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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Rabbi Nachman meets with Napoleon


The following story was printed in “living jewish” on the 1st of Shevat 5767 – Jan. 19th and 20th 2007, 098, it was reprinted from Lechaim Weekly there are some definite mistakes and the whole story is very questionable, however there is a very true valid Breslov tradition that Rabbainu did in fact meet with Napoleon, and it is transcribed in the book Yisroel Saba - from a recording of Saba Yisroel: 
    כְּשֶׁרַבֵּנוּ הַקָּדוֹשׁ הָיָה בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל הָיָה מִלְחָמוֹת שֶׁל נַפּוֹלְיוֹן. נַפּוֹלְיוֹן הָיָה רוֹצֶה לַהֲרֹג אֶת כָּל הַיְהוּדִים, וְרַבֵּנוּ הַקָּדוֹשׁ דִּבֵּר אִתּוֹ, עִם נַפּוֹלְיוֹן, אֵיזֶה דִּבּוּרִים...
 and it is of great interest to see what is told about Our Master Na Nach Nachmu Nachman Meuman. 

As an aside - regarding the Breslov attitude towards Napoleon the following is taken from Siach Sarfay Kodesh 3:230

    בְּעֵת מִלְחֶמֶת נַאפּוֹלְיוֹן וְהַצַּאר בִּשְׁנַת תקפ"ז אָמַר רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל אַיְיזִיק: "אוֹ אֲנִי אוֹ הוּא" כְּאוֹמֵר אוֹ שֶׁאֲנִי אֶסְתַּלֵּק מֵהָעוֹלָם אוֹ הַצַּד הַשֵּׁנִי, וְלֹא הֵבִינוּ עַל מִי מִתְכַּוֵּן אִם עַל הַצַּאר אוֹ עַל נַאפּוֹלְיוֹן, וּבְאוֹתָהּ הַשָּׁנָה עָלָה הַצַּאר לַשִּׁלְטוֹן, שֶׁהָיָה גּוֹי מַאֲמִין וְחוֹרֵשׁ רָעָה עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְקִבֵּל אֶת הַמְּלוּכָה, מִשּׁוּם שֶׁהֵבִיס אֶת צְבָא נַאפּוֹלְיוֹן, וּבְאוֹתָהּ הַשָּׁנָה נִפְטַר רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל אַיְיזִיק.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov And Napoleon

Napoleon personally commanded his mighty army in order to realize his dream of capturing India and other lands in the Far East. He captured Egypt and from there marched into the Land of Israel.

About the same time, in the year 1798, a great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Nachman, arrived in Israel. (here I omit one sentence which says a wrong and demeaning reason why Rabbi Nachman went to Israel (today in Shivchay Huran we learned that Rabbi Nachman specifically did not want to go to Tsfas at all)).

Once, after concluding his prayers with great concentration and devotion, he lay down on the grass to rest and fell asleep.

Suddenly, in his dream, he beheld an old man who told him to go to Tiberias where he had an important mission to carry out on the the banks of Lake Kinneret (See of Galilee).
Reb Nachman wasted not a moment. He gathered his things and hurried off toward Tiberias. There, he rented a room in the house of a fisherman. Napoleon, in the meantime, had made his headquarters on the east bank of Lake Kinneret. He was receiving reports that there was much unrest in France, and that his opponents were seeking an opportunity to dethrone him. In this unsettling atmosphere, it was not easy for Napoleon to maintain the strict military discipline upon which the success of his armies depended.

One day, a thieving band of soldiers set out on a rampage, raiding the homes of the poor fishermen near Lake Kinneret. Three soldiers dashed into the home where Reb Nachman lived and demanded from the old Jewish fisherman all his money.

“I am too old to go fishing anymore and my only son supports me,” explained the elderly man. “I have no money.” The disappointed soldiers began beating the old Jew mercilessly. 

Reb Nachman heard the commotion from his attic room and hurried to the rescue.

“Leave the old man alone!” Reb Nachman called out in a commanding tone.

The soldiers let go of their victim. But seeing the intruder was a thin, pale, young Jew, they turned their attention on him.

“So, you would like to have a taste of this beating?” one of the soldiers called out contemptuously. He took off his belt and approached Reb Nachman.

Rabbi Nachman shot a piercing glance at the soldier who remained standing with his arm paralyzed in the air. The two other soldiers tried to help their friend, but thy, too, were quickly made helpless by the sharp look of Reb Nachman.

Reb Nachman ordered them to put the old man on his bed and ask his forgiveness. “Now, get out of here at once and don't let your foot enter any Jewish home if you value your lives,” he warned the soldiers.

Terrified and in deadly silence, the soldiers ran out. Arriving at their barracks, they told their friends about the terrible experience with the holy young Jew who had magical powers.
The story spread throughout the entire French Army camp until it reached Napoleon. Napoleon had the soldiers brought to him. He questioned them and then decided to meet this unusual Rabbi, who might be able to foretell what the future had in store for him.

“That is the man,” Reb Nachman heard a familiar-looking soldier say..

As Napoleon approached Reb Nachman, the rabbi rose and greeted him with great respect, saying, “Good evening, your Majesty. Blessed are you in your coming.”

Amazed, Napoleon asked, “How do you know who I am?”

“Our Torah enlightens the eyes of those who follow its teachings.” Rab Nachman replied.

As they talked, Napoleon realized that he was conversing with a distinguished spiritual personality, who also had a deep understanding of worldly problems and events. “Do you think I should continue my military expedition through the countries of the Middle East to reach India, or should we return to France?” he asked Reb Nachman.

Reb Nachman pondered the matter for a while then said, “The Creator has blessed you with exceptional qualities which you should use for the benefit of mankind. The way to achieve this is not through wars and bloodshed. Do not allow your military victories to mislead you. They will not bring peace to the world, and without peace you have nothing. Return home and help to create your own country an exemplary order of justice and righteousness.”

Napoleon shook his head and said, “Such a mission is not for me. I would rather live a short life full of triumph and power than a long life without them.”

“Everyone has freedom of choice in the way he wishes to live, “ said Rabbi Nachman respectfully.

Napoleon invited Reb Nachman to accompany his as his adviser, despite the fact that he hadn't followed Reb Nachman's advice. But Reb Nachman demurred the honor, saying, “My only wish is to serve the Almighty with all my heart and with all my soul.”

Na Nach Nachma Nachman MeUman!

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