Stories of Rebbe Yisroel Karduner
Rebbe Yisroel Karduner was A Wonders Innovation
The Saba would always talk about his teacher the Holy Tzadik Rebbe Yisroel Karduner. There was almost never a conversation spoken by the Saba where he did not praise him.
He once said in the name of the holy tzadikim that were in Rebbe Yisroel Karduners generation, that even if he lived during the time of Rebbe Nachman he would have also been a Chidush - wonders innovation.
(chayay saba page 181)
Different Names of Rebbe Yisroel Karduner
Rebbe Yisroel Karduner
Rebbe Yisroel Kardun
Rebbe Yisroel Halpern
Rebbe Yisroel Breslever
Rebbe Yisroel Tzak (see C.S. page 183)
Rebbe Yisroel ben Rebbe Yehudah Laib
Even the Misnagdim Recognized the Holiness of Rebbe Yisroel Karduner
Even though most rabbis and learned people were extremely opposed to Breslov in that generation they still recognized Rebbe Yisroel Karduner to be a very holy man. Even the main opponents to Breslov respected him and feared him and were forced to admit that he was a wounder and that there was no one else who served Hashem like him alive in the entire world.
He appeared like an angel of the Lord of the Hosts, the greatness of his fearsome holiness was apparent to all.
(chayay saba page 181)
However they would try to blemish they by saying that he had one fault and that is that he was a Breslov chosid. However this was complete foolishness, since it was the exact opposite. The only way he reached the levels that he reached was only because he was Breslov.
They would also claim that he did not spend enough time studying Gemarah. However since he was completely knowledgeable in the books of Rebbe Nachman which contain the roots of the Torah he retroactively knew the entire Torah and had all its parts were spread out in front of him like a set table.
(chayay saba page 185)
Five Years with Rebbe Yisroel Karduner
The Saba spent five years serving Rebbe Yisroel Karduner until his passing, during which "his hand did not leave his"
They both made a vow with a handshake over the grave of Rebbe Akiva that they will meet everyday for the remainder of their lives.
It is thus very clear that the Saba had the full mesorah - tradition of Breslov passed down to him.
Purim with the Misnagdim
Once on Purim Rebbe Yisroel Karduner entered the home of one of the biggest opposers of Breslov in the city. The house was filled with all the main powerful opposers of Breslov. If he would have done so on a normal day they would have tried to kill him.
He started dancing in the center of the room and they stared with wonder at him since it seemed that his legs were not even touching the ground. The leader of the group become completely nullified to him at that point.
(chayay saba page 184)
Knowledge of Rebbe Yisroel Karduner
Rebbe Yisroel Karduner knew the entire Likutay Halochos by heart.
The Saba told over that at that time the books of Breslove were very scarce and hard to find. Rebbe Yisroel Karduner would therefore recite the Likutay Halachos by heart and that is how he would teach him.
He also told over that each word that left Rebbe Yisroel Karduners mouth was was in complete fear and holiness as if it was coming out of the moth of Rebbe Nason himself.
The Saba told over that Rebbe Yisroel Karduner learned half of Likutay Maharan from Rebbe Nachman himself.
(chayay saba page 185)
Sneaking Out to Hisbodedute
It was the custom of Rebbe Yisroel Karduner and many other Breslovers to arise at midnight, hold their shoes with a cloth and walk out shoeless to the outskirts of the city to do hisbodedute. The reason for this was so no one would here them and they could do Avodas Hashem in complete secrecy and totally for the sake of Heaven.
Bread and Tea
Rebbe Yisroel Karduner would only eat black tea and bread his entire later half of his life. Even when he would be offered much food he would still refuse to eat anything besides sugarless tea and bread.
Hisbodedute of Rebbe Yisroel Karduner
Saba related that when he first met Rebbe Yisroel Karduner, he suddenly disappeared. The Saba searched and inquired all over for him but could not find him. Finally he saw from far away a person that was walking this way and that way deeply engrossed in a conversation with someone. When he got closer he realized that it was Rebbe Yisroel Karduner who was talking to Hashem.
The Saba said "Rebbe Yisroel Karduner would talk to Hashem Yisborach and he would cry to him, until he was made a tzadik, a holy tzadik..."
(chayay saba page 186)
Oblivious of Opposition
One time Rebbe Yisroel Karduner was greatly embarrassed and publicly disgraced by some opponents of Breslov. A number of minutes later Rebbe Yisroel Karduner disappeared and no one knew where he went. It even reached a point that the Turkish police went out to search for him. However nothing helped and they could not find a trace of him.
After three days they found him doing Hisbodedute deep in the woods. He was deep in conversation with Hashem in great concentration, as if he was completely unaffected by the great embarrassments thrown upon him. It was apparent that he was in a state of consistent Hisbodedute for the entire three days.
(Chayay Saba page 187)
An Interesting Observation
It is known that both "Histapchus Hanefesh' and 'Meshivas Nefesh' were written by Rebbe Alter of Teplik. It is also known that 'Meshivas Nefesh' was first published in Lemberg in 1902 by Rebbe Yisroel Karduner. We can therefore assume that 'Histapchus Hanefesh' was also brought to press by Rebbe Yisroel Karduner.
