Nakhman of Bratslav

Nakhman of Bratslav, b 4 April 1772 in Medzhybizh, d 16 October 1810 in Uman. Founder of the Breslover (Bratslavite) dynasty of Jewish Hasids. A great-grandson of the founder of Hasidism, Nakhman of Bratslav developed a deeply mystical form of Hasidism which has thousands of followers to this day, mainly in Jerusalem. He was known for his disturbing allegorical tales, which he would improvise and recite to crowds of admirers. These stories, told exclusively in the Yiddish vernacular (rather than Hebrew, the language of the educated elite), freely borrowed motifs from Ukrainian folk tales. With some interruptions enforced by the Soviet government, his grave at Uman has been the site of yearly pilgrimages for many Bratslavite Hasidim.

Buber, Martin. The Tales of Rabbi Nachman (New York 1956)

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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