Friday, December 18, 2015

Rabbi Chaim Kramer Speaking Dates in U.S.

Received by e-mail

Join Rabbi Chaim Kramer for special yartzeit gatherings commemorating the legacy of the Rebbe’s main disciple, Reb Noson z”l.

Monsey, NY
Sunday, December 20th, 2015
6 PM
Ohr Chaim Bet HaMedrash
18 Forshay Road, Monsey NY 10952

Lakewood, NJ
Monday, December 21st, 2015
7 PM 
Maariv, followed by special dinner program
978 River Ave. Lakewood, NJ 08701

Brooklyn, NY
Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015
5:10 PM 
Maariv, followed by the program
2015 Avenue R, Brooklyn, NY

Long Island, NY
Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015
8:30 PM
At the home of Shalom and Michelle Segelman
855 West Broadway, Woodmere, NY

Hot Buffet. All are welcome!

Queens, NY
Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015
8 PM
144-11 68th Drive, Flushing, NY
Light Refreshments.

Would you like to sponsor a local yartzeit event or to meet with Reb Chaim? 

Please contact us for more details. (

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Reb Noson's Yahrtzeit

This year Asarah beTeves, which is also Reb Noson's yahrtzeit, begins on Monday night, December 21, 2013 through Tuesday, December 22. It is a day-time fast.

On the evening of Asarah beTeves, Reb Noson's yahrtzeit is commemorated by lighting a 24-hour candle and sharing a communal meal. In some Breslov communities it is customary to read the description of Reb Noson's histalkus (passing from the world) from Alim leTerufah (Jerusalem: Toras HaNetzach 2000 ed., pp. 913-918). It is also proper to study an additional portion of Reb Noson's teachings on his yahrtzeit, and to give tzedakah in his name according to one’s means.

The survival of Breslov Chassidus is due to the dedication to the point of mesirus nefesh of Reb Noson and his unique understanding of Rebbe Nachman's teachings, as we seen from his masterwork, Likutey Halakhos. The Rebbe compared their master-disciple relationship to that of the sun and the moon, which reflects the light it has received so that it illuminates the night -- meaning the situations in life that are like the night -- and to Moshe Rabbeinu and Yehoshua bin Nun, who led the Jewish people into Eretz Yisrael. The Rebbe also once said, "Were it not for Reb Noson, not a page of my writings would remain."

For the story of Reb Noson's passing in English, see Rabbi Chaim Kramer, "Through Fire and Water" (Jerusalem: Breslov Research Institute), Chapter 48.

Seudah Lechavod the Hilula of Reb Nosson ZT"L

Received by email:

There will iy"h be a seudah lechavod the Hilula of 

Reb Nosson ZT"L

This coming Monday night 
10 Teves
Maariv: 7:30 PM
5504 16th Ave
Borough Park

Those who can  be Mishtatef and help out with the cost of the Seudah
please reply c/o:

Or click on the "Donate" link below:
(You can use a credit card even if you do not have to have a PayPal account)

Inline image 1

Or donate via CHASE Quickpay

There will also be a credit card machine at the seudah.

For more information, please call either:

Reb Yitchok Alter Fish 917-577-0668

Reb Shlome Yitzchok Lichter 718-496-2810

Rav Kenig lighting the menorah

Monday, December 14, 2015

Rabbi Nachman's "Animated" Stories


Dear Friends of the Breslov Research Institute (BRI):
BRI and ARenu Productions, an animation studio in Israel, have teamed up to bring you Rabbi Nachman's Stories in an entirely new format: as exciting and entertaining 3D-animated films.
Rebbe Nachman’s tales can be read as simple fables, but they contain deeper allusions to human nature, the relationship between man and God, and the secrets of the world. Through the medium of animation, we will reach out to viewers of all ages and backgrounds, enriching their understanding and appreciation of the Rebbe’s wisdom.
Our first animated film is called “A Tale of Faith,” based onMaaseh MiBitachon. With its intriguing plot and surprising outcome, this story is both entertaining and enlightening, conveying a profound message of faith and trust in God.
In order to fund this project, we have decided to try something new: Kickstarter. This platform allows anyone, anywhere, to participate to the best of their ability. Together, we can truly fulfill the Talmudic dictum, “Whether a lot or a little, as long as the heart is turned to our Father in Heaven."
How can you help? 
First, click on the following link to view our presentation video:

