Sing to God!
Feb12

Sing to God!

Reb Moshe Breslover provided a glimpse into the depth and beauty of Reb Noson’s Divine service. “Once I was traveling to Uman with Reb Noson. Our covered wagon served as a kind of traveling beit midrash for prayer and Torah study. Reb Noson would always cover his face with his tallit while praying. Although he usually prayed loudly and joyously, on this occasion he seemed preoccupied and intoned the prayers in a still, pained voice...

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The Blessings Of Tu B’Shevat
Feb03

The Blessings Of Tu B’Shevat

The Talmud (Taanis 8b) instructs us that when a person enters the barn to measure the new grain crop he should say the blessing: May it be Your will Lord our God, that You send blessing on the work of our hands. Then he begins to measure and says: Blessed be He who sends blessing into this pile of grain. But if the person first measured the grain and only then recited the blessing, then his prayer is in vain. That’s because blessing...

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God Is Right Here
Jan14

God Is Right Here

A Sacred Time – Teves #5 The Sefer Yetzirah—possibly the Jewish mystical text of earliest origin—reveals that the letter associated with the month of Tevet is ayin. The letter ayin has a numerical value of seventy. There are seventy facets to every aspect of Torah. Rebbe Nachman teaches that the seventy facets of Torah counter the negative influence of the seventy original, root nations. Tevet is known to be a very difficult...

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Holy Chutzpah!
Jan14

Holy Chutzpah!

The three letters that form the month of Tevet—tet, vav, tav—are an acronym for, “tireh tov b’chaverchah”—“see the good in your friend.” Reb Nosson explains that most of us have a hard time when we see a friend do wrong since we can’t understand how a person with so many positive qualities could have blown it so badly. We need to reverse direction and start by focusing on the error. Clearly, when a person makes a bad mistake it...

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A Real Friend
Jan05

A Real Friend

The three letters that form the month of Tevet—tet, vav, tav—are an acronym for, “tireh tov b’chaverchah”—“see the good in your friend.” Reb Nosson explains that most of us have a hard time when we see a friend do wrong since we can’t understand how a person with so many positive qualities could have blown it so badly. We need to reverse direction and start by focusing on the error. Clearly, when a person makes a bad mistake it...

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Shining A Light
Jan01

Shining A Light

The tenth day of Teves is a public fast commemorating the passing of Ezra the scribe, the siege of the walls of Jerusalen and the translation of the Torah into Greek. It is also the day that Reb Nosson of Breslov passed away. Rebbe Nachman explained that a fast has the power to transform spiritual darkness into light. By fasting, we loosen the hold that the body has over us and allow the soul to shine more brightly. Rebbe Nachman...

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Reb Noson’s Last Will and Testament
Jan01

Reb Noson’s Last Will and Testament

Rebbe Nachman once said of Reb Noson, “If not for Noson, not a shred of even one of page of my teachings would have been preserved!” The day of Reb Noson’s passing, the tenth of Tevet, hints to the greatness of the task that he undertook. For the fast of the Tenth of Tevet commemorates not only the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem, but the passing of Ezra the Scribe. It was Friday and Reb Noson was very ill. He asked those who were...

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The Light of Gratitude
Dec24

The Light of Gratitude

The final days of Chanukah always fall out during the beginning of the month of Tevet. The last day is known as Zot Chanukah, “this is Chanukah,” since it is the culmination of the many rectifications of this precious holiday. The Oneg Shabbat explains that by the final day of Chanukah we have lit the Chanukah lights for the final time that year. All that remains is for us to thank and praise the Almighty, which fills our entire year...

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Nothing Is By Chance
Dec24

Nothing Is By Chance

It is customary on Chanukah to play dreidel. A dreidel is a kind of top with four sides that has different Hebrew letters inscribed on each side. The four letters are nun, gimel, hei and shin. This is an acronym for “nes gadol hayah sham”—“A great miracle occurred there.” This alludes to the miracle of the menorah in the second Temple. Although the Maccabees clearing through the devastation of the sacked Temple only found one day’s...

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Taste the Joy!
Dec24

Taste the Joy!

Chanukah is such a pleasure—every child’s (and adult’s) dream: you get to eat delicious (and fattening) food, play games for money (or chocolates), there are gifts…what more could you ask for in a holiday? But where is the soul of Chanukah? Childlike, I can enjoy the physical delights of Chanukah, but I also yearn to taste the spiritual delight of this special time. How can I access it? Through prayer. Rav Shmuel Shapira, one of the...

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G-d’s Chanukah Gift To You!
Dec18

G-d’s Chanukah Gift To You!

The Chanukah lights have somewhat unusual rules attached to them. One may not derive personal benefit from them—to read by, for example—but it’s actually a mitzvah to simply gaze at them. Reb Nosson explains that the lamps of Chanukah allude to the powerful light of mitzvot that fills the home of every Jew. With every good deed that we do, we are able to access the most lofty spiritual light and forge an eternal connection to G-d. We...

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Lighting the Night
Dec11

Lighting the Night

Chanukah always begins on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev. We light the menorah to celebrate the triumph of the eternal flame of Torah over the forces of spiritual darkness and materialism. One day’s worth of oil burned for eight days, defying nature, just like the survival of the Jewish people defies reason. As Mark Twain famously pointed out, the Greeks are long gone along with the rest of the great powers of antiquity (except China...

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Trust In G-d
Dec06

Trust In G-d

The deeper works explain that Kislev is the time to develop deep bitachon, active trust in G-d. The word kesel, meaning security, is the root of the name of the month. During this month, the Jewish people beat impossible odds: our ragtag army of untrained soldiers against the most powerful army in the ancient world, armed with the best weaponry and strategy. What could a soldier of antiquity do against trained elephants? Yet, in some...

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Essential Advice
Dec06

Essential Advice

The tribe associated with the month of Kislev is that of the youngest of Yaakov’s children, Benjamin, Ben-Yemin—the “son of the right-hand side.” Rashi explains that the land of Israel embodies the aspect of the “right hand side,” and that one implication of Binyamin’s name is that he was the child of Yaakov’s re-entry into the land and that he expresses the essence of the land. Reb Nosson explains that the main place to receive...

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Nip It in the Bud
Dec06

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...

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Accentuate The Positive!
Nov28

Accentuate The Positive!

The letter associated with Kislev is samech, the circular letter that has a numerical value of sixty. Reb Nosson explains that samech alludes to nullifying negativity. We learn this from the general rule that applies when non-kosher food falls into a pot of kosher food. If there is sixty times as much kosher food as the volume of the non-kosher matter that fell, its taste is nullified and the kosher food can be eaten. (If possible,...

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