Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Sefer in Preparation for Shavuos



As is well known, there is a special connection between gerim (converts) and the coming festival of Shavuos. One of the highlights of the Shavuos service is the reading of Megillas Rus, which tells the story of the legendary convert who was the ancestress of King David. 

In honor of this, we encourage you to pick up a copy of Bnei Avraham Ahuvecha: Gerim in Chassidic Thought which is full of teachings from Breslov literature on this topic. 

Copies can be ordered here on Amazon.com.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lag B'Omer - Breslov of Boro Park

There will iy"h be a seudah lechavod the 
Hilula of 
Reb Shimon Bar Yochai
On Lag baOmer, this Thursday Evening
Mincha at 7:00pm 
followed by Seudah
5504 16th Ave
Birchas Hamazon 9:30

If you wold like to be mishtatef in the cost of the Seudah:
please email:
 

Will There Be Direct Flights From Israel To Uman?

From Matzav.com:

Every year, tens of thousands of Jews traveling from Eretz Yisroel to Uman have to land at an airport in Kiev and travel to Uman by bus for several hours.
El Al director David Maimon told Interior Minister Aryeh Deri that he is negotiating with the mayor of Uman to enlarge the local airport and make it capable of accommodating the crowds that arrive for Rosh Hashanah every year.
“Landing El Al planes at Uman itself would make things much easier for masses of people,” Deri said.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Breslov Research Institute - Gala Siyum Dinner


The Breslov Research Institute is proud to announce the completion of the seven-volume translation of Reb Noson's Likutey Tefilot under the title “The Fiftieth Gate.”
 
On Tuesday, June 21 we will mark this long-awaited achievement with a Siyum Dinner at the Renaissance Hall, 5902 14th Avenue, Brooklyn (Boro Park) honoring Reb Noson and The Fiftieth Gate. If you can't make it in person, we invite you to participate via our live internet stream.
 
Only through the writings of Reb Noson do we merit to know Rebbe Nachman, whose teachings have enriched our lives. Now we have the opportunity to honor Reb Noson for his accomplishments. Likutey Tefilot is an incredible compilation of Breslov prayers that address every occasion and need. These prayers are so precious and heartfelt that Reb Noson once remarked, “Many People merited entering Gan Eden because of these prayers.”
 
At the same time, we will launch our next monumental project, Reb Noson’s Likutey Halakhot!

Click here more for information and to reserve your place.

Lag ba-Omer Customs

(c) Dovid Sears

From “Breslov Eikh she-Hu: Breslov Customs and Practices, Past and Present” compiled by Dovid Zeitlin and Dovid Sears.


Rabbi Shmuel Horowitz writes lavishly about the simchah and hisorerus experienced by those who celebrated Lag ba-Omer in Meron, particularly the Breslover Chasidim who participated in the “hillula de-RASHBI.” He writes: “What can one say? A person should yearn, long, and exert himself all of his days with mesirus nefesh to experience and participate in this. In the inner part of the tomb, people weep and do teshuvah, and their hearts are deeply aroused; even on Yom Kippur, no one ever heard of such a place of teshuvah as this! On the outside [in the courtyard and surrounding areas], rejoicing, gladness, singing, music, and dancing prevail; even at the weddings of kings, no one ever beheld or heard of such ecstasy! Ashreinu mah tov chelkeinu, that we were privileged to witness all this!”


(Rabbi Shmuel Horowitz, Yemei Shmuel, vol. I, chap. 56. For more extensive Breslov teachings and historical material on Lag ba-Omer, see Mo’adei Yisrael: Lag ba-Omer, Bnei Brak: Agudas Mayanos ha-Netzach 2003)



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On the Shabbos before Lag ba-Omer in the Breslover communities of Yerushalayim, Williamsburg, Monsey, and Borough Park, it is customary to sing “Bar Yochai,” etc., before “Ki-gavna” on Friday night. This is a widespread custom today.


