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Last week I went to Shimon HaTzaddik.

Just for 20 minutes, before I headed off to the evening prayers of the Rav, Rabbi Eliezer Berland, that happen 8:30pm every night, outside on Ido HaNavi Street.

I got in, sat down – and immediately heard a booming voice coming from the men’s section, telling everyone:

Halacha!! When a person prays for Am Yisrael, all his own sins are forgiven!

OK, I took that as a hint.

And I prayed a bit for Am Yisrael.

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A couple of minutes later, the booming voice was back.

Halacha!! I personally heard from Rav Steinman himself that when someone becomes arrogant from learning Torah, all their Torah learning immediately goes straight to the dark side!!

Interesting.

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Over Shabbat, I was pondering about why all this Frankist-Reform-funded ‘ortho fem’ stuff is just so poisonous.

And then I remembered that guy from Shimon HaTzaddik, and it struck me that the ‘Torah’ that is being taught by these ortho-fem institutions is all about making the person who learns it believe in their own superiority to others.

I.e., it’s all about the intellect and the ego.

It’s about handing out ‘source sheets for your shiur’ with a billion entries on them, to show how clever and learned you are.

It’s about spending a whole hour telling people about what YOU THINK is written in the Gemara, instead of breaking your head trying to understand WHAT OUR SAGES THINK.

It’s about showing ‘the men’ that you are just as good as they are!!!

(I.e. you can also bore people to death with your pointless shiurim about halachic minutiae that basically, you are in absolutely no position to have a real opinion on, because your middot suck, you’re totally arrogant, and you have no siyatta di shmeya because your Torah learning doesn’t have even a milligram of ‘lishma’ about it…..)

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This is the ‘Torah’ of the Jewish demon Torah Scholars.

(BTW, apparently it’s not only Rabbenu, Rebbe Nachman, who wrote about them. Also the BESHT’s leading disciple, R Yaakov Yosef of Polnnoye, and the Zohar, and also the Tanya of the Alter Rebbe also speak of them. See HERE for more details.

You can find a discussion about these Jewish demon Torah Scholars in Likutey Moharan, Part 1:12)

This is the ‘Torah’ that Rebbe Nachman explains even ‘wears out God’ – i.e. it turns everything into an ego-fuelled, pointless, philosophical discussion, that misses the whole point of learning Torah, which is to work on our own bad middot  – especially our arrogance – and to learn more emuna.

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In the old days, when women weren’t so ‘learned’, the Sages spoke a lot about the simple emuna of women.

And how it could move mountains.

While the men were off with their thumbs, pilpulling away in pointless ‘splitting hairs’ fashion, the women would pull out a Sefer Tehillim, or put their hands on their mezuzah, and just pour their hearts out to God.

And their prayers moved mountains.

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The Reform-Frankists who are funding all these ‘ortho fem’ movements and institutions know the true power of a woman’s simple emuna.

That’s why they are going full out to try and replace that simple emuna, our simple, heartfelt, soul-deep connection to God with ‘precious Torah-based rubbish’ instead.

Before I got to Breslov, I used to try with all my might to ‘enjoy’ Torah classes at Matan, and from other ‘ortho fem’ sources that so many of the people I hung out with were raving about.

It was nearly always a struggle to stay awake – at best.

Other times, I’d find the discussion so pointless, so dry, so spiritually ‘dead’ and uninspiring, talking for talk’s own sake – that I’d usually make a break for the toilet, and try to stay there as long as possible.

This is the power of the shiurim of the Jewish Demon Torah Scholars.

They fill your head with ‘information’, but empty out your soul.

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That’s why when I hit the simple emuna of Breslov teachings, they totally blew me away.

Listen to this, and you’ll see what I mean:

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The first time I heard this, I sat transfixed in my car for a good 10 minutes, because all of a sudden my soul woke up.

Not more boring pilpul, not more boring ‘speeches’ with a million sources discussing something that felt totally irrelevant to my real life and real issues.

But someone talking about how Hashem wants a real, direct relationship with every single one of us; and how everything that’s happening around us, and to us, is part of that direct conversation the Creator is trying to have with us.

All of a sudden, the mitzvot stopped feeling like such a burden, such a bore – however important and necessary – and my soul woke up.

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The difference between the ‘Torah’ of these Jewish Demon Torah Scholars, and the ‘Torah’ of Breslov is literally night and day.

The first boosts the ego, and destroys the soul.

The latter uncovers the true power of the soul – and takes down the ego.

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I’m not against women learning lishma – for it’s own sake.

I think it’s beautiful, when we women steal a few precious moments from the demands of working, looking after our families, running our homes, to learn a few pages of Tanach, or to read some Rambam, or to learn some Likutey Moharan.

But lishma – for its own sake – means you aren’t getting a ‘degree’ at the end of your learning.

You aren’t getting a diploma, or title.

You aren’t getting an ‘ortho-fem’ platform, or a position in an institution, to start boring everyone else to death with your fab-u-lous insights into the Torah that have absolutely nothing to do with working on overcoming bad middot, getting to know God, or developing some real emuna.

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So, now I know why all these ‘ortho-fems’ are bothering me so very much, Freemason-Frankist funding of their institutions notwithstanding.

They may or may not be very nice people personally.

But when you learn Torah for any other reason than lishma, it becomes a sam hamavet – an arrogant potion of death – and not an emuna-dik potion of life.

And that’s why Rabbenu explains about the people who learn and teach Torah like this: (LM 1:12)

“a carcass is better than this person.”

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You might also like this article:

What to do with these ‘clever heretics’ who don’t really believe in God?

Or in hashgacha pratit?

Or in the idea that Ein Od Milvado – God is all there is, and so every single thing in the world is meaningful, and a communication from God, and a personal message to us that there is something that we ourselves need to pay attention to, or fix, or change, or think about?

How do you ‘blunt the teeth’ of people like this?

I was thinking about this a lot in my hitbodedut this morning.

And that’s when God reminded me that Rebbe Nachman already set everything out, in his tale of the ‘The Chacham and the Tam’ – the clever-clogs and the simple man of faith.

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The following comes from the Wikisource page for Rebbe Nachman’s Sipurey Ma’asiot.

(HERE.)

It really sums everything up, including how to deal with these ‘clever heretics’.

Enjoy!

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Once there were two home-owners in a city who had great wealth, large houses and two sons; that is, each one of them had a son.

The two children learned together in the same schoolhouse. One of them was a khakham [clever, smart, sophisticated, wise] and the other was a tam [simple, innocent, artless, wholesome] (not that he was a fool; rather, his intellect was simple, without sophistication). The two sons loved each other very much. Even though one was khakham and the other was tam, they nevertheless loved each other very much.

Came a time when the two householders began to decline. They continued to decline until they lost everything and became destitute with nothing remaining but their houses. As the sons began to grow up, their fathers told them: We do not have enough to pay for you, to sustain you. Do for yourselves what you can.

[The Simple Man and the Clever Man Learn Trades]

The tam went and learned shoemaking. The khakham, who was a bar-havana, [an astute, discerning person], didn’t want to apply himself to such a common trade. He decided he would travel the world and see what to do. As he was going about the marketplace, he saw a large wagon with four horses in harness speeding through. He called out to the merchants, “Where are you from?” They answered him, “From Warsaw.” “Where are you going?” “To Warsaw.” He asked them, “Perhaps you need workers?” They saw that he was astute, motivated, and looked good. So they accepted him. He traveled off with them and served them very well on the way.

When they arrived in Warsaw, since he was a bar-havana, he decided, “Since I am already in Warsaw, why should I remain with these [merchants]? Maybe there is a better place than [with] them. I shall go search and see.” As he walked around in the marketplace, he began to investigate and inquire about the men who had brought him, and whether there would be a better place than [with] them. They answered that these people [who had brought him] are honest people and it’s good to be with them. However, it is very difficult to be with them since their business dealings are in very distant places.

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So, he went on. He noticed clothing shop workers as they were going around in the marketplace, with all their customary charm, with their caps and pointy shoes and the rest of the affectations and flair in their gait and appearance.

Since he was so sharp and discerning, this occupation looked very proper, being pleasant and local. So he went to the men who had brought him, gave them his praise and appreciation, but told them that it is not comfortable for him to be with them. As [for recompense] for them having brought him, he had served them on the road.

So he went and offered himself to a proprietor. And the way with servants is, at first one has to be hired for less and do the heavier work. Then later, one advances to better jobs. The proprietor would use him for very hard work, sending him off to nobility carrying merchandise in the manner of servants–prominently displaying the garments on their extended arms; this work was very hard for him.

Sometimes he needed to carry the merchandise to upper floors, and this work was very hard for him. He decided, since he was a philosopher, a discerning person: “Why do I need this work? Is not the main point the ultimate purpose–to get married and make a living? I don’t need to see to that yet; I will be free for that later, in the years to come. Meanwhile, it would be better to travel, visiting countries, feasting my eyes on the world.”

==

He went about the marketplace and saw merchants riding on a large wagon.

He asked them, “Where are you going?” “To Lagorna.[1]” “Would you take me there?” “Yes.” They took him there. From there he traveled to Italy, and from there, to Spain.

