Quotes by great Rabbis about Rebbe Nachman
"A holy man; miracleworker of the generation." "This is the hero - he doesn't need my approval and he doesn't need yours." These are some of the praises that the Chozeh of Lublin praised Rebbe Nachman with in his approval of the work "Likutey Moharan". Similarly, the Maggid of Koznitz, may his merits protect us, adds: "Miracle worker of the generation."
Rabbi Avraham Chaim from Zlatshov, author of "Orach Chaim" adds a most awesome praise: "A man who is the great of the greats."
The Gaon, Rav Ephraim Zalman Margolius, a great man of his times, author of "Beit Ephraim", who did not identify himself with Chassidism, writes in his approval (of Likutey Moharan): "'I have heard Ephraim', these are the days of praise of Rebbe Nachman as a great man of Torah and Chassidism, a holy man one of which there are few, who is knowledgable in the mysterious and in the secret, deciphers the lost, and reveals the secrets of the Torah, Talmud, and stories as an inheritence from his fathers who come from holy fathers themselves, whom drank from the holy, great people, specifically the awesome and holy Ba'al Shem Tov, a man of joy, and his holy offspring, may they be remembered. Their names and actions are known for having good characteristics and from them their son - the strong tree - Rebbe Nachman, the Chassid."
The praise continues: "Who am I that I should give approval on Likutey Moharan? I didn't stand on all the secrets, so how can I give approval on such a book...a book that I myself am not on the level for it to even be sent to for approval. You (Rebbe Nachman) are like a lion, so how can you send it to me? Despite this, my love is great for all those who fear G-d and holy people of G-d, and my soul yearns to do the will of the Tzaddik and write the approval."
In the same spirit, Rabbi Meir the Gaon, Av Beit Din of Radi, praises Likutey Moharan. "The author of the book worked hard on it and revealed all the hidden...and all the truth and depth in it...and it is tasty and sweeter than the words of the Ari. If the Ari would be around now, he would say 'how wonderfully and accurately you explained my words.'" Personally, he did not give approvals (for books), but, despite this, approved this work for Rebbe Nachman, "to help him bring his thoughts to works".
In the year 5565 these approvals for Likutey Moharan were writen by the greatest geniuses of a generation rich in sages and righteous men when Rebbe Nachman was only 36. Despite his youth, these holy men praised and appreciated him in an exceptional and irregular way. Additionally, they praised him for continuing in the ways of his holy forefarthers, namely the Ba'al Shem Tov.
On the Shabbat that we read the weekly portion of Tazria, the first of the month of Nissan 5532 (1772 C.E.) a light shone forth with the birth of a son to the righteous Rabbi Simcha, son of the Rabbi Nachman Horodenka, a loyal student of the holy Ba'al Shem Tov, and his holy wife, Rebbetzin Feiga, daughter of the hidden Tzaddik Rabbi Yechiel and the famous Rebbetzin Aidel, daughter of the Ba'al Shem Tov and sister to the author of "Degel Machane Ephraim" from Sedilkov and the famed Rabbi Baruch of Mezibuz .
Rebbe Nachman was born in Mezibuz in the home of the saintly Ba'al Shem Tov in which his parents, Rabbi Simcha and Rebbetzin Feiga, lived. His brit milah was on the 8 of Nissan, Parshat Metzorah and he was named Nachman after his paternal grandfather, the great, Rabbi Nachman Horodenka who had passed away seven years before on the second of Tammuz 5525. He is buried in Teveria (Tiberias).
There is a tale told by Chassidim that at the moment they named Rebbe Nachman, his uncle, the holy Rabbi Baruch said: "His name is appropriately Nachman (a consoler), as it says 'This one will bring us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands, from the ground which Hashem cursed.' " (Bereshit 5:29) As Chazal say in tractate Sanhedrin 103b "A Tzaddik comes to the world; Good comes to the world".
