9 Cheshvan 5781 / Tuesday, October 27, 2020 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
 
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HomeBreslevUmanThe Master of Prayer - Why Uman?
 
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The Master of Prayer - Why Uman?    

The Master of Prayer - Why Uman?



To understand why we travel to Rebbe Nachman’s holy gravesite in Uman every year, we must first examine the Rebbe’s classic tale, “The Master of Prayer”.

 



Translated by Rabbi Lazer Brody
 
 
The Master of Prayer, part 1
 
Rebbe Nachman of Breslev had a very special way of conveying his loftiest spiritual messages. He would tell a seemingly innocent parable, and within that parable would lie the deepest secrets of Jewish esoteric thought. I'd like to share with you a taste of the message that Rebbe Nachman conveys within his classic parable, "The Master of Prayer."
 
Once there was a Master of Prayer, who always devoted himself to prayer, songs and praises to the Holy One, Blessed be He. He dwelled outside of town, but he often entered into the town. He'd especially speak to people with troubles, such as poor people, unhappy or sick people and the like. He would speak to them gently and lovingly, from heart to heart, about the purpose of life. He'd tell them that only true purpose is to serve Hashem all the days of one's life, to spend one's days praying to Hashem, and in singing songs and praises. The Master of Prayer would arouse others with his sweet words that coated their hearts like honey.
 
Soon, the person would desire to join the Master of Prayer; together, they'd go to a special location outside of town. There, a river flowed, and there were also fruit trees. They would eat the fruits and enjoy the surroundings, singing praises to Hashem. Soon, the person that joined the Master of Prayer would himself return to town and draw others into the service of the Holy One, Blessed be He. The new followers would in turn go in the same way to the Master of Prayer's wonderful haven outside of town to devote themselves to prayers, songs and praises to the Holy One, Blessed be He. They'd also confess their sins and repent, until their souls felt as pure as newborn babies.
 
And so the Master of Prayer would continually draw people near, and take them outside of their towns and teach them the sweet ways of prayer, until his actions made an impression on the whole world.
 
The Master of Prayer had a special ability to give every individual what he specifically needed. If he understood that one of his people, according to his level in serving Hashem, needed to be dressed in clothing of gold, he would give it to him. And also the opposite - sometimes a rich man would join with him, and he would take him out of the settlement, and he would see that this person needs to go about in torn and ragged clothing, and he would have him go accordingly. Each one according to his need, he would provide him. And for these people, who he drew close to Hashem, an hour of prayer was more precious than all the delights in the world.
 
* * *
 
The Master of Prayer is an autobiographical allegory about Rebbe Nachman of Breslev. Rebbe Nachman teaches us that our main purpose on this earth is to get to know Hashem. How do we do that? By prayer. Prayer is the medium by which we communicate with Hashem. In any interpersonal relationship, we clearly understand that the better the communication, the better the relationship. Therefore, we can't get to know Hashem until we pray to Him from the heart, the more the better.
 
Rebbe Nachman teaches that since prayer is the key to understanding our existence on this material earth, it's also the key to the full redemption of our people. Rebbe Nachman explains in Likutei Moharan (I:2) that prayer is the weapon that Moshiach will use to win all his wars. So, by prayer, we merit the Geula, the full redemption of our people. Maybe you're saying to yourself, “Who has patience to wait for the Geula? Moshiach seems so elusive!” Know one thing – that if you make prayer an integral part of your life, then you'll surely merit your own private redemption. In other words, you'll leave the spiritual and emotional confines of your personal Diaspora, having your soul incarcerated in the spiritual prison that this world can often be.
 
Not only that – when a person redeems himself/herself, he or she hastens the redemption of the entire Jewish people.
 
What does all this have to do with Uman? Uman is a special gate of prayer that was designated from the dawn of creation, where the Master of Prayer prepares his followers not only for their personal redemption, but for Moshiach and the national redemption as well.
 
To be continued.
 
 
 




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