Meanwhile, many years passed and he became even more knowledgeable on account of having been in many countries[2]. He decided, “Now, it’s time to look at the ultimate purpose.” He began to philosophize about what he should do. It seemed to him that he should learn goldsmithery, which is a major occupation, a nice craft, entailing great insight and very profitable.

And since he was such a bar-havana and philosopher, he didn’t need to study the trade many years; merely in a quarter year he received the skill, and he became quite a great craftsman, even more of an expert than the one who had trained him.

==

Afterwards he concluded, “Even though I have such a trade in hand, nonetheless I do not have enough with this. Today, this is an important [profession], but maybe at another time some other thing will be considered important.” So went ahead and placed himself with a gem cutter. And on account of his cleverness he acquired this skill in a short time as well — in a quarter year.

Then he philosophically decided, “Even though I have two trades in hand, who knows, perhaps neither of these will remain important. It would be better for me to learn a craft that will always be important.”

Probing with his insight and philosophy, he determined to learn medicine, which is always needed and always esteemed. Now, the way of learning medicine is to first learn Latin, the language and its writing, as well as the wisdoms of sophistry. And this too, on account of his brilliant mind, he mastered in a short time–a quarter year–and he became a big doctor, a philosopher and expert in all fields of wisdom.

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After all this, the world began to seem, in his eyes, as nil.

For due to his genius, and since he was such a great craftsman and so wise and such a doctor, every person in the world was like nil to him. He decided that he would now accomplish the purpose and take a wife. He opined to himself: “If I marry here, who will know what has become of me? Let me rather go back home, so that people will see what has become of me. I left as a young boy and now I have come to such greatness.”

And he picked up and traveled home, experiencing great afflictions on the way. For on account of his sophistication he didn’t have anything in common with people about which to converse. [He was so worldly and refined that] he found no lodging up to his standards and so, he felt constantly afflicted.

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For now, let us set aside the story of the clever man; and we will begin to tell the story of the simple man.

The simple man learned shoemaking, and since he was a simple person he had to study the trade a great deal until he got it, and [even then,] he did not have complete expertise in the craft. He took a wife, and he sustained himself from his work. And since he was a simple person and was not such an expert, therefore his livelihood came with a great deal of pressing and was very limited.

He didn’t even have time to eat because he always had to work, due to his inability to [be more proficient] in his craft. Only while he was working–when he had inserted the nail and pulled through the cobbler’s thread–only then would he take a bite of a piece of bread and eat.

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[The simple man’s] customary behavior was to be always very joyful.

He was constantly full only of happiness. And he had all the foods, all the drinks and all the clothing. He would say to his wife, “My wife, give me to eat;” and she would gave him a piece of bread and he ate. Then he would say, “Give me the sauce with buckwheat groats,” and she would cut him off another slice of bread and he ate. And he would praise and say, “How very good and nice is this sauce!”

Similarly he would order himself served meat and other delicacies, and for each dish, she would give him a slice of bread from which he would have great pleasure and give great praise. “How well prepared this is!” as if he had actually eaten that very dish. For he would really and truly feel, in the bread that he ate, the taste of all the foods he wanted; on account of his great temimuth [the quality of being tam; simplicity; wholesomeness; naivete; innocence] and his immense joy.

And similarly he would say, “My wife, give me a drink of beer;” she would give him water and he would praise, “How nice is this beer!” [Then he would summon,] “Give me mead;” she gave him water and he would praise it the same way. “Give me wine” or other drink; she gave him water and he would delight in and praise the drink as if he really drank [wine, etc.]

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So too with clothing.

He and his wife shared one peltz [Yid. pelt coat; an unfinished piece of fur used as a coat]. He would say, “My wife, give me the peltz, when he needed it namely, to go to the market. She would give him the peltz. When he needed a tulep [fancy overcoat with fine fur on the inside which rolls over onto the collar] to go out socially, he would say, “My wife, give me the tulep,” and she would give him the peltz.

He would take great delight in it and praise, “What a beautiful tulep this is!” When he needed a kaftan [long suit coat] for instance, to go to synagogue, he would summon and say, “My wife, give me the kaftan,” and she would give him the peltz. He would praise and say, “How nice and beautiful is this kaftan!”

And so too when he needed to don a yupa [a long silk robe worn for formal occasions] she would also give him the peltz, and he would also give praise and delight: “How beautiful and nice is this yupa!” And the like. Thus he was full only of joy and delight constantly.

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When he would finish a shoe — and the shoe probably had three corners [i.e., it was not symmetrical] since he did not have complete proficiency in his craft — he would take the shoe in his hand and praise it highly.

And he would take great pleasure from it and would say, “My wife, how beautiful and wonderful is this shoe! How sweet it is! What a honey, what a sugary shoe this is!” She would ask him, “If that is so, why do other shoemakers take three gulden for a pair of shoes, and you take only a half thaler (one and a half gulden)?” He replied, “What’s that to me? That’s the other person’s business and this is my business. And besides, why do we have to talk about other people? Let’s just start calculating how much I earn with this shoe “from hand to hand” [from his hand to the hand of the customer–i.e., considering all factors in the process of making and selling the shoe].

The leather costs me this much, tar and thread cost this much, the filling between the skins this much, and likewise other items this much; comes out that I profit ten groschen from hand to hand. And with such a profit from hand to hand, what is there to be concerned about?”

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So he was only happy and cheerful at all times, but to the world he was a laughingstock; in him, they had just what they wanted–someone to mock however they pleased, for he seemed like a lunatic.

People would come and start speaking with him intending to make fun and mock.

And the simple man would say to them, “Just without mockery.” And as soon as they answered him, “No kidding,” he listened to them and started talking with them, for he did not want to further suspect witticisms — that perhaps this itself [their reply] is mockery — for he was a tam.

But when he would see that their intention was indeed to ridicule, he would say, “So what if you are more clever than me? Would you not then be the real fool? For what do I amount to? So if you’ll be more clever than me, you’ll still be a fool!”

(All this were the usual ways of the simple man. Now we will return to the original subject [i.e., the clever man].)

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In the meantime, there was a commotion–the clever man is traveling and coming here with great pomp and sophistication!

The simple man also came running to greet him with great joy. He said to his wife, “Give me quick the yupa! I shall go and greet my dear friend; I will see him.” She gave him the peltz and he ran to greet him. Now the clever man was riding pompously in a horse-drawn carriage; the simple man came out to greet him and welcomed him joyously, with great love.

“My dear brother, how do you do? Blessed is God for bringing you and giving me the privilege of seeing you!” And the clever man, for whom the entire world was like nothing, as was stated above [that everyone and everything in the world was insignificant to him, for he considered himself above all the world] — all the more so such a person as [the tam] who seems crazy. But nonetheless, on account of their shared childhood love, he drew him close and traveled with him into town.

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Now the two householders, the fathers of these two sons, had died during the time when the clever son was traveling the world.

Their houses had been left [as an inheritance]. The simple son, who had remained local, moved into his father’s house claiming his inheritance. The clever son, however, had been in foreign countries and had no one to receive the house. So the clever man’s house became ruined and was lost–nothing remained of it.

Thus the clever man had no house to enter when he arrived. He traveled to an inn but was anguished there because it wasn’t up to his standards.

==

The simple man now found himself a new occupation–he would constantly run from his house to the clever man with love and joy.

He noticed that the clever man was suffering from the lodgings. So the simple man said to the clever man, “Brother, come over to my house and stay with me! I will gather all my belongings into one bundle and you’ll have my entire house at your disposal.” This was agreeable to the clever man, so he moved into his house and stayed with him.

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Now the clever man was always full of suffering, for he had left behind a reputation of being a wondrous sage, an artist, and a great doctor.

A nobleman came and ordered him to make him a gold ring. He made him quite a wonderful ring and etched out engravings in very amazing ways. He engraved in it a tree that was a total marvel. The nobleman came and the ring did not please him at all. He had enormous suffering because he knew, in himself, that if this ring with the tree would be in Spain, it would be esteemed as an amazing work of art. And similarly, one time a great nobleman came and brought a rare precious gem, brought from distant lands.

He also brought with him another gemstone with an engraved image and bid him to etch out that exact image onto the rare gemstone he had brought [from distant lands]. [The khakham] precisely engraved that exact image, except he made a mistake in one thing which nobody at all would discern except him alone. The nobleman came and took the gem and he liked it very much.

But the clever man had great agony from his mistake, “As smart as I am, and this mistake should happen?!”

==

And similarly in his doctoring, he suffered as well.

When he came to an ill person and he gave him treatments of which he knew clearly that if the patient would only survive, it would certainly have to be these treatments through which he had healed, for it was an excellent course of treatment. Then however the patient died. The public said that he died because of him, and he had huge suffering from this. Likewise, sometimes he gave an ill person treatments and the ill person became healthy, and the public said that it was a chance occurrence.

So, he was always filled with pain.

==

Similarly, when he needed a garment.

He summoned the tailor and took pains with him until he taught him to make the garment to his specifications, according to his knowledge of fashion. The tailor understood the directions and made the garment just as he wanted, except on one lapel, he erred by not shaping it well.

[The khakham] suffered great anguish from that because he knew in himself that, although here it would be considered handsome, because no one would perceive [the defect], but “if I were to be in Spain with this lapel, I would be a laughingstock and I would look like an imbecile.”

