web analytics
January 29, 2015 / 9 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


The Mess They Leave Behind

I hope these Breslover Chasidim got what they wanted out of this visit… and that it was worth the Chilul HaShem it ended up making.
Breslover Chasidim in Uman.

Breslover Chasidim in Uman.
Photo Credit: Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

I could never understand the Uman phenomenon. I just don’t get what they get out of it. Breslover Chasidim consider it an important pilgrimage to visit the grave-site of Rav Nachman MiBreslov, the founder of Breslov Chasidus during the week of Rosh Hashana. They say it is because R’ Nachman requested that his Chasidim be with him during that time. This custom has continued even after his untimely death at age 38 because Rav Nachman’s  disciple, Reb Nosson, interpreted the Rebbe’s request to apply posthumously as well.

Now… there is biblical precedent for praying at the grave-sites of righteous people. Based on a Gemarah in Sotah (34b), Rashi in Bereishis (13:22) interprets the singular form of the word  ‘VaYavo’ by the Meraglim (spies) as referring to Caleb. It was he who traveled there to pray at the Maaras HaMachpela which is the grave-site of  his (and our) ancestors. He prayed that in their merit God should grant him the ability to resist the bad influences of the other Meraglim, who spoke negatively about the land of Israel.

But this is a custom that is not universally followed in our time. And for good reason. It could lead to worshiping the deceased directly instead of asking God to consider the merit in our prayer requests.

I had never heard of this Breslover custom until recent times. That’s probably because it was not that widely observed as it is today. But now the custom is so widely observed that it actually makes the news. Usually not in a good way.

Last time I reported on this event – it was also not in a good way. The gentile residents of Uman – the town in the Ukraine where Rav Nacchman is buried – put up a statue of Jesus on a cross. One can debate the motivations of those Ukrainians who put up this statue right next to Rav Nachman’s grave. It may very well have been done to incite the Chasidim who visit the grave. But one cannot debate the stupidity of the reaction to it by some of the extremist elements among them. It was defaced with graffiti.

The Ukraine was never a friendly place for Jews. During the Holocaust far too many Ukrainian gentiles relished going after Jews to please their Nazi occupiers. The Chasidim who go to this place every year should know that… and not do anything that would exacerbate their enmity. Defacing a statue of their god is one very good way to do that.

As if that weren’t enough, the Jerusalem Post reports that the 26,000 Chasidim and assorted curiosity seekers  that made this pilgrimage this year trashed that town while they were there. From the article:

Jewish pilgrims … reportedly scuffled last week with locals while off duty… one of (them) sustained minor injuries…

Pilgrims from Israel started a fire inside their rented apartment after they had an indoor barbecue…

An apartment block on Pushkin Street lost power for nearly one day because of an overload in consumption by Jewish pilgrims…

(P)ilgrims caused the sewage system to overflow and flood the municipality’s social services center… The visitors flushed diapers and hygienic pads down the toilet, the reports said, resulting in a flood that caused severe damage to the municipal offices located in the basement of the building…

A Jewish visitor was arrested after being spotted smoking marijuana…

Very nice. I hope these Breslover Chasidim got what they wanted out of this visit… and that it was worth the Chilul HaShem it ended up making.

Some of their defenders will say that these kinds of incidents are normal for big gatherings. Minor laws will be broken and public (and even private) property will inevitably get some  minor damage. That is the nature of big crowds… comparable to what one might see at with huge crowds at an outdoor rock concert.

Well… that may be fine for rock and roll revelers. But it is not OK for people who represent themselves as devout Jews making a pilgrimage during the holiest time of the year. Breslover Chasidim certainly do not think of themselves as unruly teenagers having uncontrolled fun at a concert.

Many Breslover Chasidim will also try to rationalize this by pointing to the economic benefits that 26,000 people who spend a week in that town provide. They will cite the welcome offered them by those very same townspeople – grateful for the economic boon they bring.

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “The Mess They Leave Behind”

  1. YehonatanA says:

    The author of this article writes: “I could never understand the Uman phenomenon. I just don’t get what they get out of it.” That is very true. He just doesn’t get it – at all. The reality of going to Rabbi Nachman’s grave is that the vast majority of people who go there have life-changing experiences that greatly strengthen their service of G-d, and their respect for other human beings.
     The extremely negative focus of this article is only on the small minority who come to Rabbi Nachman who lack basic descency and/or common sense. How does the joke go? In Kol Nidre, we request to have permission to pray together with the evil sinners, the “poshim.” Why don’t we request this on Rosh Hashana? Because all of the Poshim are in Uman!
    It attests to the greatness of Rabbi Nachman, that even ex-cons (or not so “ex” cons) make so much effort to go there. Because Rabbi Nachman offers hope to everybody. And on the way back from Uman, one can see that the hardened faces of a poshea has become a little more happy and full of light. If there are some Charedi people who go who are not sensitive enough about the needs of other communities, they leave Uman a little more friendly to outsiders. Uman isn’t the cause of all these problems, it is a magnet for people with problems, and the place where all the problems start to get solved.
    -Yonatan

