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Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman

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A reproduction of the petek.

Na Nach Nachma Nachman Me'uman (Hebrew: נַ נַחְ נַחְמָ נַחְמָן מֵאוּמַן) is a Hebrew language name and song used by a subgroup of Breslover Hasidim colloquially known as the Na Nachs. It is a kabbalistic formula[1] based on the four Hebrew letters of the name Nachman, referring to the founder of the Breslov movement, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, along with a reference to his burial place in Uman, Ukraine.[2]

In 1922, Rabbi Yisroel Ber Odesser, a Breslover Hasid, claimed to have received a petek (note) addressed to him from Rebbe Nachman, although the latter had died in 1810. The seventh line of this petek is signed Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman, which became Rabbi Odesser's personal meditation and song. Before he died, he taught this phrase to a group of devotees who formed the Na Nach movement.

History of the phrase[edit]

Rabbi Yisroel[3] Ber Odesser, teacher of the Na Nach Nachma Nachman phrase.

The Na Nach Nachma phrase was revealed to and taught by Rabbi Yisroel Ber Odesser, the authentic Breslov figure who was born in 1888 in Tiberias. Rabbi Israel was among the first Breslover Hasidim in Israel, having learned about the movement from Rabbi Yisroel Halpern when he was a young yeshiva student.

When he was 33 years old, Rabbi Israël was overcome with weakness and hunger on the Fast of Tammuz. He decided or rather felt that he had to eat, in connection to the great hunger that befell on him then. But immediately after eating, he felt great sorrow at having succumbed to his own physical temptations. After six continuous days of prayer, a powerful thought came to him: "Go into your room!" He did as the inner voice said, went to the bookcase, that was locked and only himself had the key of the locker, and randomly opened a book. In the book was a piece of paper that he would later call "The Letter from Heaven." (Another version of the story is that Odesser was sitting in a synagogue with a second tier serving as its Womens section, when the synagogues sexton decided to play a joke and throw the paper down at Odesser.) The paper, written in Hebrew, with one line in Yiddish, is translated as follows:

It was very difficult for me to come down to you - מאוד היה קשה לי לרדת אליך
my precious student to tell you that I had pleasure - תלמידי היקר, להגיד לך כי נהנתי
very much from your devotion and upon you I said - מאוד מעבודתך, ועליך אמרתי
my fire will burn until - מיין פייערל וועט טליען ביז
the Messiah will come, strong and courageous - משיח וועט קומען חזק ואמץ
in your devotion - בעבודתך
Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman - נ נח נחמ נחמן מאומן
And with this I will reveal to you a secret and it is: - :ובזה אגלה לך סוד והוא
Full and heaped up from one extreme to another extreme (PTzPTzYH)[4] - מלא וגדיש מקו לקו (פצפציה)
And with the strengthening of your devotion you will understand it and a sign - ובחיזוק עבודה תבינהו וסמן
The 17th of Tammuz they will say that you don't fast - יז בתמוז יאמרו שאינך מתענה

R. I. Odesser the understood the letter to be a message of consolation, above other marvellous things inside, directly from Rebbe Nachman's spirit to himself here on earth. Since his name did not appear in the petek as the recipient, Odesser said that this was reason for every person to consider the petek addressed to himself or herself personally.[5] Odesser adopted Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman[6] as his personal meditation and song, and became so totally identified with it that he later said, "I am Na Nach Nachma Nachman Me'Uman!" (This quote appears on Odesser's tombstone in Jerusalem.)

Pronunciation and meaning of the phrase[edit]

Vowelized Na Nach graffito on Yehuda Halevi street in Tiberias.

During his lifetime, Rebbe Nachman spoke of a "Song of Redemption" that would be revealed before the coming of the Jewish Messiah. This song would be in a "single, double, triple, quadruple" form. (Likutei Moharan II, #8). Another possible explanation for this phrase is that the Talmud states in Tractate Pesachim that if one wants to rid himself of a certain demon that inflicts water he should say שברירי ברירי רירי ירי רי thereby diminishing the effects of the demon. Just as we see that saying phrases with diminishing letters can diminish the effects of something impure, so to saying and adding to the name of a righteous person can exemplify him to the greatest high.[7] Na Nach Nachma phrase has such a structure (keeping in mind that Hebrew often omits the vowels) and is based on the Rebbe's name, "Nachman":

  • Na (One Hebrew letter: Nun) — נ
  • NaCH (Two Hebrew letters: Nun-Chet) — נח
  • NaCHMa (Three Hebrew letters: Nun-Chet-Mem) — נחמ
  • NaCHMaN (Four Hebrew letters: Nun-Chet-Mem-Nun) — נחמן
  • Me'Uman (a pun: it can mean "from Uman", Rebbe Nachman's burial place, and can also mean "believed" or "accredited".) — מאומן

The phrase is pronounced with a soft A sound as in "ah" and a guttural KH sound as in German "ach." It is usually accented as follows:


Speakers of Yiddish have also noted that na nach can mean "now to," which would loosely translate the phrase as "Now to Nachman from Uman," that is, traveling to the Rebbe on pilgrimage to his gravesite or in one's heart.

