THE BRESLOVER CHASSIDIM
by Rabbi Shlomo Nachman © 6.14.2022

The Name:

Rebbe Nachman referred to his followers Breslover Chassidim after the town of Breslov, where he lived for most of the last eight years of his life (i.e., 1802-10). Rabbi Nachman noted that the name BReSLoV has the same letters as LeV BaSaR, meaning a "heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).

Breslov:

Rebbe Nachman had hundreds of talmidim and followers throughout Ukraine. Many of them gathered at his side for his last Rosh Hashanah.

How Brelov Chassidut Expanded:

Rebbe Nachman's talmidim and followers expanded his keruv. Especially his closest talmid (student) Reb Nosson. Reb Nosen authored and printed the Rebbe's teachings in books and pamplets, organized visits to his grave, established the annual Rosh Hashanah gathering and built a synagogue in Uman to accommodate it. Reb Nosson was a magnetic character, and it was primarily from the ranks of his students and followers that the Breslover Chassidic movement developed.

Breslov History

The Breslov movement remained centered in Uman in the late 19th and early 20th century and while it gradually grew, many remained unaware of the vast wisdom of our beloved Rebbe. As Breslover Chassidim moved to Israel and America they established synagogues and study centers and printed Rabbi Nachman's works, publishing them far and wide.

The movement continue to expand exponentially from the 1960's onwards.

Saba: Rabbi Yisroel Ber Odesser:

One of the earliest Breslov Chasidim to live in Israel was Rabbi Yisroel Ber Odesser (1898? - 1994) also known as 'the Saba' or Grandfather. Saba invested nearly 100 years of his life serving Hashem with all his might according to the teachings of Rebbe Nachman. At approximately age 24, Odesser received a letter from Rebbe Nachman who had passed away 112 years earlier. This letter known as the Petek, contained the now famous phrase Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman. Towards the end of his life Reb Odesser founded the Na Nach movement. There is much controversy amongst mainstream Breslev and other Jewish Orthodox groups regarding the reception of the Petek and the message Rabbi Yisroel Ber Odeser it contained. What is certain however is that Saba is the one who presented Rebbe Nachman to the Western World and was a major cause of the movement's blosoming in Israel.

Breslov Today:
Today as Rebbe Nachman predicted the Breslov fire continues to burn brightly throughout the world. The movement or sect is wonderfully diverse and has no official head or leadership counsel, as the Rebbe directed. There are Breslov communities, synagogues, study centers, publishing and outreach organizations scattered throughout Israel and the Diaspora. Our Beit Emunah LLC is one of the plants that bloomed from Saba and Rebbe Nachman's inspired leadership.
RABBI NACHMAN'S GRAVE
"I want to remain among you. And you should come to my grave" -- Chayey Moharan #197

"There is nothing I need to do for myself in this world at all. I came into the world only to bring Jewish souls closer to God. But I can only help someone who comes to me and tells me what he needs" -- Chayey Moharan #307

Rebbe Nachman chose as his resting place the old Jewish cemetery of Uman, Ukraine, where the martyrs of the 1768 Uman Massacre were buried.
Rebbe Nachman's Assurance:
Prior to his death, Rebbe Nachman Rebbe Nachman made a promise that no other Tzaddik in the whole of Jewish history had ever made. Taking as his witnesses Rabbi Aaron, Rav of the town of Breslov , and Reb Naftali, his second closest disciple after Reb Nosson, Rabbi Nachman said:
"Bear witness to my words. When my days are over and I leave this world, I will still intercede for anyone who comes to my grave, says these Ten Psalms and gives a penny to charity. No matter how great his sins, I will do everything in my power, spanning the length and breadth of creation , to save him and cleanse him."
A few months after Rebbe Nachman's passing, Reb Nosson led the first pilgrimage to his grave. The Rebbe's widow arranged for the construction of a small structure over the grave, which became a focal point for regular visits by Breslover Chassidim and many others for 130 years.

During the Nazi invasion of Russia in 1941 a hand grenade exploded at the gravesite, completely destroying the structure built over it. After World War II the devastated cemetery and surrounding area were designated for suburban housing. However, the plot of land containing the grave was acquired by a Breslover chassid, who designed a house with an exterior wall and window alongside the grave in order to discourage anyone from building over it later. The grave was covered by an unmarked slab and enclosed in the private yard attached to the house, which later passed into the hands of gentiles.

The Breslover Chassidim who remained in Russia after the war knew the location of the grave and continued to visit it even in the darkest periods of communist repression. From the 1960's and particularly in the late 1970's and '80's Rabbi Nachman's grave in Uman became a magnet for steadily increasing numbers of visitors from Israel, Europe, North America and other parts of the world.

After the breakup of the Soviet Union and the establishment of Ukraine as an independent republic in 1991, control of the gravesite was acquired by the Breslover Chassidim, who replaced the old house with a new Beit Midrash and facilities for the tens of thousands who visit annually and particularly for Rosh Hashanah.

Today as the War of Magog is beginning the Breslov Chassidim are still at the Rebbe's Kever (gravesite) praying for the Jewish people, the citizens of Ukrain, and the world. And we at Beit Emunah are praying for them.

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