Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

20 Ellul 5762 - August 28, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








The Many Dimensions of Rabbi Nachman Bulman

by M. Samsonowitz

In the past two weeks, we told the life story of Rabbi Nachman Bulman, the great rav, educator, counselor and guide. This week, we will deal with the ideas and broad themes that animated Rav Bulman's life.

First dimension: The Uncompromising Rabbi

As a very young man taking up his first rabbinical position, in Danville, Virginia, Rabbi Bulman had already established the principles which would guide him in the rabbinate throughout his life.

Rather than think in terms of what would best further his rabbinical career, Rabbi Bulman determined all his actions on the basis of what would bring more Jews back to their heritage. His method was total, uncompromising adherence to halacha. He concentrated his efforts on explaining the underlying fundamentals which dictated fidelity to halacha. In his sermons and classes, he conveyed his principles with a combination of personal warmth, inspiration and intellectual clarity.

Rabbi Bulman did not believe in cooperating with the secular Jewish leadership and the Jewish organizational bodies which controlled the collection and distribution of funds in the Jewish world, and which represented the Jewish community to the government and the world. He refused to take funds from, or give donations to, secular bodies like the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies or its members. It was clear to him that their agenda was to move away from true Judaism.

Although Rav Bulman generally presented his position on this issue on its merits, he was undoubtedly influenced by the strong position of HaRav Shamshon Rafael Hirsch on Austritt -- separation from the heretics in the community.

Following gedolei Yisroel Rabbi Bulman condemned united rabbinical bodies which included representatives of heretical "streams," such as the New York Board of Rabbis. He consistently ruled against any individual or group participating in such joint treif initiatives.

He felt very strongly about "kosher gelt." He wouldn't take money from questionable sources such as Jewish agencies and organizations that worked against observant Judaism. As much as he needed funding for his many different programs and endeavors, he wouldn't compromise his principles to get it. He was reluctant to take money from people who weren't frum. And he never allowed a person to substitute funding Yiddishkeit for loyalty to Yiddishkeit.

Although Rabbi Bulman was by any account a successful congregational rabbi, his path to success was strewn with many battles and anguish.

Dimension Two: The Loving and Perceptive Father and Advisor

Rabbi Bulman's perceptiveness and understanding of human nature was uncanny (a word used time and again by interviewees). In the words of one of his congregants, he had "x-ray vision."

Explains a former congregant, "He had the uncanny ability to sit you down at his table and make you feel, `I was sitting and waiting for you to come.' He'd often start out, `I just read something; tell me what you think of this.' It always had something to do with why you came. When this `coincidence' happened time and again, I realized that he already knew why I had come. After a while, I'd just plop myself down and say, `Rabbi Bulman, what do I do now?' "

People came to him day and night with their problems. His daughter recalls the house being constantly filled with visitors of every age and background and the phone ringing without end. Only around midnight did the noise begin to die down. Rabbi Bulman kept up this schedule almost until the end of his life.

In addition to being able to accurately size a person up, he had the ability to speak to him in a `language' that would get through to him.

What made his uncanny perception so powerful was that it was joined with a caring, loving heart. Each person felt that he shared their distress and commiserated with their struggle. Each one felt he understood their situation, and that alone relieved their pain and helped them to find a solution. His heart bled for people were struggling to find their place, to define themselves, to find a way out of their sufferings.

One woman recalls, "I went to him because I was having problems in my marriage and feeling generally miserable in life. Rabbi Bulman said, `The only thing that will make you happy is learning Torah.' I was shocked when he told me that. I hadn't learned Torah in years. He couldn't be right. But he was right and that's what I do for a large part of my time now. He gave me the answer my neshomoh needed. He was in tune. How did he know?"

Getting advice from Rabbi Bulman was unlike advice from anybody else. He listened carefully to your words, and frequently asked you questions to understand your situation. Within a short time, your problem was analyzed and a practical answer was suggested.

One young woman recalls, "If you'd tell Rabbi Bulman, I'm having problems with a shidduch, he wouldn't say, `Go ahead, you just have cold feet.' He'd listen carefully to hear what's going on, and then would say not to worry, or the shidduch is no good, and then he'd explain why."

Another said, "Many other rabbis I've been to made me feel, `What do you mean you're having a problem? Go home, take care of your kids. You have too much time on your hands.' But Rabbi Bulman helped you think about what's going on in your life. If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, you have to stop and check it out."

Rabbi Bulman came across as a fellow human being who could get depressed, too. He wasn't high and mighty, he wasn't above life, but was a part of it.

