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Uman Rosh Hashana

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By: Rabbi Ari Enkin

It’s time to address the widespread practice among Israeli followers of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov of leaving Eretz Yisrael to spend Rosh Hashana at his gravesite in Uman each year – and I really will try to be balanced. A number of authorities insist that this annual pilgrimage, including all other departures from Eretz Yisrael simply in order to visit gravesites, is without halachic support. It is also argued that doing so is an insult to all the tzaddikim who are buried in Israel. Furthermore, the money used to finance such trips could be better put towards charitable causes.[1] As Rav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook once said: “are we without graves in the Land of Israel that you travel to the Exile?!”[2] Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, and Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv have all ruled likewise.

 Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach was deeply disturbed that there were people who leave Eretz Yisrael for reasons that are not halachically justifiable. When he was invited to his grandson’s Bar Mitzvah outside of Eretz Yisrael in the year 5731, he wrote that he does not see sufficient halachic grounds to leave Eretz Yisrael in order to attend. He was also of the opinion the Kohanim should be especially meticulous about leaving Eretz Yisrael since the land outside of Eretz Yisrael is considered to be impure.[3] 

Other authorities find justification for leaving Eretz Yisrael for the Uman pilgrimage and other tomb-touring excursions arguing that it is can be no worse than leaving Eretz Yisrael for business which is permitted.[4] So too, there are authorities who hesitantly allow one to leave Eretz Yisrael to visit the graves of rabbis and others who one was close to.[5] Yet other authorities explicitly permit one to leave Eretz Yisrael in order to visit the graves of all holy rabbis, calling it “a great mitzva”. Among the reasons for this is because when the Gentiles see that Jews regularly visit and maintain these sites, they are less likely to be vandalized or tampered with. [6] It is permitted to leave Eretz Yisrael Israel to visit one’s living rabbi.[7]

While the Israeli Breslov leadership is in rampant denial, it might just be that Rabbi Nachman is not too thrilled with those who leave Eretz Yisrael for Uman at Rosh Hashana. So too, although Breslov leaders today would rather you not know it, the founding fathers and first disciples of Rabbi Nachman felt that the annual Rosh Hashana pilgrimage to Uman was never intended for those living in Eretz Yisrael – only for those already in the Diaspora.[8] It would also be remiss not to recall that in his famous eulogy[9] for the victims of the earthquake that devastated Tzfat in the year 1837, the Chatam Sofer declared that the earthquake occurred because people turned Tzfat into a center of pilgrimage to the detriment of Jerusalem. And that was regarding a city in Eretz Yisrael! 

You want to go to Uman for Rosh Hashanah? Fine. Go. Enjoy. Really!  I have no problem with it at all. Klal Yisrael has far bigger headaches to deal with. But please, if you want to leave Eretz Yisrael for Uman on Rosh Hashana, as well as encourage others to do so, please cut the arrogant and condescending attitude as if doing so were halacha l’moshe m’sinai and that there is some kind of spiritual advantage to praying in a Ukrainian cemetery on Yom Tov rather than in Eretz Yisrael.

And most nauseating of it all – please don’t break out in ecstatic dancing at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Friday nights at the conclusion of Lecha Dodi singing “Uman Uman Rosh Hashana” for an entire  month beforehand. Can there be anything more sacrilegious than this? An idol in the Temple perhaps?  Dancing around a Golden Calf in the shadow of the tablets of the Ten Commandments? Please, a little respect for those of us who for some reason only practice ancient and pure Jewish values without the trimmings of 18th Century European clothing, failed messiahs, and occult-resembling customs.

And please, buy my books: http://torahmusings.com/books#arienkin (only 25$ including shipping!)



[1] Az Nidberu 12:28; Doleh U’mashkeh p.360. See also Mishpetei Tzedek 74

[2] Mishpat Kohen 147.

[3] http://www.ravaviner.com/2010/08/leaving-eretz-yisrael-10.html

[4] Pri Ha’aretz, YD 3:7; cited in Bishvilei Haparasha p.493.

[5] Mishpat Kohen 147.

