Connection Between Breslov and Chabad
G-D, Baruch Hashem we have the teachings of Rabbi Nachman
and Breslov Chassidut.
G-D, Baruch Hashem we have the teachings of Chabad,
and the Lubavitcher Rebbeim.
following stories reflect historical facts on the connection
between Chabad and Breslov,
starting from Rabbi Nachman and the Alter Rebbe.
Elazar Mordechai Kenig, shlita is the leader of the Breslov Community in Tsfat, Israel.
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.
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
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.
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: www.nachalnovea.com
this website, and click LEARN, for Torah from Rav Elazar
CLICK HERE for Rav
Elazar Mordechai Kenig: On
CLICK HERE for Rav Elazar Mordechai Kenig: The
Avodah of Giving
Mordechai Kenig in Cedarhurst, NY.
Image by Zerach Seidman.
Past Meets the Present
the book, Once upon a Tzaddik, Tales of Rebbe Nachman
of Breslov. Translated from Sippurey Tzaddikim, by
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.
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.
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 ! )
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.
Reb Koenig reached the Rebbe, they both had ear to ear
smiles for each other.
was like The Alter Rebbe, and Rabbi Nachman, again meeting,
hundreds of years later !
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.)
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 !
of Rabbi Nachman
of the Baal HaTanya
story from the book, Once upon a Tzaddik, Tales of Rebbe
Nachman of Breslov.
from Sippurey Tzaddikim, by Moshe Mykoff.
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.
Mission of Peace
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.
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
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.
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.
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 !
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.
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.
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
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.
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."
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.
pay tribute to the lord of thousands !", he declared.
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.
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! "
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.
again put his hand in his pocket and then another
large coin on the table.
Nachman was still not satisfied. Again he asked sternly,
"Is that what you give to a true Talmid Chacham"
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
then was the Rebbe satisfied, and he pushed the money
in the direction of the Baal HaTanya.
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.
( 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.
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
of Baal HaTanya
of Rabbi Nachman
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.
our daily prayers, w don't ask Hashem not to test
us or send us a trial ?
then can Rebbe Nachman, the Breslover Rebbe, ask
Hashem to give him all kinds of difficult tests
Baal HaTanya's answer was short and sweet : "Yes
, but Rebbe Nachman of Breslov is a powerful and
mighty warrior !"
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.
Legal Decision in Teplik:
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.
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.
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.
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
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 ?
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.
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
of the Baal Shem Tov
Cup of Rabbi Nachman
connections between Rabbi Nachman, and the Rebbe Shneur
the book, "Until the Maschiach", the Life
of Rabbi Nachman.
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
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.
In the town of Kherson, Rabbi Nachman met several
followers of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi.
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.
the book "The Light Beyond", by Rabbi
Aryeh Kaplan, A"H. Page 18
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?"
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.
of the Rabbi Nachman
of Rabbi Nachman
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Friday 14 Av (July 23)
Rebbe Shneur Zalman settled in Liadi. He said he supported
Rabbi Nachman, in his conflict with his opponents.
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.
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.
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.
TO COME !!!