Opinion: Uman for Rosh Hashanah and ‘Feel Good Judaism’

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umanBy KG

Our generation expects everything to happen quickly. We don’t grow our own food anymore, we don’t sew our own clothes, and if we get sick, we take pain relievers to instantly feel better.

With that, our attention span has been dramatically shortened. If a speech is too long, no one pays attention. If davening takes too long, everyone gets impatient. Vitamin supplements make you healthier without effort, and popular exercise programs promise fitness with minimal work. Even the popular choice of learning today by many people – Daf HaYomi – and the exclusion of other learning, is a result of this attitude. “Hey, you can finish Shas in only 7 years, and in only 45 minutes a day.” If it is done with this attitude, if it is done to be “yotzeh,” then it is lacking. If done properly and with the right intensity, it can be life-changing. That’s the difference.

Unfortunately, this attitude has found its way into our practice of Yiddishkeit as well. If it’s too hard and difficult to be frum 24/7, maybe we can arrange a quick fix. Bring the kid into the rebbe or rosh yeshiva when he turns 3, run to Eretz Yisroel and scoop up brachos from gedolim, give a large donation to the shul during a building campaign, or go to Uman on Rosh Hashanah. It’s called, “Feel good Judaism.”

In the real world, when you take shortcuts, the outcome always suffers as a result. Taking Tylenol doesn’t cure the illness; sometimes it even prolongs it. Those who learn Daf Yomi don’t get to know Shas; instead, they are just using valuable time that could have been used to really learn. Fast food is horrible for your body, everyone knows that.

Yiddishkeit is not something you can do in just a few minutes a day. Don’t for a minute think that being in Uman for Rosh Hashanah is equal to sitting and learning 10 hours a day. Because if you do, you’re only fooling yourself.

{KG/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. How can you be so haughty as to totally discount all of the learning that many thousands of very commited baalei batim do on a daily basis. Who are you, a person who clearly sits on blogs and ponders the “problems of Yiddishkeit” all day, to say that thier learning is not worth as much as everyone else’s. Rachmana Liba Ba’i and if these people are learning lishma we can certainly say of them “echad hamarbeh v’echad hamam’it ubilvad sheyichavein libo lashamayim”. Something which we clearly can’t say about a baal gayva like you

  2. I agree with the general sentiment of the author, but to clarify:

    If Rav Nachman is your Rebbe, meaning your inspiration to live as a frum Jew, connected to Hashem is from him, then by all means it is worth the money to do hishtatchus by his kever. If you aren’t, but rather are caught in the hype of Uman (be it the fun or the inspirational parts), then save the money for better things such as your children’s Yeshiva tuition.

  3. please leave the judging to hashem and try visiting some holy places and see what it does for you hopefully it will change your life as it has changed mine.

  4. I think you’re point stands on its own without the Daf Yomi analogy. Bottom line: Going to Uman is not Teshuvah. Let’s not mix up the two. That’s the point of this article and it is 100% true.

  5. Rav Nachman tells a story of the Chacham and the Tam. In it the Chacham, who relies so much on his brain and is incapable of the emunah that the tam lives by, ends up in big trouble, needing the tam’s help, whilst the tam’s life turns out to be a great success. Rav Nachman said that he will go to all lengths to take out of gehinom those who come to him on Rosh Hashana. No other tzaddik has promised that. And tzadikim don’t lie. If a person has emunat chachamim and follows this instruction with tmimut, he has hope. But the ‘chochom’ kollel guy who wrote the above, has no hope. He thinks he can do things on his own – without the help of a tzaddik. Good luck to him.

  6. u obviously have never been to Uman. First go there and than speak about what it is. Wouldnt that be wise? I personally have gone and have not met anyone who has been there and didnt grow from the experience. Please be careful when speaking negetivly in general and especially about kivrei tzadikim. gmar chasima tova

  7. If you like the davening there – fine, if you feel uplifted by that connection to this Tzaddik of old – great. but don’t extend that into thinking that somehow it’s a stead for the important things…

    From the dancing in some places on Slichos night, Erev Rosh Hashana, and Motzei Rosh Hashana, it surely seems a lot of us have forgotten the main thing: Din! Tshuva! – Slichos and Simchas Beis HaShoeiva can’t be all the same, no?

