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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Only in Israel #3




Hassidic Graffiti (Hey, that would be a great band/blog name!)


Can someone explain the whole "Na Nach Nachma Nachman MeUman" thingie to me in a way that doesn't make it sound like a cult or Avodah Zarah? I don't remember seeing all of this when I was in Israel in the '90s.

13 comments:

Miriam L said...

Hmm. I remember seeing it in 2001 when I went there for my brother's wedding. But I can't explain it. I think it's a Breslov thing and only Breslovers really know. (But I could be wrong.) My father said the ubiquitous graffiti is an attempt to get everyone to repeat the phrase, mentally if not out loud. Does it work? Just did.

Anonymous said...

I have been told, from a good source, the origin of the phrase. Apparently, there was a Breslov chassid who was having trouble not, well, purposely causing a non-nocturnal emission (how's that for euphemism!). So R' Nachman gave him this petek with that on it and told him to say it whenever he felt the urge. Go figure...

Doctor Bean said...

It was all over Tsfat (Safed) in the 90s when my wife and I were there. (Coincidently, I'm listening to Yosef Karduner right now, a Breslov Chassidic Israeli musician.)

I can explain Breslov Chassidut any way you like, but it is a cult. Of course, so is what I do.

PsychoToddler said...

There's a good article here, which seems as acurate as any others I have read. Still, I don't understand why they do it. What do they get out of it? Is it an attempt to bring Reb Nachman back from the dead? Again, it sounds very cultish and doesn't sound like it's part of my religion.

Also, I find myself offended by its being plastered all over holy shrines in Israel. It's like they are attempting to claim ownership over places that belong to all Jews, like the tomb of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai, and not just to Breslovers.

A Simple Jew said...

See here for more information on it:

Miriam L said...

If one was going to scribble a phrase all over the country, I would rather see something like "v'ahavta l'reacha k'mocha." (Excuse my bad transliteration. It looks like "love your neighbor like you love mochaccino."). But really, graffiti is graffiti and those walls should be left alone.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

I wrote a whole post related to this, called "The Graffiti Wizards of Oz"...

Its somewhere on my blog.

PsychoToddler said...

jameel, that was ONE lazy comment!

miriam: better than k'decaf

asj: still doesn't answer the big Kirk question of....WHY?

Ralphie said...

All I know is that it's written on the corner of Robertson and Cashio in Los Angeles.

aliyahmom said...

when we were in Israel last year, my husband really enjoyed seeing them dance everywhere. He felt they were dedicated to serving Hashem with simcha, joy. He even bought stuff with them that I told him was total avodah zara--a chain around your neck does not protect you from anything, only G-d Himself can protect...

Personally, I wondored how many of them were on serious drugs.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

PT: Lazy? Could be an excuse for BUSY! :)

Here it is:

http://muqata.blogspot.com/2007/02/who-are-mysterious-graffiti-wizards-of.html

(Great pictures)

Now tell me -- is that laziness?!

PsychoToddler said...

Can't you even make it a hyperlink?

Warren Burstein said...

In the version I've heard all over the place, the chassid was upset over eating on a fast day. But someone goes around Jerusalem (not me) changing the mem in "meuman" to a nun, which makes it the Hebrew verb for, er, "has a non-nocturnal emission".