"I felt there was a real person there," as one person expressed it. "I could tell him what I'm thinking without having to worry what he'll think of me because he shared the human struggles that I have. He would tell me, `I'm working hard on this and I hope I'll get there.' He had that interest in growing that you usually only see in a child. He projected the image that he's just a Yid who's working on himself, and sometimes he succeeds and sometimes he doesn't, so when you fail, it's OK too. You get up tomorrow and start up again. That attitude was one of the greatest gifts he gave me."

It was Rabbi Bulman's total acceptance of a person that enabled people to pour their hearts out to him. "I could speak to him about absolutely everything" is how many felt. On the other hand, he would see right through a person who was hiding behind a pretense.

During the shiva, dozens of people came in, sat down and told the Bulmans, "I can't tell you what your father did for me--but I owe my life to him." These were the hundreds of people whose marriages were failing and whose children were dropping out, who were suffering every kind of misery and trouble, but were saved by his sagacious advice and his belief in them.

Women who came to him in distress--agunos, widows, victims of abusive husbands, or mothers of sick or troubled children--always found a listening ear and a sympathetic heart. He personally worked tirelessly to free many unfortunate agunos.

A thread of intense emotion ran through Rabbi Bulman. He intensely loved every Jew and especially his students. When a talmid became engaged and brought his kallah to meet the Rav, or when a talmid published a new sefer and brought the Rav a new copy fresh off the press--Rav Bulman would embrace his talmid, kiss him, and say to his rebbetzin, "Bring out the shnapps for a lechaim!"

Despite his enormous intellect, there were few who could understand and feel for a simple Jew, see his great potential, and feel such love for him, as Rabbi Bulman. Even though he personally yearned for the era when people were so much greater than today, he wasn't intolerant of simple people. Some people prefer the rich or the intellectual or the talented or the scholars. Rabbi Bulman was accessible to all.

He lifted people up tremendously. You left his presence, ready to take on things far greater than you could imagine.

Dimension Three: The Literary Patron

Rabbi Bulman's eloquence in both speech and writing was well known. What many didn't know was that he was an exceptional translator. When still young, he had formed a close friendship with Eliyahu Kitov, the author of Sefer Hatoda'ah and Ish Ubeiso. Rabbi Bulman made Eliyahu Kitov a household name throughout the English- speaking world by translating his great seforim from Hebrew. The three- volume Book of Our Heritage and A Jew and His Home became immediate classics, gracing many religious Jewish homes to this day.

Rabbi Bulman had a knack for simultaneous translation. While giving a shiur, he would quote from a Hebrew sefer in such perfect, articulate English that his listeners thought he was reading from an English book.

His most important literary effort was the founding of the Jewish Observer under the aegis of Agudas Yisroel. It was he who had the foresight to realize the importance of a high-quality monthly magazine devoted to issues of concern to the religious public. Rabbi Bulman was the first editor and founder, and he wrote many of the articles in the first years, some of them under pseudonyms. The Jewish Observer established a high level of literary quality for the yeshiva community. Some of his articles were subsequently reprinted in Torah essay anthologies such as Seasons of the Soul by ArtScroll.

Rav Bulman also gave unstinting, generous help and advice to dozens of aspiring writers and translators. He placed great emphasis on the importance of cultivating articulate speech. What makes humans unique is the faculty of speech. A person who cannot express himself in words cannot be a deep thinker, either.

One established translator recalls that she was a novice translator struggling in her field. She had submitted a sample of her work for a lengthy job in competition with four other translators and by a quirk of fate was able to view all five submissions. Four of the samples seemed more or less the same, but one sample was succinct, written in impeccable English, and sparklingly clear in conveying the ideas and nuances of the Hebrew original. When she found out that Rabbi Bulman had submitted that sample, she called him up in Migdal Ha'emek and introduced herself, "Rabbi Bulman, you don't know who I am, but I saw the sample you translated and it was stunning! Could I study under you? I will pay you whatever you ask!"

Rabbi Bulman replied, "Yes! The religious community needs quality translators and writers. I will teach you."

Every two weeks for the following year, Rabbi Bulman gave an hour of his time to critique this translator's work--and would not accept remuneration. It was an act of incredible generosity to share his time and knowledge with a person to whom he had no prior obligation or even connection. Due to his instruction, the novice became a mainstream, prominent translator in the religious community.

This was just one case out of dozens of aspiring writers and translators he encouraged. Rabbi Bulman's library shelves were filled with books bearing dedications by their authors, thanking him for his assistance and inspiration.