  8. #5 – if you think that this promiss of R’ Nachman should cause people to dance with a live band Erev Rosh Hashana, since they’re all “guarenteed”…, then there’s gatta be something wrong…

  9. Who ever claimed that going to Uman was equal to 10 hours of learning? How many people do you know that sit and learn 10 hours? I know some that learn more than that. And guess where they are Rosh Hoshana. UMAN
    Ask around in Mir Yerusholayim and they will tell you that perhaps the biggest iluy (a baki in nigleh and nistar yet is willing to speak with even the simplest bachur in learning) there is a prominent Breslover who goes to Uman every Rosh Hashona. There are many other like that.

  10. This article is yehora at its worst.

    The author is missing one chelek of Shulchan Aruch – the fifth chelek – the one having to do with seichel.

  11. Kollel Guy, did you ever bother do look into a Chayei Mohoran and Likutei Mohoran to see what going to Uman for Rosh Hashona is really about? Before you criticize something, you need to first know at least the basics of the subject of criticism.

    You speak of quick fixes. You obviously know very little about Breslov.

    1.It is well known in Breslov, and spoken about much in Breslover seforim that Reb Nachman said that one must be careful to always follow Shulchan Aruch, and that we must learn halacha every single day. The Chofetz Chaim had a talmid, Reb Hirsh Leib Lippel, a great talmid chochom who became a Breslover Chosid. The Chofetz Chaim told him that was good because “Breslover Chassidim are careful to observe Shulchan Aruch”. The halacha sefer used by many Breslovers is none other than the Mishna Brura.

    2. Reb Nachman exhorted us to recite Tikun Chatzos. Regular bala batim get up to say it every night to daven for Hashem’s house to be rebuilt. Most of us have roofs over our head but Hashem kaviyochul doesn’t.

    3. Have you ever davened in a Breslov minyan? A weekday shachris can easily take 90 minutes. And many daven vasikin and most go to the mikva before davening. Shabbos Shachris starts early enough so that Kris Shema together with the brochos can be said before the Magen Avrohom zman.

    4. Besides Shachris, Mincha and Maariv, we spend a minimum extra 1 hour a day in hisbodedus, davening to Hashem in our own words. This includes thanking Hashem for everything, cheshbon hanefesh and asking for everything in gashmius and ruchnius including the smallest things. BTW, the Chofetz Chaim in Likutei Amarim Perek Yud says that we don’t do this. (look it up inside the Kol Kisvei Chofetz Chaim)

    There is much more, but this is a small sampling to show that going to Uman for Rosh Hashona has nothing to do with quick fixes. To go into detail why we go to Uman for Rosh Hashona would take too much time, but you can look it up in the seforim, as opposed to getting info off of a blog. Also, Breslovers spend much time preparing for Rosh Hashona by studying the teachings related to teshuva and Rosh Hashona, and doing extra hisbodedus, more tehilim, etc.

    Now, many will say that only some do that but many don’t. Many people show up to Simchas Bais Hashoeva in Mir and Toldos Ahron. Would you consider them Mirer talmidim or Toldos Ahron Chassidim? Same thing with Uman. Don’t put down the thousands that come “ehrlich” for Rosh Hashona. This includes many all types of Yidden, clean shaven, “Chassidic looking”, Sefardim, Rabbonim and Ballei batim. The thing they have in common is that they study and follow the teachings of Reb Nachman all year long and this is just one part, albeit a very important part, of our avodah.

