Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rabbi Nachman Burstein zatzal

Boruch Dayan ha-Emes – it is with the greatest sorrow that we announce the passing of one Breslov’s most beloved teachers, Rabbi Nachman Yisrael ben Moshe Burstein of Yerushalayim. Reb Nachman had suffered a heart attack and several strokes in recent years. Yet despite all hardships and physical maladies, he came to Uman for Rosh Hashanah, including this past year 5574 / 2013. Prior to the opening up of travel to Uman, Reb Nachman had been the Rosh Hashanah Baal Musaf in Meron for decades. He was also a renowned baal tefilah in the Kataman neighborhood of Yerushalayim, and a popular speaker and teacher in the Breslov community and wherever he was invited to speak. His devotion to Rebbe Nachman and his spiritual legacy was a sterling example to all Breslover Chassidim.

Reb Nachman's expertise in the traditional melodies of Breslover Chassidim was unparalleled. He also had encyclopedic knowledge of Breslov oral histories and customs. Moreover, he was a solid talmid chokhom and halakhist, who was respected by the leading scholars of Eretz Yisrael. His father, Rabbi Moshe Burstein (1914-2011), was also a leading figure in Breslov in Yerushalayim and a talmid chokhom of stature. Reb Moshe was born in Poltosk, Poland and arrived in the Holy Land in 1935 with his wife and infant son, Nachman. Reb Moshe was one of Rabbi Avraham Sternhartz's closest disciples, and Reb Avraham lived in the Burstein home after his wife’s petirah. Thus, Reb Nachman knew Reb Avraham throughout his youth, until the latter’s passing in 1955, when Reb Nachman was 21. 

Only this past year (2013), the first volume of Reb Nachman’s talks was finally published: Otzar Nachmeini (available through But of course, nothing and no one can take the place of Reb Nachman Burstein, zatzal, with his unforgettable beautiful smile, as he spoke words of Torah and chizuk, or sang niggunim with great hisorerus and retold the stories of tzaddikim with emunah and simchah and hislahavus. May he have a “lechtigeh Gan Eden” and intercede above for his family, talmidim, and countless friends from all walks of life, and for the entire Jewish people, amen.

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