Next, click on the button that says: "Back this Project"
Pick the level of support that you feel comfortable with, knowing that every little bit helps.
Lastly, spread the word! Share this link with your friends and family.
With your support and that of your friends and loved ones, everyone will be able to enjoy and benefit from wholesome entertainment, shining the light of Rebbe Nachman throughout the world.
Thank you and Happy Chanukah!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Death of a Salesman

Likutey Moharan I, 14, sec. 12

Translated and with (tentative) commentary by Dovid Sears
Dedicated to my Yiddishist-socialist maternal grand-father, Isadore (“Zeke”) Silverman, Yitzchok ben Chaim, a”h—who nevertheless told me my first “Chassidisheh ma’asehs” about the Rebbe Reb Boruch’l and his legendary badchan, Herschel Ostropolier.

In the first part of Lesson 14, Rebbe Nachman connects prayer with universal peace, and “shalom bayis” (peace in the home) with inner peace. Then in section 12, he relates these issues to the festival of Chanukah, which we look forward to celebrating soon.

And this corresponds to the mitzvah of the Chanukah candle. The mitzvah is [ideally] fulfilled by lighting near the doorway of one’s house [Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chaim 671:5). Because the lighting of the candle is an aspect of the illumination of [God’s] glory, as in “The earth was illuminated by His glory” (Ezekiel 43:2).

Lesson 14 begins with the concept that in order to draw peace into the world it is necessary to elevate God’s glory (kavod), which is associated with the sefirah of Malkhus, to its “source,” which is yirah—fear and awe of God’s majesty. Rav Nachman of Tcherin, in his commentary Parpara’os le-Chokhmah on Likutey Moharan, explains that Yirah is related to the “gevuros” (forces of constriction) that originate in the sefirah of Binah (Understanding). Binah is also described as the paradigm of the “ohr makif,” or “encompassing light.” This too is the light of the Chanukah candles. (See Rabbi Chaim Vital in the name of the Arizal, on the kavannot related to reciting the berakhah over the Chanukah candle: Pri Eitz Chaim, Sha’ar Chanukah, chap. 4, s.v. u-tekhaven le-shem kadosh “nachal.”)

The Rebbe finds an allusion to this connection between glory and fear in the verse: “To fear the Glorious Name” (Deuteronomy 28:58). That is, when glory is elevated from its fallen state—i.e., we no longer honor and glorify unworthy people and undeserving endeavors—and becomes reunited with holy fear and awe, then it is as it should be. (Compare this idea to that of elevating the fallen “chein,” or grace, in Torah 1.)

Contemporary Breslov scholar Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Bar-Lev, in his Orach Mishor on Likutey Moharan, Vol. 2, on this lesson (sec. 1), explains the elevation of glory to yirah to mean: “One deepens the sense of God’s glory in his heart until he comes to ‘yiras ha-romemus’ (the higher degree of yirah) — one’s heart is filled with intense awe due to God’s tremendous exaltedness.”

Note: Fear and awe have different connotations than the Hebrew word “yirah,” which is the awe produced by experiencing God’s majesty and mystery, as described above. Therefore, for the rest of this essay we have left “yirah” untranslated.

The Rebbe goes on to explain that this elevation of glory to its source, yirah, is only possible through what our Sages call “Toras Chesed,” the “Torah of kindness”—when one studies in order to teach others (Sukkah 49b). This enables God’s fallen glory to ascend to its proper station.

And this is the essence of God’s glory: when those who were distant from God draw near. The Rebbe cites the Zohar (II, 69a): “When other nations come and recognize the Blessed Holy One, then God’s Name ascends and is glorified above and below…”

Yisro, Moshe Rabbeinu’s father-in-law, is the example the Zohar gives. Formerly High Priest of On and a royal minister in Pharaoh’s court, Yisro had served every form of avodah zarah and then rejected them all in order to serve the One God of Israel. When he did so, retroactively all of those erroneous beliefs were corrected. In the Zohar’s words, “The Blessed One’s Name was glorified from every side” (ibid.). “Every side” means through the entire array of the sefiros (which the Kabbalah associates with the various directions, hence the term “sides”).