And so he was always full of suffering.

==

The simple man would joyously run over to the clever man all the time; but he always found him afflicted and full of suffering.

He asked him, “How could it be? A wise and wealthy person such as you — why do you always have anguish? [Look!] Am I not constantly happy?”

This was a big joke in the eyes of the clever man. [The tam] seemed crazy to him.

The simple man said to him, “Even plain people, when they make fun of me, are fools as well, for if they’re already smarter than me, they are first fools themselves [as mentioned above]! All the more so such a clever person as you. So what if you are smarter than me?”

The simple man spoke up, saying to the clever man, “May the One Who gives grant that you should come up to my level [and become a simple person]!”

The clever man replied, “It is possible that I could reach your level — if my intellect would be taken away, God spare us; or if I became sick, God forbid, I could also become insane. For what are you anyway, but a madman? But that you would come up to my level? No way! It is completely impossible that you would become wise like me!”

The simple man answered, “With Hashem Yithbarakh, everything is possible. It could happen in the blink of an eye that I ascend to your [level of brilliance].”

The clever man made great fun of him.

==

Now these two sons were known in public by their nicknames: “Khakham–Clever” and “Tam–Simple.”

Even though there are many clever and simple people in the world, still, in this case, it was unusually apparent. For they were both from the same town, went to school together, and the one had become such an extraordinary genius, while the other was so extremely simple. Even in the public registry (the book listing the citizens) where they record everyone’s given name and family name, these two were registered only by their nicknames–“Khakham” and “Tam.”

One time, the king was perusing the registry and found these two recorded solely by their nicknames, “Clever” and “Simple.”

The king was amazed and very much wanted to see them. He realized, “If I suddenly send for them to come before me, they will be very frightened. The clever one won’t know at all what to make of this, and the simple man might go crazy from fear.” So, the king decided to send a khakham to the khakham and a tam to the tam. But where does one get a tam in the royal [capital] city?

For in the royal city [where the king lives] the majority are smart people.

However, the one who is appointed overseer of the treasury — he is intentionally a simple person. For they do not want to appoint a clever person overseer of the treasury. Perhaps through his cleverness and his intellect he will embezzle all the funds; therefore they expressly put a simple person in charge of the treasury.

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So the king summoned a clever man and the above-mentioned simple man (the treasurer) and sent them to the two sons.

He gave each one a letter. And he gave them an additional letter to the provincial governor under whose authority the two sons dwelt. In it, the king commanded that the governor should send letters of his own to the clever son and the simple son so that they shouldn’t be frightened. He should write to them that the matter is not obligatory, that the king is not explicitly decreeing that they should come, but rather the choice is theirs: if they want, they should come.

Just that the king desires to see them.

The emissaries traveled off, the clever one and the simple one, arriving at the governor, delivering the letter. The governor inquired after the two sons.

They told him that the “khakham” is an extraordinarily clever person, quite a wealthy man and the “tam” is an exceedingly simple person who [believes he] has every kind of garment from the single peltz [piece of fur] as mentioned before. The governor took counsel that it is certainly inappropriate to bring him before the king dressed in a peltz. So he arranged for appropriate garments and placed them in the simple man’s carriage. And he gave them the aforementioned letters.

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The messengers traveled off and arrived there.

They delivered the letters to them; the clever one delivered to the “khakham” and the simple one to the “tam.” Now the “tam”, as soon as he was delivered the letter, spoke up to emissary (who was also simple, as above) saying, “See here. I don’t know what is written in the letter. Read it to me.” He answered him, “I’ll tell you by memory [Yid. oysveynik < Ger. auswendig; Heb. be`al peh by rote] what is written in it. The king wants you to come to him.”

Immediately he asked, “Are you making fun of me?”

He answered him, “It is the absolute truth; no kidding.” [The tam] was instantly filled with joy and ran, saying to his wife, “My wife, the king has sent for me!” She asked him, “What is it about? Why [has he sent for you?!]” He had no time to answer her at all. He immediately and joyfully rushed off to travel with the emissary, right away entering and sitting down in the carriage.

There he found the above-mentioned clothes and he became happier and happier.

==

In the meantime, reports were sent that the governor was corrupt, and the king deposed him.

The king made up his mind: it would be good to have a simple person be governor, for a tam would conduct the country with truth and justice, since he would not know any sophisticated or contriving ways. So, the king decided that he should make the above-mentioned simple son the governor.

He issued orders that the “tam,” for whom he had already sent, be appointed governor immediately upon entering the provincial capital. For that would be the route the “tam” must travel. Therefore they should watch the city gates so that as soon as the “tam” arrives, they should detain him and install him as governor.

They did so. They stood over the gates and as soon as he drove through, they stopped him and told him that he had been appointed governor. He inquired, saying, “Please don’t clown around with me.”

They answered him, “Of course! No joking at all! The “tam” immediately became governor, with authority and power.

==

Now that his mazal went up  — and [as the Talmud teaches,] mazal machkim[3] [as the mazal (flow) goes up, so does one’s wisdom]– the “tam” acquired a bit of discernment.

Nonetheless, he did not make use of his wisdom at all but just conducted himself with his temimuth (simplicity) as before, and he led the state with temimuth, with truth and with integrity, with not a drop of corruption.

For management of state requires no great intellect nor special knowledge, just uprightness and temimuth.

When two people came before the “tam” for judgment, he would say, “You are innocent and you are liable,” purely according to his simplicity and truthfulness, without any crookedness nor deceit. And thus he conducted everything truthfully.

==

The country loved him very much and he had loyal advisers who truly loved him.

And on account of love, one of them advised him: “Inasmuch as you will certainly be summoned to appear before the king–and behold, he has already sent for you–and moreover, the procedure is that a governor has to come before the king. Now, even though you are very sincere and the king will not find any fault in you of your leadership of the country, still however it is the routine of the king, when he converses that he digresses into discussing philosophy and languages. Therefore, it will be pleasing and of proper etiquette if you are able to respond to him; therefore it will be good for me teach you philosophy and languages.”

The simple man accepted this saying, “Why shouldn’t I learn the wisdom of philosophy and languages?”

It immediately came to his mind that his friend, the clever man had said to him that it would be impossible in any manner that he should reach his [level]. “Here I have already arrived at his wisdom!” (And still even though he now knew wisdom, he did not use the wisdom at all, but rather conducted himself only with simplicity as before.)

==

Afterwards the king requested that the “tam“, the governor, should come to him.

He traveled to him. At first, the king discussed the leadership of the country with the “tam“, and the king was very well pleased. For the king saw that he was conducting himself justly and with great honesty, without any wrongdoing or scheming. Then the king began speaking about wisdom and languages; the simple man replied appropriately, and the king was even more pleased.

The king said, “I see that he is such a smart person and yet conducts himself with such innocence.” The king esteemed him more and more, ending up making him the minister over all the ministers; mandating a special place for him to stay, and commanded to wall him about with very beautiful walls as is befitting, and gave him a writ of appointment that he be chief minister.

And so it was; they built him very fine beautiful buildings in the place where the king had ordered, and he received his sovereignty with full effect.

==

[Returning to] the khakham–the clever man.

When the letter from the king came to the “khakham,” he replied to the clever person who had delivered it, “Wait. Spend the night here. We’ll talk it over and we’ll come to a decision.” That evening, he prepared him a great feast.

During the meal the khakham waxed wise, analyzing with his cleverness and philosophy.

He spoke up and said, “What can this mean, that such a king should send for such a lowly person as me? What am I that the king should send for me? Such a king with such authority and prestige! And me, so insignificant and despicable compared with such a great king — well, how is it conceivable that such a king should send for so unimportant a person as me? If I should say on account of my wisdom, what am I next to the king? What! The king doesn’t have any wise men? Moreover, the king is certainly a great sage himself. So what is this, that the king should send for me?”

He was very, very astonished by this. He spoke up, saying (that is, the original khakham, who was the simple man’s childhood friend–for all this conjecture was the original khakham’s monologue describing his astonishment and surprise, to which he now answers his own rhetoric, saying to the clever messenger):

“You know what I say? My opinion is that it clearly must be that there is no king whatsoever in the world. That the entire world is mistaken in this foolishness; that they think there is a king.

“See! Understand — how can it be possible that the entire world should give itself over to depend on one man, that he should be the king? There is certainly no king in the world at all.”

==

The clever messenger replied, “Haven’t I brought you a letter from the king?”

The original khakham asked him, “Did you yourself receive the letter from the king’s hand directly?” He answered him, “No. Just another person gave me the letter in the king’s name.” He answered up, saying, “Now see with your own eyes that my words are correct–that there is absolutely no king.” He returned to asking him,

“Tell me, are you not from the capital city and did you not grew up there all your life? Tell me, have you ever, in all your days, seen the king?”

He answered, “No.” (For in fact it is so, that not everyone is privileged to see the king, for the king does not reveal himself [publicly] except on rare occasion.)

The original khakham declared, “Now open your eyes and see that I am correct, that there is definitely no king whatsoever, for even you have never seen the king.”

Once again the messenger answered the khakham, “If it is really so, who then rules the country?”