[6] Sdei Chemed, Eretz Yisrael 1; Aseh Lecha Rav 2:54.

[7] Aseh Lecha Rav 2:53,54.

[8] http://www.yeshabulletin.com/RABBIS%20CORNER/Rabbi%20Shlomo%20Aviner-Eretz%20Israel%20and%20Not%20Uman-Eng.doc

[9] Torat Moshe;Emor


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About the author

Ari Enkin

Rabbi Ari N. Enkin is a researcher and writer of contemporary halachic issues. He is the author of “The Dalet Amot Halacha Series” (6 Vol.) among other works of halacha. rabbiari@hotmail.com www.rabbienkin.com

The opinions and facts here are presented solely by the author. Torah Musings assumes no responsibility for them. Please address religious questions to your rabbi.

64 Responses

  1. HaDarda"i says:

    “I really will try to stay balanced.”

    I would hate to see what you’re like when you’re unbalanced!

    For once, the real Rabbi Ari has emerged, the firebrand rationalist, the chronicler of superstitions which he really detests. Kol Hakavod!

    More seriously, I know that R. Aviner’s position on the permissibility of leaving Israel is quite extreme on the spectrum. There are those who hold that temporary departure from Israel is permitted without the usual heterim (e.g. to learn Torah, parnassa, etc.) Maybe you could do a post on this topic some time.

  2. Chaim says:

    Besides quoting Rabbi’s where are the sources in the Torah that it is forbidden to leave Eretz Yisroel on a temporary basis?

  3. Ari Enkin says:

    Dear Chaim-

    This is not explicit in the Torah. As I try to show in my post, contemporary rabbis have different approaches to the issue.

    Ari Enkin

  4. Chaim says:

    I have also heard Machon Shilo’s HaRav David Bar-Hayim cite HaRav Kook ztz”l in this regard.

    I also take offense when some Breslovers behave as though one commits a sin by not going to Uman.

  5. Gavi Kaufman says:

    You do not address the huge problem of going to grave sites to pray, in that many people pray to the deceased, instead of hkb”h (perhaps a separate essay?). You will find this atittude even at kivrei tzaddikim in Israel… which is why I have never felt comfortable with the entire idea.

  6. Ari Enkin says:


    Yeah. Thats a post unto itself. There’s a reason Hashem didnt want anyone to know where Moshe Rabbeinu was buried.

    Ari Enkin

  7. Pierre says:

    Hazakh u Barukh!!…now lets repost R. Aviner on R. Nachman.

  8. Scott says:

    “. . . ancient and pure Jewish values”

    Sorry, there’s no such animal.

  9. Qwerty says:

    >And most nauseating of it all – please don’t break out in ecstatic dancing at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Friday nights at the conclusion of Lecha Dodi singing “Uman Uman Rosh Hashana” for an entire month beforehand. Can there be anything more sacrilegious than this?

    What about davenint at the Western Wall in the first place? עצים ואבנים. And, no, I am not Yeshayahu Leibowitz, but people in sacrilegious glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  10. noodle says:

    ELUL stands for Ani L’uman V’ishti L’azazel
    (well, it works in hebrew)

  11. Nachum says:

    I heard “L’horeha”.

  12. Yitz says:

    What happened to the last part of the piece? When I read it earlier there was something about Rabbi Orlofsky calling Rabbi Weinreb a ‘katan’ and a ‘kal’

  13. Shaltiel says:

    וואס פארשטייט א מתנגד

  14. Bob Miller says:

    Thankfully, this discussion will have no practical effect.

  15. Lion of Zion says:

    “And most nauseating of it all – please don’t . . .”

    also please don’t go around collecting $ to fund these trips as if it were a a good way to spend tzedaka dollars.

  16. Ari Enkin says:


    There was a slight change of direction taken.

