already succumbed to the temptation to sin and is so attracted to the unholy that this is where his place is, God forbid. The wicked - in the form of strange thoughts, feelings and temptations - have this person surrounded on every side.

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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