Years later, Rabbi Bulman undertook to translate the classic Lekach Tov series on the parsha into English. He was too busy to continue the series, but one acclaimed volume resulted from the effort: Longing for Dawn.

Rabbi Bulman had rare musical skills, which he put to the service of the community too. One of his students took a position as rov in Raleigh, North Carolina. There was no other Orthodox minyan within hundreds of miles of his community. He realized that he would have to daven before the omud himself during the Yomim Noraim, so he asked Rabbi Bulman for tapes of the Rosh Hashonoh and Yom Kippur prayers. Rabbi Bulman sat down one day and spent hours recording all the prayers. Anything to help a talmid and his community.

Rabbi Bulman always felt a sense of failure because he never wrote the books he had in him. He was too occupied caring for the hordes who ended up on his doorstep to invest much time in his writing. In the end, the many Torah lives lived and the thousands he inspired, were the main legacy he left behind.

Dimension Four: The Statesman

Rabbi Bulman was not a "party man." Neither could he be "boxed" into a clear-cut category. You couldn't call him a chossid, Litvak or Yekke, although he integrated aspects from all these groups into his personality.

His unique combination gave him an extremely appealing broad- mindedness that is rarely found in frum society. Because Rabbi Bulman belonged partly to every stream and fully to none, he never won the public acclaim due to him.

Rabbi Bulman's qualities as statesman and leader became known in the campaign he led which changed the future of Yerushalayim.

In the late 1970s, Teddy Kollek, then mayor of Jerusalem, schemed to build an international stadium--to be named after himself--on top of the Shuafat ridge, where the present Ramat Shlomo neighborhood is located. The entrance to the grandiose stadium would be through the 443 road which passes by Ramot. One hundred and twenty buses would be able to leave and enter the stadium grounds at once -- every Shabbos during the soccer season.

Kollek suspected that the plan might arouse opposition from the religious councilmen in the municipality, so he cunningly planned to push it through during a period of elections. Promising the religious councilmen all kinds of financial plums if they would agree to the plans, he distracted them from the main issue and was poised to pass it without serious opposition.

Rabbi Bulman was then living in Sanhedria Murchevet. He heard about the plans and was immediately galvanized into action. Joined by Rabbi Hershel Zaks, Rabbi Yoshua Leiman, and Rav Mordechai Krashinsky, Rabbi Bulman held numerous meetings in his home where plans were laid to counter Kollek.

An Israeli askan, who was deeply involved in the efforts, relates, "Most religious askonim thought that the stadium in Shuafat was a local problem, an inconvenience for the nearby religious community of Sanhedria Murchevet. Rabbi Bulman noticed that the stadium was an attempt by Kollek to cut the northern Jerusalem neighborhoods in half and force a secular Shabbos atmosphere on all the northern religious neighborhoods between Ramot and Mattersdorf.

"At the time, the religious community was only 25-30 percent of Jerusalem's Jewish population. After Rabbi Bulman alerted the askonim and gedolim, he was chosen by them to lead the front against it. It wasn't a simple battle. The leaders of the religious community were very intimidated by Teddy Kollek. He knew how to be threatening; he knew how to cut off budgets and make life difficult for the frum.

"The Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah met before the askonim signed on the agreement with Kollek. Kollek had promised an especially generous package of benefits for the frum, including entering the municipal coalition, in exchange for their agreement to the stadium. The Pnei Menachem of Ger, as head of the Aguda, held an emergency meeting at Beis Agudas Yisroel and at the end, ordered the askonim to cancel the election agreement with Kollek and oppose the stadium in Shuafat. Once the Pnei Menachem had issued clear directives, the religious councilmen overcame their fears and began to fight Kollek's plan.

"Rabbi Bulman knew how to wage a wise campaign, and he did it with the energy of a locomotive. He held meetings during the night and day, he arranged for documentation, he made the phone calls. His abundance of energy and vigor, his sense of responsibility, and his profound perception of the problem infected all the askonim. A massive rally was then organized. Rabbi Bulman remained involved until the stadium plan was completely cancelled."

The Israeli askan sums up, "It was enough to meet Rabbi Bulman once to realize he was a man with great spiritual intensity. He immediately commanded respect."

