Wednesday, September 06, 2006

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!


At September 6, 2006 at 7:06:00 AM EDT, Blogger MC Aryeh said...

I am very excited for this book! ASJ, my book and sefer buying expenditures have increased exponentially since I started reading your blog...not that I'm complaining, mind you ;)Thanks for the recommendation!

At September 6, 2006 at 7:13:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

R. Ozer is a good friend of some of our friends, we [my wife & I] know him a bit ourselves. My wife borrowed this book from a mutual friend and was also very impressed; we hope to get our own copy soon, hopefully directly from the author.
I also went to yeshiva with his older brother, R. Simcha.

At September 6, 2006 at 10:37:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spoke with Reb Oyzer about his book and hisboydedus personally not long ago. He agreed, that many aspects of hisboydedus - are misterious matters, and while it has a part that easily can be used by everyone, it contains much more (he speaks a bit about it in his book in section about silence in hisboydedus and NoPlace i.e. Ayin). So we were back to our issue, that many things aren't that obvious and require a teacher.

The fact that hisboydedus is not a chasidic innovation is not a secret at all, and is known at least to those who have some bekius in Toyro. It was a practice of neviim, for attaining the state of nevou, it was always a practice of tzadikim for attaining the state of dveykus and ruach hakoydesh. Many sforim speak about different aspects of hisboydedus, for example classical sforim like "Yesoyd Yosef" and "Kav haYoshor" and others. What people are right about, that chasidic hisboydedus have something special about it, that Baal Shem Tov passed to his talmidim. This is very true. But it doesn't mean in any way that hisboydedus itself was a chasidic innovation.

At June 18, 2009 at 2:46:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i read this book, it is one of the greatest treasures i own. It has helped me get by daily. I recommend it to every single person on this planet.


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