Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov was the great-grandson of Rebbe Yisrael, the Baal Shem Tov—Master of the Good Name— founder of the Chassidic movement. Rebbe Nachman was born in 1772 (1 Nisan 5532) in the Ukrainian town of Medzeboz. He grew to be an outstanding tzaddik (saint), Torah sage, teacher and Chassidic master. During his lifetime he attracted a devoted following of chassidim who looked to him as their prime source of spiritual guidance in their quest for God, as the 'Rebbe.’ From the autumn of 1802 until the spring of 1810 Rebbe Nachman lived in Breslov, Ukraine. He then moved to Uman where he passed away from tuberculosis six months later (18 Tishrei 5571), at the age of thirty-eight. He is buried there till today.
Rebbe Nachman was a Kabbalist and a mystic of the highest order, and yet at the same time was artlessly practical and down-to-earth. He told tales of princes and princesses, beggars and kings, demons and saints and he taught of the need to live with faith, honesty and simplicity.
When Rebbe Nachman passed away his followers saw no one to take his place. Instead of appointing a new rebbe, they continued to turn to Rebbe Nachman’s teachings for inspiration and guidance, continuing to look to him as “the Rebbe.” The Breslover Chassidim have done so ever since, studying his writings and endeavoring to follow his teachings in their day-to-day lives. In this sense Rebbe Nachman is still the leader of the Breslover Chassidim.