Rebbe Nachman's mother, Feiga, was a righteous woman of whom her brothers claimed to be a possessor of the divine spirit. At his Brit Milah (circumcision), she turned to her brother, Rabbi Baruch, one of the wisest men of the generation, and requested that he bless her son that there should never be any strife surrounding him. He replied "That is not something that can be done. They will have disputes over him and that cannot be changed".
His mother watched over him very protectively and used to regularly place his bassinet alongside the sacred grave of the Ba'al Shem Tov. While at the grave, she used to pray strongly that her son grow to be devoted to Torah and have fear of Heaven instilled in him. When Rebbe Nachman grew, he always mentioned his mother with awe and requested his followers to always mention his name and his mothers' together instead of the regular tradition of going by the fathers' name. In this way he showed appreciation for her prayers and devotions.
Destined for Greatness
While still a young child, Rebbe Nachman himself recognized that he was destined for greatness. At the age of six, he had already conquered the desires of the world. He took it upon himself to not get pleasure from eating and used to swallow his food without chewing in order not to enjoy it. All his deeds were done modestly and were purposesly hidden. He disguised his greatness and pretended to act in the ways of a lad so that he wouldn't be discovered. He had tremendous diligence in learning Torah and wasn't satisfied with the regular learning ciriculum his father paid for. As a result, he chose to pay the teacher himself for each additional page he was taught.
Their home in Mezibuz was a central meeting point for Tzaddikim who would come visit the holy gravesite and living quarters of the Ba'al Shem Tov. Rebbe Nachman used to listen with his ear on the door to the conversations of the visiting Tzaddikim usually discussing the greatness of the Ba'al Shem Tov and of his G-dly service. Rebbe Nachman used to listen intently and try and follow in the path of his holy grandfather, despite his young age. He often would run to his grandfather's grave even during the coldest nights of the winter and stay there hours on end crying and begging to merit being close to Hashem. He would then ritually dip in the waters of the Mikveh (a rain bath or natural source of water which spiritually cleanses the soul from impurity), despite the freezing tempratures. All this he already began doing at the age of six.
Rebbe Nachman cried regularly when requesting things from Hashem and once discovered he is a descendant of King David, walked with a broken heart and cried much just as King David did while composing Tehillim (the book of Psalms). Likewise, his uncle, Rabbi Baruch of Mezibuz, the great, also regularly walked around with a broken heart.
Quickness & Diligence
Rebbe Nachman was exceptionally diligent in his learning and as such acquired deep knowledge of the Tamud, commentaries, the holy Zohar (by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai), Tikuney Zohar, the works of the Arizal (the Ari Hakadosh, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria Ashkenazi), and all books which discussed character refinement. He said of himself that he studied Reishit Chochmah (a work by Rabbi Eliyahu de Vidas that combines mysticism with lessons in character refinement) a countless number of times. The amount of knowledge he acquired was comprehensive and frightening. He knew all of Tanach (Torah, Prophets & Writings) and all four sections of Shulchan Aruch (Code of Laws by Rabbi Yosef Karo). In his lessons, he would stress the importance of diligence and eagerness/quickness in learning and say that he merited knowledge only through diligence and quickness. He added that he had to work hard through self-sacrifice for every detail Torah and Avodah (G-dly service) that he obtained.
Sefer Ha'midot (The Book of Characteristics)
Before reaching Bar Mitzvah (age 13), he compiled the book 'Sefer Ha'midot', arranged according to the Aleph Bet (Hebrew alphabet). In the introduction to the book, Reb Nosson, his faithful and saintly student, writes: "A most amazing compilation which he put together in his youth, all of the wisdom which he obtained, to understand something from within something else. He combined from all holy books in which he found something relevent to the lessons and traditions and wrote them so that he would remember. Every good and bad middah (trait) discussed by Chazal (the recordings of the wise men), he copied and placed in the order of the Aleph Bet...so that people could go on the right path and in the light of the righteous. In addition, he added from his own great wisdom many wonderful and precious idioms which are not writen by Chazal and were not necessarily previously brought to light. Yet, due to his enormous attained knowledge he understood secrets... All this he put together before his Bar Mitzvah." Rebbe Nachman held this book dear to his heart and often said "this book made me a Jew". He meant that this book was the way that he refined and corrected his characteristics.