    A Gmar Chasima Tova to all of Klal Yisroel. May we be zocheh to spend next Rosh Hashona in Yerusholyim with Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

  12. This article has many valid points.
    Primarily due to the fact that the person who is learning thinks they know it all and stopped thinking on their own. Yes it is better than nothing. However, I sometimes wonder if the person would spend the time lerning chumosh correctly, they would expand their horizons and actually get something out of the experience. Learning Gemoroh trully requires analysis, work and time. It is not a quickie exercise.

  13. The alter from Kelm says not everything thought should be said, not everything said should be written, not everything written should be published.

  14. I love Hashem’s nation, and I look to see the good, especially during the aseres yemeh teshuva

    there are many ways to serve Hashem, please don’t knock someone who has a different way than yours. thank you

  15. as it is stated in the likutey moharan that when you learn the passukim of the great rabanim you get to the madregah of lishmah be peh shel otam ha… as much do we have to consider our learning. every word , every nekuda was uttered by a gadol , by a zadik.when we learn gemarrah it is as if we would be listening to the same words of our sages.there is a unique conection between am isroel and Torah or Kedushah.when a yid looks at Torah , people wil say that it is illusion or as said above ” feel good yiddishkeit”.
    but it is the contrary.
    there is a nigun in every nekudah of every word of the Torah

  16. This line sums up the naarishkeit of the post “Yiddishkeit is not something you can do in just a few minutes a day” take a step back and look at the whole picture we’ve come to take as a given all the sacrifices yidden make to observes torah that they become normal and we keep pushing for more, and that is a good thing, but be very very careful not to denigrate that which we do do. Keeping kosher isnt easy nor cheap, nor is shabbos nor is waking up an hour before our coworkers in order to daven. We take these things for granted which causes us to forget all that we do, which again is a good thing. Though our yiddishkeit can hardly be called “a few minutes a day”

  17. I don’t think you can find any rov to agree with this article , especially the downplaying of Daf Yomi . Bein Kese Leosor is not the time for such articles of Bitul .

  18. as a magid shiur for daf yomi i totally disagree with your insulting the limud hatora of tens of thousands of people who devote themselves day in and day out to learn and yes b”h finish shas in seven years. and by the way as to your point about quick fixes if you only learnt the daf on gemorah avoda zora yesh kona olamo bsha achas one can get olam habah in one hour you might have a different opinion as to uman i have no thoughts as i daven in a yeshiva in america dont be a snob gmar tov

  19. im sorry but i really dont know what in heavns name your point is #1 from the way you talk its extremly obvios that you were never there so kindly dont talk about something you dont know #2 the davening in uman takes very long slichos starts at 3 davening at 630 finish 330 w 10 minute break and the hisorirus is great and its very nice to see a yid being mekatrug on 30,000 [at least] jews right before yom kipper join the sitra achra and his group

  20. #9 When tens of thousands from all walks of life from all levels of yiddishkeit, ashkenazi or sephardi stand side by side to read the tikun haklali together and to proclaim Hashem King and their belief in the tzaddik – yes that is something to celebrate. Did the leviim not play music when a person came to bring his korban to arouse him to teshuva meAhava? Something is very wrong when ppl who learn 10 hrs a day don’t have emunah in tzaddikim, sam haChaim, sam ha…

  21. when a person keeps his faith in Hashem he lacks nothing (tehillim chapter 34 & in benching) the KEY to success in Judaism, if you have faith in Hashem, Hashem has faith in you. (that you will do his ????) Theres nothing wrong with getting Chizzuk from a rebbe & learning from his ways etc… theres also nothing wrong with getting a bracha from a rebbe BUT getting a bracha from a rebbe & depending on it AKA: coming home & telling your wife we just got a bracha that were going to have a child or be rich or our daughter is going to have a refu’ah shleima etc… is a lack of Faith in Hashem. The Chovos Halevavos says in the chapter of faith that a person cannot have faith in 2 things (AKA Hashem & a Rebbe, Rav or friend) for when he does, he loses both.

  22. Your claim that people get nothing out of learning Daf Yomi is false and slanders thousands of Yidden who give time every day to learn and shteig in Gemora.

