The Connection Between Breslov and Chabad

Thank G-D, Baruch Hashem we have the teachings of Rabbi Nachman and Breslov Chassidut.

Thank G-D, Baruch Hashem we have the teachings of Chabad, and the Lubavitcher Rebbeim.

The following stories reflect historical facts on the connection between Chabad and Breslov,
starting from Rabbi Nachman and the Alter Rebbe.

Rav Elazar Mordechai Kenig, shlita is the leader of the Breslov Community in Tsfat, Israel.

An alumnus of Jerusalem's Mir Yeshiva, Rav Kenig studied Kabbalah with his father, Rav Gedaliah Kenig, zt'l, as well as several leading Sephardic masters, including Rav Mordechai Sharabi, zt'l.

He was chosen by his father to complete the task of rebuilding the Torah community in Tsfat. Today he oversees Nachal Novea Mekor Chochma Institutions, including Kiryat Breslov (a religious housing complex), a Kollel, the Magen Avos Yeshiva, the historic Trisk Synagogue in the Old City, and the new five story Torah Center, which houses a modern mikveh complex, yeshiva, and the magnificent Great Synagogue.

Rav Kenig also sponsors the Breslov Rosh HaShanah gathering in Meron for those unable to travel to Uman. Soon after Rosh HaShanah 5758 (1997), he established the Breslov Center for Spirituality and Inner Growth, in order to make Rebbe Nachman's teachings more accessible to spiritual seekers in America.

His teachings and influence extend well beyond Tsfat, inspiring many people from all walks of life around the world who seek his advice and blessings.

CLICK HERE for the complete picture:

Visit this website, and click LEARN, for Torah from Rav Elazar Mordechai Kenig.

CLICK HERE for Rav Elazar Mordechai Kenig: On Ratzon
CLICK HERE for Rav Elazar Mordechai Kenig: The Avodah of Giving

Elazar Mordechai Kenig in Cedarhurst, NY.
Nov.19, 2007.
Image by Zerach Seidman.

The Past Meets the Present

Story 1

From the book, Once upon a Tzaddik, Tales of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. Translated from Sippurey Tzaddikim, by Moshe Mykoff.

Rabbi Elazar Mordechai Koenig is presetly the leader of Breslov in Sfat, Israel. Reb Koenigs father was the famous Tzadik, Rav Gedelia Koenig, whom everyone knew, and had the true utmost respect for.

When Reb Elazar visited New York in the early 90's, one stop was a public dinner with Rabbi Meir Abehsera, whom I was very close to.

We had an amazing evening. The Rav spoke for about 90 minutes total. I felt that Reb Koening was the closest man I've ever seen to match Rabbi Nachman. His has very very special presence, has a wealth of Torah, and has the sweetest demeanor of any human being I've ever met. We asked him if he wanted to visit the Lubavither Rebbe for Shavous,and he said yes. We all enjoyed Rav Koenig, The Rebbe, and the complete Yom Tov experience.The Yom Tov culminated with the Rebbe's Fabregin.

( A gathering of The Rebbe, and the community, where Torah, and singing occur.)

We secured a seat for Reb Koenig in the front, close to the Rebbe.

( This feat of finding a place for Reb Koenig, was itself simply very very out of the ordinary ! )

At the end of the Fabregin, The Rebbe pours out wine to at least 10,000 people for the next 4-5 hours, where each one has 2-3 personal seconds with the Rebbe.

When Reb Koenig reached the Rebbe, they both had ear to ear smiles for each other.

It was like The Alter Rebbe, and Rabbi Nachman, again meeting, hundreds of years later !

The Rebbe told Reb Koenig in Yiddish, "You should make many live Chassidim !" The Rebbe blessed Reb Koenig in all his endevours.

(Over history, some have called Breslov followers the "Dead Chassidim", since they follow a Rebbe not currently alive.)

When we asked Reb Koenig what he thought of the Rebbe, and the Fabregin, (which housed easily 10 ,000 people in one room), Reb Koenig replied, "When I heard the Rebbe giving over Torah, I felt I was on standing on Mt Sinai receiving the Torah !

Manuscript of Rabbi Nachman
Manuscript of the Baal HaTanya

Story 2

A story from the book, Once upon a Tzaddik, Tales of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.
Translated from Sippurey Tzaddikim, by Moshe Mykoff.

The Baal Hatanya:

Rebbe Shneur Zalman, the founding leader of the Chabad Chassidim, was better known as the The Baal Hatanya, after his major work, the Book of Tanya. he was also called "The Rav," because of his brilliant mind and great knowledge of Jewish law.

A Mission of Peace

Rebbe Nachman returned from his journey to Eretz Yisroel during the summer of 5559 (1799). Even before going to his own home in Medvedevka, the Rebbe travelled on to Lionza in White Russia. The Rebbe made this trip of about 400 and fifty miles, a further eight days of travelling, in order to see Rebbe Shneur Zalman.

