|When one thinks of a Breslover Chassid, perhaps
the first image that comes to mind is a solitary figure praying in the
fields at night. True, Rabbi Nachman taught the
virtues of hisbodedus -- solitary meditation and prayer as a path to communion
with God. However, he also taught that the truths gained through mystical
ascent must be brought down to earth. Thus, Abraham called the future site
of the Holy Temple a mountain, and Isaac called it a field, whereas Jacob
called it a house. According to Rabbi Nachman, this teaches that the loftiest
spiritual light ultimately must illuminate all the corners of one's house;
the "hidden light" must be channeled into the world.
Today there are one hundred and thirty Breslover families in the Old City of Safed dedicated to the task of "bringing down the light." They come from many countries and from all walks of life: Sefaradim and Ashkenazim, Torah scholars and computer-programmers, Baalei Teshuvah and born-and-bred Chassidim from Me'ah She'arim and Bnei Brak. One guest remarked that Kiryat Breslov is a miniature of the entire Jewish people. Like the rainbow, the Breslover community of Safed shines with achdus -- oneness and harmony without sacrificing the beauty of its many colors.
Under the direction of
Rabbi Elazar Mordechai Kenig, Shlita, the community
maintains virtually all institutions necessary for its independent existence.
The Breslov Cheder and pre-school,
with over four hundred students, serves the
entire region and is a model of educating both the mind and heart. The
for Advanced Talmudic Studies numbers over sixty full-time scholars,
while serving an equal number of working people who devote their mornings
or evenings to Torah learning sessions. The new synagogue
and community center, overlooking the
mountains of Meron, is noted for the spiritual intensity of its prayer
|At the same time, the Breslover Chassidim of
Safed have embarked upon several private worldly ventures to help sustain
themselves. Safed Candles sells its exquisite hand-made wares world-wide
and now employs over fifty skilled workers. Other members of the community
have established an import-export business.
Safed's Breslov Community and its umbrella organization, Nachal Novea
Mekor Chochmah, were founded in 1967 by the Gaon and Kabbalist, Rabbi
Gedaliah Aharon Kenig, zt"l, at the behest of his teacher, the saintly
Avraham Sternhartz, zt"l. Once this ancient city had been the foremost
center of Torah in the Holy Land. The great flowering
of Kabbalah during the 16th century took place in the hills of Safed
-- and Rav Yosef Karo "brought down the light" of
halacha by authoring his classic Shulchan Aruch here. Thus the city symbolizes
the fusion of religious law and mysticism, the earthly and the sublime.
According to the Zohar and Yalkut Me'am Lo'ez, the Messiah will first appear
in Safed and then be escorted to Jerusalem. "If Breslover Chassidim will
bring the Torah back to Safed," Rabbi Avraham once said, "it will not
only benefit Safed -- it will benefit the entire world."
Click here for summary of activities in Hebrew.
Nachal Novea Mekor Chochma