Rabbi Bulman's vision proved correct. After Kollek's plans were thwarted, the religious community was able to push its borders northward, and eventually moved into and took over Ramot. Today, the majority of Ramot, and all of Ramat Shlomo-- the hill which had been designated for the stadium--are religious strongholds. If the religious community is today in the majority of the Jewish population of Jerusalem, it is largely due to its strongholds in the north, which were preserved due to Rabbi Bulman's perception.

The intensity of emotion which Rabbi Bulman displayed in his battle for the character of Jerusalem was similarly apparent when he was angry or defending any Torah truth. In defense of the cause, his courage was awesome. He feared no one.

Dimension Five: The Jewish Philosopher

This aspect of Rabbi Bulman was so original, so unquantifiable, so defying of definition, that we fear we will not do him justice. Yet this aspect of Rabbi Bulman was what made him so unique and attracted thousands of bnei Torah to him.

Rabbi Bulman was the one who could best explain the philosophy of Agudas Yisroel to the modern world. He could not be a disciple of any one individual, nor could anyone be a disciple of Rabbi Bulman, because his hashkofoh was so complex. While he inspired many, those who truly understood him were few. Most of those who studied under him received a certain aspect from him but almost never the totality.

Some small minds often looked at him as being suspect, or as being "out of touch" with the new developments in the religious world, but it was the exact opposite. His breadth and understanding were so mammoth that average and small- minded people couldn't comprehend him.

His solution to contemporary problems was often original and went against the common view. His understanding of history and the wide range of problems which had confronted Klal Yisroel and how they had been dealt with in the past, gave him the latitude to seek solutions to problems in the present that no one else could come up with.

At the same time, despite his personal criticism of what he perceived as narrow-minded attitudes and trends in the mainstream religious community, he was very careful not to go against daas Torah, and accepted modes of behavior. He identified himself as a man of the religious right whose goal was the same as the mainstream Torah community--to build up a community of bnei Torah and faithful Jews. Emunas chachomim and total faithfulness to the Mesorah was a cornerstone of his philosophy.

He was frustrated by the "mob" mentality of the chareidi world. He felt there was need for a much more multifaceted expression of Torah hashkofoh for the welfare of Klal Yisroel. He held that we have to be able to discuss issues more openly, and have to define our hashkofos more clearly. There are those who blindly follow "party lines," instead of assessing what is best for the community and the individual; he deplored that approach. With his deep understanding, he knew how to translate the ultimate goal of halachic and hashkofic criteria throughout the ages into a form palatable for our generation.

He had to deal with the issue of individualistic or uniform Torah lifestyles constantly, since the broken vessels of frum American Jews who had been traumatized in Israel frequently ended up on his doorstep. In trying to save these beaten-down individuals, he was wary of "bucking the system," and believed one had to bow the head to what Hashgochoh gave the community until the coming of Moshiach. What he searched for was a way to develop more from within the system, rather than undermining or criticizing the system from without.

He perceived the dynamics of Klal Yisroel in a historical context. He possessed a conceptual overview of the movement and development of different communities that enabled him to delineate what the community needed, where it was headed for, whether the basis of its lifestyle was based on Torah or not, and in which direction it had to be nudged. You could say he had an uncanny grasp of the neshomoh of a community.

A disciple who was close to him 30 years, recalls, "Whatever he spoke about, took people a long time to grasp. He never gave over a pragmatic formula for dealing with problems. He tried to get to the core of the issues on the hashkofo level and then would seek a pragmatic form in that context. Not always were people sure what he was trying to get at, but the depth and immensity of intellect was sensed. People felt like a prophet was standing before them, dissecting the problems that Klal Yisroel had to deal with."

Rabbi Bulman gave a lecture series called "Map of Exile" based on the Meshech Chochmoh on parshas Bechukosai, which recounts the ups and down of Klal Yisroel in exile. As he related it, it all came alive. It wasn't just theoretical analysis. He would spice it with his uncanny understanding of all the events taking place around us, thereby putting current events in a historic context.

The disciple adds, "He was so busy, he never had time to put his thoughts down on paper. I'm not sure the written word could contain or sustain the whole depth of his understanding and ability to apply ruach chachomim to the problems of our world."

His attitude to many issues often combined rigid and flexible principles. For instance, his attitude to woman's place in Judaism today was uncompromising on its essential role but flexible in anything beyond that. He understood the frustration of intellectual religious women, but he sought solutions for them within the frum world so they wouldn't get snared by the intellectual illusions of Western society.

He passionately hated women's "liberation" and feminism, which he felt smacked of rebellion against tradition and the home, and was destroying Judaism from within. He spoke out scathingly against the woman who left her husband and children at home to become a career woman or to daven at the Kosel in a woman's minyan with tefillin. Although these phenomena were more common in the modern Orthodox world, he felt they had made inroads in the strictly Orthodox world too.

