A New Man with a New Soul

Like many Jews of all colors and stripes something inspired him want to be in Uman at the gravesite of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev for Rosh Hashanah…

3 min

Dr. Zev Ballen

Posted on 28.09.14

In Uman, last year, a man stood up before about 1200 people moments before the Rosh Hashanah prayers were about to begin and asked Rabbi Eliezer Shlomo Schick, the "Mohorosh" if he could say a few words.
No one made a comment about this, but I was told that the mood of the crowd was one of impatience. They wanted to begin their prayers. Nevertheless, Rabbi Schick motioned for the man to speak.
He began by saying that he was a newly observant Jew and that this was his first time in Uman. He also said that this was actually the first time in his life that he was observing Rosh Hashanah.
He then proceeded to tell his amazing story.
He was born and raised in Israel to a “traditional” Jewish family. But like many Jews of all colors and stripes something inspired him want to be in Uman at the gravesite of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev for Rosh Hashanah. So he bought a ticket with a few of his friends, but then had a massive heart attack and died.
He said that he felt the naked terror of his soul ascending before the Heavenly court to be judged. The court searched the man’s record but could not find a single merit to save him from the fires of purgatory. He had never married or had children, he did not learn Torah or pray, he didn’t keep Shabbat or give charity – nothing! There was likewise nothing that he could say in his defense.
Having no choice the court declared in unison: “Throw him into the flames…”
The man recounted that he suddenly saw a hand appear accompanied by a voice that said: “Stop. Don’t throw him. He belongs to me.” It was the voice of Rabbi Nachman of Breslev. The voice continued: “Before he died he bought a ticket to Uman. He intended to visit me on Rosh Hashanah.”
At once the court reversed its decision and gave the man another chance on the condition that if he were sent back that he would observe Shabbat for the remainder of his life. He agreed and was sent back into his body. The doctors and nurses couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw him “wake up.” He was released from the hospital the next day and still had time to pack his bag and head over to Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv.
At the airport, he went to check in but was detained. He was told to wait on the side and noticed that a security guard was assigned to watch him while the clerk was busying herself with the computer. She had a confused look on her face. After a while she came up to him and asked him:
“Who are you, mister?”
He showed her his passport again and said: “This is me! Here’s my passport! Here’s my ticket! What else do you want?”
The airline employee looked him square in the face and said: “This cannot be you. This person is dead!”
The plane was about to depart so he tried to explain quickly that he had in fact died but that he had had a miraculous recovery. He asked her to call the misrad hapanim (the office of the interior). He said that there had probably just been a delay in their correcting his record because all of this had happened rather quickly.
After further investigation, the airlines discovered the truth of what the man was saying and admitted him onto the aircraft.
He flew to Uman, literally a new man with a new soul.


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