R’ Nachman of Breslev was a mystery during his life as much as after his death. The man who didn’t make it past 40 has intrigued all sorts for 2 centuries now. Ranging all the way from Me’ah She’arim Ultra-Orthodox to academics and Californian new-age types – R’ Nachman is a celebrated figure as original and relevant today as he ever has been.
What makes this great Chassidic master so unique and extraordinary? What is it that possesses such a diverse crowd?
Contrary to many mystics of his era, R’ Nachman did not center the foundation of his movement upon miracles and supernatural experiences. History has proven those to be inefficient as far as maintaining long-term progress and commitment. The founder of Breslever Chassidism preferred to focus on personal advice that would guide those who open their hearts. If you listen closely you might hear a soft voice from the depth of the endless Ukrainian forests that urges: “kids – try this at home!”
Take for example his teachings on hitbodedut, a subject upon which he put much emphasis. Hitbodedut is the act of turning to God with one’s personal words. The inspiration and awesomeness that is planted in the soul, heart and mind of one who practices this spiritual exercise may very well resonate with a person due to the fact that it is not imposed externally rather grows from within.
Imagine R’ Nachman at his headquarters in his blue jeans, black turtle neck and shtreimle appearing before the frenzied masses who are worn down by anticipation. And then he finally gives it to them: It’s God’s phone number – and it’s toll free! Hitbodedut is no less exciting than that, plus you don’t have to get in line early in the morning to be one of the first to use it.
My Momma always says that even though you can call the Almighty from all over, in Israel it’s a local call. I guess now that we’ve established that it happens to be a toll free number I should update the idea: You can place your call from anywhere, but chances are you’ll be more motivated to actually use the phone in the Holy Land. Well, there’s also the issue of the quality of the line and the number of dropped calls…
 See for instance Exodus 32 where we read about the sin of the golden calf which took place shortly after incomparable miracles and Godly revelations.
 See Likutei Moharan B:25
 Although the truth is that spiritual data seem to flow faster during that time.
 See Likutei Moharan A:155 and notice the connection between the conclusion and the opening statement.