Uman on Rosh Hashana
by Daniel Weil
Being in Uman, Rebbe Nachman's burial place, on Rosh Hashana has many beautiful inspiring aspects. I mingled with Jews from all over the world, from every style and flavor of Judaism.The Breslever Chasidim from Meah Shearim and Bnei Brak were certainly expected. But there were thousands of secular Jews , traditional Jews, and also modern Orthodox Jews from
For a week prior to Rosh Hashana the Na- Nachim inspired lively dancing in the streets accompanied by blastingly loud new-age trance style Rav Nachman music till 2 a.m.
In Rav Nachman's Tziyun, a large building that can hold about 2000 worshippers, there was non-stop spontaneous dancing , singing, and cheering till 2 a.m. every night led by young men, some of whom looked like fans of Betar Yerushalayim.
Surrounding the dancers were hundreds of men praying intensely, saying Tehillim, talking their own words to G-d in Hitbodidut and learning Torah 24 hours daily. There were hundreds of children of all ages singing and davening.
In the nearby “Kloiz”, the main shul built to hold 10,000 worshippers, there were non-stop amazing shiurim in several languages, by Breslov's top speakers from all over the world daily till 2 a.m. The crowd was enthusiastic and spontaneously sang with great joy and fervor in between shiurim.
On erev Rosh Hashana at noon , all the 25,000 people in Uman went out to the streets to Recite the Tikun Clali, the 10 chapters of Tehillim selected by Rebbe Nachman for general Rectification. Then there was public Kabalat Ol Malchut Shamayim like at the end of Yom Kippur, amplified on loudspeakers.There are no words to describe how much it was inspiring and moving. Then there was tremendous dancing and singing in the streets.
The davening on Rosh Hashana was incredible with the main minyan having 8,000 people stuffed into a shul for 5,000. There were other large and small minyanim, even several impromptu minyanim in the middle of the main streets. Groups from all over the world set up their own minyanim.
Tashlich had 25,000 Jews dancing and singing around a lake near the Tziyun, with several photographers and TV reporters recording the remarkable event.
There was constant visible joy all week on all the Jewish faces as thousands walked back and forth on Uman's few main streets.
There were dozens of Ukranian taxis always lined up to take us to other Kivrei Tzadikim in the area, Breslov or Medzebodz.
There was a special supermarket from
Interspersed with the Jews were Ukranian soldiers and policemen at every street corner, and every 20 meters. Why? They claim to keep the peace and watch us carefully.
But why did all these Jews leave their homes to come to Uman?
For several reasons.
1. Rebbe Nachman wanted his followers to come to him every Rosh Hashana while he was alive and also after his death to his Tziyun. He said that his main work in life is to help Jews to improve in Avodat Hashem and to reveal G-dliness in the world. He provides tikunnim, elevating Am Yisrael's prayers and Jewish souls all year round , even after his death, but he said the main day he can make tikunnim is on Rosh Hashana.
2. Rebbe Nachman's ideas of serving Hashem with tremendous fervor and joy has been gaining favor with thousands of Jews all over the world. Many Jews have come close to G-d by learning the Rebbe's books and practicing his advice such as Hitbodidut, Mikva, Davening with fervor and living life with more Emuna and they feel they want to identify with the Rebbe Nachman and his students. This is the Breslover's kibbutz, annual gathering.As a Brelover Chassid they want to listen to the Rebbe's call to be with him on Rosh Hashana .
3. Rebbe Nachman explained that in order to merit a Tzaddik's help in serving G-d, a Jew must bind himself to the Tzaddik. Binding oneself to a Tzaddik is done by learning his writings, following his advice on how to live one's life , following his example, and also by coming to him on Rosh Hashana, or to his Tziyun after his passing away.
4. Rebbe Nachman promised that if anyone comes to his gravesite and says the Tikun Clali and gives Tzedaka there, he will make sure to work hard to bring his neshama to be in Olam Haba, even to pull him out of Gehinom by his peyot.
5. Many followers feel they owe a debt of gratitude to their Rebbe, who has helped them so much in living a more meaningful life.
6. Some people who are not actual followers of the Rebbe, just supporters, come to be part of a wonderful inspiring Jewish event on Rosh Hashana that gives them a spiritual injection that lasts for a long time, sometimes years!