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 world and in the next! “Anger and resentment can cause so much damage, may God protect us. Our Sages teach that the furious person gains nothing...

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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 say, a “prisoner of hope”—holding tight to its vital force no matter what. Reb Nachman of Tulchin would say, “When we get...

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Breslov Story: Avoid the Blame Game
Apr23

Breslov Story: Avoid the Blame Game

It’s human nature to look for an external cause when something goes wrong. People often blame their personal problems and communal struggles on the government’s policies…on local and foreign anti-Semites…sometimes even on other “confused and self-hating Jews.” After all, whatever is bothering me is probably someone else’s fault, right? Reb Noson dismissed that attitude. “Don’t ‘blamers’ realize that whatever the Jewish...

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We Can Bring Mashiach!
Mar26

We Can Bring Mashiach!

We Can Bring Mashiach At the Pesach Seder, we recall our miraculous redemption from Egypt and also look forward to the future redemption, when we will be redeemed from our present exile. The Haggadah contains many hints to this future redemption, including the words of Hallel, the singing of “Next Year in Jerusalem” at the end of the Seder, and the allusions in the songs found in the back of the Haggadah. Once someone asked Reb Noson:...

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Wiping the Slate Clean
Mar19
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Prayers that Move the Heart
Mar12

Prayers that Move the Heart

Reb Noson was truly humble, but nevertheless gave high praise to his own Likutey Tefilot, the book of prayers he composed at Rebbe Nachman’s recommendation. The Rebbe said that nothing gives pleasure to God like taking Torah and turning it into prayer. Reb Noson did this literally, by composing beautiful and inspiring prayers based on each of the Rebbe’s lessons in Likutey Moharan. Reb Noson said, “People say that the famous work of...

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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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