To Listen to the Lesson from 2005
To Listen to the Lesson from 1999
"Reb Nosson of Breslov", the man who elevated the yoke of repentance. Simply, it can be said about him that he carried the burden of the Torah of the holy and awesome, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. Rebbe Nachman laid his hands upon Reb Nosson to spread and enlighten the world with his Torah and particularly to strengthen and raise up weak souls and to support all the fallen…to strengthen and encourage them… to decorate them in all sorts of beauty… to glorify the beauty that is in every Jew on whatever level he is and show him how important he is before Hashem.
Below you will find some things written about Reb Nosson by Rabbi Nachman of Tscherin in his introduction to Alim L’Trufah.
It is known what the Rabbis said in Midrash Rabbah on Parshat Pinchas what Hashem said to Moshe about Yehoshua: “Yehoshua served you a lot and showed you a lot of respect, and he would arise early and stay until late in your meeting place. And he would arrange the benches, etc. Because he served you with all his might, therefore he deserves to serve Israel so he won’t lose his reward. ‘Take for yourself Yehoshua Bin Nun,’ to fulfill the phrase: 'You grew a fig, you will eat its fruit.'
And, also, today we in this generation have not seen someone who served their Rebbe in such a way like Reb Nosson on which him the phrase “And he did not move from the tent,” the tent of Torah of Rebbe Nachman, Light of Lights, author of Likutey Moharan, is said. Reb Nosson was truly connected and attached to him in true devotion with total self-sacrifice and self-nullification always: in his house, on his way, when he went to sleep, and when he woke up. All his conversations, stories and matters revolved around one matter: to inform the world of the greatness and holiness of Rebbe Nachman and his Torah, his conversations, stories, and all his matters. To spread of Rebbe Nachman springs outwards “for this is the whole person."
And this man, Reb Nosson, did not give his eyes sleep nor let his eyelids rest. All the days of his life, he dealt only with this matter: to draw and water the world with Rebbe Nachman’s Torah and to spread his name in the world. He dealt with this very diligently and with tremendous self-sacrifice, of which if one hears – he wouldn’t believe. The merit of his Rebbe assisted him and he merited to be on a very high and superior level of serving Hashem and of Torah attainment. Everything was with complete simplicity and perfect humility in a way unimaginable. This can be expressed neither in words nor by speech. He was a wonder and awesome innovation. He merited learning much including: Talmud, Poskim, Midrashim, Zohar, Kabbalah, and other holy books until everyone who heard even a little of how much he learns, would say that it’s impossible to learn this much except if he was studying the whole day and night and doing nothing else. Aside from his learning, he served Hashem with Tefillah and would pray with tremendous might and with great enthusiasm and devotion. He also would plead a lot before Hashem. All he did was with simplicity and humbleness. He would say Tehillim with great arousal, tremendous crying and shouting with a true broken heart in an unbelievable way. Whoever heard; his ears would burn. Many Jews, including those who were not close to him at all, were stirred up in holiness when they would hear him reciting Tehillim or Tikun Chatzot, as is well known. He also would meditate, converse, and plead before Hashem for many hours each day until everyone who heard about his prayers would say that this is impossible to get to such a level unless all his time was spent in it.
Daily, he would produce original ideas on the Torah resulting from the awesome introduction he received from his Rebbe. He wrote and arranged them in his holy composition, Likutey Halachot. He also dealt with Rebbe Nachman’s works: copying, arranging, and clarifying. Every time, he would do it better and better and would delve into them in order to understand their true message to be able to fulfill them, as understood in the book Kitzur Likutey Moharan and Likutey Etzot. He arranged these books several times and each time in a different way as know to those who dealt with him on this.
Reb Nosson used to deal a lot which arranging prayers in correlation to Rebbe Nachman’s Torahs, which can be found in Likutey Tefillot. This is aside from what was burnt from Likutey Tefillot that the world did not merit seeing them and enjoy them, as we know amongst our community. All this is aside from the daily letters he would write which consisted of encouraging words for our community who were thirsty for his words. Everyone who knew a little of his writings, would have assumed that it was impossible to do such a thing if he was not spending all his days writing them.