Rebbe Nachman reached Lionza during the week of Shabbat Chazon, the Shabbat right before the fast of Tisha B'av. When the inhabitants of Lionza learned of the Rebbe's arrival, they came out to greet him dressed in their Shabbat clothing. The Rav himself joined in the warm welcome and invited the Rebbe into his home.

At the reception which had been prepared in the Rebbe's honor, the two Tzaddikim spent a long time discussing matters and enjoying each other's company. After this the Rav asked Rebbe Nachman to give a Torah lesson, but the rebbe refused.

Rebbe Shneur Zalman tried his best to convince the Rebbe, but all his requests were rebuffed. For reasons known only to him, the Rebbe, who normally was never stubborn about anything, would not change his mind.

Seeing that he was getting nowhere,Rebbe Shneur Zalman stopped pressing the Rebbe and instead began giving a Torah lesson of his own. With great emotion and enthusiasm, the Rav spoke for six hours straight !


The issue which prompted Rebbe Nachman to visit the Baal Hatanya was an argument among the Tzaddikim regarding money donated to the poor of Ertez Yisrael. The dispute had become so serious that the charity monies were not being sent. After having been in Ertez Yisrael and talked to the Tzaddikim there, the Rebbe now wanted to make peace between them and the Baal Hatanya.

Due to his efforts, an agreement was eventually reached and the sending of tzedakah to Ertez Yisrael was resumed. The Rebbe's devotion to the poor had paid off.


Rebbe Nachman's visit to Rebbe Shneur Zalman served to strenghten the already existing ties between them. And during one of their conversations, the Rebbe hinted to the Baal Hatanya that some day they would be related through marriage.

Many years passed before this actually materialized. After her first husband passed away, the Rebbe's daughter Chaya married Reb Aharon, the Rabbi of Kremenchuk and the grandson of the Baal Hatanya.

Because of the warm friendship between Rebbe Nachman and Rebbe Shneur Zalman, the Baal Hatanya decided to pay a return visit to the Rebbe. But, it was a long time before he was able to carry out his plan. During that time, each of the these Tzaddikim would see his influence and following increase many times over, and suffer great controversy and opposition because of it.


The Lord of Thousands and "Feter Buruch."

Travelling on in the direction of Tulchin, Rebbe Shneur Zalman next stopped in Breslov. He was very pleased to finally have the opportunity to repay Rabbi Nachman for his visit. The Baal Hatanya was overjoyed when he arrived at the Rebbe's house. After the two Tzaddikim had warmly greeted each other, Rebbe
Nachman called for all his Chassidim to come honor their distinguished guest.

"Come pay tribute to the lord of thousands !", he declared.

The entire town had come to greet the Baal Hatanya. In no time at all, a huge welcoming precession was organized in honor of the great Tzaddik. Rebbe Nachman and the Baal HaTanya spent many hours alone together, discussing Torah insights and the important issues then affecting the Jewish people.

It is told that while the two Tzaddikim were talking, the wealthy Moshe Khinkes, a follower of the Rebbe, entered the room. When the Rebbe noticed him standing there, he said, "Moshe, give charity to a true Talmid Chacham! "

Moshe quickly put his hand in his pocket and took out a large coin, which he then put on the table where the Rebbe, and the Baal Hatanya were sitting.

" Is that what you give to a true Talmid Chacham ?", the Rebbe asked sharply.

Moshe again put his hand in his pocket and then another large coin on the table.

Rabbi Nachman was still not satisfied. Again he asked sternly, "Is that what you give to a true Talmid Chacham" ?

The sequence was repeated again and again, with Moshe adding another large coin each time. Before long there were ten large coins sitting on the table - a huge sum, indeed.

Only then was the Rebbe satisfied, and he pushed the money in the direction of the Baal HaTanya.

During his stay in Breslov, Rebbe Shneur Zalman mentioned he was on his way to Tulchin, to meet Rebbe Boruch and hopefully mend their relationship. He asked Rebbe Nachman what he thought about this. The Rebbe knew his uncle Rebbe Boruch very well. He also knew that it was not going to be possible for Rebbe Rebbe Shneur Zalman to accomplish his mission.

"Feterburgh ( Peterburg, where the Rav has been in jail) you managed to get through in peace. But my Feter Buruch (uncle Boruch) wont be so easy!" the Rebbe said jokingly.

And this is exactly what happened. The disagreement between Rebbe Shneur Zalman and Rebbe Boruch of Medzeboz could not be settled. Indeed, after Rebbe Shneur Zalman's visit to Tulchin the strife between them only got worse.

