Praying Like A Child
Feb05

Praying Like A Child

Rebbe Nachman’s deep yet completely simple and straightforward immersion in prayer was a wonder to those who were close to him. He prayed in a brokenhearted way, begging for mercy with total self-effacement, like a young child pleading with his father. Once, when a young man came to the Rebbe to ask for guidance in [...]

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This Is Prayer!
Jan28

This Is Prayer!

Once, after finishing his evening prayers, Rebbe Nachman went with a number of his students to break bread. The Rebbe’s beloved disciple, Reb Noson, was among their number, but unlike them he hadn’t yet prayed the evening service. As the group walked, Reb Noson veered off in the direction of the synagogue. As soon as [...]

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Enveloped in Prayer
Jan07

Enveloped in Prayer

Rebbe Nachman once took one of his close students with him for an early-morning prayer session out in the field. When they reached the entry point to an old volcanic cavern half-hidden among the brush, he gestured that they should enter and do their hitbodedut within the deep chamber. As soon as they squeezed into [...]

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On the River
Jan04

On the River

Near the town of Medvedevka in Ukraine was a village called Husyatin, surrounded by the green fields and grazing flocks that characterized the region. Nearby, the river Zbruch flowed, bounded by forests and farmsteads. In that small village, the newly-married Rebbe Nachman (who was then barely into his teens, and hardly a Rebbe) lived with [...]

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Child’s Play
Nov13

Child’s Play

From his earliest years, Rebbe Nachman set lofty goals for himself. Just like the desire to see the “light of Shabbat” had consumed him, little Nachman aspired to experience God’s presence on a constant basis – to fulfill King David’s words, “I have placed God before me always” (Psalms 16:8). These yearnings led the growing [...]

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Rebbe Nachman’s First Book
Oct22

Rebbe Nachman’s First Book

As a child, Rebbe Nachman was powerfully motivated to study Torah. He had access to his father’s library, which covered the full spectrum of Jewish teachings from the most revealed to the most concealed. Fired by love and desire to connect with his Creator, young Nachman would spend hours studying his father’s books. The product [...]

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Teach Me More!
Oct15

Teach Me More!

We’re used to thinking of Rebbe Nachman as a fully-formed tzaddik, but he actually learned in school, in the traditional Eastern European cheder, together with other children. Every class has its spectrum of students – some are sharper, some are weaker; for some, paying attention comes naturally, while others are distracted by every passing breeze. [...]

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Stubborn…For the Right Reasons
Aug28

Stubborn…For the Right Reasons

Once again, a group of venerable tzaddikim gathered at the home of the righteous parents of young Nachman, sharing teachings of the Baal Shem Tov and praying at his holy gravesite. As the five-year-old Nachman looked on, they then sat down to plan their journey. One of the earliest students of the Baal Shem Tov [...]

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The Watchful Tzaddik
Aug20

The Watchful Tzaddik

When Rebbe Nachman was a tiny baby, his mother, Feiga, had to travel away from home for a night. His father, Reb Simcha, could not be left in charge of the child, since he was rarely at home. Reb Simcha’s practice was to spend days, weeks and months out in the fields and forests in [...]

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An Auspicious Beginning
Aug13

An Auspicious Beginning

On the Shabbat of Rosh Chodesh, the first day of Nisan 5532 (April 4, 1772), Rabbi Simcha and his wife Feiga, granddaughter of the Baal Shem Tov, brought a new soul down to the world in the little village of Mezhibuzh, Ukraine. This child would grow up to be Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, known later [...]

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The Faithful Chassid
Jun18

The Faithful Chassid

The Breslov movement survived and thrived in Communist Russia due to the bravery and self-sacrifice of its chassidim. We cannot fathom the pressures and persecution that these men and women endured to keep their faith alive and follow Rebbe Nachman’s teachings, but endure them they did, keeping the Rebbe’s flame burning through the most difficult [...]

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The Unusual Dance
Jun11

The Unusual Dance

Once there was a poor chassid who stood in the open marketplace all day long, selling salted fish from a barrel. Naturally, during the long, bitterly cold Ukrainian winters, he needed a warm overcoat. But all he owned was an old fur peltz so tattered and worn that it was virtually useless. Without a winter [...]

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Steer Clear!
Jun04

Steer Clear!

When Breslover chassidim would find one of their number on the margins of a conflict or controversy, they would offer gentle rebuke to discourage the friend from getting involved. “Rebbe Nachman once said, ‘In the ultimate future, there will be kings and leaders of nations who will want to avoid fighting any wars. All they [...]

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Down With Negativity!
May28

Down With Negativity!

At times Rebbe Nachman reminisced about the challenges he faced in his spiritual growth in his youth. He would speak about the obstacles he had faced, the times he felt he wasn’t progressing despite his strong desire to learn and connect with God. Even so, he always encouraged himself and refused to give up. Early [...]

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Temper, Temper
May14

Temper, Temper

When Reb Noson heard that his son was having a hard time controlling his temper, he gently encouraged him, “My dear son, for God’s sake, have mercy on yourself and on your family, and refrain from acting out in anger. If you don’t let anything anger or irritate you, you will be happy in this [...]

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Never Despair!
Apr30

Never Despair!

Never despair! Rebbe Nachman declared. But is it enough to just steer clear of despair? Breslov chassidut rests on something deeper than just avoiding the negative…we’re meant to hold fast to the power of hope. Through trust and hope, it’s possible to never despair. In fact, it’s our duty to be, as Reb Nosson would [...]

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