Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reb Gedaliah’s Charoses

From “Breslov Eikh sheHu: Breslov Customs and Practices, Past and Present.”

Breslover Chassidim in Uman used a combination of apples, pears, nuts, and wine for charoses. This is the common Russian-Ukrainian custom (although some omit pears). However, Reb Gedaliah, who was born and raised in Yerushalayim, used a combination of fruits and spices.
(See Sha’ar haKavannos, Drushei Pesach, Drush 6, end, where Rabbi Shmuel Vital mentions that this is the minhag Ashkenaz. A mnemonic device for this is the word “even”: eppel-barren-nussen / apples, pears, nuts. Rabbi Meir Poppers notes that this does not reflect the kabbalistic custom. However, the Arizal used seven fruits and three spices: grapes, figs, pomegranates, dates, walnuts, apples, and pears, spiced with spikenard, ginger, and cinnamon. Rabbi Shmuel Vital adds that he saw his father Rabbi Chaim pound these ingredients and knead them with wine specifically, and not with vinegar. Ben Ish Chai, Halakhos II, Mishpatim 19, and Akim Es Yitzchak, 25, state that in Baghdad the minhag was to use date honey with nuts. In many parts of Europe, only apples, nuts, and wine were used; e.g. Erkhei Yehoshua [Manistritch], Perach Shoshanim 121. Similarly, minhagei Skver-Chernobyl, Chabad, etc.)


Reb Gedaliah used to save a pomegranate from the Sukkah decorations in the refrigerator until Pesach, in order to use it in the charoses.
(Heard from Rabbi Ephraim Kenig)


In addition, he used a combination of almonds, walnuts, apples, pears (if available), dates, cinnamon, and ginger. He did not use figs.
(Heard from Rabbi Elazar Kenig)


The omission of figs seems to have been due to a question about their kashrus at that time.
(Heard from Rabbi Yosef Sofer, citing his mother, Mrs. Mirel Sofer)


Mrs. Sofer and Mrs. Tukatzinsky (both daughters of Reb Gedaliah) also remembered that their father always used cinnamon and ginger, and all of the fruits mentioned in Shir haShirim in connection with Klal Yisrael.


Reb Gedaliah prepared the charoses himself, and added the wine just before the Seder. However, he did not add it to the charoses when it was already on the ka’arah. Mrs. Sofer was not sure if he did so in the kitchen or at the table.

(Heard from Rabbi Yosef Sofer, citing his mother, Mrs. Mirel Sofer)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mekhiras Chometz and Other Pre-Pesach Inyanim

Mekhiras Chometz / Sale of Chometz

Reb Gedaliah stated that the mekhirah is a complete sale, and chas ve-shalom that one should think otherwise. Therefore, one may sell any quantity of chometz gamur.
(Heard from Rabbi Yaakov Klein)


Reb Gedaliah did not instruct his talmidim to sell their chometz through a Rov who used an arev kablan. Therefore, it seems he was not particular about this hiddur.
(Heard from Rabbi Yaakov Klein. The Baal HaTanya advocated the use of an arev kablan, a Jew who acts as the agent of the non-Jew who buys the chometz. )

Shabbos HaGadol

After Minchah, it is customary to recite the Haggadah, beginning with “ Avadim hayinu” until “le-khaper al kol avonoseinu.” One does so even if Shabbos HaGadol falls on Erev Pesach.
(RaMA, Orach Chaim 430:1; Mishnah Berurah, ad loc.)


The Rebbe darshans on the custom that once prevailed in Eastern Europe to turn over the tables after Shabbos HaGadol.
(Sichos haRan 88)


In Europe, many tables were made so that the top simply rested on the legs. Therefore, by turning over the top, one was provided with a new, “chometz-free” surface.

(Heard from Rabbi Leibel Berger)

Erev Pesach

Reb Avraham Sternhartz told Rabbi Shmuel Horowitz that Reb Noson used to say: “As soon as one recites the berakhah for bedikas chometz, it is already a shtick Pesach (i.e. one is already connected to the essence of Pesach).”
(Rabbi Shmuel Horowitz, editor of Rabbi Avraham b’Reb Nachman, Yemei T’la’os [Jerusalem 1982, fifth edition] p. 41)


Reb Avraham Sternhartz described how after the bedikah, Reb Noson would speak words of mussar to his sons: they should strive to remove the chometz from their hearts, etc. This was the only time he spoke mussar at such length the entire year. He did so order to awaken the paradigm of “yom nakam bi-libi . . . the day of retribution is in My heart, and the year of My Redemption has come” (Isaiah 63:4). This mood lasted until the burning of the chometz the following morning, when one must also destroy the chometz from one’s heart. Reb Noson’s allusion to the verse “yom nakam bi-libi” alludes to Likkutei Moharan I, 83, which speaks of searching for chometz with the “light of the eyes” (see there), destroying the chometz in one’s heart, and other awesome tikkunim that are bound up with the Redemption and Beis ha-Mikdash.
(Rabbi Shmuel Horowitz, editor of Rabbi Avraham b’Reb Nachman’s Yemei T’la’os [Jerusalem 1982, fifth edition] p. 41)