Kipa of Baal HaTanya
Kipa of Rabbi Nachman

Story 3

A Mighty Warrior

Once the Chassidim of the Baal HaTanya has a chance to ask their Rebbe about something which amazed them and which they could not at all understand.

"In our daily prayers, w don't ask Hashem not to test us or send us a trial ?

How then can Rebbe Nachman, the Breslover Rebbe, ask Hashem to give him all kinds of difficult tests ?!"

The Baal HaTanya's answer was short and sweet : "Yes , but Rebbe Nachman of Breslov is a powerful and mighty warrior !"

During the period of great opposite to the rebbe and his teachings, Rebbe Shneur Zalman joined with Rebbe Buruch of Medzeboz and Rebbe Levi Yitzhok of Berdichev in supporting the Rebbe.

A Legal Decision in Teplik:

In the same year that Rabbi Nachman visited Lionza, 5559 (1799),the Baal Hatanya was arrested because he worked to publicize the Chassidic movement and attract others to the Baal Shem Tov's teachings. He was released on the 19th of Kislev, a day which has been commemorated by his followers, the Chabad Chassidim, ever since.

A few years later, Rebbe Shneur Zalman was again arrested. Once more he was able to prove the charges against him were unfounded, that the Chassidic teachings were not in any way against the government. As soon as he was released from prison in Peterburg, the Rav decided to visit Rebbe Baruch of Medzeboz who was then living in Tulchin. Now that he had succeeded in solving his problems with the authorities, the Rav wanted to improve his relationship with Rebbe Baruch, with whom he had a long standing disagreement.

On his way to Tulchin the Rav stopped off in Teplik. When he got there, the whole town was talking about a tragic case of a woman whose husband has disappeared. No one knew if he was still alive or not, and this made it impossible for his wife to remarry. The woman has turned to the Rabbinical court to help her out of this terrible situation.

At that time there were two Rabbi's who were in charge of the Chassidic Rabbinical court. One of these Rabbis was Rabbi Nachman's follower, Reb Mordechai the Dayan, who was known for his outstanding scholorship and righteousness.

After the two Rabbis weighed all the factors in this very difficult and involved case, they each came to a different conclusion. Each had his own set of proofs and reasoning for his point of view. What were they going to do ?

Then they remembered that a Tzaddik had come to town.The Rav, who was reconized as a true genius and accepted leading expert in Jewish law, would be able to help them with their dilemma. The two Rabbis agreed to present their decisions to him and hear what the Rav had to say.

After hearing the two Rabbis explain their opinions and present their proofs from the Gemara and Jewish law, the Rav said that he favored Reb Mordechai's position, He was especially impressed with Reb Mordechai's sharpness and his deep understanding of the very subtle issues involved

House of the Baal Shem Tov
Kiddish Cup of Rabbi Nachman

Story 4

The connections between Rabbi Nachman, and the Rebbe Shneur Zalman

From the book, "Until the Maschiach", the Life of Rabbi Nachman.

Page 4.
Adar 5537, Feb 1777.
A Large group of Chassidic leaders set out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. They included Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, Rabbi Avraham Kalisker, rabbi Yaacov Shimshon of Shepetevka, and Rabbi Shneur Zalman, author The Tanya and founder of Chabad Chassidus. They all passed through Medzeboz to pay respects to Rebbe Baruch.It is most probable thet Rabbi Nachman, who was then about 5 years old, saw then at this time.

Page 11
Rabbi Yekusiel, the Maggid of Terhovitza, became one of Rabbi Nachman's most prominent disiples. Rabbi Yekusiel was an older man and a leader in his own right, being a Magid over eightyfour communities in the area. When Rabbi Nachman moved to Ossatin, he found himself in the Magid's territory, and the Magid therefor heard of him. Rabbi Yekusiel had been one of the great disciples of the Magid of Mezritch. He was also a close friend of Rabbi Nochum of Tchernoble. Rebbe Shneur Zalman (author of the Tanya)recieved a Haskama from him for his Sidur.

Page 29
In the town of Kherson, Rabbi Nachman met several followers of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi.

Page 31
At this time there was a fierce controversy between the followers of Rabbi Shneur Zalman and those of Rabbi Avraham Kalisker. When Tanya was published, Rabbi Avraham Kalisker wrote a very strong letter to Rabbi Shneur Zalman regarding this.



From the book "The Light Beyond", by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, A"H. Page 18

For twenty years, Rebbe Shneur Zalman worked on his greatest book, which was to be known as Lekutei Amarim ( An Anthology of Sayings), or simply known as Tanya ( It is Taught), after its first word. First published in 1796, it made a profound impression on the Hassidic world. All the reaction was not favorable, however. Rabbi Avraham Kalisker, who had become the leader of the Holy Land community after Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsks' death ,had serious misgivings about the new work. He wrote a letter to Rebbe Shneur Zalman, saying, "You have combined the teachings of our master The Maggid with those of the ARI- but who knows if you have done so correctly?"