(Heard from Rabbi Nachman Burshteyn and Rabbi Meir Wasilski)




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In the Tzefas community, they sing “Bar Yochai” and “Amar Rabbi Akiva” on every Friday night before “Ki-gavna.” (One can see the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai through the windows of the Breslov synagogue in Tzefas.)


(Heard from Rabbi Binyamin Rosenberg)



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This is also the custom in Meron.


(Heard from Rabbi Avraham Shimon Burshteyn)



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Tachanun is omitted on both Erev Lag ba-Omer and Lag ba-Omer, as stated in Shulchan Arukh. However, it is not our custom to omit Tachanun for the entire week of “hod,” as in some Chassidic communities.


(See Orach Chaim 493:2, with Mishnah Berurah)




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In Likutey Halakhos, Reb Noson mentions the minhag to give a child his first haircut on Lag ba-Omer.


(See Likutey Halakhos, Rosh Chodesh 3:11, 9:13; Pesach 7:24; Dam 1:12; Simanei Behemah ve-Chayah Tehorah 4:6; Hekhsher Keilim 4:4; Nezikin 3:3)



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In addition to participating in the traditional festivities, many Breslover Chassidim recite Reb Noson's prayer in honor of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai; see Likutey Tefilos II, 47.



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It is also a common practice to learn the Rebbe’s lesson “Lekhu Chazu” at the beginning of Likutey Moharan, which discusses Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and the Zohar. This lesson is usually delivered by one of the speakers at the Lag ba-Omer se’udah in the various Breslov communities. 



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The Rebbe states that shooting arrows on Lag ba-Omer is a segulah for having children.


(Sefer ha-Midos, “Banim” I, 63)



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Members of the Tzefas community visit the grave of Rabbi Shimon in Meron on Lag ba-Omer, together with the many thousands of Jews who come from far and wide in honor of the tzaddik and in order to pray for Hashem’s mercy at this auspicious time.


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Reb Avraham Sternhartz used to spend either the Shabbos before or after Lag ba-Omer in Meron.


(Heard from Rabbi Avraham Shimon Burshteyn)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New Class for Women: The Healing Dance of Body and Soul


Series: Relationships with Chaya Rivka Zwolinski
For women only.
How do the eyes, hands, heart, and other body parts reflect your spiritual anatomy?
Does good health or it’s opposite always correspond to the state of your soul?
Is there an original holistic healing modality that is rooted in Jewish mysticism, one that is relevant today?
We’ll explore the answers to these and other essential questions using the fascinating BRI book, Anatomy of the Soul by Chaim Kramer as our guide. Rebbe Nachman’s stories and other Breslov sources will also be referenced.
Most of Rebbe Nachman’s lessons include a discussion of some part of the human anatomy. His approach to our bodily forms and functions is unique in all of Judaism, yet it rests firmly on a foundation of the deepest Torah. As we discuss this intriguing topic, we’ll come to a richer understanding of why God houses our soul in this brilliantly-complex home we call “my body”, the paradoxical interplay between soul and body, and a fresh outlook on health and healing.
  • A Kabbalistic Map of the Body
  • Towards A Definition of Healing
  • Body/Soul Health vs. Body/Soul Dis-ease
  • Spiritual Power of Each Organ and Body Part
  • Digestion: Eating and Food
  • Anatomy of Anger
  • Purity vs. Toxicity
  • Joy as Medicine
And much more…

Enroll here at BreslovCampus.

Monday, May 16, 2016

“Pray for the Welfare of the Government”



From “The Breslov Pirkey Avot,” Chapter 3, Mishnah 2

רַבִּי חֲנִינָא סְגַן הַכֹּהֲנִים אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי מִתְפַּלֵּל בִּשְׁלוֹמָהּ שֶׁל מַלְכוּת, שֶׁאִלְמָלֵא מוֹרָאָהּ, אִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ חַיִּים בָּלָעוּ.