Reb Gedaliah had a large family and an extremely small home. Yet despite the challenges of operating within such circumstances, he remained calm and patient throughout the Pesach preparations, with tzelilus ha-da’as.
(Heard from Rabbi Elazar Kenig)


Reb Gedaliah showed great zehirus in all mitzvos de-rabbanan. Thus, he would not even drink water before bedikas chometz, even though this is halakhically permissible.
(Heard from Rabbi Elazar Kenig and Rabbi Yaakov Klein)


Reb Gedaliah did not use a feather and wooden spoon during bedikas chometz, but only a candle and a sheet of paper made into a cone to collect the ten pieces of chometz, etc. One year one of his children came back from kindergarten and gave him a wooden spoon for the bedikah.

However, he put it aside and did not use it, commenting, “Ich fier zach vie der Tate . . . I conduct myself like my father.”

(Heard from Rabbi Yossel Sofer citing his mother, Mrs. Mirel Sofer. The Gemara only discusses using a candle for the bedikah; see Pesachim 7b.)


Reb Gedaliah’s wife would place each of the ten small pieces of chometz on a piece of paper, and put them on the floor. Reb Gedaliah would collect them during the bedikah and put them in the paper cone, together with the candle to be burned in the morning.
(Heard from Rabbi Yossel Sofer citing his mother, Mrs. Mirel Sofer)


Reb Gedaliah was not extreme in his manner of performing the bedikah. For example, if a drawer was not normally used for chometz, he would just open it and quickly look inside. He told his children to clean out the pockets of their clothes during the day, and he did not inspect them at night.
(Heard from Rabbi Yossel Sofer citing his mother, Mrs. Mirel Sofer)


Reb Avraham Sternhartz used to fast all day on Erev Pesach and did not avail himself of the heter to make a si’um or attend one. This also had been the practice of his zeide, the Tcheriner Rov.
(Heard from Rabbi Elazar Kenig and Rabbi Avraham Shimon Burshteyn)


Rabbi Avraham Shimon Burshteyn remembered hearing that Reb Avraham had had an older sister who died young, and therefore he was not obligated to fast on Ta’anis Bekhorim; yet he did so anyway. Another possible reason for this stringency, he speculated, was that Reb Avraham wished exempt his bekhor, Reb Noson, during the latter’s childhood, and he simply continued to do so after Reb Noson came of age.


The Rav of Tcherin states that there is no special inyan in Breslov to bake Erev Pesach matzos, which entails many halakhic risks if conditions are not optimal. "However," he adds, "if one can do so properly and without great difficulty, mah tov u-mah na'im."
(See Si'ach Sarfei Kodesh IV, 257. However, Reb Elazar has a copy of an unpublished letter from Reb Noson asking for wheat in order to make Erev Pesach matzos. This was a custom of the Baal Shem Tov still observed in many circles; see Shivchey Baal Shem Tov [Avraham Rubenstein, ed.] 199; Siddur ARI Rav Shabsai, Seder Erev Pesach, et al.)


Reb Gedaliah did not bake Erev Pesach matzos. Moreover, he was particular not to use them, due to the halakhic problems surrounding them.
(Heard from Rabbi Yitzchak Kenig, Rabbi Chaim Man, and Rabbi Moshe Grinberger)


Sometime after chatzos, Reb Gedaliah would recite the letter of Rabbi Shimshon Ostropolier, printed in many editions of the Haggadah. He encouraged his talmidim to do so, as well.
(Heard from Rabbi Moshe Grinberger)


After Minchah, he would read recite the account of the Korban Pesach. This is the common minhag. It is possible that the nusach he followed was that of Rabbi Yaakov Emden’s Siddur. This was one of his favorite seforim, which he often reviewed at various times of the year.
(Heard from Rabbi Ephraim Kenig)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rabbi Nasan Maimon in New York

received by email from Eric Fuchs

Arriving in New York on Sunday March 25th and staying until Tuesday April 3rd, Rabbi Maimon is one of the true pillars of the Breslev World. To contact him or find out where he is speaking, please call: 718 310-8932.

To listen to some of Rabbi Maimon's past shiurim online:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pesach Campaign Underway

As Pesach approaches, the Tsfat Breslov community needs your help. As you set aside tzedakah for "Kimcha D'Pischa," please have in mind the more than 100 needy families here who lack even the basics for Yom Tov.

When you declare at your Seder, "Let all who are hungry, come and eat!" have the satisfaction of knowing that you helped make this possible for these deserving families living in the Holy Land.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Israel’s Foreign Ministry to take control of Uman?

