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The Yom Kippur Man

by Chaim Kramer

Reb Noson once said, “The Rebbe’s main thing is Rosh HaShanah. My main thing is Yom Kippur.”

Reb Noson’s whole mission was to show that man can always return to God, regardless of anything he may have done, no matter how much he may have sinned. This was the mission Rebbe Nachman had held out to him a few days after their first meeting: to become the “lower point” of the aleph, to bring life, vitality and faith to all the lower levels. Even as he left this world, Reb Noson was mindful of his mission, repeating again and again, “Chanun ha-marbeh lislo’ach – Gracious One Who forgives abundantly” (from the blessings of Shemoneh Esrei). There is hope for all: God will forgive! Always!

Repentance and forgiveness for all of Israel were the very essence of Reb Noson. The letters of the words Chanun ha-marbeh lislo’ach have the numerical value of 500, the same as that of the letters of NoSoN.

Reb Noson passed away just before Shabbos on December 20, 1844. He was 64 years and 11 months old, and was totally attached to God until the very end.

Those were the days before the invention of the telegraph, and it was impossible to transmit news of his passing anywhere until after Shabbat. Even so, that Friday night, his friend Reb Naftali, who was in Uman, already knew that Reb Noson was no longer. When asked how he knew, Reb Naftali answered:

“I had a dream in which I saw Reb Noson running quickly. I said, ‘Reb Noson! Where are you running?’ ‘Me?’ he said. ‘Straight to the Rebbe!’”

From “Through Fire and Water: The Life of Reb Noson of Breslov”


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