    Ari Enkin

  17. yitz says:

    I have a theory as to why people report spiritual highs in Uman on rosh hashana that they never feel in Israel. In Ye’aros Devash chelek beis drush yud, for 25 elul, he darshens the pasuk of “tik’u bachodesh shofar…ki chok l’yisrael mishpat lelokei yaakov” based on yerushalmi in rosh hashana he says that Jews in Israel have a din of tzibur, which is judged everyday, not uniquely on rosh hashana. So, he says, Rosh Hashana is a “chok”- a mitzva without understandable reason for “yisrael”-the jews of Israel, but it is a “mishpat”-a mitzva with reason for “yaakov” – the Jews of the diaspora. Meaning,while in Israel Rosh Hashana is just as much a yom din as the rest of the year, in Uman it has the character of a day that is the single, unique day of judgement, and packs a much stronger spiritual wallop as a result.

    Wadday’all think?

  18. Qwerty says:

    >Wadday’all think?

    I think it’s a pilgrimage and that’s what pilgrimages do to the pilgrims. Read the description of the haj to Mecca in The Autobiography of Malcom X.

  19. Shlomo says:

    “I also take offense when some Breslovers behave as though one commits a sin by not going to Uman.”

    I also take offense when some bloggers behave as though one commits a sin by not basing one’s hashkafa on Machon Shilo’s HaRav David Bar-Hayim :)

    “What about davenint at the Western Wall in the first place?”

    You’d think that a place which the Torah describes with the words לשכנו תדרשו ובאת שמה would be more acceptable to visit.

  20. Meir Weingarten says:

    for Hebrew readers see great article by harav Amnon Bazak (of the Gush) with an expanded treatment on this subject:

  21. Tevye says:

    And most nauseating of it all – please don’t break out in ecstatic dancing at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Friday nights at the conclusion of Lecha Dodi singing “Uman Uman Rosh Hashana” for an entire month beforehand. Can there be anything more sacrilegious than this? An idol in the Temple perhaps? Dancing around a Golden Calf in the shadow of the tablets of the Ten Commandments?

    Excuse me, traveling to the kever of a tzadik whose teachings you follow as a way to get closer to Hashem should not chas vesholom be compared with violating the sin of avodah zarah. If anything, making that comparison increases animosity – an issur d’oraaita.

    The earlier portion of the article, examining the halachic issues involved, was interesting and informative. That is the proper way to discuss an issue. But after mentioning poskim who do permit this activity the author reveals a bias (he’s nauseated!) against those who follow that path and dare to show enthusiasm for it.

    Also, by the way, visiting kivrei tzadikim is mentioned in Gemara.

    “Please, a little respect for those of us who for some reason only practice ancient and pure Jewish values without the trimmings of 18th Century European clothing, failed messiahs, and occult-resembling customs.”

    What segment of the community is that again?

  22. I Tick says:

    I think its a bit over-the-top to see anything truly wrong with seeking spirituality where one can find it, even if that means finding it outside of Jerusalem and Israel. The best criticism of the practice is the cost, and as one commentator wrote “ELUL stands for Ani L’uman V’ishti L’azazel.” I have family who make this great sacrifice so the husband can leave to Uman, and if not for their devotion, they would step back and see the hardship and re-evaluate the necessity.

    It’s not that I welcome the idea that one must be “by the rebbe” for Yom Tov, especially if the rebbe is dead and buried, but I understand why people would make the trip.

    For those who are sensitive to the idea, abandoning Jerusalem is a sad sight, but for those who don’t have that sensitivity–whether because they haven’t thought of it or simply don’t experience it, who are we to tell them where to find God?

    As long as they don’t start calling Uman “Kan Tziva Hashem Es HaBeracha” or “Beis Rabbeinu SheB’Bavel,” I’m not that concerned…

    Also, anyone have thoughts on the annual pilgrimages to Lizensk?

  23. barry says:

    Moslems only need to do the haj once in a lifetime.

    Shouldn’t one trip to Uman be enough?
    (No thrice annual mitzva of re’i’ah should apply)

  24. R' Doniel Sayani says:

    Rabbi Melamed, another leader in the Religious Zionist sector, also holds that leaving E”Y to visit kivrei tzadikim is assur (like HaRav Aviner, he also forbids people leaving E”Y for the “March of the Living” programs, in which people visit concentration camps).