(c) Mordechai Zeitlin


Reports from the Israeli Chareidi Press (Kikar Shabat News Service) indicate that the Israeli Government is negotiating a deal with the Ukrainian Government in regards to the administration of the Uman holy sites.

After attempts made by the State to bring the remains of Rebbe Nachman Za”l to Israel failed due to the protest of the Breslov Hasidim, Foreign Ministry officials are now attempting to come to an agreement where the Israel Government would provide security and essential services to the Chassidim, as well invest in upgrading the city’s outdated infrastructure. There is also a military airport nearby Uman which would be converted into an operational international airport.

Chassidim fear that this will result in the Holy Sites becoming a public tourist attraction, and may thereby detract from the spiritual atmosphere of Uman. Major meetings are due to be held between the Chassidim and Government authorities

May it be HaShem’s Will that whatever the outcome, we should see more Jews visiting and the holiness of the site being elevated, amen.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Occupy Charles Street

The Andy Statman Trio (Andy on mandolin and clarinet, Jim Whitney on bass, Larry Eagle on drums & percussion) will wrap up the season at the Charles Street Synagogue with Tuesdays and Thursdays through March 29th (followed by a two month hiatus).

Music at 8:30 (more or less). Herman pours libations. Guests when you least expect them.
53 Charles St @ West 4th in NYC's West Village
twitter: @rcanipper

check out the new two disk set "Old Brooklyn" (before it becomes the old two disk set of New Brooklyn):

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reb Noson on “Nullification Within the Infinite Light”

(c) Dovid Sears

From The Tree that Stands Beyond Space
based on excerpts from Likutey Halakhot, as found in Rabbi Nachman Goldstein of Tcherin’s anthology, Otzar HaYirah (“A Treasury of Awe”).

The Divine Call

Even when a person has fallen to a low spiritual level and is surrounded by darkness, G-d has mercy and sometimes grants him exalted perceptions. This is meant to arouse the person and draw him back to G-d, as the verse states, “Draw me close, we will come running after you…” (Song of Songs 1:4).

This is why the state of exaltation soon dissipates. The illumination was only a hint of the blissfulness of the Divine light, so that one would choose to pursue it of his own accord. Such experiences are echoes of G-d’s constant call to each person to return to Him.

Nothing But G-d

Anyone can experience the Infinite Light, at least for a limited time. Just close your eyes and meditate on the fact that nothing exists but G-d, until you forget yourself completely. Then automatically all your sufferings will cease.

Wherever You Stand

King David declares: “Even when I shall walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for You are with me” (Psalms 23:4). According to the Arizal, even in the lowest levels of the World of Action (Asiyah), an emanation of the Infinite Light is present, concealed in the many “garments” of materiality. Thus, one who wishes to cleave to G-d may do so anywhere, in all circumstances without exception. All that is necessary is a strong resolve.

Just Close Your Eyes

When spiritual darkness and harsh judgments threaten to overwhelm you, whether concerning matters of Divine service or everyday life, the best advice is simply to close your eyes and nullify yourself, realizing that the Ultimate Reality is absolute Oneness and absolute goodness, beyond all dualism. Then all your sufferings will depart.

Everything Depends on You

When the soul comes to perceive the Infinite Light in a manner of “reaching, but not reaching,” all the worlds, above and below, attain their ultimate unification.

All of My Goodness

Through self-nullification in the light of the Infinite, the soul transcends the realm of the Sefiros, transcends all Divine Names; as the Sefer Yetzirah asks, “In the presence of Oneness, what can you count?” However, it is impossible to remain in this state of self-nullification for long without expiring altogether. Therefore, one must return to the mundane, in a manner of “the Living Angels advanced and retreated” (Ezekiel 1:14).

Then one receives new life-force from the “afterglow” (reshimu) of the Divine Light - and in so doing, elicits a manifestation of the Thirteen Divine Attributes of Mercy through which all harsh judgments are tempered.[1] It is this afterglow of the Divine Light to which the Torah refers in describing the revelation of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy to Moshe Rabbeinu; as the verse states, “I will cause all of My Goodness to pass by your face...” (Exodus 33:19). This is the radiance that shines upon the face of whoever experiences the Divine Light, when he returns from the state of self-nullification.

These Thirteen Attributes of Mercy also correspond to the Thirteen Principles by which the Torah is expounded—for the entire Torah proceeds from this residue of light. This is called “all of My goodness,” because through this illumination one comes to know that everything is One, and everything is good.