Moreover, all of his life he occupied himself with building the holy building of Rebbe Nachman and printing his holy works several times and to build our holy Beit Midrash. All the details, he took care of and dealt with the supporters himself. He had to spend much time and travel for this although he had to stand up to a lot of opposition. He went through much sacrifice until he accomplished each thing that he accomplished. Moreover, what he accomplished to teach from the Rebbe’s Torah to the others and he used to deal with many people daily and draw them closer to true G-dly service. He spent much time dealing with this. It is well known how much effort one should spend on a single person with free will. He would bring them close to G-dly service through the original conversations that he learned from his Rebbe. Other than this he also had to write many letters each day to many community members and answer each one’s questions and to teach them the path they should follow and encourage their hearts in fear of Heaven, all day long.
And here, many of his original Torahs that we have in our possession are already printed, with Thanks to G-d, and they are Likutey Etzot, Likutey Halachot, and Likutey Tefillot, etc. And with G-d’s help, the books made a huge impression in the world and were spread throughout Israel and they restore the soul Israel.
Reb Nosson is the Rebbe (Rebbe Nachman of Breslov) himself!
About Reb Nosson, Rabbi Shimon says the following. (Rabbi Shimon was the Shamash and first student of Rebbe Nachman, whom became close to the Rebbe when he was 18 and Rebbe Nachman was 13. After Rebbe Nachman’s passing, Rabbi Shimon traveled to Eretz Yisrael and returned to Breslov for Shavuout where there was a big gathering around Reb Nosson. Reb Nosson was saying Torah and when Rebbe Shimon heard, he was so amazing and impressed that he said: "“I always thought that Reb Nosson was a student of the Rebbe. Now I see that he is the Rebbe himself! I am familiar with good Jews (meaning, Rebbe Nachman), I already left all the famous ones in the generation and came close to Rebbe Nachman while he was a youth. Therefore, I am telling you that today Reb Nosson is the Rebbe!"
Additionally, Rabbi Shmuel Issac, one of the greatest of the Admor’s students, said about Reb Nosson, “Indeed, in the face of Reb Nosson, illuminated is Rebbe Nachman’s face.”
Sayings of great Tzaddikim of the generations about Reb Nosson, on his book Likutey Halachot:
The famous genius the Brashiver Rav said: “In Likutey Halachot is concealed the treasure of all the Chassidish books.”
And also, Rabbi Moshe Mordechai of Lelov said about him: “He had the greatest brain in Chassidut.”The sharp Admor, Rabbbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk said to the author of the Chidushei HaRim, Rav Yitzchak Meir of Gur, after his meeting with Reb Nosson: “He has a glowing and quick forehead under his simple hat,”and also added, “He is brilliant in Chassidut.”
The grandson of the Admor, the Ba’al HaTanya, Rabbi Aharon of Kremenchook said about Reb Nosson: "All of the Arizal’s writings are on the palm of his hand."
Reb Nosson himself said, "The world says that the book, Shney Luchot HaBrit, is Gan Eden’s treasure. I say that my book, Likutey Halachot is the Gan Eden itself."
About Likutey Halachot there are no recommendations from any of the famous people in the generation but there is a recommendation from Moshe Rabbenu himself. After all the tough battles and disgrace that Reb Nosson suffered through, Rebbe Nachman came to him in a dream. Reb Nosson told the dream: “Rebbe Nachman came to me with another person and I complained to him about everything that I am going through… And Rebbe Nachman said to me, ‘With your books, you indeed did very well.’ The other person that was with him shook his head in agreement and said, ‘Right, indeed. You did good.’ I asked Rebbe Nachman, ‘Who is he?’ And he answered, ‘For, he is Moshe Rabbenu!’”