    Should one argue that it is permissible to leave E”Y for spiritual persons, the Sifri (80) tells us of three chachamim who wanted to leave E”Y to study by R’ Yehuda ben Beteira, yet decided that staying in E”Y had precedence, “Rabbi Elazar ben Shamua and Rabbi Yochanan HaSandlar were traveling to Nitzivim (in Babylonia) to study Torah from Rabbi Yehuda ben Beteira. But when they arrived in Sidon, they remembered the land of Israel. They lifted their eyes and their tears flowed. They rent their garments and read this verse: “You will drive them out and dwell in their land” (Deut. 12:29). They returned to their homes and declared: Dwelling in the land of Israel is equivalent to all of the mitzvot of the Torah.”

    However, the question of “need” arises, even need beyond making a living (business purposes). R’ Shaul Yisraeli, in Shu”T Eretz Chemdah 1:10, says leaving E”Y for any need is permitted. If one can leave for a business need, i.e. something that is unavailable in E”Y, and even for a need that is not a mitzva (according to R’ Lichtenstein), than one can leave for a mitzva (i.e. if you consider davening by kivrei tzadikim to be a mitzvah). Interestingly, the Magen Avraham says that one can leave to visit a friend, which is a need but not a necessity. It is unclear, however, whether this applies to a living friend solely (chassidim view their rebbe as a confidant, more than just one who teaches them torah). According to the Magen Avraham, this practice MAY be acceptable, but I am going out on a limb here.

    What complicates the issue to me is the distinction between rebbe and kever tzadik. For these Chassidim who have no living rebbe, going to the kever is their sole way to connect with their rebbe in a corporeal sense. They obviously are not visiting their rebbe for the sake of learning torah, as one who is deceased only teaches torah through their seforim, which can be learned anywhere. In the absence of the Beis Hamikdash, there is no obligation to spend Yom Tov by one’s rebbe, especially when there is no direct teaching/learning of Torah occurring (The Noda Bi Yehuda, to Orach Chaim 2:94 says that today, when the Beis ha’Mikdash has not yet been rebuilt, there is no obligation to visit one’s Rebbi during the festival (unless, of course, one goes with intent to learn Torah from him), since there is no obligation to visit the Shechinah at the Beis ha’Mikdash. The honor given to one’s Rebbi should not be greater than the honor given to the Shechinah.) The Mishnah Berurah also holds that where the rebbi cannot give divrei torah, there is no mitzvah, and the Chayei Adam (Zehirus Mitzvah 68:19 and Nishmas Adam 3) says that one does not have to leave the boundaries of their city to perform a mitzvah, but if one can return on the same day he is obligated, like we find regarding visiting one’s Rebbi during the Regel. Surely one with a wife is exempt from this if he cannot return the same day, for it is also a Mitzvah mid’Oraisa to be Mesame’ach her. Also, the obligation does not begin before Yom Tov, and on Yom Tov he may not leave the Techum. Clearly, being away from one’s wife in Yom Tov is not allowed for the sake of performing the mitzvah of visiting the kever of Rebbe Nachman, at least according to the Chayei Adam, Rav Aviner, and others cited. It seems to me that those holding by Rav Aviner and more E”Y-centric shitos would hold like the above-cited Sifri- if Chazal would not leave E”Y for spiritual reasons, than today’s chassidim of Reb Nachman certainly shouldn’t, besides the fact that it is debatable how many of these “Dharma Bums” (no insult intended, just using a classic literary reference to spiritual seekers, those who wander looking for a sense of “enlightenment”) are even really chassidim of the Rebbe in the first place or are just doing it for the experience of being there. (Despite the fact that Tosfos to Avodah Zarah 13a permits one to leave E”Y to learn Torah).Even if there were 600,000 Jews present, a situation where one must make the bracha Baruch Chacham HaRazim, it is not required to be away from home on a Yom Tov to perform a mitzvah (perhaps if they made a family event out of it, this issue can be averted).

    If the Breslovers had anyone to rely on, it would be Rav Shaul Yisraeli, who identifies ambiguous need as a reason for the permissibility of leaving E”Y. (It seems that going on this pilgrimage does serve a spiritual need for these individuals).