'I have begotten you this day' - Bar Mitzvah & Marriage
On the Shabbat of Parshat Vayikrah, the first day of the month of Nissan 5545 he became Bar Mitzvah (the age where a Jewish boy takes upon himself to fulfill the commandments of the Torah). For that Shabbat his uncle, the Rav and genius, author of "Degel Machaneh Ephraim" from Sediklov came to Mezibuz in order to bless his nephew on the day he became a man. He said to Rebbe Nachman the phrase from Tehillim 2:7 "I have begotten you this day". Chazal explain this phrase to mean the day of Bar Mitzvah. His uncle continued speaking to him in encouraging, uplifting words which he himself heard from the Ba'al Shem Tov. Rebbe Nachman treasured these precious teachings from his uncle.
On Sunday, the second day of the month of Nissan, he donned Tefillin (two small leather cases containing the Shema) for the first time. The parshiot of the Tefillin (text within the cases) were writen by the Sofer (writer of holy articles) Rabbi Ephraim, a hidden Tzaddik that was known just as 'Rabbi Ephraim Sofer'. From when Rebbe Nachman began donning Tefillin, he donned both Rashi and Rabbenu Tam Tefillin.
Shortly afterwards, the daughter of the philanthropist, Rabbi Ephraim of Zaslov, famed for his charity and well respected for his hospitality, was suggested to Rebbe Nachman for marriage. Rabbi Ephraim was very wealthy and always opened his home to Tzaddikim. He owned several villages which surrounded Medvedevka and lived in one of the villages that surrounded Ossatin.
Rebbe Nachman's father-in-law provided for him financially and after the wedding in the city of Medvedevka, Rebbe Nachman was able to delve into his studies and serve his Creator with awe and excitement. Rebbe Nachman's actions were modestly hidden from his father-in-law and his father-in-law - thinking of him as a simpleton - suffered great pain. This ended when a righteous student of the great Maggid of Mezeritch arrived on behalf of the Maggid instructing Rabbi Ephraim not to bother Rebbe Nachman. During that time, Rebbe Nachman tortured himself and began fasting from Shabbat to Shabbat. When he became famous, he would reffer to his many self mortifications.
As time passed, Rebbe Nachman's fame spread and people began drawing near to him and learning from him how to serve Hashem. Likewise, the Maggid of Travitza, Rabbi Yekutiel Landau, drew close to Rebbe Nachman. He himself was a well-know story-teller and saint and a student of Rabbi Nachum of Chernobyl, author of "Meor Eynaim". When Rabbi Nachum of Chernobyl, one of the greatest leaders of the generation, came to the city Rebbe Nachman was living in, he said with wonder and excitement "Behold he has beautiful eyes and good vision, and about him it says 'so that awe of Him shall be upon your faces, so that you shall not sin'" (Shemot 20:17). At this time, Rebbe Nachman 18 years of age, yet already managed to become widely known and have Chassidim and men of deeds drawn to him.
His Life's Dream - The Land of Israel
"One who wants to be a real Jew and go up step by step cannot do so unless he has the holiness of Eretz Yisrael, because all the rises in holiness all only through Eretz Yisrael. Likewise, all the prayers that rise up are only through Eretz Yisrael." (Kitzur Likutey Moharan 20:8
In the spring of 5558 (1798 C.E.) Rebbe Nachman decided to travel to Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel), in accordance with his own words, to which he further added in Sefer Ha'midot: "As a result of the yearning a person has for coming to Eretz Yisrael, he is granted great livelihood" and "through having a new idea in Torah, a person draws upon himself the holiness of Eretz Yisrael". Furthermore, in Likutey Tenina 40 it says: "The main greatness of the holiness of Eretz Yisrael is only because of the watch of Hashem, and Hashem watches Eretz Yisrael always, like it says: 'the eyes of Hashem, your G-d, are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the year's end.'" (Devarim 11:12)
On the eve of Pesach (Passover) 5558 , when he was 26, he emerged from the Mikveh and said to the person who accompanied him "this year I will surely be in the Holy Land." When this news reached his wife, the Rebbetzin, she sent her firstborn daughter to ask Rebbe Nachman who will provide for them financially. He answered her: "you will marry your betrothed (she was already engaged), your next sister will be taken as a servant, your youngest sister will be pitied and also taken as a servant, and your mother will cook in others homes. Additionally, everything in the home will be sold."