רַבִּי חֲנַנְיָא בֶּן תְּרַדְיוֹן אוֹמֵר, שְׁנַיִם שֶׁיּוֹשְׁבִין וְאֵין בֵּינֵיהֶן דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה, הֲרֵי זֶה מוֹשַׁב לֵצִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים א'), וּבְמוֹשַׁב לֵצִים לֹא יָשָׁב. אֲבָל שְׁנַיִם שֶׁיּוֹשְׁבִין וְיֵשׁ בֵּינֵיהֶם דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה, שְׁכִינָה שְׁרוּיָה בֵינֵיהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלאכי ג'), אָז נִדְבְּרוּ יִרְאֵי יְיָ אִישׁ אֶל רֵעֵהוּ וַיַּקְשֵׁב יְיָ וַיִּשְׁמָע וַיִּכָּתֵב סֵפֶר זִכָּרוֹן לְפָנָיו לְיִרְאֵי יְיָ וּלְחשְׁבֵי שְׁמוֹ.

אֵין לִי אֶלָּא שְׁנָיִם. מִנַּיִן שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ אֶחָד שֶׁיּוֹשֵׁב וְעוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה, שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא קוֹבֵעַ לוֹ שָׂכָר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (איכה ג'), יֵשֵׁב בָּדָד וְיִדֹּם כִּי נָטַל עָלָיו:

Rabbi Chaninah, the Deputy High Priest, said, “Pray for the welfare of the government, because if not for fear of the ruling authorities, people would swallow each other alive.”

Rabbi Chananyah ben Tradyon said, “When two sit together without sharing words of Torah, this is a seat of scoffers, as it is written, ‘And in a seat of scoffers he did not sit’ (Psalms 1:1). But when two sit together and speak words of Torah, the Divine Presence dwells in their midst, as it is written, ‘Then those who feared God spoke with one another, and God listened and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who revered God and meditated upon His name’ (Malachi 3:16).

“[From the above,] I may infer that this applies to two [people]. How do we know that even if one person sits and occupies himself with Torah, the Holy One, Blessed be He, sets aside a reward for that one? Because it is written, ‘Let him sit alone and keep silent, for he is repaid for it’” (Lamentations 3:28).


Digest of Commentaries:

Pray for the welfare of the government, including a non-Jewish government, for God has commanded, “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away in captivity, and pray to the Lord for it – because through its peace, you shall have peace” (Jeremiah 29:7).

If not for fear of the ruling authorities, people would swallow each other alive. This complements the teaching of the Sages, “'And You made man as the fish of the sea' (Habakkuk 1:14) – why are men likened to fish? Just as the bigger fish swallow the smaller ones, so it is among men. Those who are more powerful would destroy the weaker if not for fear of the authorities” (Avodah Zarah 4a).

When two sit together and speak words of Torah, the Divine Presence dwells in their midst, for through their study of Torah they gain a glimpse of God’s glory (Meiri).

Let him sit alone and keep silent, for he is repaid for it. God has set aside a reward for him (Rashi). Alternately: The merit of anyone who studies the Torah is so great that it is as if the Torah was given for his sake alone (Rambam; Bartenura).

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Pray for the welfare of the government

Reb Noson: Speech is intrinsically bound up with peace. Thus it is written, “For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will now say, ‘Peace be with you’” (Psalms 122:8).[i] Therefore this teaching urges us to “pray for the welfare (literally, 'peace') of the government (literally, 'kingship').” In Kabbalistic terms, this alludes to Malkhut (“Kingship”), the lowest of the Ten Sefirot, which is associated with the mouth and the faculty of speech. When there is peace, speech attains perfection (Likutey Halakhot, Reshit HaGez 1).

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If not for fear of the ruling authorities
           
Rebbe Nachman: Being the lowest in the order of the Ten Sefirot, Malkhut (“Kingship”) is the receptacle for the spiritual flow from all the other sefirot. Therefore Malkhut on the side of holiness is “the gatherer of all the tribal camps” (Numbers 10:25) – that is, the gatherer of the spiritual lights of the nine sefirot above it.