The Arizal observes that there is a deep connection between Moshe Rabbeinu and Yisro, indicated by the fact that the Giving of the Torah takes place in the weekly Torah reading associated with Yisro. (They also had a connection from previous gilgulim.) The conversion of Yisro represents the transformation of “darkness to light,” and is an integral part of Moshe’s task of disseminating the knowledge of God.

Therefore, the mitzvah is to light it near the doorway of one’s house. “This is the Supernal Entrance,” which is the aspect of yirah—an expression of the Zohar, which variously asserts that yirah is the gate to wisdom, faith, and all forms of spiritual ascent (see Zohar I, 7b, 11a-b; Zohar Chadash, Ki Sisa, 75b [bottom]); that is, one returns the glory to its source, which is yirah, as stated above.

Glory is compared to light (as in Ezekiel 43:2, above), and the “Supernal Entrance,” which is yirah, is compared to the doorway of one’s home. Thus, the mitzvah of lighting the Chanukah candle or candles is a manifestation of this spiritual paradigm.

And when does this glory ascend? When we bring people to return to God, and [thus] make baaley teshuvah (penitents) and geirim (converts). For this is His main glory, as stated above—in section 2 of this lesson.

This is why the time for lighting the Chanukah candle, which is the illumination of glory, is “from the time the stars appear until the foot ceases from the market-place” (Orach Chaim 672:1).

We have translated the Shulchan Arukh’s figure of speech literally, since it will figure in Rebbe Nachman’s teaching soon. It means the time when everyone has gone home. (This used to be when it became fully dark outside, but now that we have electric lights everywhere, “the foot ceases from the market-place” a lot later—especially here in New York City, where it never seems to take the night off.) Our Sages designated this time-frame for the mitzvah in order to publicize the miracle of Chanukah, when the lights of the Menorah in the Holy Temple burned for eight days with only enough oil for one. (The number eight hints to Binah, which is the eighth sefirah in ascending order.)

“From the time the stars appear”—this alludes to “Those who bring the many to righteousness [will shine] like the stars” (Daniel 12:3). That is, they bring the many to righteousness and make baaley teshuvah and converts.

The Gemara (Bava Basra 8b) interprets this verse as variously descriptive of a judge who adjudicates according to the truth; a charity-collector who thereby facilitates the giving of tzedakah; and a teacher of children, who are thus enabled to grow up to be devout Jews. The Rebbe extends this principle to those who help others return to God.

For through this, God’s glory shines forth and returns to its source, which is yirah. As a result, one attains peace, and strife is eliminated.

And this is the meaning of “until the foot ceases from the market-place.” (The market-place is one of the haunts of the “External Forces”—i.e., the powers of evil, as stated by Rabbi Chaim Vital in the name of the Arizal (Pri Eitz Chaim, Sha’ar Chanukah, chap. 4, s.v. vi-da ki anu madlikin osah im shekiyas ha-chamah [end]). “Regel,” the “foot,” indicates “the whisperer who separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28).

Rebbe Nachman quotes this verse in section 9 of the present lesson, in a complicated drush that links the compartments (kinim) in Noah’s Ark with the bird-offerings (kinim) that purify the leper, who because has spoken lashon hara (evil speech) is “the whisperer who separates close friends”; but he is redeemed and purified by the bird-offering, which equals Noah’s Ark (teyvah), which equals the word (teyvah) of prayer. And prayer puts an end to strife and brings universal peace, which is why the Shemoneh Esreh prayer ends with the blessing for peace.  

[This denotes] those who engage in slander and strife, who go around—“meraglim,” a construct of “regel”—and speak defamatory words and slander, and who foment dispute and strife between a man and his friend and between husband and wife; as in the phrase “who does not slander—“ragal,” which has the same consonants as “regel”—with his mouth” (Psalms 15:2).

