Like a Brokenhearted Child

BRI’s NarrowBridge.Org sends out twice weekly inspiration providing a regular dose of hope, meaning and courage. These emails include small doses of Rebbe Nachman’s wisdom, enabling us to get through the week in a more spiritual way. 

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Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught…


“Don’t confuse heartbreak with sadness and depression. Depression is really anger, a complaint against G-d for not giving you what you want. But when you have a contrite heart you are like a little child crying because its parent is far away.”
(The Empty Chair*, p. 106)


What does this mean to me?


In our contemporary world, the word depression has assumed a clinical meaning, divorced from moral implications. For the most part, that’s a positive development; certainly there are clinically depressed people who improve with a medical approach. Do they really need to examine their motives so much?

Nevertheless, Rebbe Nachman spoke at great length about the state of marah shechorah-melancholia-as a particular spiritual failing, characterized by a tendency to passivity, stagnation, and a persistent negative viewpoint when life fails to go our way. So we should not be surprised when the Rebbe teaches that “depression” is an expression of anger at G-d and His providence; it doesn’t arise in a vacuum. And he makes a distinction between depression and contrition—“brokenheartedness”—which is a necessary element of self-improvement. For if we are not pained by our distance from G-d and are insensitive to our own spiritual condition, how will we ever grow closer?


A prayer:


Let my cries and sighs
heal me
and restore me
and bring me to joy.
Let me never again succumb
to bitterness
or depressing thoughts.
show me life’s meaning.

(From The Gentle Weapon**, p. 31)

We encourage hearing your feedback and may anonymously publish your remarks. Please send email to:

Your Feedback:

This little email was very excellent. There are months I do not use my email
and avoid computer, except for our office paper work. So I did use the email
today and found this new addition… It really was a rich addition to my life, seeing email that is so wholesome and so full with soul, yet so brief. I welcome it, it seemed to make the light in my room here stronger and more pure, really physically. Thank you. CTS

Loved it. You’re doing a great job.
Hashem is proud of you and so is Rebbe Nachman and Klal Yisrael!
All my best,

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*“The Empty Chair: Finding Hope and Joy – Timeless Wisdom from a Hasidic Master, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov” by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, Adapted by Moshe Mykoff and The Breslov Research Institute, 1994. Permission granted by Jewish Lights Publishing, Woodstock, VT,

**“The Gentle Weapon: Prayers for Everyday and Not-So-Everyday Moments – Timeless Wisdom from the Teachings of the Hasidic Master, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov” by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, Adapted by Moshe Mykoff & S.C. Mizrahi with the Breslov Research Institute, 1999.  Permission granted by Jewish Lights Publishing, Woodstock, VT,


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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