Gazing Above

When G-d decreed destruction upon the world at the time of the biblical flood, He told Noah to build an ark, instructing him: “Make a window for the ark, and to a cubit finish it from above” (Genesis 6:16). By entering the ark, Noah desisted from gazing upon the temporal world and raised his eyes above, toward the ultimate spiritual goal. Similarly during the battle with Amalek, whenever Moshe’s hands were raised, Israel looked heavenward and prevailed. For the main victory over all harsh judgments, sufferings, and confusions is accomplished by gazing beyond the world’s limitations and nullifying oneself to the Ultimate Reality.

The Early Chassidim

“The Early Chassidim (members of an ancient pietistic sect) used to meditate for one hour before praying and one hour afterward” (Berakhos 32b). They meditated one hour before praying in order to direct their minds and hearts toward G-d, so that they might enter into the encompassing Divine Oneness. For this is the perfection of prayer. They meditated one hour after praying in order to draw forth an afterglow of the Divine Light, causing it to permeate their minds and hearts. From this residue of spiritual illumination, their Torah insights were formed, and they gained the vessels to receive Divine beneficence and blessings. Thus, our sages added, “Since they were Chassidim, their Torah was preserved, and their labors were blessed” (ibid.).

G-d Is One

The entire reason for the creation of humankind is “in order to know G-d” (Zohar II, 42b). This knowledge is a consequence of the experience of self-nullification within the Infinite Light, and the subsequent return to mundane consciousness. The afterglow of Divine Light enables the mind to grasp that G-d is both transcendent and immanent—“Hashem (YHVH) is Elokim”—that everything is One, and everything is good. This is the root of the entire Torah. And the main purpose of the Torah and its commandments is to sanctify the physical, so that it, too, may become a vessel to receive this residue of Divine Light.

When the body is spiritually damaged by any transgression, one cannot properly attain this state of transcendence. Even when one does reach such a state, the experience lasts only briefly; due to the body’s spiritual deficiency, it cannot receive the afterglow. Following these peak experiences, one still tends to forget about G-d. Therefore, in order to sanctify the body that it may receive the Divine radiance, G-d gave us the Torah’s commandments. Through studying and performing them, the light can be bound to us firmly, and we can remember G-d at all times.[2]

To be sure, this itself presents a formidable difficulty. In truth, only the great tzaddikim who have sanctified themselves completely can fully attain these lofty spiritual perceptions. Closing their eyes completely to the illusory attractions of this world, they purified and removed themselves from all physical desires, even permissible desires, to the utmost degree. Nevertheless, the Merciful One gave all Israel the Torah through Moshe, the “Master of All Prophets.” By virtue of our intrinsic spiritual connection to Moshe Rabbeinu, we, too, can remember G-d by fulfilling the Torah’s precepts and purifying our bodies, at least sufficiently to experience some degree of illumination from the afterglow of Divine Light.


Self-nullification is attained by removing your awareness of physical sensation altogether, even such involuntary sensations as eyes movements, until your body is perfectly at rest. Your eyes are still, your lips are still, your limbs don’t move, all physical sensations cease; for the body has become nullified completely to the Infinite Light, to the Ultimate Reality that is absolute Oneness, absolute goodness.

However, after returning to ordinary consciousness, you must bind the afterglow of Divine Light to your heart and soul, as well as to all your physical senses; for through them you may become attached once more to the things of this world, and forget the holiness of transcendence. Even your wealth and material possessions must be permeated with this residue of Divine Light, for they are the bearers of your material desires—until you have nullified everything in your love of G-d.

This corresponds to the prayer: “Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad... Hear O Israel, Hashem our G-d, Hashem is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4). The ”Shema” prayer is the very paradigm of self-nullification and dissolution into the Divine Oneness; for when reciting these words we should willingly offer up our lives for the sanctification of G-d’s name. Thus, it is customary to close our eyes while reciting the “Shema” prayer, in order to remove our eyes from all worldly attachments. Then we recite the passage: “And you shall love the Lord, your G-d, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might...” (ibid. 6:5-9), which our Sages interpret to mean “your wealth” (Berakhos 54a). For it is necessary to nullify everything in your love of G-d.

Waters of Deliverance

The Prophet refers to G-d as the “Hope (mikveh) of Israel, its Deliverer in time of trouble” (Jeremiah 14:8). [The word mikveh can also mean a ritual bath used for spiritual purification.] By immersing in the waters of a mikveh, one receives the afterglow of Divine Light that follows the experience of self-nullification. For these are the “waters of deliverance” from all suffering and affliction that cleanse us of all impurity.

Counting to One

The Tikuney Zohar states: “You are One, but not one that can be counted...” (Hakdamah). Then it describes the Ten Sefiros and the parts of the human form to which they correspond. The encompassing Divine Oneness that cannot be counted is grasped through self-nullification—then the afterglow of Divine Light that shines into Creation is expressed through the Ten Sefiros.