The first khakham responded, “That — I’ll make clear to you, for it is [specifically] me you should ask, since I am an expert in this. I have wandered about in [many] countries; I’ve been to Italy. The customary practice is that there are seventy ministerial advisers [senators] who go up and lead the country for a certain time. Then the authority is given over to the next group until each and every resident takes a turn.”

His words started to penetrate into the clever messenger’s ears until they came to agree and conclude that there definitely is no king in the world at all.

==

Again the original khakham spoke up, “Wait until morning and I will show you one example after another that there is no king in the world at all.”

The original khakham (that is the khakham who is the friend of the tam–we are always referring to him as the “original khakham;”) got up early in the morning, woke his friend, the clever messenger, and said to him,

“Come out with me. I will show you clearly how the whole world is mistaken and that there is really no king whatsoever. Everyone is making a huge mistake.”

They went through the marketplace and noticed a soldier. They got his attention and asked him, “Whom do you serve?” He answered, “The king.” (They asked him,) “Have you ever, in all your days, seen the king?” “No.” [The original khakham] answered up and said, “See! Could there be a foolishness like this?

They went on to an army officer and entered into conversation with him until asking him, “Whom do you serve?” He answered, “The king.” “Have you seen the king?” “No.” He proclaimed, “Now see with your own eyes! The matter is clear. Everyone is mistaken. There is no king at all.

==

The original khakham furthermore declared, “Come! Let us travel the world; I will show you more how the entire world is in great error.”

They went and traveled the world and wherever they arrived they always found the public in error. The matter of the king became an example for them. In other words, just like the public was in error in their belief in the existence of the king, so too everything held to be true by the populace must be mistaken.

With this attitude, they traveled the world until they ran out of [money and supplies.] They began by selling one horse and then the other until they had sold everything and had to go on foot. Incessantly they kept examining the world, finding fault.

They became poor vagrants, their status disintegrated, for no one would give consideration to such paupers.

==

The circumstances played out that they were wandering about until they came to the city in which the minister lived (that is, the “tam,” the simple man, the friend of the “khakham,” the clever man).

There in that city was a genuine Baal Shem [lit. “Master of the (Divine) Name;” a holy man and miracle worker]. The Baal Shem was held in high esteem because he had done truly amazing things, and even among the nobility he was important and famous.

The two clever men came into the city, walked about and came before the house of the Baal Shem. They saw many wagons stationed there–forty or fifty–with sick people. The khakham figured that a doctor must live there. He wanted to go into the house, for since he too was a great doctor, he wanted to go in to make his acquaintance.

He asked, “Who lives here?” They answered him, “A Baal Shem.”

This filled his mouth with laughter and he said to his friend, “This is another lie and an outrageous mistake! This is even more nonsense than the mistake about the king! Brother, let me tell you about this fallacy, how very much the world is fooled by this lie.

==

Meanwhile they became hungry and found that they still had three or four groschen.

They went into a soup-kitchen type restaurant (Yid. gorkekh, everyman’s kitchen) where food is available for even three, four groschen. They ordered food and they were served.

While they were eating, they talked and made fun of the “lie” and the “error” of the matter of the Baal Shem.

The restaurant owner (gorkekher) heard their talk and was very annoyed, because the Baal Shem was highly esteemed there. He said to them, “Eat up what you have and get out of here.”

Then a son of the Baal Shem arrived there, and they kept on ridiculing the Baal Shem right in front of his son.

The restaurateur growled at them for making fun of the Baal Shem in front of his son, until he lashed out, beating them with injurious blows, and shoved them out of his home. It made them furious and they wanted to seek judgment against the one who had beaten them.

==

They decided to go to their innkeeper, where they had left their luggage, to take counsel with him as to how to obtain judgement for the above assault.

They came and told him that the restaurateur had severely beaten them. He asked them, “Why [did he hit you]?” They told him that they had spoken against the Baal Shem. He responded, “It definitely is not right to hit people, but you behaved completely improperly by talking against the Baal Shem, for the Baal Shem is highly regarded here.”

They saw that he was not for real, that he too was in “error.”

They left him and went to the city clerk, (who was a gentile). They told him the story that they had been beaten. He asked, “What for?” They responded that they had spoken against the Baal Shem. The clerk beat them bloody and shoved them out of his office.

==

They went from this one to that one, each time to a higher authority until they came before the above-mentioned minister.

There, in front of the ministry, were stationed soldiers, i.e., sentries. They announced to the minister that a person needs him, and he ordered him to enter. The khakham came before the minister who immediately recognized him, that this khakham is none other than his friend. However, the khakham did not recognize [the tam] due to his superior status.

Immediately the minister initiated, saying to him, “See my temimuth (my simplicity), to what it has brought me — to greatness such as this! And to what has your cleverness brought you?”

The khakham spoke up and said, “That it turns out that you are my friend, the tam — about this we can speak later. Right now, give me a judgement against them for having hit me.”

He asked him, “Why [did they hit you]?”

He answered him, “Because I spoke against the Baal Shem, that he is a lie and a great fraud.”

Answered up the tam prime minister saying, “You still adhere to your contrivances? Look, you once said you could easily reach my [level], but I could not reach yours. Now see that I have already long reached your [level], as mentioned above [that the tam had already become exceedingly wise as well] but you still have not reached mine. And I see that it is far more difficult for you to come to my temimuth [level of simplicity].”

However, since the tam minister had known him from long ago when [the khakham] was still great, he ordered that he be given garments in which to be attired and he bid that he dine with him.

==

While they were eating, they began to converse, the khakham started trying to prove his aforementioned opinion that there is no king at all.

The tam minister snarled at him, “What!? I myself have seen the king!” The khakham answered him glibly, “Do you know personally that it was the king? Do you know him, his father and his grandfather to have been kings? From where do you know that this is the king? People have told you that this is the king. They have deceived you with a lie.”

The tam became deeply vexed about the khakham, that he should deny the king’s [existence].

==

Meanwhile someone came and said, “The Devil has sent for you!”

The tam shook with terror and ran and told his wife with great trepidation how the Devil had sent for him. She advised him to send for the Baal Shem. He sent for him; the Baal Shem came and gave him kame`as [amulets containing holy names] and [other] protections and told him that he need no longer fear at all.

He had great faith in this.

==

So the khakham and the tam were again sitting together as before.

The khakham asked him, “What were you so terrified about?”

He answered him, “Because of the Devil, who had sent for us.” The khakham ridiculed him, “You believe that there is a Devil?!” He responded, “If not, then who sent for us?”

The khakham answered him, “This is definitely my brother. He wanted to be seen with me, and set up a scam to send for me.” The tam asked him, “If this is so, how did he get past all the sentries?” He answered him, “He certainly bribed them, and they are saying fraudulently the lie that they did not see him at all.”

==

Meanwhile again someone came and said as before, “The Devil has sent for you.”

This time, the simple man was not shaken at all and had no fear whatsoever, on account of the protections from the Baal Shem. He spoke up, saying to the khakham , “Now what do you say?”

He said, “I will inform you that I have a brother who is angry at me. He has set up this scam in order to frighten me.”

He stood and asked the one who had come for them, “What does he look like, the one who sent for us? Which type of facial [structure] and hairstyle does he have, etc., and the like. He answered him, such and such.

The khakham answered up, saying, “See! That is my brother’s appearance!”

[Ed. note: He’s lying…]

==

The tam said to him, “Will you go with them?”

He responded, “Yes. Just give me a few soldiers as zalaga (escorting guards) so that they shouldn’t hurt me.” He gave him a zalaga and the two clever men [the original khakham and the messenger] went with the man who had come for them. The soldiers of the zalaga returned and the tam, the minister asked them,

Where are those sophisticates?” They replied that they do not know at all how they disappeared.

The Devil had snatched those two sophisticates and carried them off to [a place of] slime and mud.

There the Devil would sit on a throne amidst the muck. He threw them into the mire which was thick and sticky, literally like glue, and they were completely unable to move in the muck.

They (these clever guys) screamed (at those who were afflicting them, that is the Devil and his henchmen), “Wicked ones! What are you torturing us for? Is there really a Devil in the world? You are evil, torturing us for no reason!”

(For these smart men still did would not believe that there is a Devil; instead they insisted that evil thugs were persecuting them without cause.)

The two sophisticates were left in the thick mire and were trying to figure out, “What is this? These are nothing but hooligans with whom we had once quarreled, and now they are afflicting us so harshly.”

They remained there, tortured and horribly abused for a number of years.

==

One time the tam–the simple man [who became the prime] minister–passed by the Baal Shem’s home and was reminded of his friend, the khakham, the clever man.

He went in to the Baal Shem and leaned in to him (as is the way of officials [wishing not to be overheard]), asking whether it would be possible to show him the khakham and whether he could extricate him.

He said to the Baal Shem, “Do you remember the khakham whom the Devil sent for and carried away, and who has not been seen since?”

He answered him, “Yes.” He bid him to please show him the place [of the khakham] and to extricate him from there. The Baal Shem said to him, “I can certainly show you his place and take him out. Only no one but you and I may go.”

So they went together. The Baal Shem did what he knew [to transcend space and time in order to locate and go to the place] and they arrived there.

He saw how they lay there in the thick muck and slime.

==

When the khakham noticed the minister, he screamed to him, “Brother, look! They are beating and torturing me so intensely–these hooligans–for no reason!”

