Klap Freilich!
Jul31

Klap Freilich!

Wedding are such joyous affairs. Yet today’s weddings are fairly tame compared to the way they used to be. In prewar Europe, the average Jewish wedding was an all-night event. Musicians were hired to play a full program of lively tunes and people would dance happily for many hours. The joyous atmosphere was infectious. Reb Noson once attended the wedding of a very distant relative, although he usually didn’t attend the affairs of...

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New Openings
Jul27

New Openings

A Sacred Time – Tammuz #8 The three weeks is the hardest part of the year for the Jewish people. It is much harder to hold onto a deep connection to Hashem during this time. What are we to do when we feel under attack, when everything seems to be going wrong? When Reb Nosson was going through real distress during this exact period, he said: “Our only source of vitality is the Rebbe’s teaching about focusing on the windows of...

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Passion for the Truth
Jul24

Passion for the Truth

The lack of truth and honesty in the world distressed Reb Noson no end. One morning he was so upset, he was unable to pray with his usual joy. He prayed apathetically until he reached the verse “Who protects truth for eternity.” These words ignited the rest of his prayers with enthusiasm and joy. He explained the deep encouragement he found in this verse through a parable: A nobleman had a resplendent garden with every species of...

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Destruction & Godly Awareness
Jul23

Destruction & Godly Awareness

A Sacred Time – Tammuz #7 The month of Tammuz is a special time to mourn the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, the holy temple in Jerusalem. The Talmud tells us that this especially refers to the destruction of our da’at, or awareness of G-d. This kind of destruction wasn’t only caused by the Babylonians or the Romans; any perceived injustice on the communal or individual level that disrupts our serenity and conscious...

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Healing The Broken Tablets
Jul03

Healing The Broken Tablets

A Sacred Time – Tammuz #1 Rebbe Nachman reveals that the word Tammuz, when written without the vowel vav, is an acronym for zichru Torat Moshe, “Remember the Torah of Moshe.” Reb Nosson explains that the Torah in its essence is so sublime, so remote from this world, that it is really beyond our grasp completely. But due to G-d’s love for the Jewish people, He contracted it and brought it down so that human beings...

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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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A River Of Tears
Jun26

A River Of Tears

In 1914, World War I had just begun and 20 million Russian soldiers were on the battlefield, falling like straw before the wind. Like most religious Jews, young Breslovers did their utmost to avoid the army, not only because of the dangers but also because of rampant anti-Semitism in the ranks. In Uman, many attempted to hide in the kloyz (Breslov synagogue), but it was hardly necessary since the authorities turned a blind eye on...

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Wake Up!
Jun25

Wake Up!

Unable to control himself, the viceroy plucked an apple from the tree and took a bite. As soon as he swallowed it, he fell to the ground in a deep sleep and slept a long, long time. The viceroy’s servant tried to wake him up, but he couldn’t. Rebbe Nachman’s first tale, “The Lost Princess,” is a fascinating recounting of the story of our lives. Being such, it incites us to ask a critical question: “Do I truly possess absolute...

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Mashiach’s Secret Weapon
Jun24

Mashiach’s Secret Weapon

A Sacred Time – Sivan #7 We find in Sefer Yetzirah that the letter associated with the month of Sivan is zayin. Interestingly, weapons are referred to as klei zayin. The Kabbalists explain that when the letter zayin is written in the alphabet required for a Torah scroll it resembles a staff. This alludes to the staff with which Moshe was victorious. Since the purpose of weapons is to win in battle, fighting implements, such as a...

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Yes, We Can!
Jun19

Yes, We Can!

The other day I was introduced to a successful businessman who was interested in studying Breslov Chassidut together. In order to get know each other, we shared our backgrounds, and he said something that has stuck in my mind ever since. My newfound chavruta explained that although his wife and children were making headway in their spiritual journeys, his growth was stunted and even retarded because he enjoyed the pleasures that his...

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Fanning the Flame
Jun19

Fanning the Flame

Once a man who was indifferent about serving God attended one of the Maggid of Dubno’s fiery sermons. Despite the Maggid’s inspiring words, this man still felt completely unmoved. Boldly, in front of a crowd of enthusiastic listeners, he challenged the Maggid to explain why he couldn’t reach him, too. Characteristically, the Maggid answered with an original parable: There was once a villager who visited the big city for the first...

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The Power Of Free Choice
May29

The Power Of Free Choice

After centuries of bondage, the poor Israelite slaves emerge victorious and triumphant over their Egyptian taskmasters. Making their way through the desert, they approach Mount Sinai and the ultimate purpose of Creation, where the lowest of the low rise to become God’s chosen people. Moses delivers God’s question to the Hebrews: “Will you accept the Torah and thereby become a treasure among the nations?” They answer, “All that God has...

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Take Your Holiness With You
May23

Take Your Holiness With You

You have the ability to connect with and build on your own inner holiness. Take your holiness with you as you journey through life.

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Soldier On
May22

Soldier On

The drive down from the hills of Jerusalem to Ben Gurion Airport is a lonely one. After having been privileged to travel to the Land of Israel and bask in its holiness for a few days, it isn’t so easy to depart and return to “normal life.” Thankfully, I remembered that I had a precedent. Reb Noson once traveled to be with Rebbe Nachman, but because of the opposition of his family at that time, the Rebbe told him, “To you we must say,...

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Respect For All
Apr09

Respect For All

During the years of persecution that Reb Noson and his followers endured, Reb Noson’s opponents in the town of Breslov arranged for the local authorities to set up a boot factory to supply an army unit stationed nearby. The site they chose for the factory was Reb Noson’s house. In the weeks before Pesach, a group of non-Jewish workers converted the main room into a workshop, filling it with foul-smelling hides. There they worked and...

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The Taste of True Pesach
Apr02

The Taste of True Pesach

The grinding poverty suffered by ordinary people in Ukraine over a hundred years ago is hard for us to imagine. Pesach was especially difficult for the poor. So many expenses … where was the money supposed to come from? Reb Noson was no stranger to poverty. One year his family lacked the most basic requirements, such as matzah. As they drew water for Pesach, Reb Noson began to dance. He joyously proclaimed, “Thank God we have...

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