It is written, “The end of the matter, when all is considered, fear the Lord” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). This corresponds to Malkhut, as our Sages state, “If not for fear of the ruling authorities.” In other words, Malkhut is the receptacle for the spiritual lights of holiness at “the end of the matter” and “the gatherer of all the tribal camps.”

The Ten Tribes of Israel correspond to the Ten Sefirot. Malkhut corresponds to the Tribe of Dan, which is “the gatherer [i.e., the last] of all the tribal camps.” This is also suggested by the Talmudic axiom which uses a form of the word DaN: "DiNa de-malkhuta DiNa" (“The law of the kingdom is the law”) (Gittin 10b). Thus fear and awe of God is the vessel that contains and encompasses all other holy qualities.

But Malkhut of the Other Side (the realm of the unholy) is a “gatherer” too — a gatherer of money (Likutey Moharan I, 56:5).[ii]

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Lasting Impression

The following tradition has been preserved by the Breslover Chassidim:

Reb Zushe of Anipoli, a close disciple of the Maggid of Mezeritch and a legendary early Chassidic master, once explained, “How could two Jews possibly sit together without sharing words of Torah? We are forced to conclude that the place in which they found themselves had previously been ‘a seat of scoffers,’ and the negative spiritual impression that remained is what caused these two unfortunates to speak empty words” (Siach Sarfey Kodesh V, 494).




NOTES TO CHAPTER III

[i] See Likutey Moharan I, 239, where Rebbe Nachman points out that when there is a climate of strife, it is impossible for people to speak. He goes on to say that this applies even to the speech of prayer. For this reason, it is customary before each of the daily prayer services to verbally accept upon oneself the mitzvah to "love your fellow Jew as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18), in keeping with the practice of the Ari; see Rabbi Chaim Vital, Sha’ar HaKavanot, Birkhot HaShachar.
[ii] Parparaot LeChokhmah I, 56, note 10, points out that the Tribe of Dan camped on the north side of the Tabernacle; north corresponds to wealth, as in the teaching of our Sages, “Let the one who desires wealth face north” (Bava Batra 25b; also see Zohar I, 26b). This connection suggests that as the embodiment of Malkhut on the side of holiness, Dan spiritually corrects the craving for wealth that is the antithesis of holiness.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Shlissel Challah



From A Simple Jew:


There is a minhag to bake shlissel challah (shlissel means key in Yiddish) for the Shabbos after Pesach. Shlissel challos are best known as a segulah for parnasa, though there are other reasons for it, as we will soon see. Some bake the challah with an actual key inside, some make the challah in the shape of a key and some put sesame seeds on top in the form of a key. There are those who make the challah flat to look like matzos. We will discuss this later on. The Ohev Yisroel says about shlissel challah that “the minhagim of our fathers are most definitely Torah”. There are many reasons given for this minhag of baking shlissel challah; we will go through some of them. (Some of the items written below can also be found in Taamei Minhagim, Nitei Gavriel, Sefer Hatoda’a and Minhag Yisroel Torah)

First of all, the second Mishnah in Rosh Hashanah says on Pesach we are judged on the grains, parnasa. Rabbeinu Nissim asks if we are judged on Rosh Hashana then how are we judged on Pesach? He answers that on Pesach it is determined how much grain there will be in the coming year for the world, but on Rosh Hashanah it is decided how much of that grain each individual receives. The Meiri, however, says that on Rosh Hashanah it is decided if one will live or die, suffer or not and other such things, but on Pesach is when we are judged on the grains. Based on this there are customs in Sephardic communities to do things Motzei Pesach as a sign that we want Hashem to give us livelihood. In Aram Soba (Syria) and Turkey they put wheat kernels in all four corners of the house on Motzei Pesach as a sign of prosperity for the coming year. (Moed L’kol Chai -R’ Chaim Palagi, Beis Habichira). From a Mishnah we already see that there is a connection between Pesach and parnasa.

For more, see the full posting on A Simple Jew here.