One of the reasons I love going to Uman with a group, as opposed to on my own, or just with my family, is because I always hear such amazing stories from the other people in my group.
I want to share a couple of the ones I heard on my latest trip with you here, one today, and one tomorrow:
Story number 1
Ilanit comes from Tel Aviv. She showed up on the bus to Uman replete with fashionable UGG boots; fashionable pompom hat; fashionable stretch leggings; and a whole bunch of expensive jewellery, to boot.
She’d bought her three Tel Aviv roommates with her (also with their UGG boots) and this is her story:
Two years’ ago, after 30 years of marriage, her mother decided that she’d had enough, and was filing for divorce. Ilanit was 24 at the time, and she says she took it really hard, to see her whole family life being ripped apart.
She’d never been to synagogue in her life, but she found one in her neighbourhood, sat there, and cried her eyes out. While she was sitting there, she saw a copy of the ‘Tikkun HaKlali’, the 10 psalms that Rebbe Nachman prescribed for fixing our souls at their root, and said them. Then, she made a promise to Rebbe Nachman that if he got her parents back together, she’d come and visit him.
A few weeks’ later, she got a phone call from her mother, who was sitting having breakfast with her father, having decided to reconcile with him.
“What happened?!” a stunned Ilanit wanted to know.
“Don’t ask!” her mum replied. “I don’t really know! But we’re back together.”
That happened on a Monday, and Wednesday, she flew out to Uman, to keep her promise.
She came back this year with her three roommates, to say thank you for saving her parents’ marriage.
Story number 2
There was a frum couple, already in their early fifties, who showed up to the grave with a stack of fliers to give out, and two babies. The fliers told their story: They’d been married for more than two decades, and hadn’t had any children.
They’d tried everything: there wasn’t a doctor, a specialist, a rabbi, a segula that they hadn’t tried to merit having children. They’d literally spent hundreds of thousands of dollars flying all over the world, trying to find the person, the solution, that was going to enable them to have children.
One day, the couple met a Breslever chassid, who told them they needed to go to the biggest doctor in the world. The man was all ears: who was he? Where did he live? The chassid told him: ‘Rebbe Nachman, in Uman’ – and by his own admission, the man was pretty turned off.
After all, they’d already tried every rabbi, every Admor, and no-one had been able to help them.
“Ah, but Rebbe Nachman is a doctor, not just a Rebbe. He’s going to fix your problem at its root.”
The man was still not very impressed, but his wife felt it was worth a shot: why not? They’d tried everything else. Finally he agreed to visit the grave in Uman, but on condition that he was only going to stay for 10 minutes.
The couple arrived, and he reminded his wife to be waiting outside for him, promptly, after 10 minutes.
The man stepped into the enclosure around the kever – and immediately started crying. He stood there, sobbing from the depths of his heart, for two and a half hours solid, without keeping track of the time.
Suddenly, he looked at the clock, and realised his wife had probably been waiting for him, and wondering what had happened to him, for two hours already.
He rushed outside to find her – and just at that moment, he saw her coming out of the entrance to the women’s section. Turns out, she’d also stepped inside, and started sobbing hysterically. She’d only just come to her senses, and was rushing outside to find her husband.
A year later, the couple were blessed with twins.
They came back to Uman to say thank you to Rebbe Nachman for their miracle, and to share their story.