For Breslov Woman – A New Series

I’ve been asked to contribute a regular blog on women and Breslov, which seems a bit like stepping out into uncharted territory. But one thing we learn from Rabbeinu is the value of azus d’kedushah, holy chutzpah, and if I’m going to throw myself into the task I ought to do it courageously. So I’ll start off strong and see where it takes me, and may Hashem be my guide.

Rebbe Nachman posed to his followers, “Why don’t you turn your wives into chassidim?”[1] With Rosh Hashanah just around the bend, maybe he merely meant that if you don’t have cooperative wives, they won’t let you leave the family? Or perhaps he said this as a means of smoothing the marital waters–if a wife doesn’t appreciate the value of letting her husband go out to learn through the nights, spend time in the field in private communion with Hashem, living a life of simplicity and faith, then how can a husband follow Rebbe Nachman’s path? I’m sure that there are people within the wider world of Breslov who adhere to this view of the Rebbe’s statement, but I was taught something different. That first viewpoint is true, but I am sure that he meant so much more.

“Why don’t you turn your wives into chassidim?” is the Rebbe’s finger hooked inward and beckoning us, the women, to follow him on his old-new path—and what a breath of fresh air and a burst of light it is for us! The sages taught the greatness of being a facilitator of the avodah of another; Rebbe Nachman taught me that my avodah has its own value as well.

We tend to think that, as women, we are tied down into these small boxes of action: family, home, work, community. What is this great avodah that I can also offer Hashem? I was taught that there is almost nothing as important as my discovery of Him within my boxes, within the place of constraints and limitations. And I have a feeling that we are going to learn one day (and I really hope that it’s soon) just how otherworldly is the light generated by our attempts to reveal Hashem’s presence within the most minute and mundane of vessels—places, times, objects and circumstances.

As this blog unfolds, I hope to write about the different ways that this can be accomplished, with Hashem’s help.

Gut voch!

Yehudis Golshevsky

[1] Siach Sarfei Kodesh I:14