People often ask, “What is it like to be a Breslover Chassid or a student of Rebbe Nachman?” While Rebbe Nachman strongly encouraged us to follow his advice, even if only sometimes or somewhat, Rabbi Yitzchok Breiter z”l did suggest a daily routine that we can all find to be very helpful.
A person has to be quick in serving God. A person has to be alert and ready every hour, every day to do as much as possible. Deeds are the main thing: study much, do many mitzvot, pray long and pour out one’s heart before God. One must do as much as possible in every way. Even so, don’t panic. You will find many kinds of devotion in the sacred literature and think, “When will I be able to fulfill even one of these devotions, let alone all of them?!” Don’t panic. One shouldn’t rush and try to grasp everything at once. He has to go slowly, step by step without getting into a tizzy and trying to do and accomplish everything immediately. If he is over hasty he will become totally confused. When there is fire, God forbid, people panic and rescue needless items.
6. Remembering the World to Come:
When you wake up, say, “Modeh ani lefanecha – I give thanks before You etc.” and immediately think of the World to Come. Pray to God to help you do everything you do today in holiness. Bind yourself to the Tzaddik anew, as you did in the evening. Likutey Moharan I:54.
7. Getting Up:
Try to get up before dawn to study, pray and meditate. This will bring you to perfect faith. The light of truth and wisdom will shine on you and you will be able to enter all the gates of holiness. When it gets light in the morning, lift up your eyes and look at the heavens. Likutey Moharan I:62 and 149.
8. Preparing to Pray:
Don’t eat, drink or talk before you pray. If you can’t avoid talking, be brief. This way your prayer will be acceptable. You must put all your strength and concentration into the words of the prayers. Your soul yearns to pour out her words before her Maker. Do not distract yourself with anything that might diffuse or weaken that willpower.
Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 89; Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom #277; Tzetel Koton of R. Elimelech of Lizhensk #11; Likutey Moharan I:5, 3 and 9,1.
Immerse in the mikvah every day. This is the way to sanctify yourself and rid yourself of the impurity caused by yours sins. You will be able to come genuinely close to God and be free of all troubles, physical or spiritual. For “God is the hope, mikvah, of Israel. He saves them in times of trouble” (Jeremiah 14:8).
10. Shacharit – the Morning Prayer:
Pray early in the morning at a steady pace as explained in #2 above. Don’t interrupt to talk to anyone from the beginning of the service until the end. Use a prayerbook and don’t look about you. Answer, “Amen, yehei shemei rabbah” in the Kaddish, Barchu and the Kedushah joyously with all your strength and concentration. This way you will bring the light of the Seven Primordial Days to shine anew on yourself and the whole world every day. This is what we pray for in the first blessing before the morning Shema: “Shine a new light on Zion and let us all be worthy…”
11. Shulchan Aruch – The Code of Jewish Law:
Every day of your life without exception make it a fixed practice to study at least a small portion of the Shulchan Aruch. This way you will rid yourself and the world as a whole of all kinds of doubts about God and of spiritual and physical conflict. Study the Shulchan Aruch in order, from beginning to end. Keep up this practice every day of your life. If you are unable to study the Shulchan Aruch in the original, study one of the concise versions each day. [If you are under duress and have no time, you may study any law in the Shulchan Aruch even if it does not follow your regular course of study.]
Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom #29 and 185.
12. Hisbodidus – Private Prayer and Meditation:
Do your utmost to spend at least an hour every day in private prayer and meditation. Express yourself in your own words in the language you understand best. Talk about all the things you are going through. Admit yours sins and transgressions, intentional and unintentional. Speak to God the way you would to a close friend. Tell Him what you’re going through – your pain, the various pressures you are under, your personal situation, that of the others in your home, and also that of the Jewish People as a whole. Talk about everything in full. Argue with God in whatever way you can. Press Him. Plead with Him to help you come genuinely close to Him. “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it” (Psalms 81:11). Cry out; shout, groan; sigh and weep. Give thanks to God for all the love He has shown you in both spiritual and material matters. Sing to God and praise Him. Then ask for whatever you need, spiritually and materially. Have faith that the satisfaction that comes to God from such conversations by even the lowliest of all people is more precious to Him than all kinds of other devotions, even the devotions of the angels in all the worlds. Even if you can’t open your mouth at all, just the fact that you stand there and put your hope in God, lifting your eyes upwards and forcing yourself to speak, even if you only say a single word the whole hour – all this endures forever.
Likutey Moharan II:95-101, etc.