Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Nachman of Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Bratslav, Nachman from Uman NULL

Ukrainian Rabbi, Chasidic Leader, Great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, Founder of the Breslov Hasidic Movement

"You possess the ability to control your thoughts. Even if your thoughts wander, you can bring them back and focus on what you wish."

"We cannot think two thoughts at the same time. Consequently, when negative thoughts arise, you do not need to fight them. Make an effort to think positive thoughts, and the negative thoughts will disappear."

"One must never be old, neither an old saint nor an old follower. Being elderly is a vice; a man must always renew, begins and begins anew."

"Everybody says there is this world and the coming world. Behold, here is the coming world -- we believe that there that the coming world exist; perhaps this world also exists in some place, because here it looks like hell, for everybody is full of great afflictions all the time, and he said that this world does not exist at all."

"If you believe breaking is possible, believe fixing is possible."

"All the world is a very narrow bridge, and the most important thing is not to fear at all."

"Just as a hand held before the eyes conceals the greatest mountain, so does petty earthly life conceal from view the vast lights and mysteries of which the world is full."

"Man can become part of God’s unity, which is eternal, only by forgetfulness of self."

"Always remember: happiness is not a side matter in your spiritual journey - it is essential."

"Today you feel uplifted. Do not let yesterday and tommorow to bring you down."

"It is customary to consider forgetfulness a disadvantage. I believe it is an advantage. Knowing to forget, means loosening the troubles of the past."

"It is a great mitzvah to always be happy."

"It is good to set aside a specific time everyday to be heartbroken and to speak out all ones problems before God, but the rest of the day be only happy."

"The essential joy comes from mitzvot."

"Personal prayer before God, is greater than anything else. That is, a person should set aside at least an hour or more everyday to seclude himself from others and speak to God in his own language."

"Prayer depends on the heart, A person should put all of his heart into it, so that it shouldn’t be in the aspect of “With their lips they honor me but their hearts are far from me"

"When a person enters into service of Hashem and sees it is so hard for him, and it seems as if they are distancing him from above and not allowing him at all to enter, he should know that all this feeling of being “distanced” is truthfully only his being “drawn near”. He must remain very very strong not to be discouraged even if many years of hard work go by and he still feels that he is very far and that he didn’t even begin to enter into the gates of holiness, for he sees that he is full of materialism, evil thoughts and the like, and every time he tries to do something holy it is so hard for him and all his crying and pleading with God seems to be going to waste… On all this he needs great courage not to pay attention to these delusions at all. Because all this “distancing”, in truth, is only his “drawing near”, and all the great tzaddikim had to go through this kind of experience before they reached their level."

"You need to have great stubbornness in the service of Hashem."

"You need to greatly encourage yourself in His service as much as you can, even if you are the way you are, you should rely on His abundantly great mercy which is beyond limit, for certainly he will not forsake you, no matter how badly you’ve acted. The past doesn’t exist. The main thing is that from now on you honestly resolve not to do it again."

"It is a great thing for a person to still have an evil inclination because then he is able to serve Hashem with the evil inclination itself. That is, to take all of the fire in his heart and channel it towards service of Hashem. For example, to pray with fiery passion of the heart, etc. For, if there is no evil inclination in a person his service cannot be complete."

"A person must know that “Gods glory fills the entire world” (Isiah 6), and “There is no place void of Him” (Tikunei Zohar), and “He fills all worlds and surrounds all worlds” (Zohar)… even in the most defiled places there is godliness, for He gives life to everything as it says, “And you give life to everything” (Nechemia 9). So even if a person is stuck in the lowest of places he cannot excuse himself and say “I cannot serve Hashem here because of all the thickness and materialism that attacks me always,” for even there you can find Him and cling to Him and do complete teshuva, “For it is not far from you” (devarim 30), only that in this place there are many garments."

"There are two concealments. When Hashem is hidden in one concealment it is certainly very hard to find Him, but nevertheless, since it is only one concealment a person is able to exert himself and to dig until he finds Him, for at least he knows that Hashem is hidden. However, when Hashem is hidden in a concealment within a concealment, that is, the concealment itself is hidden from the person, in other words, he has no idea that Hashem is hidden from him, then it is completely impossible to find Him, for he doesn’t even know that Hashem is hidden... But truthfully, even in all the concealments, even in the concealment within a concealment, certainly even there Hashem is enclothed. For certainly there is absolutely nothing that doesn’t contain in it the life-force of Hashem, for without His life-force it would not have any existence at all. Therefore, certainly, in all things, all deeds, and all thoughts, Hashem is, so to speak, enclothed within. Even if, G-d forbid, a person sins and does something against the will of Hashem, nevertheless, there is certainly the life-force of Hashem within that thing, only it is greatly concealed and constricted."

