The statement above may seem to be absolutely crazy given that the town of Uman sits on top of the sea of innocent Jewish blood. However, it is precisely because of this fact, that a few years before his death, R. Nachman decided to move there from Bratslav and called on all Jews to visit his grave after he passes. Shabbat, Passover, Shavuot, and Rosh Hashanah are, according to him, the best times to do it. Hundreds of thousands of Jews of different religious streams have done it before us, and now you do the same.
It is by taking the trouble to come to this place that you've re-affirmed your belief in the goodness of life and of the One who gave it to
Day 10, Saturday, May 19
Shabbat in Uman - Rabbi Nachman's
Zion of personal happiness!
us. This act of gratitude -- in spite of everything that you know and learned during this trip -- is an act of affirmation of who you are and serves as a powerful boost to your personal happiness. The way to happiness, according to Rabbi Nachman, is to zero in on the good that exists in each and every one of us and use it to rebuild our self-image and how we view the others.
In Uman, you have the best accommodations the place has available plus an option of strictly kosher meals. Today is the day of rest and contemplation, the time to pray and schmooze with Jews from all over the world. This is the place where practically everyone speaks English or Hebrew and little or no Russian. While Rosh Hashanah is mostly a male affair here, Shavuot here sees a lot of women who have come to study, pray, and be happy. The atmosphere is joyous and friendly with lots of smiles in every direction.
After Shabbat, celebrate Shavuot
Unlike other Jewish holidays, Shavuot -- the time when the Jewish tradition says our ancestors received Torah on the way from Egypt -- has no prescribed commandments other than traditional abstention from work, eating great dairy meals, being happy, and studying Torah through the night. We'll also try to understand and even argue about the meaning of the Book of Ruth.