He demanded utmost tznius in behavior and dress, and respect for one's husband. If a woman needed to work for reasons of parnossa or simply because she felt she needed to, he was not averse to her decision--as long as her family was not being neglected. The key was that the home was to be a woman's main career, but after that he was clearly in favor of women achieving self-expression, developing themselves intellectually and creatively and doing the most with their potential.

He advised and guided woman no less then men, and viewed their struggles and issues with equal seriousness. His attitude was very liberating for many woman who felt they couldn't sit at home or had strong intellectual needs. They were inspired by his view that within the Jewish system, a Jewish woman could find fulfillment both in her home and in her personal interests. He saw his worldview on women as just a continuation of Sara Schenirer's methods, adapted to our generation.

Rabbi Bulman spoke about Toras Eretz Yisroel as opposed to Toras chutz la'aretz. He believed that in Eretz Yisroel, a Jew's life had to encompass a lofty level of taharoh and kedusha, and be limited strictly to limudei kodesh, while in chutz la'aretz, the need for parnossa and the different social conditions there dictated an approach combining Torah study and mitzva observance with a greater level of secular learning than was acceptable in Eretz Yisroel.

He was against pegging a person as second-best if he could not be in full-time learning, since a Jew can and should have parnossa. Yet he would not tolerate criticism of the Eretz Yisroel system. He would tell people they were better off returning to chutz la'aretz and living according to the framework there, rather than remain in Israel and be critical of the framework.

Dimension Six: The Expert in Kiruv and Education

For many decades, Rabbi Bulman dealt with young non-religious Jews who had come from the secular world and were misled by its philosophy. There was no topic he was afraid to talk about; no person he was afraid to talk to. These young, confident scions of Western society were usually so impressed with his knowledge on every topic that many changed their outlook of life after a few talks with him.

He would never shirk any responsibility or any occasion where he could influence people. He literally rolled up his sleeves to work with people. He would lend his name to an endeavor where he felt there was an important gain to be had, never letting political circumstances or opponents deter him from doing what he felt was right.

For thousands, Rabbi Bulman was the guide at the crossroads who gracefully maneuvered and directed people. Practical people tend to be simple and people who are complicated tend to be stuck in the world of ideas. Rabbi Bulman knew how to navigate between the two with finesse.

Rabbi Bulman felt that Klal Yisroel in general and every Jew in particular was so multifaceted that it is impossible, and even offensive and untrue, to maintain a narrow-minded view. Following the philosophy of Rav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch, his idea of kehilla was based on the fact that there are many functions and facets to Klal Yisroel, and we have to incorporate all of them. Everyone has to be 100 percent connected to Torah, but Klal Yisroel encompasses many roles.

He didn't favor one way of kiruv over another, and felt that all were acceptable as long as they shared the goal of seeking to make a person a dedicated Jew. He scorned kiruv institutions whose goal was to create more adherents for the group or to create students who adhered to a uniform style. He believed that the goal in kiruv should be to become a religious Jew who will go where his heart takes him.

He believed it a mistake to give baalei tshuva a heavy program of gemora without other forms of Jewish learning to round out their Jewish personality. He tried to give them more solid grounding in Tanach, mussar, peirush tefilloh, and hashkofo, since he felt that Torah Jews, especially baalei tshuva, need other learning in addition to gemora. Chinuch had to be total.

With his unique ability to sense what derech each person needed, he was able to help not only baalei tshuva but also the many frum people who sought his assistance. To one bochur from America who spent Sholosh Seudos with him, Rabbi Bulman advised joining the Amshenover shul. To another American who was studying in an Israeli yeshiva, he advised going to learn in Baltimore. This latter man felt his whole life received its direction from the one meeting he had with Rabbi Bulman.

He sent many unhappy bochurim to different yeshivos. He would tell them, "You need a yeshiva which emphasizes such and such." Some he directed to chutz la'aretz; others he sent to study in Eretz Yisroel from abroad. He would tell one, "You're too interested in the mystical. You need grounding in the gemora." And to another, "You're learning too much gemora, you're not stressing avoda enough. You need to invest in tefilloh."

He could sense which aspect they were missing and would advise them how to acquire it. This is an incredibly rare ability. Some people have a "derech," a "shnit" which they harp upon all the time. He didn't have any one derech, but instead told each person what he personally needed. He likewise didn't have certain beliefs or principles which he repeatedly emphasized, because whatever advice he gave his student was tailored to his needs.

