ABOUT THE TZADDIK CENTER
The Tzaddik Center is an educational project dedicated to revealing the rich spiritual treasures of the Holy City of Tsfat through the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev.
Over two hundred years ago, Rebbe Nachman—the great light of lights—revealed a completely new spiritual pathway to the world, in a wondrously all-inclusive way. The mission of The Tzaddik Center is to make the teachings of Rebbe Nachman accessible through today’s authentic Breslev leaders, who are part of an unbroken chain of direct transmission going back to Rebbe Nachman himself. Before he passed away in 1810, he left written Torah lessons which uncovered the deepest mysteries of creation by weaving together Kabbalah, Mishnah, Gemara, Aggada and Tanach. His light projected far into the future with encouragement and advice about life, custom-tailored for this generation. His spiritual creativity penetrated every field as he expressed himself through music, song, dance and poetry, and revealed the secret of prayer and spending Rosh HaShanah in Uman, Ukraine.
Against all reason and logic, his powerful light of tikkun continues to expand and influence the farthest reaches of the globe today.
The driving force behind The Tzaddik Center is the vision of Reb Gedaliah Aharon Kenig, zt”l, who catalyzed the reestablishment of a Torah community in the heart of the Old City of Tsfat over fifty years ago. On this same site five hundred years earlier, the community of the holy Arizal (R. Isaac Luria) unleashed an explosion of spiritual creativity and genius. The highest secrets of the Kabbalah were expressed naturally through the most practical aspects of Judaism—the Kabbalah of the Arizal was fused to R. Yosef Karo’s Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law.
origins of breslev tsfat
Rebbe Nachman journeyed from his native Ukraine to the Land of Israel in 1799, and arrived in Tsfat, where his pure eyes rested upon the heart of the Old City. This set into motion a directive passed down between teacher and student until it was received by Reb Avraham Sternhartz, undisputed Breslev leader of the previous generation, and mentor of Reb Gedaliah Aharon Kenig. It was Reb Avraham who first revealed the mandate to rebuild Tsfat’s Old City to Reb Gedaliah. He said, “If Rebbe Nachman’s matter can be established in Tsfat, it will be a great favor to the entire world.” Over a decade after Reb Avraham’s passing, Reb Gedaliah took the first practical steps to materialize Rebbe Nachman’s original directive. In 1967, he established the organization Nachal Novea Mekor Chochma to begin the painstaking work of rebuilding and restoring the soul to an abandoned holy city. In so doing, he sought to establish a solid foundation from where the light of Rebbe Nachman could radiate and redeem.
chain of transmission
To a Breslever, no “Rebbe” replaces Rebbe Nachman. “True Tzaddik” refers to those select few unique tzaddikim who appear when the world needs awakening and elevation through profound tikkun and revelation. They are always considered to be a re-manifestation of Moses, the original Redeemer, who encompassed every soul within his own. Rebbe Nachman was one of these special tzaddikim, on the level of Moses, the first true tzaddik. After Moses, the chain of true tzaddikim continued with Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai, who revealed the Zohar. Many generations passed until a new original light would blaze—this time in the form of the holy Arizal, who drew down the understanding of the Kabbalah even further. After the Arizal, the Baal Shem Tov revealed yet an even more original approach to revitalize an endangered Judaism, and bring the light of God to even the simplest, most unlearned Jew. The teachings of the Baal Shem Tov were then utterly revolutionized by his own great-grandson—who was none other than Rebbe Nachman of Breslev. When Rebbe Nachman passed away at 38 years old and buried in Uman, the obvious question was, who would succeed him? Who will be the next “Moses” tzaddik who will repair and further elevate the world?
“My fire will burn until the coming of Mashiach,” Rebbe Nachman once said. Between he and the Messiah, there would be no new original light. Mashiach would come to finish the final tikkun began by Rebbe Nachman during his lifetime. In a direct transmission between teacher and student, his fire was passed from generation to generation: Rebbe Nachman to his main student Reb Noson, who passed it on to the Tcheriner Rav (R. Nachman Goldstein), who then relayed it to his grandson, Reb Avraham Sternhartz. Reb Gedaliah Kenig received the tradition directly from Reb Avraham, and upon his passing, entrusted it to his sons, who bear the torch until the coming of Mashiach. When a light fills the world that can match the fire of Rebbe Nachman himself, the redeemer will have come. This is the Breslev Tsfat tradition.
breslev tsfat leadership today
Before Reb Gedaliah passed away at the age of 59 in 1980, he instructed two of his sons to take over the burgeoning Breslev Tsfat project. Rav Elazar Mordechai was tasked with the role of spiritual leader, and since his recent passing in the winter of 2018 his brother, Rav Ephraim, was appointed to lead Breslev Tsfat. He continues in the role as faithful messenger and transparent channel for the redemptive light of Rebbe Nachman, through teaching and giving advice to those seeking help. In addition, Reb Gedaliah left many writings, including hundreds of letters he wrote in response to a wide range of people seeking guidance and answers to questions about life. These letters were recently published as an ten-volume set of books entitled Shaarei Tzaddik, and transmit Rebbe Nachman’s teachings exactly as he received from his teacher and master, Reb Avraham Sternhartz.
For the first time, The Tzaddik Center is making these teachings available to the broader public. Featured on this site you will find audio, video and written resources in English, Hebrew and Yiddish, from Reb Gedaliah and his sons, including:
- Selected lessons in Likutei Moharan
- New English translation of Rebbe Nachman’s Stories
- Rebbe Nachman’s classic tale, “A Tale of Trust” (Maasei M’Bitachon) with commentary
- Short lessons from Reb Gedaliah’s letters, Shaarei Tzaddik
- Traditional Breslev melodies and songs as passed down from the time of Rebbe Nachman