The Importance of Learning Reb Nosson’s Books Over the Books of Rebbe Nachman:
How much is it important to learn the Torah of Reb Nosson over the Torah of Rebbe Nachman? Like Reb Avraham son of Reb Nachman writes: "You have to mostly learn the books of Reb Nosson because only by them you can grasp the books of Rebbe Nachman. Just like the sun, which one cannot look straight at. But, when its light it reflected by the moon – you can enjoy it."
This is what Reb Nosson wrote in the introduction to his book: "And it is explained in Rebbe Nachman’s Torah “Rebbe Shimon was happy” that from all the lessons that a person studies, he should come up with true traditions and ways of acting, but not every person gains it. And, with G-d’s help and wonderful salvation, with these books (Likutey Halachot) I opened a little gate to find the true path in the holy Torah teachings."
Only through Reb Nosson you can understand the words of Rebbe Nachman because he made tools and constricted the light of the Rebbe’s Torah in order for everyone to be able to understand and enter the sea of the Rebbe’s Torah. Rebbe Nachman said of Reb Nosson that on behalf of Reb Nosson, even the educated will be able to learn and understand all the Arizal’s writings.
Each one of us should strengthen ourselves in Reb Nosson’s books. Reb Nosson writes in a letter to his son, Reb Yitzchak: "All that Hashem puts in my writings is needed by each person" It is know by everyone who delves into Reb Nossons’ sea of Torah in his books, Likutey Halachot, that every word written there, it is as if the author himself speaks to him about his personal spiritual and material condition, wherever he may be holding. It is amazing. This is strongly felt by everyone who studies Likutey Halachot. More about the requirement to study the books each day, Reb Nosson commands his son and each one of us, as written in (Alim L'Terufah 435):
"Study my books regularly which Hashem graciously let me have original ideas on his holy Torah, which is Likutey Halachot. Look into them daily, always. And G-d’s hope that they are very useful to you."
Other than that, we learn that all of Reb Nosson’s Torah is actually Rebbe Nachman’s Torah as he himself testified to when he was next to Reb Nachman of Tulchin in Yaas after printing the first part of Likutey Halachot. Here he met the Rabbi of the city and gave him a copy to review. The Rabbi of the city, whom merited knowing Rebbe Nachman, while looking at Likutey Halachot, said about Reb Nosson, "It is the brain of the Rebbe and the mouth of Reb Nosson." When Reb Nachman of Tulchin told it over to Reb Nosson, Reb Nosson said, "I also say this. The brain is Rebbe Nachman and I am the mouth."
The Story of His Passing - 10th of Tevet, 5605
Many Breslover Chassidim gathered with Reb Nosson for Shabbat Chanukah, Torah reading VaYeishev (December 7, 1844). The atmosphere was festive, but Reb Nosson was very weak.
Before daybreak on Shabbat morning, word got out about that the building which housed the mikveh had collapsed, making it impossible to immerse in honor of Shabbat morning. Later on, when it became light, it was evident that the mikveh itself was still intact and only a corner of the building had fallen. Despite his weakness, Reb Nosson went to immerse. On his return he started thanking G-d for having been able to do so, and said, "If necessary, I would have gone to the river and broken through the ice in order to immerse." From his gestures and the way he spoke it was clear that he would have been ready to brave the freezing cold and run all the way to the river to immerse with his usual speed.
Reb Nosson then spoke of the vitality immersing in the mikveh always gave him, pointing out that the word "mikveh" means "hope" as well as "gathering of water". He said that the two meanings are really one: a person only has to be careful to immerse regularly, and through this everything will be rectified. He said, "Anyone who is very resolute and consistent about immersing in the mikveh will certainly be able to rectify everything, no matter what he might have done."