Meditation and Prayer

When you find it impossible to nullify yourself and focus your vision on the Ultimate Reality, this is due to spiritual agitation produced by your worldly attachments. To overcome this, you must pray to G-d and cry out to Him exceedingly. In truth, these two practices are interdependent. For the perfection of prayer is attained through meditation and self-nullification. And the ability to fix your attention on the Ultimate Reality and nullify the ego depends upon the words of prayer. [Moreover, the benefits of such gazing affect every area of life and spiritual practice.] For just as you gaze toward G-d, so does G-d watch over you from above. As our Sages say of the celebration of the festivals in Jerusalem: “Just as He comes see you, so does He come to be seen by you” (Chagigah 4b).

Advance and Retreat

G-d created everything so through their Divine service and their deveykus (cleaving) to G-d, Israel, the holy nation, would spiritually elevate all of Creation. When this task is complete, everything will return to its original Source and become reincorporated within the Infinite One.

However, as long as the world exists, this deveykus must be in a manner of “advance and retreat.” G-d wants the world to endure, so that we may serve Him through the mundane. Indeed, this is G-d’s entire pleasure and delight.

Labor Pains

Sometimes a person’s former wisdom and spiritual perception seems to elude him. Then it is good to cry out to G-d in a loud voice, both during prayer and Torah study. Through this, one gives birth to higher intellect.

All translations © Breslov Research Institute

[1] The Hebrew word echad (“one”) bears the numerical value of thirteen (the letter alef equals 1, ches equals 8, and dalet equals 4). Thus the number thirteen is a symbol for an essential unity that transcends dualism and division.
[2] ”Remembering” in Rebbe Nachman’s usage denotes our grasp of the essential nature of reality, which is G-dliness. Spiritual deficiency inevitably brings about a state of “forgetfulness” (Likutey Moharan I, 54).

New Series on "A Simple Jew" - Hisbodedus on Sefer Tehillim

Blood Donation Needed - Binyomin Yehoshua ben Miriam Gitel

Received by email:

Our son, Binyomin Yehoshua ben Miriam Gitel, is battling cancer and is under the care of the excellent doctors at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. As part of his treatment, Binyomin receives numerous blood and platelet transfusions.

If anyone is able and willing to donate blood and/or platelets, please contact Esti Rosenbaum at Chai Lifeline who will set up an appointment with the hospital for you to donate.

Esti may be reached at 646-530-3507 or via email at

Please feel free to forward this message.

Tizku L'mitzvos

Elie & Miriam Maron

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Who Knows?

(c) Dovid Sears

Reb Noson, Sichos HaRan 279
From "
The Tree that Stands Beyond Space"

"G-d is great"—indeed, " His greatness is unfathomable" (Psalms 145:3). Yet no one knows this at all. Amazing things take place in the world, various and diverse phenomena unfold without end, Creation is constantly changing, everything is constantly new and wondrous, and no one knows. One cannot even speak of this. However, each person according to the intuition of his heart can understand that he doesn't know anything at all. And this understanding remains far from the realization of "not knowing,"which is, in truth, the ultimate knowledge. For one has not yet scratched the surface of knowledge in the first place.

[However, this lack of knowledge has a positive side. Since we have no idea what G-d is doing in the world, we may expect G-d's deliverance at any moment.]

Rebbe Nachman had remarkable things to say about this: how a person should strengthen himself through this perception, and never become disheartened. No matter how far one may fall, one must never despair of crying out to G-d. For G-d is so great—whatever one's spiritual plight, He can turn everything to the good!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weekly Breslov Classes in New York

This is an update about local Breslov classes.

Borough Park:

1. Men's Shiur in English (Likutey Halakhos) with Rabbi Eliezer Trenk on Tuesday nights, 8:30-9:30 PM. Refreshments served.

Please email Moshe Chaim at or call 347-686-4821 for information.

2. Men's Shiur in Yiddish with Rabbi Yitzchok Friedman, Wednesday nights, 7:45 PM. Breslov Shtibel, 5504-16th Ave, (corner 55th St). For those who cannot attend, the shiur may be heard live by calling: 718-855-2424 and press 1-6-1


Breslov of Flatbush, 1909 New York Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11210 (718) 851-9332 or 1-917-803-4155 .
Men's Shiur (Likutey Moharan), English or Yiddish, depending on group, with Rabbi Avraham Moshe Wasilski, Thursday nights, 10:15 (approx. one hour).