Popularity of the phrase today[edit]

Whatever the origins of this phrase, it is now very popular among a subgroup group of Breslover Hasidim who follow Rabbi Odesser, who are colloquially known as the Na Nachs. The name has been incorporated into both traditional and contemporary[8] Jewish music, appeared on bumper stickers, billboards and public graffiti throughout Israel, and is used on jewellery and amulets. Among some groups of Sephardic Jewish youth in Israel, it has become a sort of rallying cry for returning to traditional Judaism, although not necessarily to mainstream Breslov.[9]

Typical white "Na Nacher" style yarmulke with the phrase woven into it, made in Jerusalem in 2005

More recently, some people have begun to wear the words of the phrase crocheted on large, white yarmulkes with a little tassel on top. (These hats are a modification of a traditional white yarmulke that has been worn in Jerusalem for centuries. That style, in turn, apparently evolved from the medieval Jewish hat with the ball on top—hence the tassel.[citation needed]) When Rabbi Odesser was still alive, some of his followers were already wearing large white yarmulkes, but without the phrase on them. Today, the Na Nachs make this crocheted yarmulke part of their uniform attire. Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman yarmulkes in other colors are also appearing on the market and are a popular item for Purim.


The following books were written on the petek and the meaning of its words:

  • Matzpon Hapetek ("The Compass of the Petek"), by Amos Levi. This book divides the 6,000 years of the world by the 51 words of the petek, allocating 120 years to each word, analyzing history and the future based on the corresponding word and letters in the petek. E.g. the first word of the petek, Meod (very) corresponds to the first 120 years of the world. Thus the Hebrew letters of the word Meod, מאד, can be rearranged to spell Adam, אדם, the first person to live in those years.[A]
  • Seventy Rectifications of the Petek
  • Zeh Yinachamainu ("This Will Comfort Us"), by Rabbi Yitzhak Besancon. An in-depth study of every word and letter of the petek.


  1. ^ ם is the form the letter מ takes at the end of a word; Hebrew is written from right to left.
  1. ^ ""Achorayim" -- A progressive expansion of the name, one letter at a time". Archived from the original on 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2017-09-10.
  2. ^ R' Yoel Roth - Father Bring Me To Uman (Shiezoli. Official Channel - YouTube)
  3. ^ "Prayer and teaching were done by Rabbi Yisrael about risk of "young people of Israel"… but with Torah also in Derech Eretz" (BH - YouTube)
  4. ^ This is the name of an angel in charge of the soundings of the shofar. In the Alphabet of Rabbi Akiva Midrash he is suggested to be Metatron.
  5. ^ Yisroel Saba tape recording and transcript.
  6. ^ ...i.e. Nachman Song

    He (Nachman of Breslav) said: 'The World has tasted nothing yet. If they would hear just one of my teachings together with its melody and dance, they would all submit completely. The entire world, even the animals and plants - everything - all would submit completely. Their very souls would faint from the sheer woundrous ecstasy. Also, each person who is closer, his movements happen of their own accord, as he senses that mentioned above. Whoever is closer to the melody and dance understands more and performs the melody's movements automatically due to this great pleasure.... Likewise, the closer one is to the holy, that is - the closer to the teachings, the song and the dance - the more the movements occur on their own owing to the holiness. All this I heard myself.

    — The Scroll of Secrets. The hidden messianic vision of R. Nachman of Breslav Academic Studies Press 2010
  7. ^ "Pesachim 112a:5".
  8. ^ Eve And Lear – song (YouTube)
  9. ^ Nachmanim Song – Official Remix (YouTube)


  • The Letter from Heaven: Rebbe Nachman's Song. an account of Rabbi Odesser's life and the story of the Na Nach Nachma, published by Netzach Yisroel Press, Israel, 1991, 1995.
  • Young Buds of the Stream, letters to Zalman Shazar from Rabbi Odesser, English edition published by Netzach Yisroel Press, Israel 1995. Pages 37–43 contain a detailed explanation of the meaning of the phrase.
  • Outpouring of the Soul, translated by Aryeh Kaplan. (Compilation of Nachman of Breslov's quotes on meditation and prayer). Breslov Research Institute, 1980.

External links[edit]