The Road To Faith
May09

The Road To Faith

Faith depends upon truth. If you will only search for the truth with complete honesty you will eventually realize that you must have faith in God, in the true Tzaddikim, and in the holy Torah. You will realize this in spite of the fact that such faith is not something that is susceptible to our rational understanding, bound as our rational faculties are by the material nature of our existence. If you think about things with...

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Holding On In Life – No Matter What
Jun18

Holding On In Life – No Matter What

1. The search for the “real truth” is basically tapping into Hashem’s “Divine Countenance”. Just as His Countenance is the strongest and most protective force in creation, so too the person who is simply and honestly looking for the real truth is in a sense protected from all evil and falsehood. You have nothing to be afraid of!!! 2. Hashem, the Tzaddikim and the Torah offer guidelines for those looking...

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Does God Love Old People?
Feb21

Does God Love Old People?

Does God Love Old People? This is not a “shocking headline” or a teaser or a hypothetical question. It’s a real challenge to emunah (faith) for an elderly person who is watching his body and/or his mind deteriorate. For the caretakers as well—in particular family members, who watch the decay unfold, the slow, sad, even tragic, slide of a confident, capable individual whom they love, and from whom they drew strength and inspiration for...

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Dvar Torah for Parshat VaYetze

Dvar Torah for Parshat VaYetze There is Only the Trying “It’s twenty years that I’ve worked for you! … I was consumed by scorching heat during the day and frost at night; sleep was driven from my eyes” (Genesis 31:38–40). Rebbe Nachman got annoyed when someone said that tzaddikim were great because they had great souls. He insisted that this was not true, maintaining that their achievements depended completely on good deeds, effort...

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A Chassidic Story: The Rebbe, Reb Shmelka (#8)
Aug15

A Chassidic Story: The Rebbe, Reb Shmelka (#8)

A Chassidic Story (#8) Here are two stories from Shemen HaTov, a collection of Torah commentary and insights (Part I) of, and stories (Part II) about the Rebbe, Reb Shmelka of Nikolsburg. Throughout I will refer to this tzaddik as the Rebbe, Reb Shmelka because that’s what we chassidic cognoscenti do. Once, Reb Chaim of Tzanz, the author of Divrei Chaim and founder of the Tzanz chassidic dynasty, was hosting a number of rabbis and...

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Dvar Torah for Parshat Matot
Jul21

Dvar Torah for Parshat Matot

Dvar Torah for Parshat Matot Based on Likutey Halakhot, Sheluchin 5:17 “Moshe spoke to the Israelite tribal heads, saying: ‘This is the word God has commanded’” (Numbers 30:2). Rashi comments that when any mitzvah was introduced, the tribal heads had the privilege to be the first to learn about it, directly from Moshe Rabbeinu. Rashi also tells us that Moshe Rabbeinu’s prophecy was qualitatively different—and greater—than that of all...

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Dvar Torah for Parshat Pinchas
Jul13

Dvar Torah for Parshat Pinchas

Based on Likutey Moharan I, Lesson #30 “Moshe spoke to God, saying, ‘Let the Omnipotent God of all souls appoint a man over the community … Let God’s community not be like sheep without a shepherd.’ God said to Moshe, ‘Take Yehoshua son of Nun, a man of spirit, and lay your hands upon him.’ … Moshe did as God ordered him” (Numbers 27:15–17, 22). “Each person must seek out a suitable teacher … one who can elucidate and give him...

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Dvar Torah for Lag b’Omer
May19

Dvar Torah for Lag b’Omer

Dvar Torah for Lag b’Omer Based on Likutey Halakhot, Hekhsher Keilim 4:1–4 “Tzaddikim are greater in their death than they were in their lifetime” (Chullin 7b). Why is Lag b’Omer (the 33rd day of the Omer-Count) such a great celebration? Not because Rebbe Akiva’s students no longer died prematurely, but because it is the anniversary of Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai’s passing. Celebrating the death of a Jew, particularly of a tzaddik,...