The Saba's first connection to Breslav was through 'Hishtapchus Hanefesh,' the sefer he found in shaimes. It comes out that even the Saba's initial hiskarvus to Rabbeinu was also through the holy Rebbe Yisroel Karduner.
Kiruv of Rebbe Yisroel Karduner
It was the way of Rebbe Yisroel Karduner to try to bring as many people close to Rabbanue as possible. He would often spend a lot of time giving them Chizuck and talking to them. However once he took them to Rebbe Nachmans Tzion he would stop all his efforts and let them go on thier own, letting Rabbanue finish the Hiskarvus.
(See chayi saba page 182)
Suffering of Rebbe Yisroel Karduner
Rebbe Yisroel Karduners path in Avodas Hashem was to invite all types of pain, illnesses and suffering upon himself. All his Avodah was done with great strength while going through terrible suffering.
The Saba gave testimony that Rebbe Yisroel Karduner would willingly invite all the suffering upon himself.
Due to his great truth, there was no one that was able to stay alongside him for too long. The exception being the Saba, and he merited to what he merited.
The Saba himself said that it was a miracle how he was able to hold himself strong and stay with Rebbe Yisroel Karduner.
(See chayi Saba page 182)
Calm Despite Suffering
Even though Rebbe Ysroel Karduners entire life was composed of terrible suffering, still he was attached to Hashem in great binding every second of the day.
Althogh he was constantly in very great pain, he would always talk in complete calmness and sweetness. He was always bound to Hashem with faith and happiness. All of his Avodah was with great joy despite his great suffering.
(chayi saba page 183)
Niggun of Likutay Tefilot
The Saba told over how he would hear Rebbe Yisroel Karduner recite Likutay Tefilot in a wondrous melody. This was the same melody that Rebbe Nasson himself used when he would do Hisbodedute and he received it from his Rebbe, Rebbe Moshe Breslver.
He also told over how Rebbe Yisroel Karduner would sing for hours upon hour in a wondrous melody "Umeotzar Matnas Chinam Chananue"
The Saba told over that once with great fear and trepidation he peeked into the room where Rebbe Yisroel Karduner was doing Hisbodedute, to watch him as he prayed.
The Saba then said "You can think what you want, but I know that I saw him standing in middle of the air and his feet were not touching the ground."
(Chayi Saba page 185)
How Do You Merit To Be A Jew
Rebbe Yisroel Karduner would go to the woods and do Hisbodedute all his life.
He continued going to the woods even while the Turks ruled the land and it was extremely dangerous.
He would go in the pouring rain and the freezing cold and beg Hashem "How can I merit to be a Jew"
(Cayi Saba page 186)
The Saba recited that during the years he spent with Rebbe Yisroel Karduner, his main objective with the Saba was only Tikkun Habris. To completely clean the Saba of any form or remembrance of Pgam Habris on any level.
(Chayi Saba page 187)
Three Day Fast by the Rashbi
During the time of Rebbe Yisroel Karduner, the town of Meron was completely abandoned of Jews, due to the Arabs. For the bulk of the year the Tzion of the Rashbi would remain empty, only on Lag Baomer and a number of other minor occasions would groups of Jews come to the Tzion to pray. The exception to all this was the Saba and Rebbe Yisroel Karduner, who despite the great dangers could constantly be found at the Tzion.
Once the Saba and Rebbe Yisroel Karduner were at the Rashbi completely immersed in Avodas Hashem, after a couple hours the Saba turned to Rebbe Yisroel Karduner and asked what they should eat. Rebbe Yisroel Karduner answered him that a person can easily last 3 days without eating.
Both of them immediately returned to their Avodas Hashem with great strength and devotion. As time went on the the Saba started getting weaker and weaker. His mentor Rebbe Yisroel Karduner on the other hand showed no signs of weakness and only seemed to become stronger and stronger. He continued his worship of devotion with tears flowing like a great river as if nothing had changed.
At the end of the three days the Saba's knees were already buckling from weakness (although the Saba did much fasting, this long fast was at a moments notice with no preparation). He once again turned to Rebbe Yisroel Karduner and asked if they could return to Tzfat to get some food. Rebbe Yisroel Karduner replied that they should have faith in Hashem and continue for another couple hours. They once again returned to their devotions.
A few hours passed and suddenly a group of Jews entered the Tzion with a bag of food and started to prepare a meal which they gladly shared with the two Tzadikim. As written it was an extremely rare occurrence for people to come to the Tzion in middle of the year.
(chayi saba page 188)
The Saba recited how he and Rebbe Yisroel Karduner would set out in the beginning of the week to Meron or the forest. Despite the fact that there was almost no way of attaining food at these locations, they would leave empty handed taking no provisions with them.
The Saba would want to ask Rebbe Yisroel Karduner what they would eat for the remainder of the week, however when he would hear his yells and cries of prayers and Hisbodedute and the way he would read the Zohar and Tikkun Haklali, he would think to himself, there is already no need for food.
