Nip It in the Bud

Breslover chassidim would say that it’s best to be quiet about the good that you do. Letting other people know about your accomplishments leads only to pride, and pride is the enemy of serving God.

Reb Noson was very careful to trim any harmful pride that he found growing within the hearts of his students. Once his close disciple, Reb Nachman of Tulchin, traveled a long, hard journey to supervise a printing of Likutey Halakhot, Reb Noson’s magnum opus. Besides the arduousness of the trip, Reb Nachman faced many overwhelming obstacles and dangers as he finished printing the books and smuggled them over the border.

After hearing about his harrowing adventures, the Breslovers felt that Reb Nachman deserved special distinction for having somehow managed a virtually impossible feat. “Perhaps we should begin calling him ‘Rebbe Nachman’ as a way of showing our vast appreciation?” they suggested.

Reb Nachman was in the room when they presented their idea to Reb Noson, who immediately rejected it. “Is it really so simple in your eyes?” Reb Noson asked. “I don’t understand this attitude at all. Don’t you know that every good point—even if it is as fragile and apparently insignificant as an eggshell—is priceless? Surely every good deed is worthy of endless praise. So why should you call him ‘Rebbe’ because of this particular good turn that he’s done?”

Reb Noson facetiously added a rhyme in Yiddish: “Leig em uffen tisch chappin a schmitz—That makes as much sense as laying him on the table and slapping him up!”

Reb Avrohom, the son of Reb Nachman of Tulchin, explained why Reb Noson had made such a strong point, and had even made a joke about the idea: “Reb Noson knew that this request—made in my father’s presence—was very unhealthy for his spiritual well-being, so he nipped it in the bud!”

Based on Siach Sarfey Kodesh VI:571, III:284

Author: Yehudis Golshevsky

Yehudis in her own words: When I first began learning Rebbe Nachman’s teachings with my husband and other teachers, I felt as though I had come home to the personal and vital relationship with G-d that I’d always sought. Today, a large part of my inspiration comes from helping other Jewish women discover their own spiritual potential through the meaningful teachings of Breslov Chassidut. Yehudis Golshevsky has been teaching Torah classes to women and working in Torah publishing for nearly twenty years. She’s a graduate of Yavne Teacher’s Seminary in Cleveland and holds a degree in Judaic Studies from SUNY at Buffalo. Currently, Yehudis is a contributor to Breslov.org and “Pathways”, the Breslov Research Institute’s weekly publication. Since 2006, she’s been taking women’s groups to Uman and other sites in Ukraine for prayer and study. Yehudis lives with her family in Jerusalem.

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