In those days, it was known that those who wanted to get to Eretz Yisrael had to be prepared to even go by foot, just as Hashem had said to Avraham Avinu: "Go for yourself from your land, and from your birthplace, and from the home of your father unto the land which I show you" (Bereshit 12:1). From the words "go for you" we learn that we need to literally go on foot in order to merit coming to Eretz Yisrael.
The Journey to Eretz Yisrael
On the eve of Shabbat Parshat Emor, Lag Ba'omer, the 18th of Iyar 5558 he left his home in Medvedevka accompanied by an escort. Rebbe Nachman told over that in the village of Sakila it was revealed to him in a vision that Rabbi Menachem Mendel from Vitebsk came to him and told him that there is a name which needs to quiet the storm in the sea and he is the name, as it says in Tehillim 89:10 "when it's waves rise, You calm them".
Before Shavuot, Napolean waged war with Egypt. Rebbe Nachman warned that the Samech'Mem (Evil One) will awaken a war in the world only to prevent him for continuing the journey. Despite the conditions, he continued on. He spent the holiday of Shavuot in Charson. Right afterwards he traveled to Odessa and from there took a boat to Istanbul, where he suffered many hardships because people were suspicious of him. He had to put on an act and suffered embarassment. He explained to his escort that this was the only way he could get to Eretz Yisrael because Eretz Yisrael is the greatest of greats and one cannot reach it as the smallest of smalls...before reaching great things, one has to fall to small things. Because of this he didn't travel to Eretz Yisrael with famous Tzaddikim; they wouldn't be able to go to the small levels. But, he in his will to come to Eretz Yisrael was willing to descend to these levels.
For the remainder of the summer, he was held up in Istanbul. While there, he woud pray at the grave of the holy Rabbi Naftali Katz, author of the "Smichat Chachamim". Meanwhile, the French war became more serious and due to the impending danger, Jews were not permitted to leave Istanbul.
At the same time, the boat with Rabbi Zev Wolf from Tsharna-Ostra, an acclaimed disciple of the Magid of Mezeritch, was on its way to Eretz Yisrael. Even though Rebbe Nachman was disguising himself, he revealed himself to Rabbi Wolf and Rabbi Wolf respected him to the highest degree. Then, Rebbe Nachman reverted back to his act.
After everything Rebbe Nachman had to go through in Istanbul, finally on the 22nd of Elul, the boat sailed on. The boat was finally permitted to sail because of the strong will of The MaHaRit Algazi to get home to Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). Once they arrived, however, the Arabs did not let him disembark because they were suspicious that he was a French spy due his not knowing Arabic.
Haifa - the city where Rebbe Nachman took his first steps in the Holy Land
Their boat arrived on the eve of Rosh HaShana in Haifa. Rebbe Nachman was filled with joy and as he got off the ship and took four steps in the Holy Land, he said that he already accomplished what he set out to. That Rosh HaShana night, he extended his prayers and it is said amongst Chassidism that at that point it was revealed to him the Secret of Rosh HaShana. As is well known, he said of himself that his Rosh HaShana is a new concept that was given only to him and as such requested of his Chassidim to gather together and come to him every Rosh HaShana.
When it became known of his arrival in Teveria (Tiberias), the great Rabbi Avraham HaCohen along with other great Sephardi (Jews of western descent) sages sent messengers to him requesting that he celebrate the holiday of Sukkot with them. He declined and remained in Haifa for Sukkot.
