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August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
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If Rebbe Nachman were Alive Today

When you are sick, do you go to the doctor, or the student of the doctor? So why go to Uman where Rebbe Nachman is buried, when you could go to the cities in Israel where his teachers are buried?
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With Rosh HaShanah only a few days away, I drove to Hevron yesterday with my wife and two of our children to visit Avraham, Yitzhak, Yaacov, Sarah, Rivkah, and Leah (and Rachel on the way back to Yerushalayim). It’s hard for me to understand how people fly to Uman for Rosh HaShanah when they could far more easily be in Hevron. I mean, when you are sick, do you go to the doctor, or the student of the doctor?

For all of Rebbe Nachman’s genuine greatness, his teachers are buried here in theLandofIsrael– the Arizal, and his teacher, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, and his teacher, Rabbi Akiva, and the teachers of all the teachers, Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaacov. It is in the merit of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs that all of our prayers are accepted on Rosh HaShanah – so why go to Uman?

No matter how fervently you pray in Uman, or anywhere else in the world, before ascending to Heaven, all prayers are routed to Hevron for Avraham’s stamp of approval before being passed on to Yerushalayim, where they finally ascend. So why leave the Land of Israel, give hundreds of thousands of dollars to goyim who hate Jews, leave your wife and children at home, and fly off to Uman when your prayers are just going to end up coming back to the Land of Israel to first get the impurity of the Diaspora brushed off by our Forefathers before being rocketed off to G-d?

Also, everything that happens on Rosh HaShanah is a symbol for what will be in the year to come. That’s why we eat the symbolic foods on Rosh HaShanah night. So if you’re not at home on Rosh HaShanah with the family, chances are your relationship with your wife and your children for the rest of the year will be distant too. If Rebbe Nachman were alive today, I’m quite sure he’d spend Rosh Hashanah in Hevron, or Yerushalayim, or Tzfat, or Meron. He himself teaches that all of our of our prayers on Rosh HaShanah are accepted in the merit of the Land of Israel, the Land of our Forefathers, where “the eyes of the Lord look upon from the beginning of the year (Rosh HaShanah) till the end.”

If you want to journey to Uman during the rest of the year, have a nice visit, but on Rosh HaShanah, gevalt!

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
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