Sunday, July 27, 2008

Breslov III - Secret Breslov view of Moshiach - finally deciphered

Haaretz reported:
Messiah in all but name

by Immanuel Etkes

"Megilat starim: hazono hamishikhi hasodi shel reb nachman mibratslav" ("Scroll of Secrets: The Hidden Messianic Vision of R. Nachman of Bratslav") by Zvi Mark, Bar-Ilan University, 253 pages, NIS 99

The tension between the urge to reveal and publicize secrets, and the necessity of keeping them secret and concealed from the public eye is one of the dominant features of mysticism in general and Jewish mysticism in particular. In early Hasidism, there is nothing that embodied this tension more than the character and spiritual legacy of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav (1772-1810).

As Zvi Mark, author of "Scroll of Secrets: The Hidden Messianic Vision of R. Nachman of Bratslav," writes: "Secrecy plays a central role in the world of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav ... We know of one manuscript that Rabbi Nachman hid away, another that he burned, and tales that he forbade his disciples to reveal to outsiders." But it was the secret of redemption that he worked hardest to keep from the world, including most of his followers. [...]

While the prolific literature of the Bratslavers was influenced by the very existence of this scroll and allusions to what it says, the scroll itself has been a closely guarded secret for 200 years. Mark's impressive achievement starts with convincing the Bratslavers to show him the secret text and to allow him to publish it. No less impressive is his ability to recruit knowledgeable individuals to help him decode the scroll, which is written in enigmatic abbreviations and acronyms. The text is now presented in Mark's book, along with a detailed analysis of the messianic era as envisioned by Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav. [...]

Mark's first important conclusion is that the Messiah referred to in the scroll is a tzaddik (pious scholar) in Rabbi Nachman's own image. The messianic times portrayed here are "a perfect fulfillment of the Bratslav code of values." Indeed, Rabbi Nachman's personal messianic pretensions emerge loud and clear from various remarks attributed to him in his lifetime, particularly the statement that "everything the Messiah does for the benefit of the Jewish people, I can do, too. The difference is that the Messiah can carry out his mission ... whereas I do not yet have that capability."

Rabbi Nachman regarded himself as having all the necessary qualifications to be the Messiah. What kept him from fulfilling his messianic potential was a lack of recognition. The tremendous gap between his self-image and the public's failure to recognize his eminence was something that haunted Rabbi Nachman all his life. In his own eyes, he was not only the greatest tzaddik of his day, but the greatest tzaddik of all times. Even when his health deteriorated and he knew the end was near, he did not despair: He might not fulfill his messianic mission in his lifetime, but his teachings would continue to have influence after his death. "My fire will burn until the coming of the Messiah," he poetically put it.

As Mark points out, this statement was interpreted by his followers as more than a prophecy. It was a will and testament that they were obligated to fulfill. Another Rabbi Nachman saying that fueled the messianic mindset of his followers was "the whole world will be Bratslav one day." Recognition of Rabbi Nachman's supremacy and the importance of his message and messianic redemption are thus two sides of the same coin.[...]


  1. Breslovers believe that Rav Nachman brought a chiddush into the world. Thus in the same manner as Moshe Rabbeinu, Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai, The Arizal and the Baal Shem tov (according to the chassidim). The normal Breslov interpritation of Rav Nacman's statement "My fire will burn until Moshiach", is that only the moshiach will bring another chiddush into the world. At that point they say that Rav Nacman's torah will be less relevant. This is a mainstream Beslov interpretation.

    While we are speaking about that, I read an essay from a Rav Avraham Brandwein that claimed that his uncle Rav Yehudah Zvi Ashlag otherwise known as the Sulam also brought down a chiddush.

    Getting back to the issue of Breslov Messianism, the whole issue of the whole world being Breslovers does not mean that they will belong to the Breslov sect. It just means that they or we (hopefully if we merit it) will have are hearts changed as the prophet says from stone to flesh. Thus the name Breslov which contains in it the Hebrew words lev bassar rearranged.

    There might be some Breslov Rabbanim who hold that the Moshiach will be a Breslover Chassid but who cares. No one is ramming this beleif down anybodies throats nor is there any threat of grooming a false moshiach.

    Again, I think that this is turning into a Salem witch trial. I also want to make a disclaimer that I am not a Breslover nor do I belong to that Kehilla. I am just calling it as I see it. A witch trial.

  2. I looked at the article from YNet and realized that it is two years old. I miss understood that you were posting new information. This story is as dead as the dinosaurs.

    It was not as big a deal then and it is certainly less of one now.

  3. the whole world will be Bratslav one day------
    Well it seems most at least


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