The Carlebach Shul, 305 West 79th St. often hosts guest speakers on Breslov topics. See

Five Towns

1. Rabbi Symcha Bergman leads a weekly men's study group in Likutey Moharan, Far Rockaway. For more information, please email him at:

2. Rabbi Binyomin Tepfer gives a Likutey Moharan shiur for men under the auspices of Congregation Aish Kodesh. For more details, see


If you know of another Breslov shiur in Greater New York that is open to the public, please let us know:


Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, Likutey Moharan 1:21, sect. 11-13, abridged

Although eternal life may be attained even in the present state of reality, it will primarily characterize the future, when spiritual knowledge will increase. At that time, everyone will know God—and, through this knowledge, everyone will be incorporated into the Divine Oneness. Then all creatures will live forever, like God. For by knowing God, everyone will be incorporated into Him, as the wise man remarked, “If I knew Him, I would be Him.”[1] This spiritual knowledge will be in the future, as indicated by the verse, “The earth will be full of the knowledge of God” (Isaiah 11:9). Because of this knowledge, nothing will be lacking. Thus, the Midrash states, “If you possess knowledge, what do you lack? And if you lack knowledge, what do you possess?”[2] Everything will be completely good.

Even non-Jews will know God through this increase in spiritual knowledge, each person according to his own level and to whatever extent he exerted himself to serve God in this world. This is implied by the prophet’s metaphor that the future knowledge of God will be like “the water that fills the sea.” The sea is one; yet, due to the ocean’s floor, it is deeper in one place than another. Thus, it shall be in the future: the depth of each person’s knowledge of God will vary according to the nature and extent of his previous efforts in Divine service.

All of humanity then will live forever, for the knowledge of God will be revealed, and everyone will be incorporated in the Divine Oneness. Thus, on the verse, “On that day God will be One and His name One” (Zechariah 14:9), our Sages ask, “Is He now not One? But presently the blessing we recite upon hearing bad news is: ‘Blessed be the True Judge,’ whereas upon hearing good news we say: ‘Blessed is the Beneficent One, Who does good.’ However, in the future world, the latter blessing will be said at all times.”[3] This is because in the future, when knowledge (da’as) is revealed, it will be known that evil does not really exist; rather, everything is good, and everything is one.

Even the experience of exile is only due to our lack of spiritual knowledge. As the verse states, “Therefore have I exiled My people, who have no knowledge (da’as)” (Isaiah 5:13). This is also why the redemption from Egyptian bondage came through Moses. [Since Moses was the greatest of the prophets,] he personified the aspect of knowledge. Thus, it is written, “You will know that I am God, Who brings you out from under the subjugation of Egypt” (Exodus 6:7). For the main redemption is attained through knowledge.

[1] Kuzari 5:21. In its original context, this aphorism underscores God’s unknowability. Here, Rebbe Nachman uses it to make the converse point.
[2] Vayikra Rabbah 1:6.
[3] Pesachim 50a.

The Baal Shem Tov on Equanimity

From “The Path of the Baal Shem Tov,” pp. 47-49. Footnotes have been omitted for this online version.

Equanimity / Hishtavus

“I have placed (shivisi) God before myself continually” (Tehillim 16:8). “I have placed (shivisi)” is related to the word hishtavus, equanimity. Whatever happens to a person should be the same to him, whether others praise or disparage him; and this rule applies to all things. When it comes to eating, it should make no difference whether one eats tasty foods or otherwise. Everything should be the same to him, since the Evil Inclination has been completely renounced. In all circumstances one should say, “Does this not come from Him, may He be blessed? And if this is meet and proper in His eyes, should it not be acceptable to me?” One's efforts should be entirely for the sake of Heaven; but whatever happens should make no difference from one's own standpoint. This is a high spiritual level (Tzava'as HaRivash 2).


The Baal Shem Tov stressed the great importance of equanimity (hishtavus). That is, it should make no difference whether one is taken to be an ignoramus or an accomplished Torah scholar. This may be attained by continually cleaving to the Creator-for due to his deveykus, there is no possibility for a person to consider what other people think. Rather, he should continually endeavor to attach himself Above to God, may He be blessed (Tzava’as HaRivash 10).


One should think of himself as belonging to the Upper World; then all those who dwell in this lower world will make no impression upon him. For this whole world is like a mustard seed in comparison to the Upper World. The love or hatred of others should be the same to him, for it amounts to nothing.

Likewise, one should not heed in the least the desires of one's impure body, which the Tikuney Zohar (Tikkun 21, 48b) compares to the leprous skin of a snake (Tzava’as HaRivash 6).


One should make himself as if he does not exist, as the Gemara states, “Rabbi Yochanan taught: The words of Torah cannot be fulfilled except by one who makes himself as if he does not exist. Thus the verse states, ‘And wisdom -- from where (ayin) does it come?’ [Or, alternatively, ‘And wisdom comes from Nothingness (ayin).’]”

This means that one should think that he does not exist in this world at all—so what difference does it make if he is important in the eyes of others? (Tzava’as HaRivash 53).


When one speaks words of Torah with others, he should first bind himself in thought to the Creator, may He be blessed. He should also contemplate that the soul of his fellow is similarly bound to the Creator, for all men live only because of the shefa (abundance) which God imparts to all creatures.

