Translated by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
"Deep waters are the words of the mouth of a man, a flowing stream, the source of wisdom" (Proverbs 18:4) .
The initial letters of the last four Hebrew words in the verse, N achal N ove'a M ekor Ch ochmah , "a flowing stream, source of wisdom" - form an acrostic of the name NaChMaN .
Amidst the confusing choices, contradictions and extremes confronting us on every side in today's world, never has the "flowing stream, the source of wisdom" - Rabbi Nachman's voice of honest truth, sanity, kindness and sound guidance for life - been more essential and necessary for each one of us and for the entire world!
THE ESSENTIAL RABBI NACHMAN is a rich treasury of his inspiring sayings and profound teachings on all aspects of life with a wide selection of his artlessly beautiful, witty and profoundly deep tales and parables. These are among the most priceless jewels of the Jewish heritage and have universal application to people of all backgrounds and beliefs. The selections included here have been newly translated from the original sources into the simplest possible language of today in order for Rabbi Nachman to speak to each one of us softly, clearly and directly, heart to heart.
Rabbi Nachman is "a tree with sustenance, shade and shelter for all" (cf. Daniel 4:9) . Everyone who knows his works has his or her own favorite passages. At certain junctures in life what may once have seemed opaque begins to radiate with meaning. Any selection is bound to be personal - I am sorry if due to lack of space or for some other reason I have omitted what others would have included. I have aimed to provide a wide selection of Rabbi Nachman's most fundamental teachings on faith, hope, courage, simplicity, and joy, spiritual growth, prayer from the heart, desire and longing, purity of thought and purity of heart, Israel and Mashiach.
After reading from the Torah in the Temple on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would say: "More than I have read to you is written in this Torah scroll" ( Yoma 68b) . Likewise, in addition to the tremendous spiritual wealth in the selections of Rabbi Nachman included in the present volume, there are also many more abundant riches for further exploration in the original collections of Rabbi Nachman's sayings, teachings and stories, almost all of which are today available in authoritative English translations with extensive commentary.
Yet the very availability of so many volumes may itself be daunting to those who are not sure where to begin.
THE ESSENTIAL RABBI NACHMAN is for those who seek one book that covers the entire span of Rabbi Nachman's ideas, teachings and tales. Those with access to the Hebrew originals will readily see that many of the intricacies of the Rebbe's dazzling hermeneutics based on multiple Biblical, Talmudic, Midrashic, Halachic and Kabalistic sources have been omitted, while in some cases lengthy passages have been briefly summarized. The purpose has been to provide a clear thread of meaning for those whose primary concern is to discover Rabbi Nachman's actual message and how to apply it.
I am deeply grateful to all those who have given their generous support to the writing and printing of this book, and in particular to Elyahu & Esther Bortnick, Bill Bron, Shemaia Mathe, Eliyahu Reiter, Fonda Roth, Tzvi & Dafna Small and Jack & Elka Soussana as well as to those who wish to remain anonymous. With God's help, may this work contribute to spreading the words of Rabbi Nachman far and wide throughout the entire world, inspiring men and women, young and old everywhere to search in their hearts and join together, turning to God to serve Him with one accord until "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9) .
AVRAHAM YEHOSHUA GREENBAUM
Director, Azamra Institute
Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh, 24 Elul 5766
By Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
© AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5767 - 2006-7 All rights reserved