  2. Ravcherri says:

    What makes me so sick is the author’s never ending Charedi-bashing. We understand that the Satan himself looks for fault in the Jewish Nation. Here we have a person who once learned doing it.  And sadly the Jewish Press prints this stuff. Although most Jews would never think of going to the Ukraine for Rosh HaShanah we should do what is right for ourselves and then mind our business. Had this been Maryles only negative article on Charedim I would not have replied. But this is his wicked agenda. Did it ever occur to him that the locals are the children and grandchildren of the Ukrainian Nazi SS that shed the blood of our Bubbas and Zeida’s all over the soil of that land? Harry if you want to open up the books of Breslov with half truths and accusing finger nobody is stopping you.In shamayim your books are being opened up as well because of your activities.I guess the Midas Hadin will find you as cleans as a hounds tooth.Why else would you point an accusing finger during the Yemei Hadin? Good luck on Yom Kippur.

  3. Basetrais says:

    It’s simple. We live in a pluralistic world now. People no longer think of themselves as just one identifty any longer, either racially, ethinically or religionlistically. It will continue this way. This is the way of the world.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
Hezbollah rocket headed for Haifa in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
Israel Won’t Go to War against Hezbollah because It Can’t Win [video]
Latest Blogs Stories
IDF vehicles attacked by Hezbollah with anti-tank missiles at northern border.

Chances are, like in the South, terrorists are building a sophisticated network of tunnels in North.

Hezbollah shooting at Har Dov

9:31pm The Mt. Hermon ski resort on the Golan Heights will be open for business tomorrow morning — having receiving permission from the IDF. 8:03pm Channel 2 reports that Hezbollah terror cell was located 5 kilometers from Israel, and not within Israel as originally thought.Soldiers in 2nd vehicle were saved after they jumped out of […]

Jordana Brown: Ready, willing, and able!

I need a job, my friends. A real life, full-time, pay-the-bills, up at 7, home-after-nightfall JOB!

Caroline Glick wrote the book that challenges the Two State Solution Stranglehold

Ha’aretz claiming Glick is “far from a household name to non-English speaking Israelis” is erroneous

Distinguishing between manipulating and influencing people + 3 steps towards positive communication

Despite “excuses” about not wanting to influence Israel’s election Netanyahu’s views should be heard

Israeli leaders deny reality: Nothing we can do will make the Arabs accept a viable Jewish state

How do we make sure the Holocaust is relevant to new generations?

In 2006, Amona kids saw their teachers and rabbis being thrown from windows as if they were garbage

No money should go to terrorists or their families; anyone involved in terror must pay the price

Responsible Jewish outreach encourages BTs to retain and to enhance their relationship with parents

Israelis will vote for Likud because of Caroline Glick, but she’ll just be Right window dressing.

What are the dynamics of running a family business and what are its impact on family relationships?

The Hareidi paper HaMevaser wanted to have their cake and eat it too: use the photo; lose the women

Producer Chuck Wang explains how you can learn from mistakes and move on towards success.

Chareidi women who want to run for political office don’t suit the full definition of “chareidi.”

More Articles from Harry Maryles
Netanyahu wants more room on the table for the military option to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Despite “excuses” about not wanting to influence Israel’s election Netanyahu’s views should be heard

kiruv-shafran

Responsible Jewish outreach encourages BTs to retain and to enhance their relationship with parents

The Hareidi paper HaMevaser wanted to have their cake and eat it too: use the photo; lose the women

No Charedi leader has suggested a change that would make a difference to a failing paradigm

The average Israeli may not fulfill all mitzvos but shops at the mitzvah “store” regularly

The rally tells me that the recent anti-Semitism in France isn’t representative of mainstream France

{Originally posted to author’s website, Emes Ve-Emunah} So now there is DNA testing. This is the point made in a Yated article (republished in Maztav) in its crusade to change New York City’s Board of Health requirement of informed consent – warning parents of the dangers of Metzitza B’Peh (MbP). From Matzav: This extraordinary program […]

12 months ago, 27 year old US Army Sgt Jordan Adams suffered a traumatic brain injury

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/the-mess-they-leave-behind/2013/09/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: