Breaking Cruelty with Compassion
Dec11

Breaking Cruelty with Compassion

The poverty of R’ Pinchas Yehoshua of Tcherin is hard for us to grasp. He was so poor, he could only afford to rent a hovel with a dirt floor, and it cost him five rubles a year. One year’s rent was so difficult for him that he was forced to put off paying it. The next year brought no relief, and again he deferred payment. After seven years of delaying, his landlord finally had had enough. “You owe me thirty-five rubles for these past...

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Listen: Rising Above Nature
Jul14

Listen: Rising Above Nature

Listen to Meir Elkabas explain on “Rising Above Nature.” This class touches on the ideas of the venom of the snake, the power of Yom Tov, and the spiritual strength of...

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An Unbreakable Bond
Jun26

An Unbreakable Bond

A Sacred Time – Sivan #8 We find in the Sefer Yetzirah that the tribe associated with the month of Sivan is Zevulun. When Moshe blessed the tribes at the end of Deuteronomy he declared, “Rejoice, Zevulun, in your going out and Yissachar in your tents.” Yissachar is the paradigm of the Torah scholar who learns, supported as a full partner by the far-reaching business of Zevulun, who traded at sea. The Torah and our tradition...

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Stories of Breslov Elders: The Silent Partner
May13

Stories of Breslov Elders: The Silent Partner

Reb Chaim Krassenstein of Kharkhov (a city in eastern Ukraine) was a Breslover chassid who lived in Russia before the Communist Revolution. Reb Chaim was a successful manufacturer, and his business made him quite wealthy. In the beginning he tithed his income, but as his wealth grew, he began to give 20% to charity. He would either send it to Uman (where the largest Breslov community lived at that time), or he would bring it there...

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Sweet Charity
Aug27

Sweet Charity

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught… Giving charity involves making judgments, and proper judgment is reached by finding the balance between sternness and kindness. When a person gives charity before praying, it helps him also find the balance in his prayers so that they “hit their target,” right on center. (Likutei Moharan I:2) What does this mean to me? Giving charity is like weighing out scales of justice: one takes from “his...

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A Day In The Life Of A Breslover Part III
Jun11

A Day In The Life Of A Breslover Part III

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.   Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom #273 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...

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The Light of Shabbos
Apr15

The Light of Shabbos

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught… “Charity only comes to its full illumination by virtue of the light of Shabbos. (Likutei Moharan I:17)   What does this mean to me? This sounds so beautiful, but what, really, is the light of Shabbos? Rebbe Nachman explains that the light of Shabbos is that of faith in G-d’s creation of the universe. The weekly observance of Shabbos allows us to constantly refresh our faith in this...

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Traveling Torah
Jun29

Traveling Torah

BRI’s NarrowBridge.Org sends out twice weekly inspiration providing a regular dose of hope, meaning and courage. These emails include small doses of Rebbe Nachman’s wisdom, enabling us to get through the week in a more spiritual way.  If you would like to receive these emails click here. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught… Reb Nosson wrote: “This is the way a Jew must travel, whether he goes far or near, even within his...

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Opening the Way
Jun12

Opening the Way

BRI’s NarrowBridge.Org sends out twice weekly inspiration providing a regular dose of hope, meaning and courage. These emails include small doses of Rebbe Nachman’s wisdom, enabling us to get through the week in a more spiritual way.  If you would like to receive these emails click here.   Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught… All beginnings require that you unlock new doors. The key is giving and doing. Give charity and...

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OPENHANDEDNESS
Feb23

OPENHANDEDNESS

This week’s Torah reading has Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses our Teacher) calling upon the Israelites to donate towards the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) in the desert (Exodus 25:1-8). They responded by giving liberally. Each person gave as much as he wanted of what he had. Almost overnight, the Israelites donated more than enough of the necessary raw materials (ibid., 36:5-7). Since they gave generously, let us talk about two...

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Proud to be Jewish

Dvar Torah for Rosh HaShanah Proud to be Jewish We’re on the threshold of Rosh HaShanah, the Day of Judgment, when we’re scrutinized, weighed in the balance and then written down for a good year (hopefully), all in less time than it took to read this sentence. Rosh HaShanah is two days long not because God needs that much time to figure out what to do for you or because that’s how long it takes some people to complete reciting their...

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A Midrash for Monday (#10)
Aug29

A Midrash for Monday (#10)

A Midrash for Monday “Appoint for yourselves judges and police in all your gates, for your tribes … They will judge the people mishpat tzedek (fairly; literally, with charitable justice)” (Deuteronomy 16:18). “In all your gates” means in every city. “For your tribes” teaches us that even if all the people in the city are members of the same family they still need to appoint judges. [In some families they may also need police! –...

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A Midrash for Monday
Aug22

A Midrash for Monday

A Midrash for Monday “When God your Lord will expand your borders…” (Deuteronomy 12:20). This relates to the verse (Proverbs 18:16), “A person’s gift expands him.” When a person is generous, God gives him greatness. There’s a story about Avun Ramaah (Trickster) who lived in Batzrah. Our Sages went there on a fund-raising mission. Although Avun Ramaah was among the first to be approached, he did not pledge any donation. He waited...

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A Chassidic Story (#7)
Aug06

A Chassidic Story (#7)

Shivchei HaBaal Shem Tov #67 [The compiler of Shivchei HaBaal Shem Tov writes] I heard this from Reb Gedaliah of Linitz. There was a somewhat wealthy Jew who lived in Mezritch. As he reached late middle-age he thought to himself, “What have I done with my life? What’s going to happen to me for having spent my life on worthless, transient trivialities, instead of on Torah and good deeds?” At first he didn’t know what to do, but after...

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A Chassidic Story (#5)
Jul24

A Chassidic Story (#5)

Shivchei HaBaal Shem Tov #65 {This story was also told by Reb Zelig to the compiler of Shivchei HaBaal Shem Tov. Even though it is not about the Baal Shem Tov, it is included because it teaches some important lessons. The one whose dream-vision it is, is assumed by many to be Reb Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye, the author of Toldos Yaakov Yosef, the first printed collection of the Baal Shem Tov’s teachings. Although this is not 100% certain,...

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A Chassidishe Maaseh #2
Jul03

A Chassidishe Maaseh #2

Shivchei HaBaal Shem Tov #60 Reb Yosef the Melamed (cheder* teacher) once visited Linitz and told the following story. Reb Yosef was a trustworthy individual and held money in escrow for many people. During a certain period, he had many people’s money in his care. One of those people was the rebbetzin** of his town, Mezritch. The government canceled the local currency. This led to a dispute between the rebbetzin and Reb Yosef. Reb...

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