Ask A Breslover: To Work or to Study?

ASK A BRESLOVER

TO WORK OR TO STUDY?

Question:

This may sound like a ridiculous question, but I remember someone once telling me that Rebbe Nachman owned stores in the town he lived in with his father in law (my ignorance is showing because I really don’t remember the town). I recently met a breslover chassid who was arguing with me saying that Rebbe Nachman wanted men to learn all day and not to provide for their families. I really don’t think this is right, but I dont know. What is a true breslov man supposed to do? Isn’t the idea of chassidus the fact that you shouldn’t have to struggle and push Judaism aside, but that you can live a live of Torah and mitzvos and still be a provider?

I’m asking the experts, because I don’t know. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond.

Answer:
I believe you are thinking of Reb Noson’s (Rebbe Nachman’s main disciple) father who set Reb Noson up in business. Reb Noson did work for a while but over time kept giving more and more of the business over to his wife. His wife was very upset about this and his family tried convincing him to become a Rabbi where he could make a parnasah. Reb Noson went to the Rebbe and asked what to do. Reb Nachman said accept the post. Reb Noson asked is that the truth? The Rebbe replied yes. Reb Noson asked is that the real truth – emeser emes? The Rebbe replied no, the real truth is that you should continue serving God as a regular person. Rebbe Nachman does write in Likutey MoHaran that there are certain “tikkunim” accomplished through working (this is of course if it is done with the right intentions.) That being said Breslov is all about leaving this world while fixing all of our flaws, this is the tikkun process. There is no one answer to every person’s personal questions. Yes learning Torah is equal to all mitzvoth and therefore something one should pray every day for. However people are not always in a position where they can do that and perhaps God has decreed that there are other tikkunim that one should be engaged in now. The main thing is not to waste our time and to do what WE CAN DO and pray that we merit to accomplish the rest. I hope this helps, please feel free to ask me to clarify etc…

Yossi Katz

Author: Yossi Katz

Yossi Katz currently lives in Lakewood, NJ where he runs the BRI American Office. He studied in Beth Medrash Gevoha, as well as the former Breslov Kollel of Lakewood headed by Rabbi Shlomo Goldman.

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  1. Rebbe Nachman states “all business activity in the world stems from the lack of peace.” He explains, “all business activity will be eliminated from the world,” and everyone will receive shefa directly, which seems to imply there will be no necessity for business, but prayer. (Likutey Moharan, Vol 2. 14; 12-13). Each person receives shefa according to the mazalot, gilgulim and tikkunim. Rabbi Eleazar said, in order to receive hashkhaha directly, a man needs own land (Yevamot 63a) and produce his own vegetables, but someone who wants to eat meat must go into business.

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