11 Kislev 5781 / Friday, November 27, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Rebbe Natan's Wisdom    

Rebbe Natan's Wisdom

The fast of 10 Teveth also marks the anniversary of Rebbe Natan's departure from the physical world. Thanks to him, we have the legacy of Rebbe Nachman's teachings...


The Tenth of Teveth is a very special date on the Hebrew calendar. Not only is it a public fast day, but it also marks the anniversary of Rebbe Natan's departure from the physical world. Thanks to Rebbe Natan, we have the rich legacy of Rebbe Nachman's teachings. In fact, Rebbe Nachman himself once said, “Were it not for Natan, there wouldn't be a single sheet of my teachings!”
Rebbe Natan personifies the lofty element of bitul larabo, one's total self-nullification to one's rabbi, teacher and spiritual guide. Even though Rebbe Natan had a prodigious IQ and a magnificent talent for learning Torah, as proven by his total mastery of Talmud and religious law by age 22, he cast aside his own logic and intellect in favor Rebbe Nachman's way of thinking. Rebbe Natan's total internalization of Rebbe Nachman's teachings enabled him not only to think like his beloved and exalted teacher, but to author an entire compendium of nuances, elaborations, and esoteric commentary on The Shulchan Aruch Code of Jewish Law, known as Likutei Halachot.

Each minute of Rebbe Natan's life was a priceless pearl that he guarded carefully. No wonder he accomplished so much in his lifetime of 65 years.

Image: A quiet place on the bank of the Bugg River near Breslev where Rebbe Natan used to do his personal prayer. Image courtesy of Emuna Outreach.

Alim LeTrufa (Healing Leaves, abridged English edition) is a collection of Rebbe Natan's letters, most of which he wrote to his son, Reb Yitzchak. These letters are a source of inspiration and encouragement that defies any price tag. No matter where you open the book, you can find practical advice to help you get through the day a little bit easier. Rebbe Natan, the understudy and prime disciple of one of Judaism's great doctors of the soul, always seems to have the right words to encourage us. He is the master of hitchazkut, the art of  spiritually and emotionally strengthening oneself against all odds.
As a loving memorial to Rebbe Natan, of saintly and blessed memory, here are a few morsels of his advice, ever so relevant to the challenges of contemporary times:
Emuna: “Know, my children, and remember well – the only reason a person comes to this world is to learn emuna and to believe in Hashem.”
Desire: “Yearn with all your heart for Hashem, for your desire to serve Hashem is ever so precious to Hashem.”
Everyday experiences: “Pay attention to everything that happens in your life, for everyday experiences are all agents to help us cling to Hashem.”
Tenacity: “Who knows how difficult the challenges will be in the coming times; therefore, you must be very tenacious in your service of Hashem, and never surrender. No matter how little you learn or pray, don't give up an inch!”
Sorrow: “The Evil Inclination is always ready to provide you with many reasons for sorrow and sadness. Be strong and courageous, and don't follow this path.”
Happiness: “The greatest daily source of happiness is the wealth of your good points; look at all the wonderful things you did today: you prayed, you put on tefillin, you said blessings – each is an asset for posterity. Whatever you do, don't forget Hashem's loving kindness and you'll always be happy.
Proper prayer: “Thank Hashem for the past and plead for the future.”
Truth: “There's only one truth and it cannot be altered. We [the disciples of Rebbe Nachman] must thank Hashem for the privilege of being exposed to the truth more than the rest of the world.”
Utilizing Time: “Imagine that you were just born, and you have no idea what's in the past or what's in the future. Rejoice in the moment at hand. Grab what you can right now and don't waste a moment.”
The Triple Winner: “A hero is he who overcomes his evil inclination; a wise man is he who foresees the impact of whatever he does, and a rich man is he who is happy with his lot in life. Strive to be all three.”
Difficult Times: “Even when a person feels that life is so difficult that Hashem has apparently forsaken him altogether, Heaven forbid, he should look for that tiny ray of hope, the opening within the darkness, for this is Hashem's illumination to him.”
Obstacles: “There's no obstacle in the world that a person can't overcome. The purpose of obstacles is to fuel our desire.”
Tribulations: “Hashem doesn't send a person tribulations that he is incapable of coping with.”
Prayers: “No single word of prayer ever goes to waste.”

For me personally, Rebbe Natan has always been my role model. With Hashem's loving grace, may our attempts to live by, spread and implement his advice be an eternal memorial and ner tamid for his sacred memory. Thank You, Hashem, for giving us a Rebbe Natan of Breslev.

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  2 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  thank you...
Michelle12/31/2014 8:21:49 PM
  a beautiful tribute
yehudit levy1/1/2012 9:29:18 PM

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