One should think, “I am speaking only before the Creator, may He be blessed, in order to gratify Him. I am not performing for my fellow men—for what difference does their praise or blame make to me?” (Tzava'as HaRivash 93).


In everything one does, his only purpose should be to gratify the Creator, and not to serve himself in the least. Even the desire to experience delight in the act of Divine service is a form of serving oneself (Tzava'as HaRivash 11).


The Gemara states: “Many attempted to conduct themselves like Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai but were not successful” (Berakhos 35b). This means to say that they wanted to mortify themselves in order to reach the spiritual level of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, and that is why they were not successful. One's only intent in Divine service should be to gratify the Creator alone, not to attain a lofty spiritual level (Tzava'as HaRivash 47).

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Breslov Shtibel of Borough Park Purim Zmanim

Minchah Ta'anis Esther: 5:35

Ma'ariv: 6:45

Megillah Reading following Ma'ariv

Shacharis (Vasikin): 5:30 AM

Netz HaChamah: 6:18 AM

Se'udah right after davening!

Minchah 2:31:58 seconds

Location: Breslov Shtibel

5504 16th Ave

A freilicher Purim!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Purim Schedule

1909 New York Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11210 (718)851-9332

Purim Schedule
Wednesday - March 7
Fast Starts - 5:08 A.M.
Machtzis Hashekel/Matanos Levonim
Maariv - Megillah 6:30 P.M.
Fast Ends - 6:40P.M.

Thursday - March 8
Shacharis – 8:00 A.M.
Megillah - 8:40 A.M.

בשמחה מרבין אדר משנכנס

Why the Earth is Round

From Compassion for Humanity in the Jewish Tradition, p. 24

God transcends and encompasses the universe; at the same time, God imbues the universe with life. In truth, everything that exists possesses the ability to recognize the Creator according to its nature and spiritual level: living beings (whether or not they possess the faculty of speech), vegetation, even inanimate objects. Every creature longs for God, and God cares for every creature. Therefore, God made the earth a sphere, to teach us that all the earth's inhabitants should feel equally close to Him (Rabbi Chaim ibn Attar, Ohr HaChaim, Genesis 2: 1).

Monday, March 5, 2012

Purim Campaign - Nachal Novea Mekor Chochma

Received via e-mail from Nachal Novea Mekor Chochma:

If your Yom Kippur was not so uplifting this year, Rebbe Nachman of Breslev will show that the upcoming day of Purim can turn everything around. This is because, according to Rebbe Nachman, Purim is on an even higher level than Yom Kippur.

On Yom Kippur we abstain from all worldly pleasures to ascend and become close to Hashem. It is the opposite on Purim, since specifically through our drinking and rejoicing, Hashem descends to us. His Divine Presence reaches down to the lowest depths and touches everyone.

Fulfilling the special mitzvah to drink wine in a holy mindset—to simply be able to merge with our Creator, it is possible to achieve an even higher level than on Yom Kippur. Because of this, Rebbe Nachman says to abandon all negativity and be very happy on Purim, and rejoice with Hashem. Our job is to have simple faith in Hashem and believe in His holy tzaddikim.

Prepare for this special day and beg the Almighty to help us take full advantage of the holy opportunity on Purim.


Rabbi Efraim Kenig & Rabbi Yaakov Klein

Around the Town on Purim


Here's what Jewish Music Cafe recommends if you're around the Park Slope area this Purim......


Mregillah reading with Rabbi Finkelstein of the new Prospect Heights Shul Kehillah, a very cool new community that's really taking off in the Slope!

After that we'll head over to the amazing yearly Iyyun Purim party with Rabbi Pinson, definitely not to be missed. Pey Dalid in the house providing top notch music vibes as usual...I'll be joining the jam too... bring an instrument!
More info below.....

Later we want to drop by the Chevra Ahavas Yisroel Purim Party where Rabbi Kirschenbaum of Kol Yisrael will be welcoming y'all, cool party, great people.


Sign Up and Join Us for a Fun Purim Seudah and Party!

Rabbi Tzvi Mandel of Kahal B'nai Yisrael (good friend of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach z'l, served as Rabbi of the Carlebach Shul), Jewish Music Cafe and the Bruce Parness Band are hosting a grand Purim Seudah and Party at Sasson V'Simchah on 1223 Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11230 (near Ave. H)

Festivities Start at 4pm
Cover $30
Specify if you want Chicken/Fish or Veggie Meal.
Price includes Soft Drinks....
BYOB Mevushal wine etc.
Discounts for Kids and Families Available.
Music by The Bruce Parness Band and Special Guests.
We need 75 people to confirm to make this happen!

RSVP by Sunday to

Email us if you would like to sponsor this event.

