Who is Rebbe Nachman?
The Breslov movement was founded by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.
Rebbe Nachman was born in 1772 and passed away in 1810. He was a
great grandson of the Chassidic master Yisroel Ba'al Shem Tov. Like
his predecessors he was raised in a very spiritual atmosphere where
the sole focus was serving Hashem. From his very first breath Rebbe
Nachman dedicated his life to reaching high spiritual levels. His
greatness was apparent even at a very young age. As time would soon
testify he would soon create a fiery movement of spiritual revival,
breathing new life into Chassidus, and reigniting the hearts of
countless souls to draw close to their father in heaven.
Rebbe Nachman's endless service and countless acts of devotion
allowed him to reach extremely lofty levels. He was imbued with
deep esoteric comprehensions of the Torah and rare insights. He had
the ability to relate to his spiritual contemporaries and to
inspire the simple masses. Rebbe Nachman's stirring teachings soon
began affecting many sincere and searching Jews and a following was
formed. The last 8 years of Rebbe Nachman's life was spent in
Breslov, Ukraine. Hence his movement was coined Breslov, and his
chassidim Breslovers. Towards the end of his life Rebbe Nachman
focused extensively on rectifying thousands of souls of the
What are Rebbe Nachman's
Rebbe Nachman taught his followers to pursue the same path
their forefathers had taken since the very dawn of time. It was a
path consisting of steadfast but simple devotion and raw faith. A
glowing path of endless hope, vigor and joy, He taught that even
the simplest people can be very righteous and can perform great
acts of devotion. He revitalized countless souls, souls who had
despaired due to the physical and spiritual onslaught of life. He
gave them tools to face the vigorous challenges of those times
which were particularly trying, harsh, and cruel. He stressed
repeatedly the importance of developing a personal connection to
Hashem by performing daily hisbodidus (personal prayer in one's
mother tongue) calling out to Hashem, in gratitude and praise, and
crying out for salvation. Rebbe Nachman emphasized that one should
never despair and regardless of where one finds oneself the main
thing is to always yearn for Hashem. Also very much stressed was
the greatness of being happy. Rebbe Nachman revealed novel ideas on
how serving Hashem can be done through singing, clapping, and
dancing. Rebbe Nachman also expounded on the definition and role of
a tzadik, and the importance of connecting to a tzadik.
Rebbe Nachman's Greatness and
Though Rebbe Nachman had great lineage and could perform
amazing miracles his greatness was due to his ability to touch
countless Jewish souls inspiring them to draw near to their father
in heaven with fire and passion.
Rebbe Nachman no longer exists physically, however tens of
thousands of people find him very much alive in his teachings. As
the Talmud explains that tzadikim are still alive in their passing.
Through the extensive devotions of his students who dedicated their
lives to spreading his teachings, thousand upon thousands of people
now have access to Rebbe Nachman's fountain of wisdom. Aside from
the Lekutay Moharan Rebbe Nachman's masterpiece, a large array of
other Breslov sefarim exists today from both Rebbe Nachman himself
and from many of his followers.
The main disciple of Rebbe Nachman was Rebbe Nosson Sternhartz
of Nemirov. Rebbe Nachman claimed that Rebbe Nosson was capable of
truly understanding his teachings in their fullness. It was Rebbe
Nosson who Rebbe Nachman trusted in writing his Lekutay Moharan and
compiling and printing his other works. Rebbe Nachman urged Rebbe
Nosson to create new compilations and to continue to spread his
light after his passing. Since Yehoshua's devotion for his leader
Moshe Rabienu it is rare to find such commitment from a student to
his master. The entire Breslov movement as we know it today is due
to the selfless and endless efforts of Rebbe Nosson. He compiled,
printed, distributed, and passed over Rebbe Nachman's teachings to
the masses. The challenges Rebbe Nosson faced were many, and his
goals unthinkable, yet he succeeded in shattering his obstacles
creating an eternal flame for the Jewish people.
Since then there have been many outstanding Breslov chassidim
each great in their own right. Their common denominator was one of
humble service, and subservience to Rebbe Nachman. Most shunned
away from positions of leadership. The stories of their devotions
and accomplishments are great and astonishing.
The bulk of the Breslov movement was wiped out in Europe
during the holocaust. During the half past century however a strong
Breslov movement has sprouted in Israel and is spreading quickly
throughout the world. It is one of the fastest growing Jewish
movements of today. Many Breslov communities and institutions
exist, mainly in Israel, but also in major cities around the world.
Breslov outreach is strong and has influenced thousands of Jews to
return to their faith.
The Breslov movement today encompasses people from all
different backgrounds and walks of life. From very sheltered
chassidim to open minded, colorful ba'alie teshuvah. What unites
them is their commitment to follow Rebbe Nachman's teachings, and a
burning desire for truth. Due to the distribution efforts from
Breslov groups and motivated individuals more and more people are
discovering Rebbe Nachman. Even people not overly familiar can be
overheard quoting a pithy quote from Rebbe Nachman or one of his
terse, educating parables. Many people are at least familiar with
the Nanach movement and their colorful distribution efforts,
dancing on cars, spray painting, and sticker and sefarim handouts.
In such a hectic world with so much falseness and confusion, it is
no wonder that throngs of people feel the need to flee the madness
and so desire to return to Hashem. Many people find the guidance
and inspiration they long for in the Breslov approach.
Breslov is very much noted for its massive annual pilgrimage
to Rebbe Nachman's gravesite in Uman for Rosh Hashanah. Between
40,000 - 60,000 people now attend with the number growing every
year. The attendees are extremely diverse, making the trip from all
around the world. The mood is exciting and festive with music,
food, dancing, and lots of inspiration. The strong feeling of unity
is uncanny, the intensity of the holiday prayers unreal. Rebbe
Nachman stressed the importance of visiting his grave especially
for the Rosh Hashanah.
One of Rebbe Nachman's greatest accomplishments was the
revelation of the Tikkun haklali. It is essentially 10 psalms from
the Tehillim, which when read successively perform a very great
rectification. The Tikkun Haklali is read by countless people all
over the world, and many read it daily.