It wasn't enough to make a person frum. One had to ensure that the baal tshuva's transition was total. Your responsibility to a student isn't finished until he marries, becomes a member of a kehilla, finds a parnossa, and becomes totally integrated in religious life.

Rabbi Bulman was adamant about approaching Yiddishkeit with a clean slate. He rebuffed attempts to retain other ideals or other philosophies while at the same time undertaking Yiddishkeit. One must purge his mind from his former misguided philosophies, so he can approach Judaism in an intellectually honest way.

He was wary of people who were so "spiritual" that they wanted to learn Kabboloh to the exclusion of mainstream Torah learning. To a young baal tshuva who told him he wanted to learn Kabboloh, Rabbi Bulman replied, "You want to know the secrets of Torah? Learn Midrash."

In a series of shiurim he gave on the concept of "bris," he emphasized that it is not necessarily preferable to begin with an intellectual explanation of Yiddishkeit. In order to really experience Judaism one has to allow his actions to go first, and the intellectual persuasion will follow afterwards.

That's why, in many situations, Rabbi Bulman didn't even try to explain aspects of Judaism logically. He would simply tell his students, "Try it." After you experience it, it will leave an indelible impression on the feelings and mind.

He was wary of satisfying an intellectual or emotional hunger by studying material or learning in a place which might cause a new set of problems. His advice in that case would be: better to remain a simple Jew, than to strive to obtain a level where you might get derailed along the way.

Prominent educators would occasionally send Rabbi Bulman a student who was difficult to get through to. He would tell his staff, "The only person I can send her to is Rabbi Bulman." Inevitably, Rabbi Bulman could win her over.

Other hard cases sent to him included people who couldn't live with something in their past, those who didn't know how to do tshuva for certain things they had done, or didn't know how to overcome a certain negative quality basic to their whole makeup.

The problem was often overcome after he convinced them of the immense powers they possessed, and how to utilize them.

A Talmid's Recollections

It is 24 years since I spent my first Yom Kippur at Or Somayach in Jerusalem. And one memory stands out. The droshoh of Kol Nidrei by Rabbi Bulman. Extraordinary words. A flow of deep emotion, a sense of real love and care. Tears of tshuva. Tears of hope. His words changed me. His tefilloh directed me. His voice still resonates within me.

I attended his Tanach shiurim: history was now. Prophets spoke to our generation. I have been privileged to hear true Torah being taught, but I have never encountered shiurim of such depth, erudition, magnitude.

And then, there was his personal counsel, his sage advice, clear, defined, strong, and loving. So in touch with the pulse of life, so able to see the total picture.

Woe are we that such a giant is gone. I recollect hundreds, thousands of talmidim. They listened to his tapes, they read his books, they teach his Torah. Thousands were affected by this astonishing man. So eloquent in English, yet so totally Jewish in every meaning of the word.

(Rabbi Kirsch, head of Or Somayach reach-out in London)

What I Learned From Rabbi Bulman (one woman's recollections)

* That a person has a responsibility to Klal Yisroel. That you have to care about your fellow Jews, listen to them, feel close to them. If something needs to be done, you have as much of a responsibility to do it as the next person. Even trivial things, like picking up a paper someone dropped. Even if no one else in the room will do it, you should do it because of your responsibility to the Klal.

* That a person has a responsibility to himself to be normal.

* Because you're frum, that doesn't exempt you from thinking about right and wrong.

* Think independently. Just because everyone else is doing `it' at a certain point of time, doesn't mean it's an ultimate truth or that you should do it.

* When I told him to take it easy because he was overloading himself, he'd rebuke me, "That's not how a rov in Yisroel acts. You don't know what a rov is."

His Matzeva (translation)

Here is buried

Rabbi Nachman bar Meir Bulman zichrono livrocho

A faithful offshoot of earlier generations

A friend to the G-d-fearing, and a mouth to the leaders

He illuminated eyes with his discourses

Many enjoyed his counsel and advice.

His pleasant voice opened hearts.

He brought thousands of souls to Torah and mitzvos

He gave himself over for the welfare of the community and individual

He was the lion in the group who energetically fought the wars of G-d

He founded homes of Torah and prayer in his many journeys

He pursued peace and truth, and was clean of hand and pure of heart.

Born on 22 Teves 5785

Was called by the heavenly academy

on Shabbos Kodesh, 26 Tammuz, 5762


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