The minister snarled at him, “Still, you hold to your contrivances and don’t want to believe in anything at all?! You say these are people?? Now see here! Look! This is the Baal Shem whom you had denied. He is specifically the one who can take you out (and he will show you the truth).”

The tam, the minister, beseeched the Baal Shem to take them out and show them that this is the Devil and that these are not humans.

The Baal Shem did what he did, and they were left standing on the dry land with no mire there at all.

And the damaging demons became plain dust.

Then the khakham saw and begrudgingly was forced to admit to everything, that there is indeed a king [and there is indeed a genuine Baal Shem], etc.

====

[Notes Following the Story]

[Rav Nosson adds the following:] Regarding this story [Rebbe Nachman] gave over the teaching (Likutei Moharan Tinyana #12) which discusses khakhmoth (wisdoms/sophistication/cleverness) and temimuth, (innocence)–that the essence of personal wholeness is only temimuth v’pshituth (innocence and simplicity).

[It further discusses] the matter of Amalek who was [the epitome of] a “khakham” [casting doubt through constant clever over-analysis], who heretically denied the main point [i.e., Hashem and the True Purpose of life] etc.

(See there on the verse in Mishlei (Proverbs) 24, “ShevA` yipoL tzaddiK wekaM/ Seven [times] the tzaddik falls, but rises” — the end-letters of each word spell out `AMaLeK.

==

For the main reason for spiritual falls is khokhmoth [cleverness–always trying to be smart in analyzing and figuring out everything].

Likewise, King Agag, who was a descendant of Amalek, even though he could see his imminent downfall when Samuel arrived…to execute him, he still did not believe, as it says (1 Sam. 15:32), “Agag went ma’adanoth” which Targum Yonatan translates as “went in a self-indulgent manner.” For he still did not believe in his immanent demise.

Not until the the very end did he see his vanquishment with his eyes, as then [he says], “Has the bitterness of death indeed turned unto me?”

For until then, he still did not believe.

(If you will look into this tale, you will perceive wonder of wonders:) And if prayer is not as it needs to be, this is [an example of] the “three-cornered shoe” [Yid. a shikhele mit drei ecken]. Understand this well.

And see also at the end of the book the Rav’s explanation, and you will see wonderful analogous commentaries.

====

Dedicated to ‘Nathan of Gaza’ and JR.

====

I was planning to take today off, but all night, I was dreaming the words ‘synagogue in Uman’.

***UPDATES BELOW***

That was a reference to this:

====

I saw this yesterday, when a contact asked for some sources of information about human rights abuses being carried in Ukraine – by the Ukrainians.

So I started sending her some links, and that’s when I came across the first mention of ‘Uman’ I’ve seen in a long time, in relation to what is going on there right now.

I’ve been finding it strange that after the first week, there has been almost no information at all coming out about what is going on with the Jewish community in Uman. I have no idea if people are still there, if everyone left, if they are OK.

The internet is still working there, other people are still streaming content out of Ukraine every day – even content that is ‘anti’ the Ukrainian neo-Nazis who currently in power there – so the silence from the Jewish community in Uman is very strange.

Unless they all left?

If you do know more, please leave links in the comments section.

====

Here’s the thing: I have never seen a synagogue like this in Uman.

Me and my husband were trying to figure out where this would be.

We were last there in November, and there was nothing like this around area of the Tzion of Rebbe Nachman at that point – which is where you’d expect a synagogue to be.

And there’s no space in that area for a structure like this.

And it’s weird, that anyone would build a synagogue outside of the Jewish area of Uman – especially one that looks so ‘unprotected’ and open.

====

This is that picture of the synagogue blown up:

====

Try as I might, I can’t make out the words on it, apparently in Hebrew.

And we can see from this that the top story is just windows.

I was thinking maybe it was the old Kloyz in Uman, which you can read about more HERE.

This screenshot of the Old Kloyz comes from that site:

====

The new Kloyz was built right next to Rabbenu’s tomb, on Pushkina Street.

So, this ‘synagogue in Uman’ is stumping me.

But it’s becoming ‘an issue’ in the war – and that’s also worrying me, that the Russians are putting out reports about ‘Jews in Uman’ apparently snitching on where the neo-Nazis are storing their weapons, because those animals are violently murdering people in places like Mariupol and Kharkov for much lesser ‘crimes’.

====

If anyone can shed any more light on this ‘synagogue in Uman’, or what is actually happening to the Jewish community in Uman, I’d be grateful.

Because something here just doesn’t seem right.

====

UPDATE:

Thanks to reader (and good friend!) C, for the following links:

Haaretz wrote an article about it:

And somebody toured the shul to show that it’s empty:

==

[Chabad Ukrainian Chief Rabbi Moshe] Azman also showed up to confirm nothing is in the shul:

(When I try to link to that tweet, it’s just bringing up the tweet above….so here is a screenshot:)

====

So, I read this and I started to wonder if it’s a Chabad shul in Uman?

And maybe that’s why I’ve never heard of it?

Then, C. sent me some more information:

====

I think this is the one, Kirya Neemana synagogue:

====
Here’s a screenshot:
====

Where it’s circled in red, that’s Rebbe Nachman’s tomb, and Pushkina Street – the heart of all the Breslov action in Uman.

Where it’s circled in yellow, is the ‘Kirya Ne’emana’ that I’ve never heard of before today.
It might not look like it, but even though it’s relatively close to the Tzion, in terms of the physical distane, it’s a million miles away.
Most of the Jewish visitors to Uman just don’t go to the places far beyond Pushkina unless in a taxi, because it just doesn’t feel so safe to walk around there, honestly, as a visible Jew.
So now, I’m still clicking around trying to find out who built that shul in the middle of nowhere, and who “Natan Ben-Nun of the Rabbi Nachman Foundation in Uman” actually is.
Nothing seems to be coming back to me in English or Hebrew for the ‘Rabbi Nachman Foundation in Uman’, or  – but maybe you’ll have better luck.
====
Back on the Google Maps page, there are a bunch of photos of the shul being constructed, and also THIS one, screenshotted below:
The central figure in this picture is R’ Yaakov Meir Shechter, head of the Breslov shul in Meah Shearim which was home to the psychos (related to the extended Schneerson family in Israel) who have been persecuting Rav Berland for at least the last 30 years.
It seems that this shul is connected to the Meah Shearim Breslov Shul (but I’m happy to stand corrected, as more information turns up.)
====

Meanwhile, there are some strange ‘reviews’ of this shul, including this:

====

And back on the Twitter feed of Ha’aretz journalist Sam Sokol (who is still telling everyone, repeatedly, that THERE ARE NO NEO-NAZIS IN UKRAINE!!!!) – I found the original video from Russia’s military saying that there are weapons being stored there:

(Again, the embed tweet function is playing up. Click HERE, this is a screenshot:)

==

====

In case you forgot, there’s a whole bunch of video and first-hand evidence showing that:

  1. There ARE a lot of neo-Nazis in the Ukraine – and some of them, like the Azov Battalion, were funded by ‘Jewish’ oligarchs like Igor Kolomoisky.
  2. Neo-Nazi ‘Azov Battalion’ is using Israeli guns, and former Israeli ambassadors to Ukraine have admitted meeting with Azov leaders.
  3. Some sort of ‘deal’ was struck between Azov and senior members of the Ukraine Jewish community to ‘protect Jewish religious sites’ in the Ukraine.
  4. In places like Mariupol, these Azov / Right Sector neo-Nazis have been caught on camera, repeatedly, using the basements of places like schools and even hospitals, as their bases and to store weapons.

Here’s a few Telegram channels you can check out for yourself, to get ‘the other side of the story’, that is totally missing from articles by Sam Sokol, and other journalists:

(These aren’t hyperlinked, so cut and paste.)

https://t.me/s/intelslava

https://t.me/s/vicktop55

https://t.me/s/realCRP

A couple of screenshots:

====

And finally:

First-hand witness reports of people who fled Mariupol nearly all seem to be saying the same thing:

The Ukraine army (aka Azov Battalion neo-Nazis) was using civilians as human shields; the Ukraine army was the one deliberately firing on civilians there; the Ukraine army itself destroyed 85% of the city.

Maybe THAT’s the reason none of the Western media seem to be running a lot of interviews with the people fleeing Mariupol.

====

In the comments, Ruth just put a link to another Telegram channel that seems to be updating info from some of the Jews still in Uman.

From what I’m reading there, it sounds like life is going on pretty much as normal in Uman for the Jewish community….

Which kind of seems incredible.

But long may it continue, and long may they stay safe, under the wing of Rabbenu.

Here’s that link:

https://t.me/brslevlive

====

B’kitzur…. all nice and confusing, still.

Let me just leave you with one last screenshot from this morning, from Gonzalo Lira’s Telegram channel HERE:

====

Before Covid 19, this would have seemed fantastic.

Now…

….It seems credible.

TBC

====

UPDATE 2:

I went back to that blown-up picture of the shul, that claims to be showing weapons stored in the basement.

As Hava said in the comments, it looks like a ‘fake’ picture.

That’s partially because the upper story isn’t complete, there are still foundation wires sticking out the concrete, and the windows seem to be ‘hanging in space’. But we know it’s not an unfinished building, as we’ve seen people now walking around that structure, and it doesn’t look the same today.

