Different Strokes for Different Folks
Nov28

Different Strokes for Different Folks

In Uman, Rebbe Nachman spent time with the local maskilim (Jewish assimilationists) as well as with his Chassidim. Though people wondered about his motives, the Rebbe’s whole mission with the maskilim, as with all Israel, was to implant faith and Torah. But he understood their outlook and attitudes, and used a very different approach with [...]

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“The Walls Have Ears”
Nov03

“The Walls Have Ears”

In the early 1960s R’ Gedaliah Fleer attempted the impossible: to visit the tziyun (gravesite) of Rebbe Nachman in Uman. The city was sealed off to foreigners, while the Communist authorities harassed Russian Jews who made the annual Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage. Upon reaching Moscow on a tourist visa, R’ Gedaliah contacted the one man who [...]

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The Best Career of All
Nov03

The Best Career of All

One of Rabbi Zvi Aryeh Rosenfeld’s Talmud Torah students, whom we’ll call “Kohn,” lived next-door to the Rosenfeld family. One Friday night, Rabbi Rosenfeld’s four-year-old son opened his bedroom window before going to sleep and heard Kohn singing zemirot. He went to tell his father. Rabbi Rosenfeld came into the room, sat on his son’s [...]

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The First Two Rubles
Sep19

The First Two Rubles

For the first Rosh HaShanah after Rebbe Nachman’s passing, about sixty chassidim traveled to Uman, where they were welcomed into the Shomrim LaBoker synagogue. The Breslovers prayed there for ten years until 1821, when there was simply not enough room anymore. Next they prayed in the house of a Reb Mordekhai, and although he passed [...]

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Getting to Uman
Sep01

Getting to Uman

By Gedaliah Fleer Today it takes just a phone call to a travel agent to join the more than 35,000 people who spend Rosh HaShanah beside Rebbe Nachman’s gravesite in Uman. It wasn’t always that easy. Between World War II, when the Nazis made Uman “Judenrein,” and the fall of Communism in 1989, Breslover Chassidim [...]

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Who Was “The Deutschel”? (Part I)
Aug21

Who Was “The Deutschel”? (Part I)

There was a German Jew who was pious, learned and wealthy, blessed with righteous and scholarly sons. When they came of age, he summoned them and said, “Beloved children! I’ve decided to send you to seek your fortunes abroad. Money you’ll be provided with. My only condition is that you return in exactly five years [...]

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For the Sake of the Children
Aug12

For the Sake of the Children

Rebbe Nachman’s maternal grandfather was a mysterious figure in the history of Chassidism. The Rebbe’s great-grandfather, the Baal Shem Tov, made the match between his daughter, Adil, and one of his students, Rabbi Yechiel, known as “the Deutschel” (the German). Rebbe Nachman’s own brother, one of his earliest followers, was named after their grandfather. But [...]

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What’s In A Name?
Aug04

What’s In A Name?

When Rebbe Nachman’s fourth daughter was born, he didn’t follow the common custom and name her at the next Torah-reading opportunity. Instead, days and days went by, and he had yet to provide his newest child with a name. The Chassidim were confused by Rebbe Nachman’s strange practice, and people around Breslov began to whisper [...]

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Destination: Israel
Jul31

Destination: Israel

When Rebbe Nachman’s third daughter, Miriam, came of age, she married Pinchas, the son of Rabbi Aryeh Leib of Volochisk. Throughout his life, Rabbi Aryeh Leib yearned to move to the Land of Israel. He spoke about his desire often, but years went by and he never made the move. Rebbe Nachman had another mechutan—his [...]

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Perfect Hospitality
Jul31

Perfect Hospitality

Before his daughter Sarah’s wedding, Rebbe Nachman devoted time to teaching her concepts that he hoped would help her throughout her life. He spent much time explaining the greatness of the mitzvah of opening her home to guests. Rebbe Nachman wanted his daughter to have special enthusiasm and love for this mitzvah in particular, knowing [...]

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The Baal Shem Tov’s Remedy
Jul14

The Baal Shem Tov’s Remedy

Rebbe Nachman’s daughter, Sarah, suffered from ailments that caused her great pain. On one occasion, her agony was so great that she was left bedridden. When Rebbe Nachman came to visit and when saw the depths of her distress, he felt awash in sadness for her. As he listened to her speak of her troubles, [...]

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Impressions of Seder Night
Apr14

Impressions of Seder Night

  Once Reb Shimon learned an important lesson about the power of simple prayer from his Rebbe. When his young son fell dangerously ill, Reb Shimon ran to the Rebbe, begging him to pray for the boy’s recovery. But Rebbe Nachman didn’t answer…he just stood there, silent. Reb Shimon returned home to attend to his [...]

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A Mother’s Prayer
Mar17

A Mother’s Prayer

  Once Reb Shimon learned an important lesson about the power of simple prayer from his Rebbe. When his young son fell dangerously ill, Reb Shimon ran to the Rebbe, begging him to pray for the boy’s recovery. But Rebbe Nachman didn’t answer…he just stood there, silent. Reb Shimon returned home to attend to his [...]

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In This World And The Next
Mar04

In This World And The Next

Thousands of people traveled to hear and speak to Rebbe Nachman during his lifetime. Reb Noson, the Rebbe’s closest disciple, also made mention of the children who saw the Rebbe and came away enriched. A young boy nine years of age who was ill with a slight fever was sent by his father to the [...]

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In This World And The Next
Feb26

In This World And The Next

Reb Shimon b’Reb Ber, who met Rebbe Nachman on the day of the Rebbe’s wedding, was Rebbe Nachman’s very first disciple. Reb Shimon proved to be a faithful devotee and shamash (personal assistant) throughout the Rebbe’s years as a leader and teacher. One question was always on his lips: “Will I merit to be your [...]

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Simple Acts
Feb11

Simple Acts

Rebbe Nachman always taught his students that their main focus in prayer should be on the straightforward meaning of the words. Even those who studied Kabbalah were discouraged from veering from the plain meaning of the prayers during the act of prayer itself. When asked by an advanced student what particular meditation he should have [...]

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