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

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umanBy KollelGuy

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.

{KollelGuy/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. You make a valid point about Tylenol, but that’s about it. Your words about Daf Yomi borders on apikorses. Daf Yomi was started to bring achdus to Klal Yisroel as everyone would be learning the same daf each day. In no way does it diminish Torah B’iyun. There are many people who learn the daf as b’kiyus and the many who otherwise don’t have time to learn more than 45 minutes each day have a great opportunity to learn a seder which has a goal, yes, to finish shas. Usually when they finish, they start again, and then since it is chazurah, they can learn a bit more b’iyun. After I finished writing this, I believe it is not border on apikorusos, but actual apikorsus. P.S. Did you ever hear of Rav Meir Shapiro.

  2. I happen to agree wholeheartdedly with what the author said, and I believe our gedolim do to.
    He has not knocked going to Uman or learning Daf Yomi. What he has said is that if your entire basis of learning Daf Yomi is so that it should be a “quick fix” for learning, then you are making a mistake. If you go to Uman without doiung the requisite teshuvah and believe it is a quick fix, then you are mistaken.

    Aderaba. Go to Uman to gain the zechusim of Rav Nachman, but do it with the right mindset – that i9t is only supplemental to your teshuvah, tefillah,l tzedakah and Torah learning.

    Aderaba, learn Daf Yomi, but do so in addition to more intensive learning, or do so with more depth to make it more meaningful and long lasting, and not just as a quick fix.

    SO actually, it is not small minded. It is very on the mark and actually very much in line with the way our hashkafa should be.

  3. Who ever made that comparisson?
    Just because people enjoy a heartzig davening, I’m sure with a chassideshe ta’am, doesn’t mean they value that over other parts of Judism.
    Different strokes for different folks. (Too bad the author’s broader point about “feel good” and quick and easy yiddishkeit was wasted on such a thing as uman R”H)

  4. how about looking at the bright side that B’H so many people that would otherwise be out on rosh hashana doing absolutely nothing connected to the holy day (like making a BBQ or going on a hike) are actually doing something good !and yes i do understand the overall point the article is making but who are u to judge!! we should be working on our ayin toiv and try to see the good things in klall yisroel at this time and not trying to be mekatrig

  5. Better than not keeping Torah at all! Yes our generation has decreased in ‘Holiness’ but be thankful they are keeping what they are! Most jews dont even believe or are ignorant to torah so just be thankful that they are learning even a little bit.

  6. Excuse me, but when did Yiddishkeit become “a better than nothing” religion?! We advocate doing things the right way. Period. If you aren’t doing it the right way, then you are doing it incorrectly. What kind of mentality is this “just-be-thankful-that-they-are-not-doing-worse” attitude? It is preposterous.

  7. Daas Torah-
    I don’t think that people should practice yiddishkeit the wrong way, but the author’s criticizm of Umaan and Daf Yomi in particular I find strange.
    What is inherintly wrong about going to Umaan? Chassidim always went to their “base” for yomim noroyim. Personally, I go back to my yeshiva, but if people want to have a more “leibidikeh” davening, plus R’ Nachman’s assurance, then all the power to them.
    Daf yomi may be an easy way out for people with a more solid background in learning, but for many it is the only way (with artscroll) that they know how to learn.
    It’s not wron way, it’s different than yours.

  8. To number 9,

    What’s wrong with going to Uman?! Well it depends why you go and who you go with., It depends on what you do there. It depends on many, many, many things. And let me tell you, unless you satisfy those things and your intention is pure and holy, you are better off staying in your local shul. And yes, that is my Daas Torah.

  9. More than that. Example: Buying Arba Minim for your son – a passul “Chinuch” set! It’s exactly the opposite! That is NOT Chinuch! Passul Tzitzes! Egg Matzah by Leil Seder! The list goes on!

  10. Many valid points.
    Check out Reb Shaya Cohen and other mechanchim who advocate, “Let our YOUTH FEEL GOOD ABOUT YIDDISHKEIT”.
    For many years we have encouraged the cold, hard facts, sitting on benches, 2 hours a night sleeping, machmir of ben adom l’Makom, etc. It is now time to add the zest, warmth, gevaldickness and geshmach into Toras Hashem.

  11. I am curious if anyone out there has actualy BEEN to Uman for Rosh Hashana and feels its the wrong thing and will not go again?
    I have heard a lot of hear-say about what goes on there, hence my question.

  12. The lesson is “SIM LEV!”

    Ellul and Rosh HaShana is the time to bring your heart back to HaShem Yisborach. Let us all think about HKBH and DAVEN and do TESHUVA for the right reasons — because HKBH demands it of us !!!

  13. # 7: Daas Torah.
    What exactly is the right way? According to Chacham Ovadia Yosef it is the Sefardi way, the Temanim think its their way as do the chassidim and Litivshe. Modern Orthodox know that they got the right thing going as do the Mizrachi and Ezra based community. It’s cool to see Chardaal in Israel growing with its mix of Chardei/ Dati Leumi – with this kind of hashkofas, they too are know they are right. Lubavitch are also right, they have sichos from their Rebbe to prove it. The Breslovers are also right, just go to Uman and ask Rav Nachman. The Briskers are right as is the Lakewood crowd. What of the United Synagogue in England, they have even published their own siddur which proves they are right, but I’m sure Artscoll are also right.

    I once read a letter from Rav Dessler where he points out the following. In todays world where people are leaving Yiddishkeit at a rapid pace, we are to cling to anything that gives us a connection to Hashem. There is no right and wrong way – just do whatever it takes to cling to hashem

  14. I want to let you all know that if you go to Uman with the right intentions ,THERE is nothing like it the davening ,the simcha is mind boggeling,i never had a devening like it before.Dont get me wrong others go for fun,but if you go for the real stuff there is nothing like it .I just got back ,and boy i am high in ruchniess!so stop knocking look at everything positive love all jews.One thing i learned in Uman is to love everybody and dont knock!!!

  15. The last time I checked no one was sent into this world to be a judge. Our only roles are to advocate for each other. Whether the author’s points are right or wrong is irrelevant. No one asked him for this opinion! When the stock boys start behaving like management then we’re REALLY in trouble!

  16. people think they will not go next time if machiah doesnt show up this , then you and i shall go back in Uman , for me it was one the beautifull moment in my life i not hassid, breslev, i’m just a jew who try to keep the road to Hachem, sometime i fall and i start moving on to the Emet…
    For me being to Rabbi Nachman first time thise Roch Hachana made me see and understand many things, but important if you’ve been Uman , remember tachlir around like and feel the love that all bnei Israel got for each other not matter who you are and where you come from or background, just LOVE…So guys never say you will not go back uman because you will.
    Shana Tova


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