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Rabbi Shlomo Nachman
On Chassidut

Chassidut of the Baal Shem Tov:

Chassidut (or Chassidus) is a sect of Jewish mystics that arose in Poland around 1750. These mystics were known as the baal shems or "masters of the Name [of G-d]." The sect is characterized by religious zeal and a spirit of prayer, joy, and charity.

The Baal Shem Tov (or Master of the Good Name, aka the BESHT) was born August 25, 1698 in Okopy, Ukraine. Most of what we know about him has been transmitted through discilpic legends and tales. All contain his insights but not all can be embraced as objectively accurarte. The BESHT died May 22, 1760 in Medzhybizh, Ukraine. It is said that:

"Perhaps the most common description of the Chassidic movement frames it as a kind of social upheaval. Until this time, there was a pecking order in the Jewish world: scholars on top, the simple Jew at the bottom, and the 'illiterate boor' only nominally Jewish. In the minds of many, a great soul and a great mind were practically synonymous. Then Israel ben Eliezer [an inspired leader among the baal shems who came to be known as the Baal Shem Tov or "Master of the Good Name"] arose. His insights uplifted the status of both men and women, celebrating the heartfelt earnestness of the simple Jew. Chassidut raised such Jews higher than the cold, intellectual, and often self-infatuated scholar (based on this quote). See below for more.
Modern Chassidut has no connection to the 2nd century BCE sect of the same name.

Breslov Chassidut:

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov was born April 4, 1772 in Medzhybizh, Ukraine. He died on October 16, 1810 in Uman, Ukraine.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov was a great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov. He was the founder of Breslov Chassidut. The Rebbe was among the greatest Jewish sages and reformers of all time. The great wisdom of the Baal Shem Tov's Chassidut has been reinvigorated several times by inspired tzaddikim. Among these, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov combined the esoteric secrets of Judaism with serious Torah and Talmudic scholarship. He inspired direct and intense love of the Eternal and his fellow Jews. In this work Rebbe Nachman followed in the footsteps of the Besht. Rebbe Nachman promised that his fire would continue to burn until the coming of HaMashiach and today its intensity is increasing throughout Israel and the Diaspora. His followers are known for their ecstatic dancing and religious ecstacy, piety, and knowledge. Rebbe Nachman attracted thousands of followers during his short lifetime and far more since his passing.

He taught: The Mitnagdim (opponents of Chassidut) say that the main thing is to study Torah. The Chassidim say the main thing is prayer. But I say: Pray and study and pray (Siach Sarfey Kodesh 1-87). See below for more.

Der Alte Weg Chassidut:

The Old Way" Chassidic sect was founded by Rebbe Aryel Nachman ben Chaim shlit"a, also known as the Ranbach. "Rabbi A" as his talmidim know him is also the founder of the House of Seven Beggers and the Keruv Media Network.

As for me, I am a Sephardic rabbi and a member this Chassidic community. I am the Associate Rabbi of the House of Seven Beggars. Unless otherwise noted, everything on this web site was written by me. Visit our House of Seven Beggars website. See below for more.

My Tales:

My Studies:

By Rebbe Aryel Nachman ben Chaim shlit"a:


More from other Chassids
The Baal Shem Tov, aka "the Besht," zt’l

The Baal Shem Tov (zt’l) was Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer. He was born in 1698 in Podolia. He was an inspired leader among the baal shems ("Masters of the Name") of Chassidut. In time he came to be known as the Baal Shem Tov ("Master of the Good Name") and the undisputed leader of Chassidut. All Jews owe him a debt of thanks and respect.

After the death of the Baal Shem Tov on May 22, 1760, in Medzhybizh, Ukraine, several Chassidic schools or movements emerged. Each of these had a different emphasis but all a shared the Rebbe's philosophy of reinvigorating the Jewish people.

Of Chassidut, Rabbi Mendy Hecht wrote

A. Chassidism is the Judaism-revolutionizing, Moshiach-bringing movement that swept across and overtook classical Judaism in the early-to-mid 1700s. It was founded by Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov.

B. Chassidism is to Judaism what a second kidney is to the man who only has one, or what color is to black-and-white photography—an enhancement. An improvement. A dramatic betterment of the status quo.

C. Chassidism came to Jewry when Jewry couldn’t have possibly needed it more. Like a doctor whispering a fainted man’s name in his ears, the Nation of Israel, devastated by the Cossacks and the false messianism of Shabbatai Tzvi, received a wake-up call when G-d whispered “Israel Baal Shem Tov” into its collective ear. During his lifetime, the Baal Shem Tov recorded an out-of-body experience in which he returned to Heaven to ask Moshiach when he would come. Moshiach responded: “When your wellsprings will spread out,” meaning: when your teachings change the Jewish world. Chassidism is thus a cataclysmic, cosmic development, laying the groundwork for the arrival of Moshiach itself.
       For more by Rabbi Mendy Hecht go here.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (April 4, 1772 - October 16, 1810, burial place: Uman, Ukraine) was a great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov. Rebbe Nachman was the founder of Breslov Chassidut. He was among the greatest Jewish sages and reformers of all time. I consider Rebbe Nachman to be my primary rebbe and spiritual guide.

