Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rebbe Nachman on Punishment

A person is sometimes punished even in the performance of a mitzvah. This is because he previously passed up an opportunity to fulfill just such a positive command.

A person sometimes unknowingly passes judgment on himself (by being asked to select a fitting punishment for someone else).

There are times when a person is killed because he failed to speak out on behalf of someone who is unjustly despised.

A person will sometimes be punished for having engaged in some illegal business practice, or because (he has been included in) a harsh decree passed against his neighbours or nation.

The Holy One hastens to exact punishments from an ungrateful person, punishing him at the hands of another ingrate.

A person bitten by a dog has either accepted malicious gossip or spoken it.

Source:  Sefer HaMiddot (The Book of Attributes) - Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
translated by Moshe Mykoff


  1. There are times when a person is killed because he failed to speak out on behalf of someone who is unjustly despised.

    Scary. Perhaps, I need to do Teshuva.

  2. What's the source for these statements? Just ruach hakodsh?

  3. Shalom,

    Is this the sefer that shows each what mitzvah equals what body part? Is the book of attributes in English?

    Look forward to your reply. Kol tuv!

  4. DrM: You'll have to ask Rebbe Nachman.

    Anon: Here is a link to the book:

  5. Job teaches us, among other things, that we can't always know why someone is undergoing what seems to be punishment. We don't always know what Hashem is up to.

  6. Do we ascribe some type of special pope like power to rav nachman to make statements without sources. Don't we have a mesora? Did he have a special tradition that went back to moshe rabbenu?

    1. Rebbe Nachman was a tzaddik, there is no comparison to the Pope.

      Chazal assert "A tzaddik decrees and HaKadosh Baruch Hu fulfills".
      See A Tzaddik Decrees

      Click on the TZADIKIM label for more [see left column of blog, scroll down]

  7. Wow, a den full of scoffers.

  8. Free "Book of Traits" online here http://nanach.org/books/sefer-hamedot.pdf

  9. rebbe nachman wrote this book as a youth. it is actually broken down into two sections. he was a major talmid chacham. the first section he wrote before he was 13, before he traveled to the holy land, and the second section only afterwards. every statement was based on his learning of traditional sources, primarily the gemara. and each statement has a specific and solid source in mainstream sources. he said about this book, "My dearly beloved faithful friend! This is what made me a Jew!" later generations of breslever chassidim researched his aphorisms even deeper and greatly expanded the sources for each one.

    rebbe nachman, believe it or not, is as mainstream as they come.

  10. regarding this book of attributes in english, there is a translation called "The Aleph Bet Book" put out by the Breslov Research Institute and should be readily available at bookstores or online.

    in answer to the third comment from anonymous, the book about what mitzvah is connected to which body part is called "Sefer Chareidim" by R' Elazar Azkari who lived in tsfat around the time of the Ari. the tzaddikim of that time worked very much on the body-soul tikkun. [mashiach was supposed to come then!!] it is undoubtedly available in english, but important to find a reputable translation.