  25. chaim1 says:

    The question not addressed at all is if the breslav type of what they call chasidus is really in keeping with Jewishness.
    Apparently it is accepted as given that it is.
    As far as i know when he was alive although he wrote extensively perhaps more than all the others and he was a great grandson of the baal shem he was not accepted my most rebbes at the time and shunned by many.
    A dead rebbe has never been the practice by us. His chasidim today are mainly the lower classes. In common with chabad where they share many similarities they have developed into a missionary cult. They go around yeshivot seeking out the lonely and dejected and bring them into their fold. Their idea of saying ten chapters of tehillim and everything will be forgiven smacks of catholic practice. Or the same with visiting the gravesite. I do know that many eminent talmidei chachomim like the sons of the ‘oz nidberu’ quoted above have converted to breslav which i find surprising. A person who can find solace in the Torah does not need these things.

  26. R' Doniel Sayani says:

    The above is taken from an article/shiur of mine on the Halakhot of Visiting Uman on Rosh Hashanah.

  27. chaim1 says:

    The prevalent attitude today is that whatever you feel brings you nearer to god must be correct and should be done accordingly. This defeats the object of the Torah where God has given a proscribed way of how to get near to him. This can only mean that any other way will not achieve it. Only through learning Torah, not by chanting and dancing does one exalt oneself. Everything else is only an illusion and very similar to idol worship.

  28. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    the aliyah to uman is also for purim. but not for the reb nachman’s yarzeit. not three times regel, but twice.

    also must mention its one of the largest gathering of jews throughout the world. jews of all types, not just chassidim, etc, but all types.

    anythimg that gets that many jews in one room (figuratively) is praiseworthy.

    also, lag ba’omer in djerba (not for leviyim).

  29. Disappointed says:

    Dear Rabbi Enkin:

    As someone who reads and appreciates your halachic articles throughout the year – with the exception of those dealing with the Zionist holidays and practices – I believe that this article falls far short of the quality and high standards you have set in the past. I am not a Breslover and admit that Breslov is and has always been somewhat controversial – yet it is wrong to hold an eidah kedoisha – loyal to Torah, the Shulchan Oruch and which stresses a deep and personal connection between each yid and Hashem Yisborach, up for derision. Your last sentence was particularly mean spirited and inappropriate. In fact, I believe that if someone had written a similar sentence about a rov or a movement by which you hold, the sentence would have been found inappropriate and deleted during moderation.

  30. Nachum says:

    Even assuming that chassidim should be by their rebbe, even if dead, that doesn’t explain the need for all the non-chassidim, especially MO, who have jumped on the bandwagon.

  31. Tevye says:

    “His chasidim today are mainly the lower classes.”

    And you – who deride and look down on them – you are from the ‘upper classes’, yes?

    I wonder if all this anti-breslav / anti-chassidic feeling in the other comments also reflects this attitude. The rest are just a little too smart to spell it out like that.

    “This defeats the object of the Torah where God has given a proscribed way of how to get near to him. This can only mean that any other way will not achieve it. Only through learning Torah, not by chanting and dancing does one exalt oneself.”

    First, proscribed means prohibited. The word you’re looking for is prescribed.

    Second, what did King David say about singing and dancing in Hashem’s honor?

    Third, although you talk about learning Torah, anyone who puts down Jews and Jewish practices like that is a am ha’aretz midoraita. I’d love the opportunity to debate you.

  32. R' Doniel Sayani says:


    There is no need to be mevazeh a talmid chacham. Rabbi Enkin is a scholar who makes many halachos and mekoros available to the public in his blog entries and numerous books. R’ Enkin, please keep up the work and I look forward to seeing new works.

    I believe that in offering my own psak, I demonstrated that there may be a halachic justification for this practice, although the full totality of these sources indicate that there are indeed many issues involved with the Breslov minhag.

    I hope that this does not descend into either a condemnation of Breslov, or of Rabbi Enkin. Let us stay on the straight and narrow and focus on the issues at hand. Small minds discuss people, great minds discuss ideas.

