In 1807, Rebbe Nachman suddenly left on a most mysterious journey to Lemberg. His health was declining, and while in Lemberg he nearly died. He was so sick that in order to save his life, he was forced to send back to Breslov his trusted gabbai, Reb Shimon, to burn one of his precious manuscripts (later known as the Sefer Hanisraf). He was crying and crying to Reb Shimon that he lost his wife and children over this book, and now he knew that if he would reveal it, he would have to die as well.
Before he left to Lemberg, Reb Nosson describes in his diary the fear he had of losing his Rebbe, and his urgency to catch up with the Rebbe’s coach and see him one last time.
Early in the morning, Rebbe Nachman left without warning. Reb Nosson literally ran after the coach, even though it was silly to think he could catch it on foot. He ran and ran to the end of the village. The Rebbe’s coach was forced to slow down while ascending a little mountain and then finally, Reb Nosson caught up with the carriage.
He was standing before the Rebbe for what could have been the last time. The Rebbe asked him, “Tell me what you want. Should I bless you or should I say Torah?”
Reb Nosson answered him, “You’ll bless us when you come back home, אי״ה, but the Torah tell us now”.
Reb Nosson understood that if he didn’t hear the Torah now, he would never hear it again. It was there, in the wagon that the Rebbe taught him the conclusion of “Azamra”, the famous lesson about Nekudos Tovos (finding ones good points), one of the most indispensable lessons Rebbe Nachman left us with.
Clearly, Reb Nosson felt a responsibility to the world to learn as much Torah from Rebbe Nachman as he possibly could. It wasn’t nearly as important to him to get a bracha, or for that matter have any amount of serenity is his life. His dedication to his holy Rebbe caused him scorn, humiliation and great suffering. But the most important thing for him was to spread Rebbe Nachman’s fire, no matter what. He single-handedly kept the chassidus going against tremendous odds and everything Breslov we have today is in his merit.
May his soul keep rising and rising until Moshiach comes, speedily in our days, Amen!
לעילוי נשמת ר’ נתן בן ר’ נפתלי הרץ זצ״ל