The day after Sukkot ended, he asked his escort to arrange with the boat that they would be able to stay longer because he willed to go to Teveria. On the eve of Rosh Chodesh Chesvan he arrived in Teveria. He received a honorable welcome from the holy Rabbi Avraham of Kalisk, who was the leader of the community in Teveria. Rebbe Nachman reciprocated love and respect and said "I have but seen many Tzaddikim, but perfect is only at the holy Tzaddik, Rabbi Avraham Kalisker".
When Rebbe Nachman was in Eretz Yisrael for a half a year, he prostrated himself on the graves of the Tannaim (the sages of the time of the Mishnah) and Amoraim (the sages of the Gemara). He did not travel to Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) due to difficulties relating to the war. Likewise, due to the war conditions, he had a very dangerous and risky journey back.
The Journey Back to Europe
The travel time back dragged on from the second of Adar, where the ship left from the port of Acco, until the holiday of Shavuot. The holiday of Pesach he celebrated with his escort in Rodous, but did not leave the ship both nights .
It was a dangerous time and during Chol HaMoed (the intermediary days of Pesach), he was finally able to disembark from the ship. He spent the holiday of Shavuot in Galicia, Romania, and only in the end of the month of Sivan, he arrived in Vohlin. In the month of Tammuz, Parshat Chukat, he merited returning home satisfied.
Amid the Tzaddikim
It is important to note that everywhere he reached in the Holy Land, he was welcomed and accepted with awe and reverence; even the Sephardim respected and honored him. Kabbalists visited him in Eretz Yisrael and discussed with him the depths of the Torah.
On his way back home, he visited several Tzaddikim. Among them, the Shpoler Zeida, whom had a special feast in Rebbe Nachman's honor. This was before he began disputing Rebbe Nachman and his ways. Rebbe Nachman also visited the saintly Rebbe Shnuer Zalman of Liadi, the great compiler of the "Tanya". His goal was to restore peace between him and the holy Rav of Kalisk, whom himself sent him on this peace mission. Rav Shnuer Zalman respectfully requested Rebbe Nachman say a 'vort' (a Torah discourse) after he himself gave over a long lecture. He spoke about the phrase "Your mercies, Hashem, are abundant" (Tehillim 119:156).
Rebbe Nachman had a special visit with the holy Rav, Rabbi Mordechai Manschiz, who was very ill at the time. The Rav honored Rebbe Nachman, despite his weakness, and invited him to stay by him. Shortly afterwards on the 8th of Nissan 5560, he passed away.
He also visited the saintly Rabbi Tzvi Aryeh Malik, who was famous for his wisdom, and it is said that he praised Rebbe Nachman with the following: "and he is wiser than all man".
His Vitality Stems From His Visit of Eretz Yisrael
Rebbe Nachman's devotions in Eretz Yisrael were most unique. All the days of his life, he said that all his liveliness is rooted in meriting being in Eretz Yisrael. His expression is famous: "Everywhere I go, I am on my way to Eretz Yisrael".
In Likutey Moharan the wind of Eretz Yisrael is blowing. These are his words: The main concept of the thinking and wisdom is only in Eretz Yisrael. Even a Jew who is outside of Eretz Yisrael receives all his thinking and wisdom from Eretz Yisrael. Each Jew has a part of Eretz Yisrael, and in accordance with his lot in the land, receives his wisdom (Likutey Tenina 71). When his top student, and a saintly Tzaddik in his own right, Reb Nosson asked Rebbe Nachman, what exactly is the greatness of the concept of Eretz Yisrael, he answered:"My intention is Eretz Yisrael in its simple houses and apartments, and as such should be traveled to and acquired in simplicity because that it is the main point of winning the war - meriting coming to Eretz Yisrael".
