The Rebbe once declared: “Gohr mein zach is Rosh Hashanah . . . My entire mission is Rosh Hashanah.” He was particularly emphatic about his followers coming to him for Rosh Hashanah, and indicated on his last Rosh Hashanah in Uman that we should continue to do so even after his death.
(Chayei Moharan 403-406; Likkutei Moharan I, 211; ibid. II, 94; Kuntres “Ha-Rosh Hashanah Sheli,” citing numerous additional sources.)
The Rebbe once told his followers: “Whether you eat or you don’t eat, whether you sleep or you don’t sleep, whether you daven or you don’t daven [i.e., with proper concentration]—just make sure that you are with me for Rosh Hashanah!”
(Chayei Moharan 404)
The Rebbe taught that by traveling to the tzaddik for Rosh Hashanah, the “head of the year,” one attains purification of thought. This, too, mitigates harsh judgments. However, he added, we must use wisdom on Rosh Hashanah and think positive thoughts—for what we think about on Rosh Hashanah is potent.
(Likkutei Moharan I, 211; Sichos ha-Ran 21)
Reb Noson established the custom of reciting Tikkun ha-Klalli on Erev Rosh Hashanah beside Rabbi Nachman’s grave. Breslover Chassidim have been accustomed to do so even if they were not zokheh to be in Uman for Rosh Hashanah.
The Rebbe stated that on Erev Rosh Hashanah, one should give a pidyon nefesh, an unspecified amount of tzedakah appropriate to the individual’s financial circumstances.
(Sichos ha-Ran 214. The rule in determining how much to give is that it should be an amount that one feels is significant—that is, one should feel the “pinch.” For one person, this may be $5, for another, $5,000. It is also proper to write a kvittel with one’s name and mother’s name, as well as those of family members and others. In the Rebbe’s day, the pidyon nefesh was given to him personally. Today it is given to a Breslover elder or teacher.)
The Rebbe taught that one should limit one’s speech on Rosh Hashanah. Therefore, it is proper to refrain from small talk, and concentrate on words of Torah and tefillah, each person according to his ability. Many Breslover Chassidim do not engage in any casual speech at all on the first night, when the heavenly judgment is most severe. Some maintain silence until the second day after Musaf. Others restrict themselves until the end of Rosh Hashanah. In any case, one should be extremely careful in matters of speech on Rosh Hashanah.
(See Sichos ha-Ran 21)