All In Good Time
Oct29

All In Good Time

If I were to ask, “What is the secret cause of evil and sin?” what would you answer? Perhaps you would suggest lust, greed, or one of our many other base temptations. However, Reb Noson offers one basic catalyst: Time. Our Rabbis teach that the evil inclination is only influential “in its time” (Yerushalmi, Sotah 3.) Beginning with the first sin – the eating of the forbidden fruit – the great Tzaddikim erred only because they acted...

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This Way to the Treasure
Aug14

This Way to the Treasure

A man once dreamed that there was a great treasure under a bridge in Vienna. He traveled to Vienna and stood near the bridge, trying to figure out what to do. He did not dare search for the treasure by day, because of the many people who were there. An officer passed by and asked, “What are you doing, standing here and contemplating?” The man decided that it would be best to tell the whole story and ask for help, hoping that [the...

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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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Self-Transformation With Azamra!
Apr30

Self-Transformation With Azamra!

In Azamra, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov shows us how to elevate and transform ourselves and others.

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Building for Eternity
Feb28

Building for Eternity

Every four years, in honor of the Olympic Games, tens of billions of dollars are expended and a virtual city is constructed – only to be abandoned a few weeks later. Thousands of years ago, our Jewish ancestors recognized what a waste of gelt this was (not to mention the excessive physical labor) and came up with a much more efficient plan: Why not build a portable, collapsible structure? Thus the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was born. Of...

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A Matter of Survival
Feb20

A Matter of Survival

Desert islands are a popular backdrop for jokes. Once a Jew was discovered on a desert island. The fellow who finds the Jew surviving on tropical fruit and living in a bamboo hut notices that he has also built two other huts. “Those are synagogues,” the Jew explains. “But why do you need two of them?” the fellow wonders. The Jew answers, “This one is the synagogue I pray in, and that one is the synagogue I don’t pray in!” * * People...

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The Role Of The Tzaddik
Oct08

The Role Of The Tzaddik

There is a simple, yet often misunderstood concept: the Tzaddik. Outside of Chassidic circles, when asked ?What exactly is a Tzaddik? Some might answer,  “A saintly individual,” or “A very good person,” or “Someone very devout.” Yet this still doesn’t explain the force that propels not only life-long Chassidim, but Jews from all backgrounds and walks of life, to a place like Uman, where Rebbe...

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A Prayer for Rosh HaShanah
Jul09

A Prayer for Rosh HaShanah

One of Rebbe Nachman’s main teachings was to be with him for Rosh HaShanah. Ever since the pilgrimages in the times of the Rebbe, Breslover Chassidim from far and wide have done everything possible to heed his call. But so many of us have difficulties that seem to hold us back from traveling to the Tzaddik. Rebbe Nachman taught over and over again that the main obstacles are purely psychological and that our greatest weapons are...

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The Wellsprings of Salvation
Jun10

The Wellsprings of Salvation

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught… Reb Nosson wrote: “‘Draw water in joy from the wellsprings of salvation’—all of the words of Rebbe Nachman are truly wellsprings of salvation; they are a well that never runs dry… His guidance and life-saving advice will never run out. No matter what happens, you can always draw strength from his words, because they illuminate for us our Creator’s greatness and His abundant lovingkindness and...

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The Great Love Between Us
May28

The Great Love Between Us

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught… There are two kinds of love: one is “love within days,” meaning that is within measures. This is G-d’s love for us in action. But there is also love that is in potential, the love that existed between the Jewish people and their Father in heaven even before creation, when the Jewish people existed only within the mind of G-d. This is “love within mind,” and we cannot apprehend it truly now, for...

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The Breath of the Little Children
May20

The Breath of the Little Children

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught… Every tzaddik has a spark of Moshe, the faithful shepherd of the Jewish people, who presided over the mishkan. And every tzaddik has certain souls among the Jewish people that learn in his personal mishkan like little children learn in the class of their rebbe. These little children, these souls, receive their breath of spiritual vitality from their tzaddik who leads them. The whole world is...

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Why A Tzaddik? Why Rebbe Nachman? Why Uman?
Aug19

Why A Tzaddik? Why Rebbe Nachman? Why Uman?

Chances are you’ve been to Uman. If not, you certainly know someone who’s traveled to that now-famous Ukrainian town for Rosh HaShanah or another time of the year to pray at Rebbe Nachman’s gravesite. Maybe the prayers were for health, livelihood or children. Maybe they were prayers to find one’s soulmate, or to find oneself. Or maybe they were prayers for the will and the way to come closer to God. What is it about Uman that...

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The Real McCoy
Mar08

The Real McCoy

“The people said to Aharon, ‘Make us a god who will lead us because this man Moses, who took us up from Egypt—we don’t know what happened to him’” (Exodus 32:1). I’m often asked about the importance of having a rebbe. I’m also asked what is a rebbe. What does it mean to have one? How does one go about looking for a rebbe, and how does one know when he’s found his rebbe? (I’m asked a lot of questions!) Let’s try to begin to answer...

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TRANSPARENT
Mar01

TRANSPARENT

As longtime readers of Pathways know, for Parashat Tetzaveh, in which Moshe Rabbeinu’s name does not appear even once, we often write about the concept of tzaddik. We’re doing it again this year! I’m often asked, “What does it mean to be m’kushar (attached) to the tzaddik?” For those yet unfamiliar with this idea, allow me to explain. In a number of lessons in Likutey Moharan and in Sichot HaRan, Rebbe Nachman teaches that prior to...

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A Chassidic Story (#19)
Nov13

A Chassidic Story (#19)

A Chassidic Story (#19) We promised you last week a classic chassidic story. Here it is. For some reason it seems apropos to Parshas VaEra and Avraham Avinu serving guests. But it’s classic because of the Rebbe Reb Zushia’s simple tefilah (prayer) which is so easy to imitate in the saying, but almost impossible to duplicate in the feeling. After Shachris, the morning prayer, the Rebbe Reb Zushia would never ask his personal attendant...

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Tzaddik:  LEADER, TEACHER, INTERMEDIARY?
Sep20

Tzaddik: LEADER, TEACHER, INTERMEDIARY?

Moshe received the Torah at Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua; Joshua to the Elders; the Elders to the Prophets; and the Prophets transmitted it to the Members of the Great Assembly (Avot 1:1). The entire body of Judaic Law, written and oral, came through Moshe, who received it directly from God. God did not give it directly to the Jews. Why not? The Talmud relates: The Emperor told Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya that he wanted to see...

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