The difference in the Torah that he taught before his trip to Eretz Yisrael and the Torah he taught afterwards was like the difference between East and West. Reb Nosson writes in "Shevachey HaRan": "His main awesome acquirement came after he was in Eretz Yisrael...until he was embarassed from the lectures he gave before going there, and most of the book Likutey Moharan consists of discourses he gave after his return, with few exceptions".
Here is a list of of foundations of his service: Tefillah (prayer), faith and devotion to the holiness of Eretz Yisrael, as he writes in Likutey Moharan 6: "know that the purposes of this exile is because of nothing but lack of faith, as it says 'come then to contemplate the fruits of your faith from its earliest beginnings' (Song of Songs 4:8). Faith is the concept of prayer, as it says 'And behold his hand was faith' (Shemot 16:12) which is the concept of miralces above nature, because prayer is above nature. Prayer changes nature, and this is a miracle. And for this faith is required...The main concept of faith is prayer, the concept of miracles and miracles only exist in Eretz Yisrael, as it says in Tehillim 37:3:"Dwell in the land and nourish yourself with faithfulness" And there is the place where the prayers go up, as it says in Bereshit 25:6, "and this is the gate of Heaven."One cannot reach true faith without truth which is accomplished by coming close to the Tzaddikim and following their advice.
The Power of Prayer
During the short 39 years of life (5532-5571), Rebbe Nachman's most stressed theme was prayer. Until the day he died, everything he did revolved around his prayers. He requested that prayers be made of his lessons. He requested to pray to and beg before Hashem even for the small things one lacks. Even though one should mainly pray for assistance in serving his Creator, he still should pray for his small, insignificant needs. One who does not do this, even though Hashem provides him with livelihood and clothing, is living like an animal who is also provided for by Hashem. The correct way to live life is to receive from Hashem through prayers and pleading.
We have to compose prayers from his lessons. Everything a person learns, he should pray that he should merit carrying it out and fulfilling it (Sichot HaRan 233). This concept is learned from Yonah (Jonah)'s statement: "From the pits of Hell, I was saved" (Yonah 2:3) Prayers from the heart open all the doors in Heaven (Sefer Ha'midot: Hirhurim: 26).
It is important to strenghten each person concering the power and importance of prayer. Despite a persons' level, there is power and worth in his prayer. The Ketoret (a sacrifice of pleasent smelling spices) in the Beit HaMikdash (holy Temple) was unable to be brough without galbanum - a foul-smelling spice. Galbanum was added to the nice, fragrant sacrifice despite its bitterness to symbolize how every prayer counts, even if it is by a person not on the 'highest' levels.
Rebbe Nachman used to say that superstitions are false and one should only rely on prayers. Further, he expressed that prayers should be said with joy and not sadness, as it says in Sefer Ha'midot: Prayers: 81: "Prayer that is said with happiness is sweet to Hashem". The Rav of Tscherin quoted from Tehilim 104:34: "May my words be sweet to Him - I will rejoice in Hashem". Also in Sefer Ha'midot on this subject, it says: "One who prays with joy, Hashem honors him and remembers his needs."
Rebbe Nachman emphasized that each person should speak to their Father in Heaven in their mother-tongue and with simplicity. A person should request things from Hashem just as they would from their father. When he was very ill, he asked his grandson to pray for him. His grandson asked for his pocketwatch. Rebbe Nachman laughed and gave him the pocketwatch. The lad then yelled to the sky "Heal my grandfather!" Some Chassidism that witnessed the event laughed at the childs simple ways, but Rebbe Nachman rebuked them and said that such is the way to request things from our Father in Heaven - with simplicity.
Disputes, Disagreements & Hardships
Rebbe Nachman suffered harships resulting from his physical ailments and from several of his children passing away. Above all, he suffered immensely from the opposition he began to face after his return from Eretz Yisrael to Medvedevka. By Rosh HaShana 5561, he resided in Zlatpoli where he experienced strong opposition.