  33. chaim1 says:

    You have the opportunity to debate the matter here. King David also learnt Torah. And the nefesh hachaim if saying tehillim is as good as learning taharos is well known.
    I of course cannot spell out on here what i mean by the lower classes, but i also wrote that talmidei chachomim have been caught in the net.
    The rest of my points of breslav you havent replied to.
    No one denies that singing dancing chanting have a place in Jewishness the question is if it should be at the top.

  34. Ari Enkin says:

    Rav Sayani’s contribution was amazing. And I accept the constructive criticism from “Disappointed” and others – but lets not get overly sensitive.

    On the whole, this topic is being dealt with well. Also – keep in mind, that my issue was *Israelis* going to Uman (and announcing it at the kotel) and *not* the Uman experience on its own.

    Ari Enkin

  35. esw says:

    a tendencious polemic
    the chice may be between going to uman and refrainig from any spiritual connection in general and the Yamim Noraim in artcular

  36. R' Doniel Sayani says:

    Rav Enkin,

    Thank you for responding so warmly to my contribution here. I am greatly inspired by your style of presenting halakha, Talmud, minhagim, and ma’aseh rabbanim all as sources from whence we can develop an informed, holistic understanding of what constitutes Jewish practice and praxis on a wide array of the myriad aspects of Jewish life. As someone concerned with the anthropological, sociological, and psychological implications of such praxis, this is a style which especially resonates with me and constitutes the fundamental core of my analysis of Jewish law and practice.

  37. Chaim says:

    I haven’t seen bloggers who claim that one sins by not basing one’s hashqafa on that of Rav David Bar-Hayim.

  38. Yosef Bell says:

    The discussions at this time of year invariably involve this point of debate. Should one leave the Holy Land to travel to Uman, particularly for Rosh Hashana? This (non) question has been answered by many great Tzadikkim in the past, and it is not my place to attempt to add to those responses. Nevertheless we can look at a small piece of Likutei Halachos, where Reb Noson, who knew Rebbe Nachman more than anyone else, discusses this point.

    He talks about the greatness of being at Kivrei Tzaddikim. The goal of the Tzaddik is to bring as many people close to Hashem as possible – even those very far from Hashem. We know that Tzaddikim are considered far greater after death than before. Therefore, post physical death, the Tzaddik continues to pray and work on our behalf, and accomplishes more and more as time goes by (using a special powerful prayer – see LM II 8). By going to the grave of the Tzaddik, we connect ourselves to the Tzaddik, who in turn takes us under his wing.

    By being buried in chutz laaretz (outside of Israel), the Tzaddik goes right into the home turf of the evil side to commence battle. This is done with tremendous self sacrifice on the part of the Tzaddik. By being buried there, he is able to cause the evil side to spit out and give up the souls he has trapped in his snare. Reb Noson says the one who is worthy of being at this Tzaddik’s grave is included in this tikkun.

    What we see is that praying at Kivrei Tzaddikim in chutz laaretz is in fact an incredible privilege, to be included in the prayers of such a Tzaddik, who gives so much on our behalf – even to be buried outside of Eretz Yisroel. We must pray to even be worthy of such an honour.

    Based on Likutei Halachos, Chol Hamoed, 3:14

  39. Chaim says:

    Mr. Bell,

    Do you have any proof that Rav Nosson advocated leaving Eretz Yisrael as well in order to go to Uman?

  40. Steve Brizel says:

    Is there not a similar concept of married and single men to daven the Yamim Noraim, or at least RH or YK, in a yeshiva, in order to avail oneself of the enhanced Kedushah and closeness to a RY or rebbe?

  41. Guest says:

    What a “concept”? Something people do?

    The concept is borrowed from Chassidus, which did and does indeed steal men away from their families.

  42. Tevye says:

    My previous note was not directed at R Enkin but rather at Chaim1, the commenter who holds those who disagree with him to be ‘lower class’.