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The Joy of Matzah
Apr07

The Joy of Matzah

Dvar Torah for Pesach Based on Likutey Halakhot, Pesach 2 What is matzah? It’s a simple type of bread made from flour and water and nothing else. It’s so simple that it does even rise, meaning, it doesn’t become leavened. It’s a bread that we Jews are commanded to eat at the Seder. As with all mitzvahs, prior to doing it we have to focus ourselves enough and think, “I’m going to do this because God commanded me to do it.” Without...

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Thinking about the Tzaddik
Jan02

Thinking about the Tzaddik

Rebbe Nachman’s beautiful chair was made by the shochet (ritual-slaughterer) of Teplik. When he delivered his gift to the Rebbe, the Rebbe was quite happy. Rebbe Nachman asked him, “How long did it take you to make the chair?” “I worked on it for an hour a day, for six months,” answered the shochet. Rebbe Nachman was impressed and gratified. “You thought about me every day for an hour….” The Breslovers of yore, in Umantown, used...

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A Response
Jun06

A Response

{This post was first published on 6 June 2010 and was updated 13 June. New comments are in {}. My thanks to those who have commented. You made the post a better one.} The recent article in Mishpacha Magazine that we were thankful for, and applauded here, was recently followed by a number of “Letters to the Editor.” Those letters, sad to say, were full of canard-laced ignorance-based attacks on Breslov. Even though we...

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You Should Go

I returned from Uman shortly before dawn last Monday (18 Sivan/31 May). Arkia Airlines has recently started flights between Tel Aviv and Kiev. Occasionally, as happened last week, they offer low-priced tickets. I paid $270. A number of other Breslover chassidim that I met on the plane paid only $250. One passenger paid a measly $210! The plane was comfortable and clean; the service was very good; the food was good (but they served a...

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Breslov in Mishpacha Magazine
May13

Breslov in Mishpacha Magazine

Glory be! Not only is Breslov Chassidus prominently and positively in a mainstream Jewish magazine—Mishpacha—it’s the cover story! (Rabbi Chaim Kramer, founder of Breslov Research [wearing glasses], and Reb Moshe Weinberger of Aish Kodesh are pictured.) Get yourself a copy of this week’s issue: 28 Iyar 5770/May 12 2010 Our thanks to the good people at Mishpacha, in particular Reb Yisroel Besser, the article’s author. May his love for...

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43rd Day of the Omer (Wednesday, 12 May)

Week of Malkhut, First Day Major sefirah: Malkhut/Royalty-Kingship; minor sefirah: Chessed/Kindness It’s sort of funny, you know, that a lot of ordinary, “at first glance” thinking is really wrong, the opposite of how things really are. What do I mean? Well, for example, to be in charge of something, to be its king, means to take from it what you want, when you want and to tell it what to do. Wrong! I mean, on all counts, wrong. What...

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42nd Day of the Omer (Tuesday, 11 May)

Week of Yesod, Seventh Day Major sefirah: Yesod/Foundation; minor sefirah: Malkhut/Royalty-Kingship You know, even in the darkest days in Egypt, we always had the tradition that the Redeemer would come, a towering tzaddik. And we were fortunate. Many of the ancients, the founders of our tribes, the children and grandchildren of our third patriarch Yaakov, lived long lives. Then the saintly Aharon the Levite shepherded us for so many...

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38th Day of the Omer (Friday, 7 May)

Week of Yesod, Third Day Major sefirah: Yesod/Foundation; minor sefirah: Tiferet/Splendor You know what the most beautiful thing about Judaism is? Its people. First of all the tzaddikim. They are so refined and kind. They speak gently, never using an untoward word, even when they have to put us in our place. Their every move can teach us something. Even the ordinary folk, like me, are wonderful, despite our mistakes. We’re always...

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