He himself explained the reason for the disputes. "All the Tzaddikim achieved their exalted levels this way." When Tzaddikim reached the levels they wanted to reach, the opposition would cease. If the Tzaddik doesn't stop the hardships, then the disputes go on. In tractate Sanhedrin 7a it is explained that disputes are liked to water; the more you pour water, the more a tree will grow. Likewise, this is how the Tzaddik gains. He said of himself "I need constant opposition because I am constantly moving from level to level. If I knew that I would be standing in the same place as an hour ago, I wouldn't want to live in the world at all".
"Know, there is a Neshama (soul) in the world that because of it clarifications and deeper meanings of the Torah are revealed. This Neshama suffers many pangs and. All others who provide meanings for the Torah - receive from this Neshama. When it passes on, so does the clarity of the Torah that was clarified by it. As a result, all commentators of the Torah cannot acquire any deeper knowledge of Torah. Then disagreements arise on the Tzaddikim, because most of the disputes in the world are caused when the clarity of the Torah passes away." (Likutey Moharan 21:1).
Likutey Moharan 64:4: "There are Tzaddikim in the generation that have strong faith, and even though - they still have opposition. This opposition is a remedy for the 'faith of the wise' which is in the nation. Rebbe Nachman added that opposition is likened to the creation of the world.
Likutey Moharan 277: "When Tzaddikim oppose, certainly their intent is good. They try him by opposing him, and cause him a rectification of the judgements which are upon him. About this it says: 'A righteous person like a date tree will blossom', and as such disputes of the Tzaddikim, which are disputes from holiness, correct the judgements...Thus, opposition from Tzaddikim is a very good."
It is appropriate to quote what the Chassid, Rabbi Aharon Walden wrote in his book "Shem HaGedolim HaChadash" (Erech Rabbi Nachman 22): And if you're going to find many matters in his holy words, as at first glance it makes you wonder - G-d forbid should we and our offspring wonder about the words of Rabbenu (Rebbe Nachman), the light of Israel, and his great grandfather, the holy Ba'al Shem Tov. His words are very deep, "Counsel is like deep water in the heart of man; and the man of understanding will draw them forth" (Mishlei 20:5) because his words are straight. "And the righteous go by them" and come see how the great, Torah genius, Rabbi Ephraim Zalman Margolius from Brod, zt"l, praises Rebbe Nachman. The One who gathers in the exiles, He will show great kindness upon us and gather Yehudah and Yisrael together and they will lean on each other for serving Hashem, and One ruler will rule them all. Then Ephraim won't beseige Yehudah and Yehudah won't be jealous of Ephraim, and there will be peace in Israel forever.
The Rabbi of Ozrov wrote in "Be'er Moshe" on the Passuk "And Miriam and Aharon spoke of Moshe": Know that this lesson can be learned in all generations, until the end, before Mashiach, whom usually see strange things amongst the Tzaddikim and specifically the conflicts. Despite what you see, don't think about it because these are calculations of Heaven and we should accept the words of the Tzaddikim without end.
On Rosh Chodesh Elul 5560, Rebbe Nachman established himself in the city of Zlatipolia to the surprised, yet welcoming community. While living there, a big dispute arose against him until many lies were spread about him and eventually the entire city was against him. From here all opposition to Rebbe Nachman began. However, he said that he had to stay in this city because here he was providing a remedy for the sin of Yeravam Ben Nevat (Jeroboam, a king in the times of the Prophets). Amidst the disagreement, many continued to draw near to him. He remained in Zlatipolia for two years and during this stay inspired many to return to Hashem and gave over many deep and awesome lessons. His famed disciple, Reb Yitzchak Isaac, became close to him at this time.
In Elul 5562, Rebbe Nachman moved from Zlatipolia to Breslov (Bratzlav, Ukraine).
Upon entering the city of Breslov, Rebbe Nachman came to make Kiddush (santification by means of a blessing) on wine and the wine spilled onto the ground. He poured another cup, and blessed it. Afterwards, he said "today we 'planted' (established) the name Breslover Chassidim...and this name will not be lost because forever will our people be called by the name of the city, Breslov".