    However, I feel that not enough time is generally put into the Daf Yomi. Chazara is essential, as is also learning Rashi and Tosfos on the daf. We need daf resources which go through the Rashi and Tosfos Yomi as well, as this is considered to be real learning.

    My proposal is that Artscroll or another publisher do the following, which is sorely needed, considering the lack of materials at present on this. An English-language Kovetz Mefarshim is desperately needed. An English sefer which conveys the main ideas and elucidates Tosfos, Rishonim, Achronim, Poskim, and Roshei Yeshiva on the daf at hand. You figure maybe 7-10 pages of such mefarshim to each daf, a project which would require little more than knowing what the mefarshim are on a particular daf and conveying their shitos and presenting them in English. Such a project would truly open the gates of torah to many who seek to learn but who lack the linguistic ability to do so. A person could therefore in a period of about 2-3 hours a day learn the Daf and get an understanding of what Rosh, Rashba, Ran, Ritva, Meiri, Pnei Yehoshua, Rebbi Akiva Eiger, Ketzos, Reb Chaim, Reb Boruch Ber, etc. say on the Daf at hand, from Zeraim to Taharos.

  23. The whole chassidut movement was created as a result of people who think the way the author of this article does, that avodat Hashem is only for the ‘elite’. That your peasant jew who did not even know how to read had no chashivut in the eyes of Hashem. How many times did the Besth show that a peasant’s heartfelt tefilla is worth a lot more in shamayim than the “chochom in his own eyes”‘s tefilla. Rav Nachman said I want my people to learn as seriously as mitnagdim but with the heart of a chassid. If the head (torah – bechinat Rochel) and the heart (tefila -bechinat Leah) are not together (that’s why Yaakov married both), we become spiritually ill. Rav Nachman stressed daily hitbodedut, precisely so that even when one is sharpening the sechel, the heart is still alive.

  24. To aTalmid #19, you must know Rav Nachman’s story of the prince who thought he was a turkey; how all the doctors could not cure him. Only the chacham who also got under the table and pretended to be a turkey too, was able to bring him back to health. Everybody who comes to Uman, even the ones that don’t appear to be ‘ehrlich’ are welcome to Uman. Rav Nachman is the only one (since he is the neshama hakolelet, bechinas Moshe Rabenu) who can help even those that are (apparently) at the very last rung of the ladder. If they didn’t come to Uman what hope would they have? They need a ‘quick fix’ so that they don’t sink forever. How many of the ehrlich that are in Uman once upone a time were one of those ‘others’?

  25. Granted, there are no shortcuts – but that does not negate the gains made by some of the people who choose to attend.
    As far as Daf Yomi goes, you’re right. It does seem like a ‘run through Shas’. So maybe everyone who cannot dedicate three hours for a ‘seder’ should just not bother learning? Until the Daf Yomi became so accessable, how many people even knew there was a Masechta Shevuos – much less learned it? Something to think about…

  26. comment 19 says says: “BTW, the Chofetz Chaim in Likutei Amarim Perek Yud says that we don’t do this. (look it up inside the Kol Kisvei Chofetz Chaim)”

    What it should say is: BTW, the Chofetz Chaim in Likutei Amarim Perek Yud says that all the troubles we have are because we don’t daven to Hashem in our own words outside the 3 daily tefilos. (look it up inside the Kol Kisvei Chofetz Chaim)”

  27. why is it that everyone has something to say about the next person? Why do you have to criticize something someone does, if you don’t do it? You think you are better than them? Let people live, and do what they came to the conclusion to be right, and you do what you come to the conclusion to be right. These letters to the editors are mainly ‘complaints’ against what other people do. Turn a blind eye and ‘gei veiter’, (unless halachically necessary).

    ENOUGH! Live and let live!!!

    All I know is The only group of yidden that are always besimacha is……… 🙂
    You guessed it.
    Gmar Chasima Tova To All Klal Yisrael. Amen!!!!


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