Purim Night Megillah Reading

Rabbi Finkelstein and The Prospect Heights Shul Kehillah
Megillah reading with a festive break-fast.
Wednesday March 7th at 6:30 pm
at the
Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture
53 Prospect Park West

A Purim Tish with Rav Pinson

Wednesday evening, March 7th at 6:30 pm

Live Music with Pey Dalid! Roots, Rock and Reggae!
Soulful/ Rap with the hottest Jewish musicians
Bring your Instruments and join the Jam
Every Flavor Hamentash!
Lavish PERSIAN! Buffet!
All you can drink L’chaim’s all night!
Bar with specialty drinks for Sale – proceeds to go to the New IYYUN Center!
Deep, Soul Stirring Purim Tish with Rav Dovber Pinson!

Cover: $20

At the IYYUN Center
In the heart of Brownstone Brooklyn
452 Union Street, corner of Bond St

The Chevra Ahavas Yisroel Purim Party

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 6:00pm until Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 6:00am

Cong. Kol Israel across from Franklin Park, 603 St. Johns Place

Chevra Ahavas Yisroel and Cong. Kol Israel Present:

This party is being sponsored by our new best friends at Lost Tribes Beverages! They make very nice beers. It would do you well to purchase some. L'Chaim!

6:20pm MAARIV


7pm PARTY:
* MUST BE 21+ TO ENTER (sorry everyone else)

$20 RESERVE ONLINE IN THE LINK (ends March 4th)
(entrance fee includes 2 free drinks)


Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Few Short Teachings

A Few Short Teachings
From the Breslov Research Institute Likutey Moharan, Vol. XI
Translated by Rabbi Moshe Mykoff
Annotated by Rabbi Chaim Kramer (see original)

Likutey Moharan I, 196

"When you pray, Al Taas Tefilatkha Keva (do not make your prayer routine), but compassionate pleas and entreaties [before the Omnipresent One]" (Avot 2:13).

It is forbidden for a person to be obstinate about anything. That is, in his prayer, it is prohibited to stubbornly insist that the Holy One must fulfill his request. This is like taking something by force, by robbing it.

Rather, a person has to pray and beseech God with compassionate pleas and entreaties. If God gives it, He gives it; and if not, not. This has been brought elsewhere.

This is the explanation of "do not make your prayer keva (routine)." The term KeVa connotes "stealing," as it is written (Proverbs 22:23), "and KaVA (rob) the life of those who rob them.”

That is, no matter what a person requests—be it livelihood or children or other needs—it is forbidden for him to stubbornly insist and be obstinate in his prayer; that God must fulfill his prayer. For this is a "keva prayer"—he takes the thing by force, by robbing it. Rather, as explained above, he is to pray "compassionate pleas and entreaties.”

Likutey Moharan I, 203

From women's conversations it is possible to know the status of the Shekhinah (Divine Presence)—i.e., how She is faring at that time. This is what is written about Mordekhai (Esther 2:11), "He would daily walk about in front of the harem courtyard to find out how Esther was faring." Esther is the Shekhinah. Mordekhai would comprehend this—to know how the Shekhinah was faring—from the "courtyard of the harem," i.e., through their conversations.

Likutey Moharan I, 210

By doing business honestly, a person fulfills [the mitzvah of] "You shall love [God]" (Deuteronomy 6:5). As our Sages, of blessed memory, said: "You shall love"—Heaven's name should become beloved through you (Yoma 86a).

And when a person fulfills "You shall love," his livelihood is without struggle or toil. As our Sages, of blessed memory, said: "A person's livelihood is as difficult as splitting the Red Sea" (Pesachim 118a). Splitting the Red Sea was in the merit of Avraham, aspect of "And you shall love." As our Sages, of blessed memory, said: "The sea returned just before morning" (Exodus 14:27)—this is the morning of Avraham (Zohar II, 170b).

Thus it is that when morning, the aspect of Avraham-- love-- arrives, the difficult becomes relaxed. For until the morning, splitting the Red Sea was difficult for Him. From this we may conclude that by doing business honestly, a person is linked to the aspect of "And you shall love"/Avraham, and as a result he has no difficulty earning his livelihood.

Likutey Moharan I, 222

A person needs to be cheerful always, and to serve God cheerfully. And even if he occasionally falls from his level, he has to strengthen himself with earlier times, when some small measure of light did shine on him.

This is as we see, that a number of blind people hold on to someone who is not blind, trusting him and following him. In addition, the blind man trusts his cane; he follows his cane, even though he does not see at all.

All the more so, a person ought to follow himself. That is, since in earlier times [the light] shone for him somewhat, and he strengthened himself and stirred his heart for God, even though now he has fallen from this and his eyes and heart are closed, nevertheless, he should hold on to those earlier times and follow them. That is, just as then he stirred his heart to strengthen his service of God, so too now, he should strengthen his heart greatly and follow the arousal and shining that he had then, even though now he has fallen from it. Until after a short while, God helps him and God's light again shines on him. Amen.