Here, in Breslov, he said: "We captured the city of Breslov by means of clapping hands and dancing". He also said that from this city they will also chase him out, as with every city he goes to, because in every place he is correcting and rectifying.
Also in the city of Breslov, a most defining point in Breslov history took place. It was here that Reb Nosson of Breslov and Reb Naftali (both originally of Nemirov) became his disciples.
In Nissan 5565, his son Shlomo Ephraim was born. Rebbe Nachman said that the height of this boys exalted soul was beyond comprehension. He hinted at this in Likutey Moharan 37 which discusses Mashiah. By 5566 the boy fell ill with Tuberculosis and Rebbe Nachman warned everyone to pray for his recovery. Yet, due to our many sins, the baby passed away that summer.
In 5567, he contracted Tuberculosis which eventually took his life. He lived with the disease for three years, and he said that even those three years he was living by means of a miracle.
On the 4th of Iyar, Rebbe Nachman left Breslov and moved to Uman with intentions to die there. He said that he must rectify the souls which are present there and this can only by done by dying there.
He had previously selected Uman as his place of rest in 5562 on his way to Breslov when he passed the gravesites of holy Jews whom were murdered in a pogrom in 5528. When passing he said "how nice it would be to be buried in this cemetery". He stopped the wagon he was in, got out and said "here it is good to be buried". He is currently buried exactly in the place which he stood then.
On the last Rosh HaShana of his life in 5571, there was a massive gathering of his followers, close to a thousand people. Despite his weakness from his illness, he lenghtened his prayers on the night of Rosh HaShana. Before dawn, he gave over his last lesson (Likutey Moharan 8) to the enormous crowd.
His illness overtook him and he passed away on Chol Hamoed Sukkot, the 18th of Tishrei 5571 shortly after he prayed the morning prayers with Hallel (a praise added on holidays) and with his Lulav and Etrog (symbols used on Sukkot) from an Arizal Siddur (a prayerbook compiled by the Arizal). All of this he managed while spitting up blood from his lungs occassionally.
His last words were: "Netzachti v'enatzeach" (I was victorious and will be victorious). The day of his passing, Chol Hamoed Sukkot, is a day connected to Moshe Rabbenu (Moses) whom coincides with the Sefirah of Netzach (Victory). On that day he was brought to rest in the place which he chose in Uman.
His Holy Works
He left behind his magnum opus "Likutey Moharan", along with "Sipurey Ma'asiot" (Rebbe Nachman's Stories), and "Sefer Ha'midot" (The Aleph-Bet Book). Later editions of this book were published by Rabbi Tzaddok Cohen of Lublin, his student, Reb Nosson, and the Rav of Tcherin.
The only book published in his lifetime is the first part of Likutey Moharan in Ostrog in 5565.
It is appropriate to mention that "Likutey Moharan" is mentioned several times in the book "Mishmeret Itamar" by Rabbi Itamar from Konskuvali, a student of the Magid of Koznitz and of the Chozeh of Lublin.
Other books that became popular are: "Shevachey HaRan - Traveling the Sea [The trip to Eretz Yisrael]" (Praises of Rebbe Nachman), "Sichot HaRan" (Rebbe Nachman's Conversations), and "Chayei HaRan" (The Life of Rebbe Nachman), all by Reb Nosson.
Additionally, he authored "Sefer HaGanuz" and "Sefer HaNisraf", which were burnt in 5568 according to his instruction.
In the conclusion of Megilat Starim, he wrote in his own hand: "Praised in the one who strenghtens in faith and Torah, and the like. The main point is that despite all that passed in this exile close to 2,000 years, even though Mashiach hasn't come yet, wait for him everyday and ignore the calculations of others. One should continue to strenghten in faith because Mashiach will come and it will be very nice and great."
As Rebbe Nachman prophetically said: "My fire will burn until the coming of Mashiach".
May his merits protect us and all of Israel and may we merit a speedy redemption.
This history is translated from the book "Ohr Yekarot", with some additions and changes.