The Israel Post company has issued a new stamp marking 200 years since the death of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, whose philosophy of uniting faith and joy is practiced by tens of thousands of Jews worldwide.
Among his sayings are, “It is in our interest to see everything as being for the best,” “It is a great mitzvah to always be happy” and "There is no despair at all in the world.”
His teachings of expressing happiness as a matter of faith helped Jews cope with difficulties during a period when many were downtrodden and poor. Rav Nachman, as he is known to his followers, expressed a special love for the Land of Israel and the Jewish People, whom he encouraged to discover the “song of life.”
He died at the age of 39 in 1810. The new stamp is based on a painting by Breslov Rabbi Yisrael Yitzchak Bezanson, who recreated a 1922 photograph of Breslov Hassidim at the grave of Rav Nachman.
His followers have gathered at Rav Nachman’s grave in Uman, Ukraine every year, except for the years when the custom was interrupted during the Communist regime.
More than 20,000 pilgrims visit the site every year and also celebrate the Rosh HaShanah New Year holiday in Uman. Rav Nachman promised, "My light will burn until the coming of the Messiah.”
The old Breslov synagogue in Uman appears to the right of the stamp in the background of the painting. The Communist regime confiscated the property and used it as a factory, and Breslov followers so far have failed to redeem the structure and restore it as a place of worship.