Thursday, July 27, 2006
Na Nach Nachma Nachman Me'uman
I recently saw this picture on Mentalblog.com of one of our soldiers in Lebanon putting this famous nachman picture and slogan in his pocket in order to protect him.
When I was In Israel, I was astounded to see how popular this slogan has become. There is scarcely a billboard, fruit shop, or motorbike where this sticker or graffiti does not appear. I asked a secular man who has one of these pictures in his real estate agency why he chose to put it up? He said some Breslovers came and told him it would be good for business, and with business going the way it is at the moment in Israel, every little bit helps.
Acoording to this source The Na Nach Nachma phrase was revealed and taught by Rabbi Yisroel Ber Odesser, a controversial Breslov figure born in 1905 in Tveria. He was among the first Breslover Hasidim in Israel. When he was only 17 years old, Odesser was overcome with weakness and hunger on the Fast of Tammuz. He decided to eat. But immediately after eating, he felt great sorrow at having succumbed to his own physical temptations. Then a powerful thought came to him: "Go into your room!" He obeyed the inner voice, went to the bookcase, and randomly opened a book. In the book was a piece of paper that would later be known as "The Letter from Heaven." This paper contained a greeting, some text that referred to the Fast of Tammuz, and the Na Nach Nachma mantra.
It read as follows:
It was very hard for me to descend to you, my precious student, to tell you that I benefited greatly from your service. And to you I say, my fire will burn until the coming of the Messiah -- be strong and courageous in your service -- Na Nach Nachma Nachman Me'Uman. And with this I shall tell you a secret: Full and heaped up from line to line, and with strong devotional service you will understand it. And the sign is: They will say you are not fasting on the 17th of Tammuz.Odesser believed the letter to be a message of consolation, directly from Rebbe Nachman's spirit to himself here on earth.
The popularity of this phenomenon is not without controversy. Rabbi Zev Reichmann (head of the Yeshiva University Mechina Program, student of Rav Aaron Soloveitchik, and son of Rav Herschel Reichmann) notes that many within common Orthodox society hold the view that people who wear "Na Nach Nachma" yarmulkes (see below) are not considered to be real Breslovers.
So what’s your view? Have you ever used this phrase or photo to bring you good luck?