Yes to Rabbi Nachman and the Spirit of the Land
Yes to Rabbi Nachman and the Spirit of the Land

The growing and irrepressible spirit of Rabbi Nachman is undeniably felt in Israel today, making it most fitting to bring his comments on the subject of The Land of Israel, in relation to the recent Torah portion,Lech Lecha, to our attention.

This is particularly significant at this time, when unprecedented pressure is brought to bear on the Jewish People struggling to dwell in its homeland, The Land of Israel.

In the book written by Rabbi Natan, Rabbi Nachman's closest student, "The Life of Rabbi Nachman", ("Chaiyei Moharan" in Hebrew), Rabbi Nachman's words on coming to Israel, are as follows:"There are those who assume that their desire to dwell in the land, in conditions of ease without sorrow and pressures, is a genuine yearning to do so. (end of section 15). But this desire is not a genuine desire at all. He who really wants to come to the Land of Israel, should go on foot. As it is said to Avraham, 'Lech lecha", (go forth  yourself), etc. You, yourself, specifically."

A Jewish life is one of personal struggle inexorably connected to the Land of Israel. At the beginning of the section, that concept is explained: ""The main victory of the war is when one merits to come to the Land of Israel… . He who wants to be a Jew, in other words, to progress from level to level, it is possible only through The Land of Israel. When one is victorious in the war, then, one is called a warrior…".

Rabbi Natan, the author, wrote that he approached Rabbi Nachman for a clarification of his intent as to why greatness of the Land of Israel is expressed in such a way, why it is seen as the victory of "the war". "He chastised me and said "My intent is the Land of Israel as simply stated, with its edifices and homes.”

Rabbi Nachman is the quintessential Israeli. There is hardly anything more "Israeli" than the above thoughts of Rabbi Nachman .Thus an Israeli can understand and identify with chapter 40 section 2 of Rabbi Nachman's own masterpiece, The Collection of Rabbi Nachman (Likutei Moharan), where he writes: "He who knows about the Land of Israel, who has tasted the spirit of the Land of Israel, can perceive and identify in another, if that other was, on Rosh Hashanah, at a Tzaddik…" 

Rabeinu (our Rabbi Nachman) explains that the air of the land of Israel brings wisdom. " And because the eyes of G-d are upon The Land of Israel, as he looks upon the land of Israel constantly,  thus the air of the land of Israel brings wisdom…". 

"As it is written, (Deuteronmy Chapter 11) 'always are the eyes of the Lord your G-d upon it from the beginning of the year until the end of the year'." 

This is phenomena of constant Divine surveillance on the land,  and its ensuing result of wisdom in the land, Rabeinu, explains, is a result of the glorification G-d has received from his people, inasmuch as they are devoted to Him. This viewing of the land by the glorified G-d Himself, whose people are close to Him, , produces the effect of wisdom. Similarly, "…The genuine Tzaddik (holy and righteous man), who is the main causative agent in bringing the people to serve G-d…is himself the glorification that G-d has in His people that come close to him".

(And anyone who has contact with the Tzaddik, particularly on Rosh Hashanah, is granted the righteous man's eyes of glorification upon him. Then, the participant in the gathering on Rosh Hashanah, the time when the Zadik's status is glorified, is granted, when he is "eyed" by the Zadik, so to speak, a discernible quality, this spirit of wisdom of the Land of Israel.)

Rabbi Nachman himself spoke about how the Land of Israel had an effect upon him and his works. "When I wanted to go to the Land of Israel, I used to speak a certain type of Torah. Afterwards, when I started to travel there, my Torah changed, Above. When I was in the Land of Israel I spoke another Torah. When I returned, another…" (The life of Rabbi Nachaman, section 382)

Rabbi Nathan wrote, in a continuation of the same section, "The main understanding and insight of his wonderful and awesome Torah began after he was in the Land of Israel, to the point at which now he is embarrassed from his Torah works spoken before the Land of Israel. The entire book (Likutei Moharan), or almost all of it, is from his Torah after the Land of Israel, just a very little comes from before, three or four pages…"

With the above in mind, it should be obvious why Rabbi Nachman is increasingly popular in all walks of life in Israel. It is particularly notable among the youth as well as others in the areas of Judea and Samaria.  Music and dancing in places like the Tapuach Junction quickly produce a contagious enthusiasm which spreads from the Breslov Hassidim in their sound vehicle to the soldiers on duty there and residents of the area passing by .This junction, which has experienced not a small number of violent acts perpetuated against Jews, becomes engulfed in a spirit-producing atmosphere, making it unlikely that enemies will act .

When the van of Rabbi Na Nach Nachma Nachman from Uman meets up with IDF soldiers, it is not always clear who is protecting whom. It is not for nothing that one of the Israeli Army's favorite sayings over the years has been the well known one of Rabeinu, "The whole world is a narrow bridge and the main thing is not to be at all afraid."

