Shortly before Rosh HaShanah 5569 (late summer 1808), one of Rebbe Nachman’s followers from Teplik brought the Rebbe an exquisitely hand-crafted chair. This prompted Rebbe Nachman to relate a dream he had had:
There was a chair surrounded by fire. The whole world was going to see this chair — men, women and children. On their way back from seeing the chair they paired up and marriages were forged. All the leaders of the era also went to see the chair. I asked, “How far away is it, and for what reason were marriage pairs suddenly formed?”
I circled around them in order to get there, and I heard that Rosh HaShanah would soon be coming. I wasn’t sure whether to return or to remain there. I was undecided. I said in my heart, “How can I stay here for Rosh HaShanah?” But I thought, “Considering my physical weakness, why should I go back?” So there I was. I came to the chair, and there I saw Rosh HaShanah — the real, actual Rosh HaShanah. The same with Yom Kippur — the real, actual Yom Kippur. The same with Sukkot — the real actual Sukkot.
And I heard that they were shouting, “Your New Moons and Festivals My soul hates (Isaiah 1:14). What business have you to judge the world? Rosh HaShanah itself will judge.” Then they all fled together with the leaders of the era — everyone fled.
I saw that the chair was inscribed with the forms of all the beings and creatures in the world — every single one was inscribed there together with his marriage partner. This was the reason why all the marriage pairs had been formed, because each one was able to see and find his marriage partner there.
Something I had been studying during the previous few days now came to mind. There is a verse, “Koursey SHevivin Di Nur” (His throne was fiery flames) (Daniel 7:9). The first letters of the words, Koursey SHevivin Di Nur spell out the word SHaDKhaN— matchmaker. It was through the chair that the marriage pairs were made. Furthermore, the word KouRSe Y is made up of the initial letters of Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. “What shall I do for my livelihood?” I asked. I was told, “Be a matchmaker.” Tzaddik #210) When Rebbe Nachman’s follower brought the Rebbe the chair, Rebbe Nachman asked him, “How long did it take you to make this chair?” The man answered, “An hour a day for six months.” Pleased, the Rebbe remarked, “Then you thought of me for an hour each day! י’ (Until The Mashiach p. 160).
The photo is of one of Rebbe Nachman’s chairs. Tradition has it that this is the chair brought to Rebbe Nachman by his follower from Teplik. During the Cossack raids against the Jews in the Ukraine in the early 1920s, the chair was dismantled and then cut into very small pieces. In 1936, it was brought to Jerusalem. In 1959, the chair was restored by craftsmen from the Israel Museum. In 1984, the chair was refinished by Katriel’s of Jerusalem and was placed on display in the Breslov synagogue in the Meah Shearim quarter of Jerusalem, where it remains today. Though the chair has been preserved, it is not, of course, considered holy or a shrine by the Breslover Chassidim. However, its exquisiteness has attracted people from all over the globe who come to see this chair when visiting Jerusalem.
1. Selected teachings from Rebbe Nachman’s works to help a person find a mate.
2. The Matchmaker – Likutey Moharan (11:89), Rebbe Nachman offers a very novel approach to finding one’s mate.