Where Earth and Heaven Kiss: A Guide To Rebbe Nachman's Path Of Meditation
Rabbi Ozer Bergman kindly sent me a copy of his new book on hisbodedus entitled, "Where Earth and Heaven Kiss: A Guide To Rebbe Nachman's Path Of Meditation"
A few pages into the book, I paused once I read a quote from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov that resonated with me deeply.
"Give me your heart and I will lead you on a new path, the ancient path our ancestors walked."
I cannot recommend this book highly enough and lament the fact that this review certainly does not do it justice. Rabbi Bergman's book is beautifully written with a kind and warm tone. He walks with the reader hand in hand through Rebbe Nachman of Breslov's teachings on hisbodedus - personal prayer in one's native tongue - and provides useful advice to those new to this practice and to those who have been doing it for years.
People may perceive hisbodedus solely as a bizarre Breslover or Chassidic practice, however Rabbi Bergman points out:
"Even the latter-day sage, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, author of Sefer Chofetz Chaim and Mishnah Berurah, would spend an hour a day alone in his room or in the woods of Lithuania, speaking to God in his own words."
For those people who are still skeptical of this claim, I verified that Mich'tevei Chofetz Chaim (pages 96-97) states:
"The Chofetz Chaim used to say that when you feel heavy-hearted, speak to the Almighty just as a child speak to his father. One does not need formal prayer for this. Rather speak to your Heavenly Father in any language you wish."
In Where Earth and Heaven Kiss, Rabbi Bergman explains the importance of supplementing the proscribed daily prayers with hisbodedus and observes:
"Formalized prayers, however extraordinary, are only scripts. The biggest challenge presented by a script is that of reading it as if its words were yours."
Indeed, this has been something I have struggled with for years and have found that regular hisbodedus helps me daven the proscribed daily prayers with a renewed fervor since it allows me relate to Hashem with the same closeness that I sometimes feel during hisbodedus.
Where Earth and Heaven Kiss is a must read for people who are interested in Breslover Chassidus and Jewish spirituality. If you only read one book now during the month of Elul, be sure to purchase a copy and read Rabbi Ozer Bergman's beautiful new book!