In the diverse urban areas of Israel, Rabbi Nachman's influence is clear and growing. Rabbi Yisrael Ber Odesser, recipient of the note bearing Rabbi Nachman's signature in the syllabic form of Na Nach Nachma Nachman from Uman, had this to say more than twenty years ago. "They are, all the world, bringing themselves to Rabeinu, Rabbi Nachman. All the secular population, to Rabbi Nachman. They all love and admire him. This is well known." 

Today it is even much more reflective of the current atmosphere. In fact as the Rosh Hashanah season was approaching, one of the leading names in Sephardic pop music, Yitzhak Eshel, produced a thoroughly religious hit song entitled, "In the End Everybody will be Breslov." (scroll down in linked Hebrew article to reach music box, ed.)  Aside from the fact that the song released is indicative and part of this trend, the title of the song are  the words of Rabbi Nachman himself! "In the coming future all the world will be Breslover Chasids." (The Life of Rabbi Nachman, section 338)

Rabbi Nachman writes (Torah 71, part 2, Likutei Moharan), that there are thought processes("minds") of the Land of Israel and "minds" of "outside the Land of Israel… ". . He states: " .. The main "minds' and wisdom are in the Land of Israel. As our sages say in the Midrash. 'There is no wisdom like the wisdom of the land of Israel…'"  (Beraisht Rabah,16) 

"Everyone, in proportion to his part in the Land of Israel, derives and is nurtured from the  of the Land of Israel… Everbody receives from there...Even so, there is a 'mind' of  outside the Land of Israel. This occurs when there is a 'defect in the honor'.".G-d forbid".

He who creates a blemish in G-d's dignity, G-d forbid, he explains, is unable to receive the thinking of the Land of Israel, the lack proportional to the degree of blemish which is inflicted. What is left are the thought processes of those outside of the Land of of  Israel  Someone drawing upon this type of thinking is often trying to protect his own sense of self worth as opposed to being motivated to protect the honor of G-d.  Conversely,If everyone was totally motivated to only protect the honor of G-d, there would be no motivation for conflict. The thought processes of the Land of Israel would be paramount.

He who has inadequate respect for G-d cannot give the necessary respect to others and quarrels with them, says Rabeinu. Unfortunately the "thinking of the Land of Israel" today. is far from what it should be, in the land of Israel and elsewhere.

I would like to add a response to the article in the English edition of  Israel National News, "No to Uman", posted Elul 24, 5774 (September 19, 2014). On the surface this was solely critical of  the growing mass phenomena of visiting Rabbi Nachman's gravesite in Uman, Ukraine, especially by family men, on the holiday.

However, some of those living in the Land of Israel, felt that the criticism went deeper than that. In today's Israel, the teachings of Rabbi Nachman are widely discussed  (particularly the subject of Rabbi Nahcman's gravesite, Rosh Hashanah and their mutual  significance in the past and  present) The article seemed to be meant as criticism of Rabbi Nachman himself and the ever growing phenomena in which so many receive spiritual guidance and uplift from his leadership and teachings .

In "The Life of Rabbi Nachman",section 403, Rabeinu is quoted. "My Rosh Hashanah exceeds everything.  I found it amazing that inspite of the fact that my followers indeed believe in me, they were not all careful that they would be with me on Rosh Hashanah. No one should be missing".

In section 162 it is written, "…afterwards he revealed the ten selected Psalms of his (Tikun  Haklali -  the famous Ten Rectifications) and said that whoever "comes to my grave, gives two prutah coins for charity and says the Ten Rectifications", he will strive to do the utmost for this person.

Also in section 258 it says:"…now I know clearly that I am the single leader of the generation in the world- there is no leader like me". These and many other teachings from Rabbi Nachman, and his main disciples, are what motivates the visiting of Rabbi Nachman's grave during the Rosh Hashanah holiday.  It also motivates the many disciples who were in Jerusalem on the Rosh Hashanah holiday, who understand that the gravesite of Rabbi Yisrael Ber Odesser in Jerusalem is Rabbi Nachman's  fulfillment of his wish to be buried in Israel.

Rabbi Yisrael Ber Odesser was quoted as saying that when Rabbi Nachman is accepted by the Diaspora in the United States, the Redemption will arrive. In fact, Rabbi Yisrael traveled to meet the late Torah luminary, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, in the United States, where he was received with great honor from Rabbi Feinstein, and received a signed document from him recognizing his stature and efforts in spreading the teachings of Rabbi Nachman. But to reiterate,, this is known in Israel, and probably not in far away America.

During Rabbi Nachman's lifetime, he said, "My fire will continue to burn until the coming of the Mashiach".  Similarly, in the miraculous note sent to Rabbi Yisrael Ber Odesser in 1922 by Rabeinu, it says, "My fire will burn until the coming of the Mashiach." Rabbi Yisrael said about Rabbi Nachman's signature on the letter, Na Nach Nachma Nachman from Uman, that it is the root revelation of Rabbi Nachman and the "key to the Redemption.

The burning, spreading enthusiasm for Rabbi Nachman and the proliferation  of the name "Na Nach Nachma Nachman me (from) Uman", so much a part of Israel today, are a living  testimony of the realization of  Rabeinu's Messianic vision as expressed in his teachings and those of his students.

May we merit the Redemption speedily in our days.