This is why it is necessary to light the Chanukah candle near the entrance—that is, to cause the glory to shine and to restore it to its source in yirah, until one attains peace and negates and puts an end to the “whisperer who separates close friends.” This is [suggested by] “until the foot ceases from the market-place”: until those who speak slander and gossip, which was ragal—a play on the words “habitual” and “foot,” which share the same consonants—on their tongues, are eradicated, and peace is increased in the world.   

And through peace, we attain prayer, by means of which we attain universal peace—peace in all the worlds.

That is, the Four Worlds of Atzilus/Emanation, Beriah/Creation, Yetzirah/Formation and Asiyah/Action. Harmony is restored on all levels.

Then, when they [i.e., “all the worlds”] attain universal peace, all business activity (masa u-matan) will be eliminated from the world. This is because all business activity in the world comes from an absence of peace; because it is impossible for the will of the seller and buyer to be the same, since one wants to sell and the other wants to buy. And if their desires were the same, no business transaction would be possible.

The Rebbe could have mentioned the desire of the seller to charge more than the buyer would like to pay (and vice-versa). But this would have only underscored the tension between the seller and buyer and the possibility of exploitation. Instead he goes straight to the discrepancy between the basic desires to sell and to buy, even if when there is no haggling over the price.

One wonders: If true peace depends on the elimination of even the opposite and complimentary desires to sell and to buy, how would people living in such an ideal world receive their sustenance? The answer is that sustenance would have to come directly from Hashem—as it did for the Generation of the Wilderness under the leadership of Moshe Rabbeinu. Or Adam and Chavah in the Garden of Eden. Or the future Messianic World. (And perhaps this is the “holy spark” that animates the socialist dream of a more equitable world.)

Thus it is that all business activity and trade proceeds only from conflict, in that there is no peace between the [two opposite] desires. This is [implicit in] “There was discord between the shepherds of Avram’s flocks and the shepherds of Lot’s flocks; and the Canaanite was then in the land” (Genesis 13:7).

Rebbe Nachman is making a homiletical connection between the mention of conflict and that of the Canaanites—which he reads as “merchants.”

“Canaan”—this is the paradigm of the merchant, as Rashi explains on the verse “As for Canaan, deceitful scales are in his hand” (Hosea 12:8). That is, due to the aspect of discord and strife, as in “There was discord…”—in consequence “the Canaanite was then in the land”; there are merchants and business activity in the world.

However, in the future [i.e., the Messianic Age], there will be wondrous peace in the world, as in “And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid goat…” (Isaiah 11:6, 9). Then business activity will cease, as it is written, “And the Canaanite will be no more” (Zechariah 14:21).

This is also the aspect of “until the foot ceases from the market-place”; that is, it is a mitzvah to light the Chanukah candle until the there is no activity in the market-place. This is the aspect of peace, which is brought about by the restoration of glory, as stated above, to the point that business activity is eliminated. This is indicated by “until the foot ceases from the market-place”—not a foot shall remain in the market-place because due to peace, all business activity will cease.

That is, the light of Chanukah, which goes hand in hand with the perfection of glory and all-encompassing peace, will shine until there is no strife. Then “the hustle to make a buck” and all the stress and exploitation and often dishonesty that goes along with it will cease, and we will receive our sustenance directly from God. May we behold this light of universal peace as we gaze at the Chanukah lights.   

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Experiencing the “World to Come” in This World

Enable us to fulfill the mitzvot of Chanukah with joy: to praise You and bless You, and to recite the full “Hallel” with fervor and delight, in holiness and purity. In Your abundant mercy, You established for us the eight days of Chanukah, so that we might praise and exalt Your great Name; days when we may experience the delight of the World to Come.

Grant us the privilege of truly fulfilling Your mitzvot, until we reach the point of constantly experiencing the delight of the World to Come by praising Your great and holy Name -- especially during the days of Chanukah, which our Sages designate as “days of thanksgiving.”[1]

Then we will come close to You in truth. We will know and perceive You, and we will praise You and bless You in truth forever, for You are entirely good! As it is written, “Praise God for He is good, for His kindness is everlasting!” [2]
(LT II, 2)

[1] Shabbat 21b; also cf. Likutey Moharan II, 2, on which this prayer is based.
[2] Psalms 100:5.