(Chayi Saba page 189)
Unable to Ask
The Saba recited how a number of times he wished to approach Rebbe Yisroel Karduner and pour out his heart about the great suffering that he and his family were going through as well as the great embarrassments and insults that were constantly being thrown at him. However as soon as he saw his awesome, holy and shining face, all his suffering would become completely nullified and he could not bring himself to talk about it.
(Chayi Saba page 189)
True Happiness of Breslov
During the younger years of Rebbe Yisroel Karduner there lived a very wealthy man in his city. Although this wealthy man was a known miser, Hashem made Rebbe Yisroel Karduner find favor in his eyes. The wealthy man once invited Rebbe Yisroel Karduner to his home. In middle of his visit Rebbe Yisroel turned the conversation around to discuss the final truth and mans ultimate purpose in this world. His words made a great impression and penetrated deep into the wealthy mans heart.
Many years passed and Rebbe Yisroel Karduner arrived to the yearly Rosh Hashana Kibutz (gathering) of Anash (men of Breslov) in Uman. There he found his fellow Breslover chasidim dancing in great joy as was their usual custom. Breslovers usually dance with great joy and happiness, near the tzion (grave of Rebbe Nachman) this was increased tenfold.
In the center of the room danced a person who seemed relatively new to the group. His dancing however was extremely impressive and was with great life force, energy and happiness. So great was his dancing that that all the people in the room look at him with wonder.
Rebbe Yisroel Karduner looked at the man dancing in the center and he liked what he saw. He approached some Chasidim to inquire who this latest member of the group was.
"Do you not remember him" they replied "This was your wealthy man that you started bringing close many years ago."
The man had lost all his wealth, but what happiness was there now....
(chayi Saba page 190)
When Rebbe Yisroel Karduner would need clarity to make a decision between one of two options and needed advice, it was his custom to yell out a great amount to Hashem from the bottom of his heart. After this he would trust Divine providence to lead him in the correct direction. This tradition he inherited from his teacher Rebbe Moshe Breslever.
(chayi saba page 191)
Sanctuary of the Rashbi
Due to the great holiness of the Tzion of the Rashbi, it was the custom of Rebbe Yisroel Kardner to enter without his shoes on (as was customary in the Bais Hamikdash). He would do this in the winter as well, despite the freezing weather.
Once on an extreamly cold day he entered the Tzion with his shoes on. Imediatly he heard the voice of Rebbe Shimon yell out. From that day on he was carefull to remove his shoes even during the coldest days of the winter.
(chayi saba page 184)
Rebbe Yisroel Karduner Anounces the Cherem
In the year 5671 (1911), an earthquake occurred in Meron, on the night of Lag b’Omer, while the congregation was dancing on the roof at the time of the customary bonfire lighting. Suddenly a strong wind came and scattered the fire of the bonfire on the gathering, and people began to flee from the fire, and people were squeezed against the fence, until the fence gave way and they fell with the fence onto the courtyard below, on top of the people who were standing in the courtyard, and many people were killed or injured.
Elderly people who witnessed the event told me that there was amazing Providence involved, for those who were meant to be injured, even though they were far away from the upheaval, were injured, and those who were meant to be spared, even though they were very close at hand, were saved. They also told that at the time of the dancing, before the earthquake hit, an unidentified Jew danced with the people, and from time to time he would switch hats with the dancers, and there were many who wanted to switch hats with him in the joyous spirit of the moment, but he did not agree to it. He would only switch hats with one he chose with whom to switch. Afterwards they saw that each one who had switched hats with him, even though they had been in the greatest danger, survived. And for his part, he disappeared, and no one knew anything about him.
The community interpreted the disaster as a Divine rebuke for the mixing of men and women and the sexual immodesty during the event, and due to this the people and the Rabbis of Tzfat convened a major meeting, and passed a decree banning women and girls from being in Meron, or even being on the road from Meron to Tzfat, on Lag b’Omer or the day before it. So women would start coming to Meron several days before the holiday, and the day before the eve of Lag b’Omer they would return home, and during these two days – the day before Lag b’Omer and Lag b’Omer itself, not a single woman could be seen in Meron, nor on all the road between Meron and Tzfat. The ban lasted five years, and I heard that nobody was willing to stand up and pass the decree upon the community, except for Rabbi Israel Karduner of Breslov Chassidism, who stood up before the community in awe and fear of G-d, and declared the ban in the name of the Rabbis.
There were many who opposed the ban, and claimed that the world war that broke out afterwards was in consequence of women being denied to come to the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai to plead on behalf of the Jewish People. They also claimed that all the rabbis who had a part in the ban, including Rabbi Karduner, did not live long after this matter.
But in any case, no one dared to trespass the ban, and they waited five years, and only then women began to come to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s grave on Lag b’Omer.
Who can know what harsh judgments on the Jewish People were annulled by this decree? For it is known that the tzaddikim suffer on behalf of the Jewish People. Also our Breslover friends told us that in the same year there was also a fire at the grave of Rabbi Nachman in Uman. May it be G-d’s will to guard the Jewish People in the merit of the tzaddikim, amen.
(Yimay Shmuel Part 1 Chapter 13)