He then explained: "We find that Ezra cried out bitterly over the fact that the Jews had intermarried and assimilated during the Babylonian exile. After they returned to the Holy Land they wanted to repent. The leaders came to Ezra saying, 'But surely there is Mikveh, hope!' (Ezra 10:2) The usualy word for hope is Tikvah, but the verse intentionally uses the word Mikveh to teach us that no matter how serious a person's transgressions, there is always hope: the mikveh has the power to bring one to complete repentance" (Kochavey Or p.80, #37).
The following Friday evening, Parshat Miketz, Reb Nosson said Torah on the theme of the Menorah and then danced a little (see Likutey Halachot, Rosh Chodesh 7:53). After leaving the table, he related his dream about asking Rebbe Nachman to teach him from the Sefer HaNisraf.
Reb Nosson then spoke again about the High Priest's Yom Kippur service, when he donned clothes of white linen and entered the Holy of Holies. To those present, the words seemed to come out of Reb Nosson's mouth like bolts of fire. He began to chant the description of the High Priest's service in the Yom Kippur Mussaf prayer: "He entered the place where he entered, and stood in the place where he stood. 'See before Whom you are entering!'" Reb Nosson then added, "And a Torah scholar is greater than a High Priest!" (Horiyot 13a).
That afternoon, as Reb Nosson began to address his followers at Shalosh Seudot, he said: "It is a shame to have to repeat this, because every speaker says it, but it must be said. You must realize that everyone has to die, and everyone will lie with his feet to the door." Reb Nosson said this with great awe. He then repeated Rebbe Nachman's lesson in Likutey Moharan I:61, on receiving guidance from the Tzaddikim and the need to have faith in them, the importance of printing Torah literature, and how the perfection of a soul depends on its continuing to shine in this world even after its ascent to the higher worlds. After his review of the lesson, Reb Nosson began developing further ideas related to the discourse he was currently writing (Likutey Halachot, Rosh Chodesh 7), what was based on this lesson.
Reb Nosson concluded by quoting the Mishnah, "Acquire a Rav and k'neh, buy, a friend" (Avot 1:6). Reb Nosson explained, "'Acquire a Rav': a person needs a Rav to advise him. But if there's no Rav, then 'k'neh a friend': the Kaneh is a pen, should be your friend - you should immerse yourself in the writings of the true Tzaddikim."
After finishing saying Torah, Reb Nosson felt sickly and he was so weak that he left before Ma'ariv. One of his followers, Reb Yaakov, accompanied him home. Reb Nosson was happy that G-d helped him finish his teaching. He said to Reb Yaakov, "Isn't it true, Yankel? G-d always helps one finish!" (Siach Sarfei Kodesh I-660).
Reb Nosson prayed Ma'ariv and then began reciting the Havdalah: "Behold, G-d is my salvation, I will trust, and I will not fear." As he came tot he words, "I will not fear," he repeated them several times (Siach Sarfei Kodesh I-657). He wept as he recited the blessings. During the night, Reb Nosson became extremely weak, and his strenght waned with every passing day. On Monday, one of his closest followers, Reb Zev Lubarski, came to visit him. they spoke at lenght about Rebbe Nachman's Rosh HaShana. Reb Nosson emphasized the crucial importance of going to Uman for Rosh HaShana.
On Wednesday, several of his followers were with him. Reb Nosson said to them, "Your main work is to print the books." After Ma'ariv that night, a few of his followers stood around his bed. Reb Zev was among them, but someone was standing in front of him. Reb Nosson said, "Do not block Zev. Let him look at me. The Rebbe also once said to someone, "Look at me. It will be very beneficial for you.'" Reb Nosson then said to Reb Zev, "We must get together." "Where?" asked Reb Zev. Reb Nosson replied, "In the World to Come."
Later that night, Reb Nosson began speaking about the Sefe HaNisraf, which Reb Shimon, on Rebbe Nachman's instructions, had returned to Breslov from Lemberg in order to burn. Prior to the Rebbe's departure from Lemberg, Reb Nosson had writen him a copy of this work in three and a half hours. Describing the way he felt, Reb Nosson said, "After I finished, I walked out as if from the Idra." He then told those gathered around him that it was only through Divine help that he was able to tell this story.