Forgetting the young man whom he left behind twenty years earlier had grown into the leader of tens of thousands, Rabbi Avraham suggested that the copies of Tanya be gathered up & buried. Aggravated by followers of both sides, a major dispute ensued, and Rebbe Shneur Zalman, who had been largely responsible for supporting the Holy Land community, threatened to cut off funds. The controversy threatened to split the entire Hassidic world, and it was only through the efforts of such individuals as Rabbi Yitzchok of Berdichev and Rabbi Nachman of Breslov that the breach was avoided.

House of the Rabbi Nachman
House of Rabbi Nachman

Page 31
Istanbul 1778
Rabbi Nachman arrived in Istanbul, Turkey. The Rebbe then met several emissaries from the Holy Land.They thought he was going to foment controversy with Rabbi Kalisker, ( these emissaries were followers of Rabbi Kalisker.) Rabbi Nachman resolved to hide is identity from these two emissaries. No matter how hard they tried, the Rebbe used great wisdom in answering their questions.

Page 41
Rabbi Nachman arrived in Israel, Tuesday, 29 Tishrei; Oct 9. That day Rabbi Nachman met for the first time Rabbi Avraham Kalisker, head of the Chassidim in Israel.

Oct 10-14 :Rabbi Avraham Kalisker invited Rabbi Nachman for Shabbos. Rabbi Nachman asked Rabbi Avraham Kalisker to bless him, but he declined. Rabbi Avraham visited Rabbi Nachman, and they spoke for a long time. It is possible that they then discussed the dispute. Rabbi Nachman promised Rabbi Avraham that,upon his return to Europe, he would go to Rebbe Shneur Zalman to try and make peace between them.

Page 53
Wednesday, 23 Sivan (June 26)
Rabbi Nachman returned home to Medvedevka ( the distance from Shpola to Medvedevka was 44 miles (70 km), a days journey. When he arrived home, he did not even stop at his house, but immediately went to see Rebbe Shneur Zalman as he had promised Rabbi Avraham Kalisker.

Thurs, Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, ( July 4).
Rabbi Nachman came to Lionza, where Rebbe Shneur Zalman lived until his move to Liadi in 5561. From Medvedevka to Lionza was some 450 miles, a journey of some 8 days ! They spoke together about the community in Israel. In particular, they discussed the controversy involving the distribution of funds, and the Rebbe tried to calm the situation.

But in the end, it did not help.It was requested that Rabbi Nachman give a lesson, but he refused. Rebbe Shneur Zalman then spoke for eight hours.

From the book "Tzaddik", Chayey Moharan. The Life of Rabbi Nachman. Page 21 Immediately after arriving from Israel he travelled to Liadi to visit Rebbe Shneur Zalman, and he had lenghty discussions with him about the settlemants in Israel. When Rabbi Nachman was there they had given him a very warm reception and encouraged him to stay with him.

Page 66.
Friday 14 Av (July 23)
Rebbe Shneur Zalman settled in Liadi. He said he supported Rabbi Nachman, in his conflict with his opponents.

Page 81.
Sunday, 22 Elul, 1st Selichos.Sept 19.
Rabbi Nachman told his main student Rabbi Nathan and others three stories, about Rabbi Mordechai of Neskhiz, Rebbe Shneur Zalman, and Rabbi Michel of Zlothov, in which he illustrated the proper relationship between Chassidim and their Rebbe.

Page 178.
Shabbos, 15 Shevat.Shabbos Shira,( Jan 20)
On Friday night Rabbi Nachman has a discussion about the money being sent to Israel.At this time Rebbe Shneur Zalman was forced to change his procedure for sending the money as a result of the death of Berdichover. Rabbi Nachman then said Lekutai Moharan 2, 71 which discussed the roots of the conflict.he said its source was from outside the land of Israel, unlike Rebbe Shneur Zalman who said ( in the name of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk) that its roots were in the land of Israel.

Shabbos, 22 Shevat, Yisro reading ( Jan 27).
Rebbe Shneur Zalman visited Bresov, (as above story). That Friday night Rabbi Nachman did not give a lesson.On Shabbos morning, after Benching, Rabbi Nachman said Lekutai Moharan 2, 72. This lesson speaks of the "lord of thousands," the title by which the Rebbe called Rebbe Shneur Zalman.

From the book Tzaddik, Chayey Moharan. The Life of Rabbi Nachman. Page 172
Reb Nason writes...When we finished the Shabbat morning meal, having concluding benching, we were about to get up and leave the table. The Rebbe, however remained sitting in his place, and we too carried on sitting there with him, as did the visiting Tzaddik. Then Rabbi Nachman said, "Just to see a Tzaddik even if one does not hear him teach Torah is also very good. This is the way to greatness.