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Why do people leave Eretz Yisroel to go to Uman for Rosh Hashanah? (It seems to me like leaving America for July Fourth.) In general what is the reason people go: is it Just a festival in the Woodstock sense (as the Israeli Media seems to make it out to be)? Also, why is it that there are no women allowed? Finally, if it is religious, than why do so many irreligious people go there?

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It seems problematic. See torahmusings.com/2010/08/uman-rosh-hashana –  Ariel K Sep 26 '11 at 17:10
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@Ariel K the beginning of that article was somewhat fair, but what was with the two paragraphs of total sinas chinam at the end? –  yoel Sep 26 '11 at 18:11
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In earlier times, the pilgrimage to Uman was undertaken largely by chassidim, mostly Breslovers. Now, since it has become quite a large pilgrimage, it attracts very diverse group of people. It's become so large that it's almost possible to go to Uman and not have a Breslov Rosh Hashanah. Uman didn't always look like Woodstock on Rosh Hashanah. –  Naftuli Tzvi Kay Sep 26 '11 at 19:30
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@ArielK "And most nauseating of it all please dont break out in ecstatic dancing at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Friday nights at the conclusion of Lecha Dodi singing Uman Uman Rosh Hashana for an entire month beforehand. Can there be anything more sacrilegious than this? An idol in the Temple perhaps? Dancing around a Golden Calf in the shadow of the tablets of the Ten Commandments? Please, a little respect for those of us who for some reason only practice ancient and pure Jewish values without the trimmings of 18th Century European clothing failed messiahs and occult-resembling customs." –  yoel Sep 26 '11 at 21:19
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@yoel that's a great quote! Wasn't going to click that link, but now I did. But where was the sinat chinam (besides in Uman, for all those that don't believe in it)? –  AviD Sep 27 '11 at 5:38

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Breslever chasidim leave E"Y to be by our rebbe at Rosh Hashana because he said to come, end of story. Not all Breslevers go - one of the great leaders of Breslev today, R' Elazar Kenig shlita, hosts a gathering in Meron for those who are unable to go. There is no specific issur in Uman. The issues of kivrei tzadikim and leaving E"Y in general are complex and probably should be asked as separate questions.

It is more than a festival, even if some make it out to be that. Bli neder when I am at home I will add here some of what Reb Noson z'l writes about being in Uman for R"H. Rebbe Nachman zy'a himself felt that encouraging Jews to come to the burial places of the thousands of victims of the Chmielnitzky massacres was very important.

Women used to go at R"H, although never in great numbers. As the number of male attendees has increased, Breslev leaders have urged women not to come out of tznius concerns. There is a larger women's gathering at Purim. As for secular Israelis and even Jews who are not chasidim of Rebbe Nachman in general, see my comment to Gershon Gold's answer.

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Those that go to Uman - go because they believe that Rabbi Nachman promised that if you come and pray at his grave on Rosh HaShana he will make sure that you have a good year. Many Rabanim are against this (Harav Ovadia Yosef amongst them). Woman do not go on Rosh HaShana both for Tznius and practical reasons (someone has to take care of the family). Regarding the irreligious that go there - I guess there must be some sort of spiritual pull that is calling them there.

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+1. "Regarding the irreligious that go there - I guess there must be some sort of spiritual pull that is calling them there" — or that is simply calling them. Many Israelis go (l'havdil) to India, too, following what they perceive as — and what may well be — a spiritual pull. But presumably no spiritual pull is calling them to India specifically.... –  msh210 Sep 26 '11 at 15:49
    
Rebbe Nachman zy'a spoke a great deal about issues that were only beginning to be a factor in his time, but today speak very much to irreligious Jews. He deals heavily with refraining from being depressed over sin, with beginning anew, with seeking to serve G-d as best as one is able... all of this speaks very much to the irreligious, especially those who are beginning to become interested in Torah. –  yoel Sep 26 '11 at 16:48
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"Spiritual pull" - more of a mystical pull. Those weak in character and moral fortitude always look for a "shortcut", a way to be considered "worthy" without having to earn it, being able to reach a level of ecstasy on request instead of working to get there. As @msh210 said, same as many go to India, but this time it's considered to be a popular thing even within some religious circles. It's easier to pray to R'Nachman at his grave, and automatically be granted your heart's desires, than to make the effort and attempt to commune with, let's face it, a much harder-to-grasp concept as G-d. –  AviD Sep 27 '11 at 5:46
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Although there are those who believe, out of ignorance, that chasidim pray to their rebbeim, this is not accepted practice in any mainstream group. –  yoel Sep 27 '11 at 7:11
    
No, of course not, that was obvious flippancy. However, there is room to discuss the difference between beseeching their deceased rebbe to intercede on their behalf, instead of doing all that is necessary. –  AviD Oct 1 '11 at 22:31

The Rebbe did not state that anyone who comes to his grave and prays will be granted a good year. He made a promise that anyone who travels to his grave, recites the Tikkun K'lali, donates at least a couple pennies to charity in his name, and, perhaps most importantly, take it upon himeself to leave his errant and foolish ways, then the Rebbe will do everything he can to save this person, even travel through the fires of gehinnom and pull the out by their payess if needs be. As per traveling to Uman on Rosh Hashanah, the Rebbe said that "Rosh Hashanah is go rmein zach" Rosh Hashanah is my whole thing. In Chayei Moharan, Reb Nosson writes about one R"H near the end of the Rebbe's life, there was one chossid who desperately wanted to be with the Rebbe for R"H, but the Rebbe told him he had to go home. On R"H, the Rebbe explained to others there, that as painful as it was for this chossid not to be there, it was all the more painful for the Rebbe not to have him there.

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NussenDavid, Welcome to judaism.SE and thanks for the informative answer. Just as a side note, you might want to rephrase this answer a bit to emphasize the fact that these chassidim are not praying to their Rebbe to save them, just in case anyone gets the wrong idea. Also, although this answer does address the first question posted above, you may want to add information so that the rest of the questions are also addressed. Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the site and stick around to ask/answer more questions. –  jake Feb 8 '12 at 3:51
    
I think this should be converted into a comment on Gershon's answer... –  Hacham Gabriel Feb 8 '12 at 5:13

I'm not aware that the Rebbe really encouraged his followers to go to his kever on Rosh HaShanna. This custom probably began when Rebbe Nachman's chassidim started visiting Uman after his petira. They continued to go there for the same reasons that other Chassidim like to be by their Rebbes.

As stated by others, the Rebbe himself stated that he would go to the end of the earth and pull a person out of gehenom if they would travel to Uman, recite the Tikkun Klali by his kever, give Tzezaaka and do teshuva.

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It says very clearly in the zohar that there is no issur of speaking to a dead tzadik auviously it must be a real tzadik wich he undoubtedly was. if a breslover didnt go on rh that would be a lack of emuna in the words of the tremendous tzadik.

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"undoubtedly" ummm... I don't think that's universally true. And can you source this Zohar which on the face of it seems to go against traditional Judaism? –  Double AA Jul 16 at 2:40

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