After reciting Chatzot, Reb Nosson took a pen and paper and added to the discourse he had been working on (Likutey Halachot, Rosh Chodesh 7), discussing the Mishnah which teachers about the laws of the Intermediate Days of a Festival, and which fields one is permitted to irrigate: "One may water..." (Moed Katan 2a) was the last thing he ever wrote. He was extremely weak and had less than forty-eight hours to live, but he still expressed the need to have faith in the Tzaddikim, and how one can always be helped if one just tries to become attached to them and their teachings.
As Reb Nosson finished writing, Reb Meir Blecher came in to visit him. Reb Nosson said to him, "Even if a person is the worlds worst sinner, if he attaches himself to the Rebbe, he will certainly be able to repent and be rectified."
After this, Reb Nosson said: "The angel Dumah comes to a person after he is placed in the grave, splits open his stomach and throws the remnants found there on his face, as if to say, 'Here is what you desired'" (Shabbos 151b; Mesichta Chibut HaKever 2). Reb Nosson sighed deeply and exclaimed, "Oy! Especially when the dead person's stomach is full of medicine, (this punishment) is like burning fire! Even so, Rebbe Nachman can rectify everything!"
During his prayers on Thursday morning, Reb Nosson felt even weaker. The Rebbe's daughter, Aidel, came to visit him. She said to those standing around him, "Why are you silent... You must cry a lot (that Reb Nosson should get better)." But Reb Nosson did not agree with this. He said, "I have many enemies" (who would be only too happy if they found out that he was suffering). Instead Reb Nosson encouraged those who were with him to pray for his recovery during their hitbodedut. He asked them to make mention of his merits: "I wrote down the Rebbe's teachings, arranged them and printed them in a fitting manner. Even now, I still want to print them... Your very lives depend on me." Reb Nosson then asked them to recite Tehillim "in whatever way you can!"
Friday was the 10th of Tevet (December 20, 1844), a fast day commemorating the siege of Jerusalem by the wicked Nevuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Before daybreak, Reb Nosson's followers read him the first two of Rebbe Nachman's stories, "The Lost Princess" and "The King and the Emperor". Both have similar themes, though they are developed in totally differeny ways. The last words of "The King and the Emperor" are "Come! Let us go home!" When Reb Nosson heard these last words, he remarked, "It is my time to go home."
He asked them to bring him warn water so that he could take a bath. Before doing so, he spoke as if giving his last will and testament: "You must keep together and love one another. You are all good people, but you are shleimazalnikes (unlucky)!" Reb Nosson suddenly said, "Three tragedies befell the Jews in the month of Tevet. What were they?" He answered himself, "Ezra the Scribe passed away, the Torah was translated into Greek, and Nevuchadnezzar's army laid siege to Jerusalem." Reb Nosson continued: "When Ezra the Scribe leaves the world and atheism and heresy engulf the world, as we find today, with false ideologies springing up in their thousands and myriads... still, I trust that even one page of Rebbe Nachman's writings will be enough to rectify everything! I therefore want to give you instructions. Your work will be to print the Rebbe's books, and 'Your wellsprings will flow outwards' (Proverbs 5:16). Be strong - with money, willpower, and effort!"
Reb Nosson also spoke about the "three laws": 1. To go to the Tzaddik every Rosh HaShana. 2. Study the Shulchan Aruch every day. 3. Practice hitbodedut every day.
After this, Reb Nosson took a bath and then donned his Talit and Tefillin, praying with all his might. He recited Selichot for 10 Tevet, weeping during the Torah reading. After his prayers, he studied the Codes, completing a section of Shulchan Aruch. As he was studying, those around him said, "Why not study from the smaller Shulchan Aruch (without the extensive commentaries)? It will be easier for you." Reb Nosson said, "Please don't be so dedicated to me!" He then recited Tehillim. Afterwards, he said to Reb Nachman son of Reb Ozer "Give me Kul Tuv (all good)." Reb Nachman didn't understand. Reb Nosson explained, "Give me the Tanach. That is entirely good."