    R’ Enkin, at the end of the day, we are discussing people who devote themselves to becoming closer to Hashem. They do this through Torah and Mitzvos. The emphasis may not be in the same areas as yours (zahir tfei) but that is no reason to so deride them. To publicly be “nauseated”. Some very great tzadikim have acted in ways that you may have found objectionable (perhaps including King David), do you really want to pick a fight with them?

  43. chaim1 says:

    If your previous comment was directed at me, then you should realise that I replied to it.
    No i said breslav attracts the lower class not those who disagree with me.
    Maybe i can state here what i mean by lower class although its not a full definition. Those that expect others to work for them for a start. How many of your breslavs pay for the fare out of good honest work?
    Rashi says in sanhedrin 84A that that is classed lower class.
    This is by no means all that defines them.

  44. A Joe Schmo says:

    The obsession among the masses in today’s Jewish world is “Spirituality.” The definition of this term of course is unclear, but usually its pliable definition contributes to the appearance of many types of mishugas we see from the masses, including paying for many types things which one not “spirituality-crazed” or mysticism-seeking might consider a scam, fraud, or waste of money.

  45. Steve Brizel says:

    Guest-Is there not a Halacha of Chayav Adam LHakbil Pnei Rabo BaRegel?

  46. Steve Brizel on August 25, 2010 at 10:00 am
    Is there not a similar concept of married and single men to daven the Yamim Noraim, or at least RH or YK, in a yeshiva, in order to avail oneself of the enhanced Kedushah and closeness to a RY or rebbe?

    Guest on August 25, 2010 at 10:56 am
    What a “concept”? Something people do?

    The concept is borrowed from Chassidus, which did and does indeed steal men away from their families.

    I agree with Guest. The only thing that children learn from having their father abandon them for Yom Tov is that spending time in a yeshiva and/or with a Rebbe (living or dead) is more important than spending time with one’s own family in one’s own home. What a terrible example to set for one’s children. As Barry said:

    barry on August 24, 2010 at 5:45 pm
    Moslems only need to do the haj once in a lifetime.

    Shouldn’t one trip to Uman be enough?
    (No thrice annual mitzva of re’i’ah should apply)

    Once in a lifetime might not be too bad. But if one does this every year, one is just abandoning one’s family, not to mention leaving the wife to care for the kids by herself while the man goes off solo to enjoy the chag. Aren’t chaggim for women and children, too?

  47. Guest says:

    RH and YK are not called Regel. But even if they are, that does not mean:
    1) go to a grave or
    2) go to a yeshiva for davening, and it certainly doesn’t mean
    3) fly away and leave your 13 year old making kiddush for Mommy.

  48. steve mcqueen says:

    I am so not a breslover, i am an LWMO sort of chap who loves yiddishkeit. I like to read widely, all sorts of stuff in kodesh v’chol. I have been through Sipurei Massiyos and Likuttei Moharan from start to finish. I hope that anyone who is interested in learning more Breslov is not put off by anything in this post; Breslov reaches the parts that other seforim cannot reach.

  49. Will says:

    Regarding increasing one’s spirituality-I recommend using nusach eretz yisrael, the ancient nusach tefillah of Eretz Yisrael which Rabbi David Bar-Hayim has resurrected. The brevity of the nusach for one is conducive to focusing on one’s kawannah, as opposed to rushing through davening.

  50. emma says:

    Yosef Bell,
    One would hope Breslov sources would support s Breslov minhag, and you have shown that they do. However, that is the beginning, not the end, of the story.
    FWIW, my own take is that the interesting analysis of the Uman phenomenon is not technical/halachic, but social. What does it mean for so many men to leave their families on the holiest days? And, indeed, what does the resentment of those who don’t leave say about them?

  51. […] This practice is extremely controversial today, as Rabbi Enkin explained in a recent post (link). Controversy over the pilgrimage is actually almost as old as the practice. Not only have the […]

  52. Ari Enkin says:

    “I hope that anyone who is interested in learning more Breslov is not put off by anything in this post; Breslov reaches the parts that other seforim cannot reach.”


    Ari Enkin

  53. Steve Brizel says:

    FWIW, R Nevenzal in one of his recent seforim, quotes RSZA as stating that one should not go to a yeshiva for YT if it will result in a diminished Shalom Bayis in one’s home.