"Philosophies and intellectual wisdoms are not needed at all. Only pure and simple faith. Because too much sophistication can greatly damage a person."

"Sometimes, when a person gets too caught up in philosophies and sophistication, he needs to purposely free himself of his mind and do things which make him seem silly, to ”Be crazy with love” (Proverbs 5). Meaning, in his love for Hashem he does things which make him seem crazy."

"A person shouldn’t take upon himself added stringencies, as our Rabbis taught ‘The torah was not given to angels.’ This can make him fall from his service of Hashem. The greatest wisdom of all wisdoms is not to be wise at all, rather to be pure and honest with simplicity."

"When there are harsh judgments on the Jewish people, God forbid, through dancing and clapping ones hands, the judgments are sweetened."

"When one sings the words of prayer and the song resonates with great clarity and purity, he enclothes the shechina (divine presence) with luminous clothing."

"When we clap our hands during prayer it awakens the 28 letters that the world was created with which parallel the 28 joints in the hands. Through this we have power to purify the air of the nations, to dispel the impure air and replace it with the pure air of the Land of Israel."

"It is a great thing to hear music from a holy person playing on an instrument for the sake of heaven. Because through this, false fantasies are dismissed, the spirit of depression is dispelled, and the person merits happiness. Through this the memory is preserved, that is, the memory of the world to come, and a person is able to understand the hints that Hashem is constantly hinting to him everyday. Furthermore, through this a person can reach the level of the spirit of prophecy and divine inspiration, and he will be able to pour out his heart like water before Hashem."

"Know! You need to judge every person favorably, even someone who is completely wicked, you need to search and find any little bit of good. By finding in him a little good and judging him favorably you actually bring him over to the side of merit and you can return him in teshuva. "

"A person also needs to find in himself a little bit of good. Because no matter how low a person is, how can it be that he didn’t do one good thing in his entire life? "

"Every single Jew has a point in them that is uniquely precious. And it is with this point that he bestows upon, enlightens, and arouses the heart of others. We all need to accept this arousal and this unique point from each other. As it says, “And they receive one from another” (Isaiah 3)."

"When a person knows that everything that happens to him is for the best, this is a taste of the world to come."

"Know that the primary essence of exile is only our lack of belief. "

"Gan Eiden and Geihinom are literally in this world."

"A Jewish person needs to always look at the wisdom within everything in order that it will enlighten him so that he can come close to God through each thing. Because this wisdom is a great light and it will enlighten all his ways. "

"Every single Jew is a portion of God above, and the essence of Godliness is in the heart. This godliness, which resides in the heart of a Jewish person, is infinite, for the light of its flame reaches infinity, that is, his yearnings and desires are without end or limit."

"Just as God constricted his infinite light in creating the world, for due to the greatness of the light there was no room for creation, so too a person needs to constrict the infinite light of his heart in order to serve God in measure and in steps, for if the light would remain unconstricted it would be impossible to serve Him. So it turns out, in both cases, that this “constriction” of the light actually makes room for its own “revelation.”"

"The Blessed Holy One constantly constricts his godliness from utmost infinity to the most finite center point of this physical world and he sends to each person thought, speech and deed according to the person and according to the time and place. He enclothes within the thought, speech and deed, hints, in order to bring the person close to his service. Therefore a person needs to delve his mind into this and expand his consciousness in order to understand what the hints are in their details which Hashem is sending to him in the thoughts, words, and deeds of this day according to the specific circumstances he finds himself in. In business or work and in everything that Hashem sends to him each day he needs to delve and expand his mind in it, in order to understand the hints of Hashem. "

"The world says that a person doesn’t need to seek greatness. I say that you must certainly seek greatness. Investigate and seek out only the greatest Tzaddik."

"How could they not appose me, for I walk a new path, one that no man has ever walked before, nor any creature since the time the torah was received. Even though it is a very old path, nevertheless it is completely new."

"Common sense is strengthened by joy."

"Worldly riches are like nuts; many a tooth is broke in cracking them, but never is the stomach filled with eating them."

"Whoever is able to write a book and does not, it is as if he has lost a child."

"While praying, listen to the words very carefully. When your heart is attentive, your entire being enters your prayer without your having to force it."

"Human fallibility being what it is, victory and truth do not always go together. Therefore, if you have to always win, you can't always be true."

"Believe that none of the effort you put into coming closer to God is ever wasted - even if in the end you don't achieve what you are striving for."

"You are wherever your thoughts are, make sure your thoughts are where you want to be."

"Truth is the "light" by which to find your way out of darkness. Turn it on."

"An angry man is unfit to pray."