How do I learn thee? Let me count the ways.

Reb Shlomo Freifeld z”l once told me, “You have to learn Likutey Moharan [amplify voice here] like a Tosfos!”

You can learn it as a musar sefer (the musar of Likutey Moharan would make you cry, said Rebbe Nachman zal; that’s why you have to turn the lessons into prayers; Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom #196 [end]). This can also be called a Likutey Tefilot-style, turning the lesson into a prayer..

You can learn it as a kabbalah sefer: kvetch my sefer any way you will, but don’t budge [in your behavior] from even the smallest paragraph of Shulchan Arukh! (The compiler of Ein Yaakov, the collected aggadatot of Talmud Bavli, writes something similar in his introduction, namely [I’m paraphrasing here], any interpretation is valid so long as one’s intention is to improve his yirat Shemaym and this borne out by his subsequent behavior.)

You can learn it segulah*-style, just reading the words, without even knowing what they mean, just knowing that its words are holy and having a positive impact on you, and on the entire world.

You can learn it in any of Reb Noson’s styles: Kitzur Likutey Moharan summary-style; Likutey Eitzot (Advice) i.e., by topic-style; Likutey Halakhot, in-depth, inter-laden with all you know from every and any area of Torah-style.

You can learn it as if Rebbe Nachman z”l himself was there teaching it, whether as your rebbe or as “one of the great tzaddikim of all-time.”

You can learn it with the intention: This contains not just information and ideas. This sefer is a fountain of emunah, yirat Shemayim, kedushah and taharah. I want all of those, in as full a measure as I can now receive them.

But whatever you do—learn it! ?

*A segulah is a thing or practice that in some mysterious way helps us, even though we may be clueless as to how it works.

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  1. Thanks so much.
    However, you addressed in general the various approaches to learning the Rebbe’s sefer. But you didn’t specifically outline how we should go about them.
    So many of us have difficulty with actually understanding the sefer itself in a way in which we find meaningful chizuk. Many of us have a hard time applying the ideas to ourselves on a personal basis.
    Could you perhaps present an article dealing with this problem?

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  3. I’m sorry I didn’t detail this a little more.

    There are a number of factors you have to consider. The first is your schedule: How often and how much you can learn Likutey Moharan? Daily? Weekly? Twice a week? How long will your sessions be? How much will you be thinking about the material between sessions? Be realistic.

    Secondly, what is your preferred learning style? Do you prefer to “drill down” and sit on the same piece(s) for an extended period? Do you prefer to cover ground? Does chazarah (review) excite you or bore you? Are you good at writing down your questions (or those of your study partners) and general note taking? How are you at summarizing (orally or in writing) what you’ve learned? (These are vital tools for improving your learning and kinyan [acquisition of] Torah. If you didn’t learn them in school, teach them to yourself!)

    Thirdly, what is your particular interest at this time? Do you want to know more about tefillin? Do you want to give your emunah (faith) a boost? Are you preparing for a chag? Or for a personal celebration?

    After you’ve considered and re-considered all these factors—with a healthy dose of hitbodedut, don’t forget!—you should have a clear idea of what will work. Now—zil g’mor! Go learn!

    © Copyright 2009 Breslov Research Institute

  4. naftoli fischl Reply

    i think the main way to learn likutei moharan is to go with the toros. is is brought down in the Rebbe’s seforim that the Rebbe’s rotzon was chozok (the Rebbe wanted very much) that we should go with the Toros that he revealed to us.
    this means to learn the whole torah (davka from beginning to end) and to try to connect this to my situation and to find advice from the Torah about how i can serve G-d from my place davka (i don’t know how to translate davka) and that a person’s whole day from beginning to end should be based on that particular torah (Torah, tefillah, eating. business, social issues, sholom bayis issues etc.) and that his hisbodidus should be help me do what it says in this Torah and he should continue this way for 2,3 months and then go to a different Torah
    i can’t explain this more but if one learns a torah, he will see what i mean
    R Avrohom b’reb Nachman brings that even though one the Rebbe said to learn 2 shiurim in Likutei Moharan 1 in depth 1 simple but the main is in depth
    he also brings 18 rules for learning L”M in depth and says the main rule is to find connections within the Torah itself
    that are not readily seen (see introduction to Biur HaLikutim)
    i think he says that he found these 18 rules (especially the first and main rule) from learning a lot of likutei halachos and that this is the meaning of what Moharnat says in the introduction to likutei halachos that likutie halachos is a commentary to likutei moharan
    R Shmuel Horowitz in his letters writes a lot about this topic and he connects these 2 things 1 learning L”M in depth and 2 going with the Torah and he makes from them one thing
    another important point that he explains there is that learning all the Likutei Halachos that are based on that Torah as well as the other commentaries (the main is Biur HaLikutim) is also called learning the torah b’iyun (this is understood more based on what R Avrohom writes that he found the 18 rules in likutei halachos)
    i think this is good to know because even if a person is not holding by actually learning L”M with the 18 rules he can still be m’kayem somewhat through learning with likutei halachos which is easier
    R Shmuel is maflig a lot in this inyan and says this was the difference between R Avrohom and other anash that R Avrohom went with the torahs he also says that R Matis from uman went with the Rebbes torahs
    i hold this is the ikar hiskarvus to the Rebbe
    also worthwhile to note that even though the Rebbe wanted us to go with all the toros i think the Rebbe was specifically mazhir to go with azamra and it’s also brought down that the Rebbe said to go with torah 6 (it’s tikun habris, to find zivug etc) so maybe before going with other toros those should come first although there is a sevara to say to go with the torah that is me’orer you more. in the hakdama to L”M Moharnat writes about how sometimes a person is more misorer from 1 torah rather than a different one
    thank you for letting me give my opinion in the rebbe’s zach!
    regards Dovi

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Ozer Bergman

Ozer Bergman is an editor for the Breslov Research Institute, a spiritual coach, and author of Where Earth and Heaven Kiss: A Practical Guide to Rebbe Nachman's Path of Meditation.

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