Prayer Before Lighting the Menorah

Master of the Universe! Help us in Your great mercy to fulfill the mitzvah of lighting the Chanukah candles in its proper time, in a perfect manner, in a spirit of holiness and purity, and with intense concentration. May we be privileged to perform these tikkunim, which we have mentioned before You, through the mitzvah of the Chanukah candles; and may our fulfillment of this mitzvah be considered in Your sight as if we had done so according to all of its details, fine points, and kavannot (intentions), as well as the complete structure of 613 mitzvot that depend upon it. 

May the light of the holiness of our mitzvot shine before You, throughout all the worlds! By performing this mitzvah may we perfect all of the worlds entirely, as well as through our performance of all the mitzvot, scriptural and rabbinic.

Let us perform them all in love and awe and with great joy, to the highest degree of perfection, until we succeed in eliciting peace from You and transmitting it to all of the worlds, in fulfillment of the verse, “God will give strength to His people, God will bless His people with peace.”[1]

May the One Who makes peace in His heights mercifully confer peace upon us and upon all Israel, amen! [2]
(LT I, 14)

[1] Psalms 29:11.
[2] Liturgy, Kaddish.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Rabbi Gottleib on Chanukah

We are pleased to announce that a booklet has been published presenting the thoughts of Rabbi Shlomo Aharon Halevi Gottlieb, shlit"a, one of the outstanding Breslov teachers of the generation, on Likutey Moharan II, 2 ("Yemei Chanukah"). Although Rabbi Gottlieb is American-born, he has lived in Eretz Yisrael for most of his life and the booklet is in Hebrew. For a free download, please click on the link below.

Rabbi Gottleib's father was the Sambor Rebbe of New York, zatzal, who was also a Breslover Chassid who lived on the Lower East Side of New York during his last years. 

Rabbi Gottlieb's main teachers in Breslov were Rabbi Zvi Aryeh Rosenfeld, zatzal, and subsequently Rabbi Gedalaiah Aharon Kenig, zatzal. 

חדש על המדף: קונטרס "להודות ולהלל" עיונים בתורה ב' תנינא ימי חנוכה - מהרה"ח ר' שלמה אהרן גוטליב שליט"א

להורדה לחצו על הקישור

Monday, December 7, 2015

Remazim on Chanukah

Received from our friend, Reb David Friedman

I thought of this on Shabbos. 

During Reb Nachman’s life, his Chassidim used to travel to him three times a year: Rosh Hashanah, Shabbos Chanukah and Shavuos. Today people travel to Uman on these three occasions also. This is hinted to in the following way:

It says כי נר מצוה ותורה אור ודרך חיים תוכחות מוסר (Mishlei, 6:23) -- "A mitzvah is a candle and Torah is light, and corrective rebuke is the path of life." The initial letters of נר מצוה ותורה אור ("A mitzvah is a candle and Torah is light") spell אומן ("Uman")

Rosh Hashanah is hinted to by the last letters of the phrase נר מצוה ותורה אור which are ר"ה, the first letters of   ("Rosh Hashanah") ראש השנה.

Shabbos Chanukah is hinted to by the verse itself. Rashi explains הרגיל בנר הויין ליה בנים תלמידי חכמים / One who regularly lights a candle will have sons who are Torah scholars (Shabbos 23b) by quoting כי נר מצוה ותורה אור and says that through the candles of Shabbos and Chanuka one brings the light of Torah. 

Also כ״ה כסלו (25 Kislev, which is when Chanukah begins) is numerically equal to "mitzvah"מצוה  

As for Shavuos, if you take the first letters of ודרך חיים תוכחות מוסר ("corrective rebuke is the path of life"), they are equal to חמשים יום which of course is Shavuos, the fiftieth day after we begin counting the Omer. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Rabbi Abraham Sutton - December 7


Rabbi Sutton will be speaking in the Upper West Side on December 7 at 8:00 pm at the Townhouse of David and Dina Reis.

322 West 75 St, & Riverside Dr, NYC.

Suggested Donation $10.00