On Uman

 Posted by on September 12, 2012
Sep 122012

Reb Nachman asks the dancing men on his grave to shut up

We’re reading some of Reb Nachmen of Breslev’s writings this semester in college. Yes, of all things we study at Sarah Lawrence, Reb Nachmen’s works made the cut for my modern Jewish literature class, and I’m looking forward to it. Reb Nachmen was a prolific writer, called by some the most innovative of all Hasidic Rebbes in his unusual tales. He was described in Gottlober’s Yiddish memoir as a total fruitcake who wandered off in the woods and took off into poetic spheres that bordered on crazy. His disciples follow his fruitcake path piously to this day. You see them in the streets dancing to the n-n-nachmen music with those waterfall-tipped yarmulkas, and you meet them in the parks trying to smuggle indecipherable pamphlets into your bag. One Breslever attacked me with a long Hebrew rant, which I appreciated only because it was an opportunity to practice Hebrew in New York. These men are indefatigable. The Breslevers are probably the only remaining group that is Hasidic and not reactionary and purely rigid.

Breslever draw some of their people out of mainstream Hasidism. A friend of mine’s husband somehow got drawn to their spirited movement. Oy, it vas not goot. Some family members disowned him, but worse, my friend had no control over the whole situation. We were all wary of him. He went to Uman, spent hours in his kupka and grew long payos to his naval and read trippy mystical writings. He was not “normal”

Frieda Vizel

Frieda Vizel left the Hasidic community, the Modern Orthodox community and the Formerly Orthodox (OTD) community. She now lives in Pomona and is actively looking for a new community to leave. She deals with the perplexities of the communities she left by drawing cartoons about them, a habit that gets her into an excellent amount of trouble.

  8 Responses to “On Uman”

  1. As a group of women famously said, Shut up and sing!

  2. Should you join, we can expect the other half of the world population to be cpnregating there soon thereafter.

  3. I agree, Breslovers, are the closest living thing to 18th century Chassidus, and this includes both, the lively street dancers and the uptight woods praying devotees. This is partly because they haven’t appointed a new rebbe to skew things.

  4. If the women start going to Uman, the local hookers will lose out on business. Don’t infringe on their territory.

  5. My favorite R’ Nachman quote:

    In this land [eastern Europe] ba

  6. love zees’ comment.

    And great cartoon, I do believe the Rebbe would’ve disapproved of all the noise they make on foreign territory.

  7. See Rabbi Yissocher Frand’s teshuva drusha (around the 10 minute mark or further.)
    Shpitz, if you were a man you could speak at Metlife Stadium!!

    And while you’re at it, check out the Bais Yakov girl’s letter to her Menahel at 7 min 20 sec. What say you to that?

  8. Actually women do go to Uman, mostly around Chanuka.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.