Friday, December 17, 2010

Rabbi Nosson Sternhartz of Breslov (1780-1844)

The tenth of Teves is also the yahrtzeit of Reb Nosson of Breslov.

Although not the first, Reb Nosson was by far the foremost disciple of Rebbe Nachman. During the rebbe's life Reb Nosson diligently recorded his holy words, and even after Rebbe Nachman's death Reb Nosson continued to proliferate the rebbe's teachings. A prolific writer, Reb Nosson expanded upon Rebbe Nachman's lessons with volumes upon volumes of innovations in avodat HaShem culled from Likutei MoHaRan. These seforim run the entire spectrum of Torah showing how each path can be followed with the rebbe's teachings as a guide.

Reb Nosson was the ultimate student, joining the illustrious ranks of Reb Chaim Vital and Reb Chaim of Volozhin, among others. In fact, Rebbe Nachman himself is recorded saying that Reb Nosson was "his Yehoshua"; this has deeper significance, as Rebbe Nachman held himself to be a reincarnation of Moshe Rabbeinu. Reb Nosson was content to sit at his master's feet, drinking in the wisdom with an unquenchable thirst. By Rebbe Nachman's death, Reb Nosson affirmed that there would be no more rebbe henceforth in Breslov, rather everyone would be considered a student of Rebbe Nachman.

Reb Nosson struggled his entire life with adversity and people trying to stand between him and Reb Nachman. It was only with tremendous mesiras nefesh that he ever made it Rebbe Nachman's side, sometimes for extremely brief intervals. His dedication to something he believed in is an inspiration to me...

Z'chuso Yagein Aleinu

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