So – these shots that the Russians are claiming show weapons being stored and moved from this shul seem to be from a while ago.

I’m just trying to piece all this together still, but that seems to be the facts.

====

UPDATE 3:

If you go to THIS Telegram link, you’ll find a video where Al Jazeera is describing the stellar work of the Red Cross in Ukraine…. except when the ambulance pulled up next to them, it disgorged a whole bunch of Ukrainian soldiers, who have been using ambulances to transport themselves, much like our own Palestinian terrorists do.

Screenshot:

====

That’ll do for now, or Shabbat just won’t get cooked.

====

You might also like this article:

I had quite a few comments and emails basically asking the same question: why does the truth matter?

Why stir things up?

Why ‘break things down’, when it’s so very uncomfortable and ‘unpleasant’, to see what’s really hiding under all these stones we’re flipping over.

I had a long car drive yesterday, and I was listening to Yosef Karduner’s ‘Simple Talk’.

The first song on the album basically answered the question in a very powerful, very simple way.

You can listen to it here:

====

It’s basically a passage from Rebbe Nachman’s teachings, (Likutey Moharan Lesson 7, Part I) that Yosef Karduner set to music.

Here’s a little of what the song says, in English:

Know: That the ikker (main point) of galut (exile) is really only due to a lack of emuna.

Because the ikker of the geula (redemption) depends upon emuna….

Help us to understand about this lack of emuna…

It’s impossible to get to emuna, other than by way of truth.

And it’s impossible to get to truth, other than by way of drawing close to the [true] tzaddikim and following their counsel….

For the advice of the [true] Tzaddik is totally truth.

====

The true Tzaddikim give us the true advice, of how to rectify ourselves and the world, and how to see things, and how to get close to God and develop real emuna.

When we follow that ‘true’ advice, things start to work, and things start to get sweetened, and we get geula the sweet way, instead of with all the suffering and pain, God forbid, that comes from clinging on to all the klipot, and the lies that fuel them.

Rabbenu’s advice is very simple:

Do an hour a day of hitbodedut, try and judge yourself over every thought, word and action, dance and clap to sweeten the harsh judgments, and work on really developing emuna that ein od milvado, there is only Hashem.

====

Prayer is what fixes the world.

Hitbodedut, Tikkun Haklalis, talking to God, sincere shmoneh esrei, dancing and clapping and singing – this is what is really fixing the world.

Plus developing a connection to the TRUE tzaddikim, so we can follow their TRUE advice for how to give God what He really wants from us.

If we don’t know who is a true tzaddik, and who at least might be what Rabbenu refers to as ‘Jewish demon Torah scholars’, we can be following the wrong spiritual path all of our life – with the best of intentions – and never get to where we so very much yearn to be.

I.e. in a world of true peace, harmony and emuna.

(Look at Likutey Moran Lesson 12, Part I, for more on these ‘Jewish demon Torah scholars. They are connected to the klipa of Lavan, that Hava shared some interesting thoughts about HERE.)

====

To those that say ‘who are we, to be engaged in this process of birur?’

Rabbenu says this (Lesson 5, part I, Likutey Moharan:)

Each and every individual must say to himself, ‘The entire world was created only for me’ (Sanhedrin 37a).

“And since the world was created for me, it is my responsibility to look after and have in mind the betterment of the world at all times, to fill the needs of the world and to pray for its inhabitants.

====

People are suffering all over the place, and that can and will intensify until the world of lies finally falls, and we have geula.

And each of us has a part to play, in dismantling that ‘world of lies’ – particularly the inner world of lies, that tells us we are such big tzaddikim, and that we never get things wrong, and that the problem is only and always in everyone else.

====

To those who ask ‘how do we know which path is correct, to bring geula?’

Take a look at Likutey Moharan Lesson 20, Part I, where Rabbenu expands in more detail on the ‘story’ he brings in the book ‘Tzaddik’ (in English translation), in the section called ‘New Stories, No. 209’.

It’s a story of many people sitting around someone who is ‘lying on the ground’, apparently teaching Torah to those who are sitting in a circle, surrounded by more and more circles of people.

This is an allusion to a spiritual leader, or ‘Tzaddik’. This ‘Tzaddik’ then dies, and here is what happens next:

====

After this, they all started to run and I ran after them. I saw two palaces – very fine, beautiful buildings. Sitting there were two commanders.

They all ran to these two commanders and started arguing with them. “Why did you deceive us?” They wanted to kill them.

The commanders fled outside. I saw them and their nature was very good in my eyes. I ran after them and I saw in the distance a beautiful tent (ohel). From there, they cried out to the commanders: ‘Turn back and seek out all the merits you have and take them in your hands, and go to the light which is hanging there. There, you will accomplish everything you want.

They turned back and took their merits – there were bundles of merits there  and they ran to the light. The commanders came and threw their merits to the lights. From the light, sparks fell into their mouths.

Then the NOR, lamp, turned into a NahaR, river, and everybody drank from the river, and creatures were formed inside of them. Whey started to speak the creatures came out of them and I saw them running and returning. They were neither men nor any kind of animal – just creatures….

====

…In the meantime, there was an order to kill the commanders and they cut off their heads.

Meanwhile, the sequence of events returned to what it had been before…

…They ran to the commanders – everything happened as described before – except that now I saw that the commanders did not throw their merits to the light.

They simply took their merits and went to the light and broke their hearts, and began to beg and make entreaties before the light, and sparks fell from the light into their mouths. 

They entreated more, and the light turned into a river, and the creatures were formed etc.

They told me, “These ones will live” – because the first ones deserved to be killed for throwing their merits to the light and not making entreaties, like these latter ones.

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We see from here that ‘doing mitzvahs’ – while it’s wonderful and good – did not achieve the end result by itself.

Because people get puffed-up with pride and arrogance when they are doing a bunch of mitzvahs, and then they start demanding ‘Moshiach NOW!!!’ and thinking that God has to give it to them, because of all the mitzvahs they are doing.

That approach fails, and the ‘commanders’ have their head cut off and everything has to go begin over again, from scratch.

That second time, there’s another Tzaddik teaching circles of students, who also dies.

But now, the ‘commanders’ – the students that take over the leadership of the movement, and who are also trying to get to geula and Moshiach – try a different approach.

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They are still doing mitzvot, and keeping Hashem’s Torah.

But they know that THIS isn’t what bring the geula, directly.

What brings the geula is ‘breaking their hearts’, and begging and entreating ‘the light’ – i.e. Hashem.

I.e. hitbodedut, judging ourselves, reciting Tikkun Haklalis, everything we highlighted above as Rabbenu’s main advice, or etzot.

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In Lesson 20, Rabbenu explains a little more.

There, he says this:

“Moses was meant to take his dominion of might (i.e. staff) that he earned from his mitzvot and good deeds, and ‘gather the people’, for when people are gathered, there are evil ones among them, and the staff of might is meant to subdue their evil.

Then, ‘speak to the rock in their presence’….pouring out one’s words and prayers with supplication, like a pauper and a beggar.

‘To the rock’ refers to the Supernal Heart…

But Moses did not do this….'[H]e struck the rock twice…’ meaning that he struck the Supernal Heart, as one who grabs something forcefully and without consent, for he sought in the power of his good deeds…

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“These were the waters of strife.”

For this reason, one should never pressure oneself for anything, but beg with supplication. 

If God grants it, good, and if not, not.

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All these ‘false messiahs’ started off with very beautiful intentions.

Rabbenu himself says about them:

I saw them and their nature was very good in my eyes.

But they were following the wrong advice, the wrong etzot, and it ended in disaster, both for them, and the people who were following after them.

So now, here we are again, trying the whole thing again, and this time, we need to proceed with maximum humility, maximum prayer, and to know that ‘doing one more mitzvah’ isn’t what’s going to bring Moshiach, especially if we’re trying to force the issue, and ‘assert ourselves’ against Hashem.

Prayer, hitbodedut, Tikkun Haklali, dancing and singing, mesirut nefesh and recognising that really, we are just spiritual paupers and beggars – this is what succeeds, where that other path failed.

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It’s the difference between this:

L’chatchila Ariber (Niggun of the Rebbe Maharash): The tune and the name of this melody represent Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch’s famous adage on dealing with challenges:

“The world says, ‘If you can’t crawl under an obstacle, try to climb over,’ but I say, ‘At the outset, one should climb over!'”

And THIS:

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And it makes all the difference in the world.

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We are all in this together.

(This is going to be a really long post. Make yourself comfortable.)

I know some readers feel I am ‘going after’ Chabad, whatever that actually means, by trying to get to the bottom of our very tangled collective family tree, but in this post, I’m going to explain how the only thing I’m ‘going after’ is the truth.

Here’s how all this started, around two years ago, when the persecution and ‘trial by media’ of Rav Eliezer Berland kicked off again, in Israel.

I was starting work on ‘One in a Generation’ volume 3 – which at this stage, will probably never happen – when I got the idea in my head that I should try to pin down who exactly was running the State of Israel, so I could start to understand more of why exactly they were persecuting the Rav, like this.

Very quickly, I got deep into ‘Frankist-Freemason’ territory, and my mind started to be blown by what I was learning.