The great wisdom of the Baal Shem Tov's Chassidut has been reinvigorated several times by inspired tzaddikim. Among these, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov combined the esoteric secrets of Judaism with serious Torah and Talmudic scholarship. He brought direct and intense love of the Eternal and his fellow Jews. In this work Rebbe Nachman followed in the footsteps of the Besht (i.e. the Baal Shem Tov). Rebbe Nachman promised that his fire would continue to burn until the coming of HaMashiach and today its intensity is increasing throughout Israel and the Diaspora. Like Hasids generally, his followers are known for their ecstatic dancing and religious ecstacy, piety, and knowledge. Rebbe Nachman attracted thousands of followers during his short lifetime and far more since his passing. He taught:

The Misnagdim (opponents of the Chassidim) say that the main thing is to study Torah.
The Chassidim say the main thing is prayer.
But I say: Pray and study and pray -- Siach Sarfey Kodesh 1-87

Today there are hundreds of Chassidic dynasties or schools with roots reaching back to the Baal Shem Tov. Each of these contributes to the spreading forth of the Wisdom of the Besht. Among these is Breslov Der Alte Weg Chassidut.

Rabbi Aryel Nachman ben Chaim

I am a talmid (student) of "the Ranbach," Rabbi Aryel Nachman ben Chaim. He is the founder of Der Alte Weg Chassidus, (which is to say, "the Old Way Chassidut of the Baal Shem Tov." "Rabbi A" is the founder of the House of Seven Beggars. It is my honor to serve as Associate Rabbi of the shul.

Like the Besht, our Rebbe offers a new opportunities to observe the old ways of our ancestors within the current realities. His classes and Shabbat services, are broadcasted live and available online (via Youtube and our Keruv Media Network). On Shabbat this is done the same way Shabbat elevators and blechs ("Shabbat ovens") are employed without breaking Shabbat. Everyhting is set up before HaShabbat and our equipment is not turned off untill after Havdala. We of the House of Seven Beggars are reaching out to those Jews who feel they have no place within the Judaism of todays for various reasons, including those who have no shul close enough to attend. Rabbi A is offering the freedom of joy expressed by the Besht, by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, and so many of the other great tzadikim. He invites everyone to the House of Seven Beggars' Table of Joy.

Join us.

Rabbi Yisroel Ber Odesser

Rabbi Yisroel Ber Odesser (1888-October 23, 1994), also known as the Saba or "Grandfather" by the "Na Nachs" (i.e. his disciples), was always a controversial figure. "Nanachs" believe that Rebbe Nachman of Breslov revealed "his true and hidden name" (or identity) to Saba through a miraculous document known as the Petek. That name is Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman. The joyous reptition of this name is regarded as "the Song of Universal Redemption" based on Saba's teachings/claims, the individual studies of his claims in the writings of Rebbe Nachman, Talmud, etc., and the personal experiences of the "the Nanach's" who follow this practice. I discuss the Petek and the Song of Redemption HERE.

Nanachs are quite controversial! There are good reason for this! The stress they place on Saba and the Nanach recitation leads many Nanachs to be overly critical of non-Nanachs, especially rabbis who reject the Petech. To many non-Nanachs, Nanachs appears to engage rabbi worship of Saba and baseless superstitions. They frequently write the Song of Redemption as grafeti in very inapropriate places. While most people who see the Nanachs dancing and singing in the streets immediately experience joy, many of the more staid rabbis view it as a mockery of our holy religion -- not unlike the Mitnagdim veiwed Chassids!

My opinion: While I have a few Nanach friends, have examined their claims, studied several of their books, love their music, and do incorporate the Song of Redemption into my personal practice, I am not directly involved with either of the two established Nanach communities (neither the Jerusalem nor the Uman group). I believe the Petek was miraculously delivered to Saba in 1922 as he claimed. All theories to the contrary seem far less credible to me given the known facts and the power of the Nanach recitation. I believe the Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman name/song was revealed to Saba by Rebbe Nachman in part, at least, in fulfillment of his promise that, "My fire will burn until the coming of Mashiach." I also believe that being normal zealous human bings, some of his followers go too far in their views. It is said among the Breslovers:

These tzadikim explained that before the coming of the Messiah, there will be revealed a song that is Single, Doubled, Tripled, and Quadrupled, and that through this Song the true faith and belief in God will be restored in the world as God will renew the world in His wondrous ways. All of this will occur before the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah himself will sing this song and redeem the Jewish People and bring the Knowledge of God, peace, and compassion to the whole world.

Is this Song what our Breslov sages was foretelling? I can't say. I will say however that there is experiential power in this name and that its recitation does draw one into a more present spiritual consciousness. I will also say that the propagation of the Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman recitation has drawn many more people, Jews and non-Jews alike, to Rebbe Nachman's wisdom than all other Breslov methods. Because of Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman Rebbe Nachman of Breslov is finally coming to be known in the West. THIS is a wonderful result of Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman whatever else one may choose to say.

Please note that AllFaith.com is completely independent. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of anyone else. Judaism is very diverse. Please refrain from making assumptions about me or my beliefs. Get to know me and see what I do and believe. If you have any questions, comments, or corrections drop me a line or use my AllFaith.com Facebook Wall.

As always your questions, comments, and corrections are sincerely invited.

Shlomo's Live and Recorded Classes:

Chassidic Resources


Azamra Breslov Music


Non-profit books of Rebbe Nachman

Other Good Sites:

House of Seven Beggars
The Breslov Research Institute.
Azamra
Chut Shel Chessed
Nanach.org
AllFaith.com Jewish Resources

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