  54. Steve Brizel says:

    I have seen a book published by Breslov in English that describes the positive spiritual growth that the individuals in the book experienced, many of whom went to Uman for RH.

  55. Gavriel J says:


    I admire your writing both online and in your books. I find it always astute, relevant and incredibly useful. The Jewish world depends upon people such as yourself to encourage and nurture healthy advancement.

    I am, however, dismayed and disappointed with the ending of this article. It is so uncharacteristic that I wouldn’t be shocked if you hadn’t actually written it. To describe yourself as part of a group who “only practice ancient and pure Jewish values without the trimmings of 18th Century European clothing, failed messiahs, and occult-resembling customs” is a generalisation that is unbecoming of a scholar such as yourself. Such negative stereotyping and vitriolic commentary on such a substantial part of klal yisrael is so terribly destructive and can’t do anything postive to help those “far bigger headaches” which you quite rightly mention.

    We must all be extremely vigilant to dangerous tendencies within all streams of Judaism and you are right to point out in this instance the obsessive attachment of Breslov Chassidim to Uman at Rosh Hashanah. But there are far more constructive ways to warn and criticise than name calling from the heady heights of “pure” Judaism.

    Yours with respect and admiration,


  56. Ari Enkin says:


    Thank you for that. Yes, perhaps the last line should have been written a little more diplomatically.

    Ari Enkin

  57. As Emma pointed out, the question of whether it is ok for men to leave their wives and children on a holiday is also an important one. And this is of course relevant to Jews both in and out of Israel.

  58. Dovid L says:

    Ari, I was very disappointed with the ending of your article. I can’t imagine that that is the way a Ben Torah should conduct himself.

    I for one am going to Uman this year for the second time. No I am not Breslov, but I am going for 3 main reasons, one of which you mentioned.

    1. I am going FOR Shalom Bayis! My wife insisted that I go after she saw the amazing year of bracha we had this year beyond the normal amounts of amazing bracha we get. She also saw the spiritual high I came back with that lasted throughout the year.

    2. I literally break out in tears when I see so many thousands of Jews of every type and style and level of observance davening, singing and dancing together with total love of every Jew around them. Everyone shows respect for everyone else and no one is judged. I have never felt or seen such unbelievable amounts of love and achdus as I have seen in Uman.

    3. The purpose of us being in this world is to grow closer to Hashem. Of course you must follow Shulchan Aruch, but it is obviously not an issur to go since their are Gedolim who not only go but Gemeras that support going as you mentioned above. I asked my Chareidi (I hate using labels) Rav if it was ok for me to go. He said if my daveing was better, if my Rosh Hashana was better and it brought me closer to Hashem then I should go.

    Ari, to be honest, there is a tremendous amount you personally would gain if you came, and you know what I’m talking about.

  59. Ari Enkin says:


    Thanks for this.

    I would certainly go at the right opporutnity! (Wasnt there a guy givign out free tickets once?)

    Make no mistake. My post was not against going to Uman. My post was against going-to-Uman-and-thinking-you’re-better-off-there-than-in-Eretz-Yisrael. That’s all.

    I’m sure the experience is like no other. Never argued that.

    Shana Tova!


  60. Dovid L says:

    But don’t you understand? For some people it is better to be in Uman for Rosh Hashana then Eretz Yisroel, but no one feels (that I know of) that everyone should go to Uman for Rosh Hashana. I for sure don’t feel that way. I do think every Jew should move to Eretz Yisroel though.

  61. Ari Enkin says:

    I understand — but it is a SUBJECTIVE benefit and not an INHERENT one.

    Ari Enkin

  62. shlomo16 says:

    Ari with all do respect who are you to argue on what rebbe nachman says you must not know much about breslov saying the rebbe was a “failed messiah” when the rebbe never said he was moshiach and i take it you are against the whole chasidic movement i just dontnknow who you are to argue on the bal shemtov and his followers 1 more thing if the rebbe didnt want the people from eretz yisrael to go to uman from eretz yisrael the rebbe would have said that with all due respect shlomo


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