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And then, I got to THIS strange post, on the Kotzker Blog, which quoted the notorious Frankist descendent Athol Bloomer describing how he believed he descended from Rebbe Nachman, thus:

“Rebbe Nachman of Breslov was married twice. His first wife Sashia of Brody (Alexandra Body/ Braude) was the daughter of the secret Frankist Rebbe Benjamin Ephraim Braude (aka Alexander Margoliot/ Sender Brody) of Sheklov. She was the mother of most of his children. His wife died in 1807 and he remarried soon after to Devorah Brody (Braude) a daughter of the Frankist Rebbe of Sheklov and his second wife Rachel Mayer a granddaughter of Rebbe Jacob Frank. In 1808 Rebbe Nachman disappeared with his new wife to Lvov for 8 months to await the secret birth of his son named Jacob ben Rebbe Nachman (BaRoN) who he left with the Frankists to rear. This son later used the name Yankel Baron…”

The writer then claims to be descended from Yankel Baron.

“Yankel Baron (b.1808 Lvov) married Bracha Zaslavski (b.1819) a daughter of Aharon Zaslavski and Chaya (b.1801) a daughter of Rebbe Nachman [i.e. he married his niece]. Bracha’s sister Miriam Chaya Zaslavski (1820-1860) married Michael Brennan (b.1820 Sheklov) a grandson of Rabbi Nathan (Nosan) of Nemirov the Chief Disciple of Rebbe Nachman. Michael’s father was Moshe ben Rabbi Nathan of Nemirov (BReNaN/ BRENN) who became a follower of the Alter Rebbe’s son Moshe ben Schneur Zalman [who had become the leader of the Jewish Catholics (secret Frankists)]. Moshe (b.1795 d.1865 Kilkenny Ireland) and his wife Sarah Auerbach (b.1807) (daughter of Adil and R. Yoska) was removed from the family tree and records of the family by the Jewish community…”

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Let’s be very clear, that I got to this post right at the beginning of my search into ‘what was really going on’, within the Jewish community, and before I’d done all the tons of research I have now done.

And there was this claim, sticking straight in my face, that Rebbe Nachman was somehow directly connected to the ‘Frankists’ and even had Catholic-Frankist descendents??!?!?

At that point, I had a choice.

I could either carry on pretending that I’d never seen this claim, and just not check out it’s factual basis and accuracy – and then forever have that gnawing feeling that perhaps I was lying to myself, and fooling myself about something way too big to really ignore.

Or.

I could take a deep breath, and try to figure out what was true.

Because God’s seal is truth. And even when it’s our beloved way of life, our religious ‘beliefs’, our connection to a Rebbe who has mamash changed everything around for the better – we still need to know the truth, about who that person really is, and where they are really coming from.

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So, that’s how I started to research this topic so seriously, that it has literally consumed the best part of two years.

And that’s why I’m telling you, that we are all in this together.

Very soon in my research, I noticed that ‘Breslov’ was being used to deflect attention away from ‘Chabad’, and their genealogy and family tree. Basically, nearly everything that was being ‘pinned’ on Breslov, and Rabbenu’s followers and descendants, usually without any basis, I was finding over there in real life, on the Chabad side of the equation.

That’s how I started researching that “secret Frankist Rebbe Benjamin Ephraim Braude (aka Alexander Margoliot/ Sender Brody) of Sheklov” that I’ve written so much about.

Athol Bloomer’s accounts are a potent mixture of truth and lies – and figuring out what is what has been quite the process.

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While Chabad’s deep ties to Frankists and Sabbateans are becoming more and more obvious, I’ve continued to have that niggling question:

What really happened to Rebbe Nachman’s daughter, Chaya, and her marriage to ‘Aharon Zaslavksi’?

And for the rest of this post, I’m going to try to answer that question.

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As I’ve been saying all along, the Jewish people is just one, big family.

There is good and bad mixed up inside every single one of us, regardless of our ‘affiliation’. This is not a question of one ‘group’ being 100%, unimpeachably ‘perfect’ and everyone else being wrong.

Every single person has work to do, to identify, refine and ultimately uproot their bad middot.

And that applies to Chabad, to Breslov, to the Litvaks, to the Sephardim – to absolutely everyone.

Just it seems to me, authentic Breslov people are way more honest, about the spiritual struggles that are really going on ‘under the bonnet’. They are actually engaging in that work of ‘fixing middot‘ a lot of the time, especially by way of regular hitbodedut.

And when you are engaged in the task of recognising your own bad middot, it makes it way easier to spot them on the outside, too.

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So, let’s get back to Aharon Zaslavski, the second husband of Rebbe Nachman’s daughter, Chaya.

Here’s the basic background:

Rebbe Nachman, and Rav Natan, after him, were exceedingly careful about who Rabbenu’s children married.

With hindsight, I’ve come to realise that the religious Jewish community was so infiltrated by ‘secret Sabbateans’ and ‘secret Frankists’ of every stripe, at this point in time, that finding an upright spouse for your kid, amongst the families with yichus, was becoming an almost impossible task.

And make no mistake, Rabbenu also had ‘yichus’.

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His paternal grandfather, Nachman Horodenka, was the nephew of the famous Sabbatian prophet, the Eshel Avraham.

Nachman Horodenka’s second cousin was the Chacham Tzvi – their grandparents were siblings, and they have the same great-grandfather, namely ‘Jacob (the Elder) Halevi Koppel Heller Frankel.

On Rabbenu’s maternal side, he was descended from the Baal Shem Tov.

In turn, the Baal Shem Tov was part of the wider ‘Isserles’ clan, connected to the REMA.

The infamous Shor / Gunzburg family of Sabbateans also descends from the REMA and /or, the REMA’s brother, Eliezer Isserles (I’m still unpicking all the deliberate mixing up… stay tuned.)

So Rabbenu’s family was mamash in the middle of that very strong current of ‘Sabbateanism’ that was still eddying throughout the whole of the Jewish community, and in the process of crystallising into ‘Frankism’.

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The holy Baal Shem Tov came to ‘rectify’ Sabbateanism.

He took a lot of their teachings, their ‘more spiritual and miraculous’ approach to life, and he infused it with the kedusha required to sweeten it, as part of his new approach of chassidut.

Before the BESHT came along, there were a lot of ‘miracle workers’ and ‘Baal Shems’ – but they were using the names of demons to basically do black magic.

‘Black magic’, or ‘practical kabbalah’ is where you are trying to make something happen in the natural world, using unnatural means.

This can still result in ‘miracles’ – and it often did result in miracles, and miraculous ‘cures’ – but those miracles are coming from an impure place, and they run a very high risk of entraining the ‘miracle worker’ to the world of evil that he thinks he’s controlling.

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Rebbe Nachman talks about this, in his story of ‘The Cripple’.

There, he explains that:

The [Demon] King now said to [the Sage]: “Because you are such a unique man, I will give you a book with all the families of the devils. There are spiritual masters who only know one family, and even that they do not know completely. I will give you a book with all the families….

….Later on, when the Sage reached his time to pass on from the world, he called together his children and commanded them, saying:

“I leave you with this book. You see that I have the power to use this book in holiness, and nevertheless I do not use it. I simply put my trust in Hashem, may He be blessed. Neither should you use it. Even if there be among you one who is able to use it in holiness, even so, do not use it, and rather, trust in Hashem.”

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Conjuring the names of demons – even for ostensibly ‘good’ purposes – is a very risky business, spiritually.

And we see from this story, that the BESHT’s new approach was to replace all this ‘practical kabbalah / black magic’ of trying to ‘force’ things to happen in the world, with a faith-based approach of practical emuna, instead.  Of course, I’m oversimplifying, but the basic idea is that we accept God’s will, but also pray to God to change things and to ‘sweeten things’, instead of trying to take matters into our own hands.

It’s the difference between ‘hitting the rock’ and ‘speaking to the rock’.

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So, the BESHT came out of that same family where so many of his relatives were the leading lights in the underground ‘secret Sabbatian’ movement.

He lived at a time where ‘practical kabbalists’ were working ‘miracles’ all over the place as ‘Baal Shems’ – or ‘masters of the name’. And the ‘names’ they were using for their miracles were the names of demons, as alluded to by Rebbe Nachman, in his tale of The Cripple.

I’m still unpicking Rabbi Nachman Horodenker’s side of the story, but I can tell you he descends from the same ‘interesting people’ I’ve been researching for a while.

Rabbi Nachman Horodenker lived at the time when Jacob Benjamin Loeb Frankel’s ‘Frankist’ movement was gaining steam across Podolia and Galicia – with literally hundreds of adherents who were RABBIS in their community.

At this point, I think R’ Nachman Horodenker was trying to split off from these influences by drawing close to the BESHT. And I think that’s also why he arranged for his son Simcha – Rebbe Nachman of Breslov’s father – to be raised in the BESHT’s own home from a very young age, even though Rabbi Nachman Horodenker was still alive.

====

So, Rabbenu was born into a family with a lot of illustrious yichus, most of which connected him straight into the heart of the growing Sabbatean-Frankist revival.

I am still in the process of trying to figure out the specific links, but I am certain that the Alter Rebbe and Rebbe Nachman were blood relatives, via their shared ‘Isserles’ connections.