After this, he ate a little. He then said that if two people were to come and play the fiddle and dance, it would make him feel good. He decided not to eat or drink anything else, not even tea. As he lay in bed, Reb Nosson sighed. When asked why, he replied, "Do you think I'm sighing because I didn't study or pray enough? No. I did whatever I could. I was careful to gaurd my time. The only reason I am sighing is because I don't know if I adequately carried out the Rebbe's teaching of doing everything with simplicity."
A few hours later, reb Nosson changed his mind about eating and asked his son, Reb Yitzchak, to bring him some of the food hat had been prepared for Shabbat. He ate a tiny piece of Chalah (bread), soup, and Tzimis (carrots). When he recited the Birkat HaMazon (blessing after meals) he was heard to say, "May the All Merciful draw upon us the sanctity of the Holy Land." He then lay down on his bed.
In the afternoon, as Reb Nosson saw the candles being prepared for Shabbat, he lifted himself a little and said: "The Shabbat lights! The Shabbat lights! The candles of Shabbat, Yom Tov, and Chanukah are all one concept. I have new ideas on this subject - rows and rows of laws, wonderful, incredible insights - but I have no more strenght..."
Turning to Reb Nachman of Tulchin, RebNosson said: "'Go to Yosef: whatever he tells you, do' (Bereshit 41:55). The most important thing is to be attached to the Tzaddikim."
Reb Nosson then told his followers to go to the Mikveh. When they returned, they saw that his condition had greatly deteriorated. Aidel said, "What is this? You seem to be worse?" Reb Nosson answered, "It is with great kindness."
He never spoke to anyone again. He was heard whispering passages from various prayers. Among the phrases he was heard saying were "Gracious and abundant in forgiveness", then "He sanctifies the Shabbat" and "Echad (One)".
Reb Nosson passed away that Friday afternoon, 10 Tevet 5605 (December 20, 1844), moments after the Shabbat candles were lit. He was sixty-four years and eleven months old. Reb Nosson was totally attached to Hashem until the very end. His whole mission was to show that man can always return to G-d, regardless of anything he may have done, no matter how much he may have sinned. This was the mission Rebbe Nachman held out to him a few days after their first meeting: to become the lower point of the Aleph, to bring life, vitality and faith to all the lower levels. Even as he left the world, Reb Nosson was mindful of his mission, repeating again and again "There is hope for all: G-d will forgive! Always!"
Repentance and forgiveness for all of Israel were the very essence of Reb Nosson. The letters of the words "Chanun HaMarbeh LiSloach" have the numerical value of five hundred, the same as the letters of his name Natan (Kochavey Or p.122).
Reb Nosson passed away just before the onset of Shabbat. Those were the days before the invention of the telegraph, and it was impossible to transmit news of his passing anywhere until after Shabbat. Even so, that Friday night, Reb Naftali, who was in Uman, already knew that Reb Nosson was no longer.
When asked how he knew, Reb Naftali answered: "I had a dream in which I saw Reb Nosson running quickly. I said, 'Reb Nosson! Where are you running?' 'Me?' he said. 'Straight to the Rebbe!'" (Siach Sarfei Kodesh I-655).
It should be Your will that in the merit of Reb Nosson of Breslov we may merit coming close to our holy and awesome Rebbe, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, may his merits protect us. And may we merit drawing even a little of his self-sacrifice and dedication to Rebbe Nachman onto us. May we merit the redemption quickly, Amen. And, we also received with thanks to Rebbe Nachman and Reb Nosson that we will be redeemed. As testified in our generation by our praised Rabbi, Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzera (The Baba Sali), may his merits protect us, whom said on the day of the Hilula of Reb Nosson, "Those Tzaddikim will redeem the Shechina from the Exile."