An Introduction to Breslev
Rabbi Nachman of Breslev (1772-1810), though he passed away more than two centuries ago, remains one of the most "alive" figures in the annals of Judaism, and, for that matter, in the annals of world religions. The Rebbe, or Rabbenu as he is lovingly known, speaks to the full spectrum of the human experience. He teaches that those who feel that they are very great must know that they are in fact very far from God. At the same time, he tells us that no matter how low we think we are, we are in fact very close to G-d. Further, he says that both these aspects can apply to the same person on the same day! Whereas most great teachers speak of rising from level to level throughout our lives, Rabbenu relates to the fact that we may rise for a long time, and then suddenly find ourselves lying on the ground. The main thing at that point is not how did we get there and why did it happen, but rather what do we do next. Do we give up, or rise where we have fallen? Whereas most speak of a linear progression in our spiritual lives, Rabbenu deals with the reality that we must start anew every day; in fact, many times in a day.
Most speak of Sin as coming either from within us or from a destructive spiritual force. While Rabbenu grants these possibilities, he asserts that the ultimate cause of Sin is sadness and depression! In fact, the demonic power Lillith, is explained as meaning "yelalah," wailing in despair. When we are sad, we feel that what we do no longer matters, least of all to God. When we are happy, we are close to God. "Strength and Joy are in His place" (Chron. I 16:27). When happy, we are in God's presence. Rabbenu says, "It is a great Mitzvah to be always happy!"
Although formal prayer has its place, Rabbenu tells us to speak to God in our own words, in our own language, just as we speak to a good friend. This is the way our forefathers and the great tzadikim reached their levels and accomplished what they accomplished.
This website is a tool for study, for benefiting the public, and for community. It is our fervent prayer that you too, will find joy and fulfillment through these teachings, as we and many many others have found and refound.
Most of Rabbi Nachman's books were recorded by his chief disciple Rabbi Nathan.
- [Likutei Moharan] #4 et al.