March 3, 2009


From Dovid Sears, “The Tree that Stands Beyond Space: Rebbe Nachman of Breslov on the Mystical Experience” (Breslov Research Institute).

Hitbodedut In The Fields

From Sichot HaRan and Chayey Moharan

New Life

Winter is pregnancy, and summer is birth. In the winter, all the plants and grasses die; their strength has dissipated, and it is as if they are dead. But when the summer comes, they awaken and come back to life. Then it is good to meditate in the fields.

It is written, "Isaac went out to meditate (su’ach) in the field" (Genesis 24:63). The Talmud teaches that this meditation was prayer" - supplication and deep yearning for God.

Meditation and prayer is called "sichah." A plant or shrub is called "si’ach". Thus, when the plants of the field begin to return to life and grow, they all yearn to be included in one's sichah, in meditation and prayer (Sichot HaRan #98).

Song of the Grasses

Rebbe Nachman once exclaimed to a disciple: “How wonderful it would be if everyone could hear the songs and praises of the grass! Every blade of grass sings its song to God without any self-interest or extraneous thoughts and without expecting any reward. How beautiful it is to hear their song and to feel awe of God in their midst!” (Sichot HaRan #163).

Back to Eden

Rabbi Shimon related that once he was traveling with Rebbe Nachman on the road near the village of Ossatin -- the place where the Rebbe had exerted himself in his devotions during his youth, while he was living in his father-in-law's house. As they rode through the countryside, the Rebbe said with deep nostalgia, "How good it was here! With every step I took, I felt as if I was in the Garden of Eden! " It was along these secluded roads and paths that the Rebbe used to walk in order to practice hitbodedut.

On another occasion I was present when the Rebbe remarked that as a young man, when he used to practice hitbodedut in the forests or meadows, he would return with the feeling that the whole world was entirely new. It did not seem to be the same world as before (CM #107).