And as we know, members of these ‘illustrious’ families all married each other, again and again and again, throughout history.

So, when I first learned that Rebbe Nachman’s daughter Chaya had married ‘Aharon Zaslavski’, who is meant to be the Alter Rebbe’s grandson via his daughter Frieda, I wasn’t shocked.

This marriage took place after Rabbenu’s death, and was Chaya’s second marriage.

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Chaya’s first marriage was to Zalman ben Yaakov Yosef, of Zlatipolia.

According to the Breslov Research Institute’s book, Until the Mashiach, Chaya has one child from her first marriage, called ‘Nachman Chayales’. He married the grand-daughter of Shlomo of Karlin and Baruch of Medzhibozh.

(Like I said, it’s a very small gene-pool…)

Apparently, she then had three more children with ‘Aharon Zaslavski’, including:

Yechiel – who married his cousin Sterna Sashia, the daughter of Nachman Chayales.

Adil – who married Avraham of Kiniev.

And:

Rochel – who married an unidentified ‘Yitzchok’.

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This is what I learned, all those months ago, before I knew just how ‘deep’ in the Sabbatean-Frankist parsha the Alter Rebbe’s family actually is.

So then, as a natural next step to trying to ascertain the truth of Bloomer’s fantastic claims about Bracha Zaslavski and Yankel Baron, I started looking into the family tree of Aharon Zaslavski, himself. And very quickly, I found myself in an historical quagmire.

This comes from HERE:

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Stupid me, I thought it would be relatively easy to figure out who he was, and who his father was.

Two years’ later, I am still deep in that extended process of trying to figure it out, but let’s see where we get to, today.

Here’s the ‘official story’ of Aharon Zaslavksi’s family, from Chabad:

Rebbetzin Freida SCHNEURI (b. Leozna, Poland) married to Rabbi Eliyahu ben Rabbi Mordechai KLUTZKAR. They had two children:

* Boruch married the daughter of Binyomin KLETZKER.
* Aharon ZASLAVSKI from Kremenchug. He married Chayeh daughter of Rebbe Nachman.

Family book of Rabbi from Ladi, ref #13

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Frieda Schneuri is meant to be the oldest daughter of the Alter Rebbe.

Her son is the ‘Aharon Zaslavski’ who married Rebbe Nachman’s daughter, Chaya. But if you look carefully, you’ll notice that he also married someone else, who strangely, is not mentioned in the ‘Family book of Rabbi from Ladi’, which chronicles the Alter Rebbe’s official family tree.

Aharon has another wife, called ‘Chaya Sarah Alexanderov (nee Shneuri or Schneourson)’.

And here’s where we are probably going to learn something very interesting.

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THIS screenshot, above, comes from the MyHeritage site for ‘Rbzn Rivka Schneerson (born ALEXANDROV).

It names her parents as none other than Aharon Klutzkar-Zaslavsky and ‘Chaya Sara Debarmikder’.

Rbzn Rivka Schneerson marries the Rebbe MAHARASH, the 4th Rebbe of Chabad who we talked about HERE, and is the mother of the 5th Rebbe, the RaShab.

Now, we have a bit of a conundrum to unpick.

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On geni HERE, we see this:

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This names Rbzn Rivka’s parents as ‘Aaron Moshe Alexanderov’ and ‘Rbzn Chaya Sarah Alexandrov’.

That makes Rbzn Rivka the g-g-granddaughter of Jacob Frank(el), via her paternal grandmother Rebbetzin Leah Golda Alecsanderov (nee Broida).

If that’s all we discovered today, dayenu.

We already knew that the Rebbes’ families were blood relatives of the Eshel Avraham and Jacob Frank.

But it still doesn’t explain how ‘Aharon Zaslavsky’ – and his ‘secret Frankist offspring’ – totally fits into the picture, so let’s just try and figure this out a tiny bit more.

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If you go HERE, you’ll see the geni entry for ‘Aaron Moshe Alexanderov‘:

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This tree is based on the account of the Rebbe Rayatz (6th Admor of Chabad), who tells us that Reb Moshe Alexanderov, Aharon’s father, is the son of the Alter Rebbe’s favorite chassid, Rabbi Alexander ‘Sander’ ben Tzvi Hirsch of Shklov.

I’ve been piercing a lot of information together the last few months, and I’m 90% sure that this ‘Alexander Sander’ is the brother of none other than Baron Joshua Zeitlin (Zeitlis).

I don’t want to overwhelm you with info, so park that for now.

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Compare and contrast what’s above, with THIS, the family tree for Aharon’s mum, Lea Golda Alexanderov, the Eshel Avraham’s grand-daughter:

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I know, my head is also spinning from all this.

It’s not so much the information, it’s all the lies.

That ‘Reb Sender’ who is Aharon Zaslavsky’s maternal grandfather is the same guy fingered by Bloomer as the:

“secret Frankist Rebbe Benjamin Ephraim Braude (aka Alexander Margoliot/ Sender Brody) of Sheklov”.

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(Astute readers may have noticed the massive problem this presents, in terms of Chabad genealogy.)

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Let’s see if we can throw a bit more light on this by looking at Aharon Zaslavksi’s brother, Boruch, who is meant to have married the daughter of ‘Binyamin Kletzker’.

Binyamin Kletzker was another famous talmid of the Alter Rebbe, and has a lot of stories told about him, like this, from HERE:

Few Chassidim intrigue us as much as Reb Binyomin Kletzker.

His greatness was that he was a phenomenally successful businessman, whose every action and decision was influenced by and in accordance with the Chassidus he learnt. Those teachings permeated him to such an extent that quite often, to the shock of his associates, he would become absorbed in a thought of Chassidus in the middle of his transactions, reflecting on it for an extended period of time.

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I’m pretty sure THIS is the same guy, R’ Binyomin Volf Klatzki Gunzburg:

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Binyomin Vulf Klatzi Gunzburg is the first cousin of Naftali Hirsch Gunzburg, the dad of Gabriel Yakov Gunzburg.

You know, the grand-dad of this guy:

Baron Joseph Gunzburg (who was doing very similar things, at very similar times, to the 4th Rebbe MAHARASH of Chabad.)

Binyomin Vulf Klatzi Gunzburg is also married to the niece of the Vilna Gaon, R’ Eliyahu Rivlin.

(Yes, that’s a new piece of information I discovered just yesterday. The Vilna Gaon was apparently ‘R’ Eliyahu Rivlin’, the son of ‘Shlomo Zalman Rivlin’.

Just think how many ‘Rivlins’ shaped and are still shaping the modern State of Israel, and then start to understand why so much of this has been covered up.)

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There are no siblings – at all – listed for ‘Binyomin Vulf Klatzi Gunzburg.

As you may have noticed, I could go on forever with this stuff…

But here’s the takeaway, for this post:

We can’t be scared to follow the truth down, wherever it takes us, and however uncomfortable it really makes us.

Once we know what is really going on, and why our communities and world is so very broken, then we can really start to take the steps required, and say the prayers required, to fix it.

It’s as simple as that.

If we don’t know ‘the problem’, we can’t work out ‘the cure’.

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Do I think that Rebbe Nachman has some ‘Frankist’ descendants today?

It’s possible, but at this stage I think it’s unlikely.

Rabbenu brought back ‘the gift of opposition’ for Breslov chassidut from Israel, which means Breslov is constantly being picked apart and criticised. That makes it a very difficult place for ‘secret Frankists’ to hang out, generally, and also means Breslov generally has very little secular power or influence.

It does seem, tho, that there WERE ‘close mishpocha’ of Rabbenu who really were very deep in the Sabbatian-Frankist parsha, and who seem to have a habit of ‘projecting’ all their own stuff onto authentic Breslov.

As is still happening today, with Rav Berland and Shuvu Banim.

Remember, when one of these people was quoted extensively in the Israeli press accusing the Rav of being another ‘false messiah’ and another ‘Shabtai Tzvi?’

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But the point is, really, that there is good and bad in everyone’s closets.

There is good and bad in everyone’s hearts.

There is good and bad in everyone’s actions.

We are all an admixture of good and bad, that needs clarifying and rectifying.

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Going forward, I want to issue a plea:

Let’s just figure out the truth of what is really going on here, as a nation, as a people, so we can work together to figure out the solution, and get geula the sweet way.

Chabad for sure has tremendous good in it too, and tremendously good people. Breslov for sure, as a movement, still has its fair share of crazy psychos with bad middot, including the people who have been persecuting the Rav for the last 20 years.

We need to move past the ‘sectarianism’, and the ‘my Rebbe is bigger than your Rebbe’ stuff, and all the ‘pretending’ that our leaders are perfect saints who never had any doubts, or any crises of faith, or had any massive inherited skeletons in their closet.

And just figure out what is really going on here, so we can join together and fix it.

As one nation, with one heart, all trying to serve the One True Hashem.

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The truth shouldn’t scare us.

Even all those ‘false messiahs’ had some spark of good, and were trying to somehow ‘fix’ the world spiritually – just they made some massive mistakes, got mixed up with demonic forces, and very quickly fell into even bigger spiritual mistakes that we are still suffering from today.

But Rabbenu teaches:

If you believe you can break, believe you can fix.

So yalla, let’s do it already.

Geula is waiting.

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