The Altar at the Table

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught…

“Through proper eating, foolishness is brought to heel, and the mind is uplifted.
(Likutei Moharan I:17)


What does this mean to me?
The Talmud teaches that our tables now substitute for the altar that used to stand in the holy Temple. Obviously, this is not meant to teach us that we can still bring sacrifices, but that the spiritual work that was once accomplished on the altar can now be accomplished, in a smaller and more personal way, over our dinner plates. On the altar, the animal nature was consumed and transformed; the Temple was a place of both atonement and a focal point for the contemplation of G-dliness. Part of the work is subduing the negative; once that is accomplished, we are free to uplift our minds and grasp the positive.


A prayer:


Dear G-d, help me break
My desire to eat too much.
Instead, let me eat and drink just enough
To be strong and fulfill Your will.

May I be worthy of sharing my food with guests,
Particularly those who are in need.
Protect me always from forbidden foods
Since they bring impurity to my soul.

Help me fulfill, dear G-d, the mitzvah
Of washing my hands for meals,
Which purifies my hands
And draws down Your holiness upon me.

May I please say the blessings before and after eating
With concentration and devotion.
Grant me the ability
To eat in holiness,
As this calms my mind
And allows me to be in charge of what I do.

Please G-d, when I eat,
Let me have You in my thoughts.
And then, through eating,
I can reach true understanding

(Between me and You, p. 40-42)

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Your Feedback

Such a perfect prayer. There is symmetry, balance, emunah.
thank you,

Wow! I think someone has been listening in on my life! …I just want to express how much this has helped me. I intend to print out the prayer and put it with my daily meditation. Thank you.

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Author: Yehudis Golshevsky

Yehudis in her own words: When I first began learning Rebbe Nachman’s teachings with my husband and other teachers, I felt as though I had come home to the personal and vital relationship with G-d that I’d always sought. Today, a large part of my inspiration comes from helping other Jewish women discover their own spiritual potential through the meaningful teachings of Breslov Chassidut. Yehudis Golshevsky has been teaching Torah classes to women and working in Torah publishing for nearly twenty years. She’s a graduate of Yavne Teacher’s Seminary in Cleveland and holds a degree in Judaic Studies from SUNY at Buffalo. Currently, Yehudis is a contributor to and “Pathways”, the Breslov Research Institute’s weekly publication. Since 2006, she’s been taking women’s groups to Uman and other sites in Ukraine for prayer and study. Yehudis lives with her family in Jerusalem.

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