Friday, June 19, 2015

Reb Hirsch Leib Puts On His Talis

Otzar Nachmani
From the Collected Talks of Rabbi Nachman Burstein, zatzal
Translated by Dovid Sears (unedited)

Rabbi Levi Yitzchok [Bender] told me many times about the wedding of his brother-in-law, Rabbi Hirsch Leib Lippel, who was a spiritually elevated young man of handsome appearance, an expert Torah scholar and a devoted worshipper of G-d. [Reb Hirsch Leib] was one of the students of Reb Boruch “Getzeh’s,” who used to pray every day for hours on end, with intense fervor. [Reb Boruch] had suggested the marriage of Reb Hirsch Ber to his wife’s sister Reizel, a daughter of Reb Aharon of Kiblitch, who was no longer alive. The wedding was celebrated on Erev Shabbos following Shavuos in 5683 (1923).

Reb Levi Yitzchok related something remarkable about the wedding of this exceptionally devout bridegroom (“he-chasan oved Hashem”). On Shabbos morning, when the first worshippers came to pray in the Breslov Kloyz, as they entered the vestibule they were surprised to behold the bridegroom standing there with his talis on his shoulders, reciting with fiery emotion the words preparatory to the mitzvah of donning the talis: “Borkhi nafshi … Le-shem yichud…

With deveykus and hislahavus (attachment to G-d and passion), he cried out in a thunderous voice, with deep yearning, “Hareini misa’tef… Behold, as I enwrap myself… so may my nefesh, ruach and neshamah (three levels of the soul) be enwrapped [in the divine light]… And just as I am enclothed by the talis in this world, so may I merit the spiritual ‘cloak of the rabbis’ in the Garden of Eden!” And so with fiery emotion did he recite the words, “Deliver my nefesh, ruach and neshamah and my prayer from the External Forces (‘chitzomim’)!”

Due to his emotional intensity, [Reb Hirsch Leib] was entirely unaware of the other worshippers who held back and stood behind him, not wanting to enter the Kloyz by way of the vestibule and possibly disturb his recitation of the “Le-shem yichud…” So they waited until he had finished reciting the blessing over the talis, “le-hisa’tef bi-tzitzis,” with awe and love. Only then did they enter the Kloyz to pray.

Reb Levi Yitzchok added that without a doubt, everyone in that exalted group experienced true feelings of teshuvah (return to G-d). For this made a powerful impression upon them all, since it was extraordinary to see a bridegroom on the morning after his wedding night, who nevertheless arose before dawn to begin the Shacharis prayer before the congregation arrived, and to fulfill the mitzvah of donning the talis with such fervor as this. Subsequently, when they began to pray, [Reb Hirsch Leib] prayed as if his heart were aflame, the like of which they had never seen. And afterward, on Motza’ei Shabbos, they held a Melaveh Malkah meal with “sheva brokhos” in honor of the bride and groom with great joy, happiness, dancing  and festivity, for many long hours, as befit a chasan such as this! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Cry from the Heart

Otzar Nachmani  222
From the Collected Talks of Rabbi Nachman Burstein, zatzal
Translated by Dovid Sears

Rabbi Elyahu Chaim Rosen, zal,  often used to mention during his talks a saying of the Breslover Chassidim in Uman (before the community was destroyed during the Stalinist purges): “Di hartz iz fahrshtuppt, der mo’ach iz fahrshtuppt, un der baal davar tutt zein’s… The heart is blocked, the brain is blocked, and the Evil One does his work! Menn hott nisht kein sekhel oyf tzi hoyb’n di oyg’n tzu Hashem Yisborach un shray’n:  And we don’t have enough intellect to raise our eyes to the Blessed One and scream: Ribbono shel Olam! Master of the Universe! Makh mir rein dos hartz mit’n mo’ach ikh zohl dir kenen dinen be’emes! Purify my heart with my brain, so that I can serve You in truth!”  

Monday, June 15, 2015

Bar Mitzvah for a Special Bachur

Dear Friends of the Breslov Center,

One of the leading Torah scholars and elder teachers of Likutey Moharan lost his wife several years ago to an incurable illness, leaving one young son for him to raise. (B"H, his other children are all grown up and married with families of their own.) With Hashem's mercy, family members and friends rose to the challenge along with the father, and this boy has grown into a young ben Torah with the inner strength that comes from overcoming suffering and emotional and spiritual difficulties. Recently, he celebrated his bar mitzvah in Meron, with a joyous se'udas mitzvah.  

When we spoke over the phone with the father (who has serious health issues of his own) and heard this good news, we immediately asked if we should send a sefer as a bar mitzvah gift. The father readily agreed. When we asked which seforim his son could use, however, the father said, "Anything you want. He has nothing!" 

Therefore, we invite anyone who would like to send this bar mitzvah bachur a sefer to please contact us at meoreiohr [at]

This does not need to be an expensive proposition. But a little chesed can go a long way, especially when it comes to a yasom (orphan). We will provide you with the name and address, and also try to keep track of the seforim given so that people won't send the same gifts.

Mazal tov, and tizku lemitzvos!

New Publications from Breslov Research Institute
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