Yerushalayim Chief Rabbi: ‘Why Fly to Uman for Rosh Hashannah? Israel is Much Holier’


Every year on Rosh Hashannah, thousands of Jews from Israel make the annual pilgrimage to the kever of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in the Ukrainian city of Uman.

Rabbi Aryeh Stern, Chief Rabbi of Yerushalayim, strongly criticized the pilgrimage recently, writing that the sanctity of Israel far outweighs the tradition of visiting Rabbi Nachman’s tomb.

“When I ask [about this tradition], I’m told that people who make the pilgrimage to Reb [Nachman’s] tomb on Rosh Hashannah will receive a special blessing. But I’m certain that that same rabbi didn’t mean this except for people already living outside of Israel.

“It is impossible to think that he [Rabbi Nachman] would say that to someone who lives in Eretz Yisrael, the land which is more blessed than any other in the world. There could never be an extra blessing for someone who leaves Israel looking for spiritual uplift at the graves of tzaddikim who themselves wanted to move to Israel.” Read more here.




  1. This Rabbi doesn’t understand.
    We have so much fun travelling on the plane and having a good time in Uman. A real Simchas Yom Tov.

  2. Where was rabbi Stern when the Toeiva parade marches each year in Jerusalem. Granted israel is holy but for certain reasons a Jew is permitted to even leave and live outside of Israel. Everyone knows that. To condemn those who go to uman for chizuk is not called for.

  3. Those going to Uman are not going to the city, they’re going to pray at the grave of a tzaddik to intercede on their behalf and on behalf of all of Israel.

    Israel is SUPPOSED TO BE HOLIER but it got DEFILED with all the abomination and immorality. Rabbi Stern, why didn’t we hear from you protesting the streets against the yearly shameless immoral parades even in Jerusalem?

  4. Its not about what is holier, its about what makes you feel holly, for some its a the kosel others meuras hamachpailah and for some its reebe nachman, and for others it is the kabbalah center or karbach.

    • and the Christians have their “experiences” too! so do the Hindus! and so do the Muslims! who said any of this is authentic or a part of Judaism!

    • What if eating donuts make one feel “holly”?
      What about arayot?

      What feels good to you may not really be holy.

  5. Finally a response to this crazy abnormal ongoing trend that’s been wasting millions of precious hard earned dollars from klal Yisroel’s coffers. One small correction, uman is not at all a holy place. All the abomination and immorality over the course of the yom Hadin in Uman, is probably ten fold what’s been happening in yerushalayim. Filthy disgusting habit ripping away Simcha’s yom tov of the thousands of children and mothers who are left alone for Rosh hashana. Justifying this crazy behavior and this new tourist location on Rosh hashana is ludacrist. Hashem Yishmor. Finally someone speaking out probably only saying only the least he can.

    • the fathers get their “spirtual” fill on yom tov while neglectfully ignoring their children and wifes right to enjoy a yomtov also!

      • No different than those who travel to the Rebbes / Roshei Yeshiva in E. Yisrael leaving their wives and children behind.

  6. Rabbi Nachman writes on the Pasuk  וְעַמֵּךְ כֻּלָּם צַדִּיקִים לְעוֹלָם יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ that the grave of a Tzadik is considered ארץ ישראל.

  7. The Breslov had a deep and special connection to R Nachman of Breslov.
    Once your dealing with emotions , there’s no counter reasoning

  8. Learning shtark for a couple of hours is the most holiest; we still go to kevorim etc. because certain events and deeds are me-or-er us more not being on our desired level. Same goes with Uman.I remember being in Yeshiva the Rosh Yeshiv didn’t let bochurim go for Yomom norarim to theit Rebbe. From his standpoint he was right. A bachor from a chassidische backraound is different.

  9. to anonymous:
    What you wrote is absolutely false! E’Yisroel doesn’t lose it’s holiness b/c of the actions of some of the people who live there. Perhaps you can tell us where you found a מקור for such a ludicrous and decadent statement.
    If a Jew enters today the space of the Azarah of the Beis Hamikdash he is חייב כרת. A fruit growing on a tree smack in Dizengoff Centre Tel-Aviv is obligated in תרומת and מעשרות and in the שנת השמיטה is קדוש בקדושת שביעית. The same tree growing anywhere else in the world has no קדושה at all. Anywhere!
    Just last week we read in the Torah ארץ אשר-ה’ אלוהיך דורש אותה תמיד, עיני ה’ אלוהיך בה–מראשית השנה ועד אחרית שנה.
    We all fear the holiness of E’Yisroel and know that it’s holiness can not tolerate the situation for much longer, and hope that everyone will do teshuvah quickly. But to say that E’Yisroel loses its kedusha… חלילה!

  10. The truth is that our Emunah is not solid, so every little wind can blow us. Like a weird saying that “I’ll pull you out by the Peiyus”. Come on!
    A good way to measure the strength of our emunah, is when we saw that the vast majority of Klal Yisroel ran after Shabsi Tzvi.

  11. We still have Kivrei Tzaddikim around the world. Those who identify with the derech of a particular Tzaddik draw inspiration from davening there. Anyway, the gatherings in Uman contribute to our final redemption which will bring all Jews to Israel.

    • “Anyway, the gatherings in Uman contribute to our final redemption which will bring all Jews to Israel.”

      Who says that true, any source?

      So Jews have to leave Israel to come back. Ironic.

  12. Rabbi Stern, if you’re talking about holiness, isn’t the Kosel holier? Shouldn’t you and everyone else be praying at the Kosel?

  13. No one is saying israel is not holy. What we see is how toeiva parades are taking place in Tel Aviv,Haifa,Jerusalem,Ashdod and beer sheva. Tattoo shops even in jerusalem dear Rabbi. Pork being sold in the holy land. Chillul shabbos in most of Israel. And you as the chief rabbi complain about Israelis going to uman. At least in uman the secular Israelis have a chance of returning to Torah.

  14. Calev went to Me’aras Hamachpella in Chevron. Kever Rachel is not in Chevron and not where Calev went.

    R’ Nachman says Kivrei Tzadikim is a BECHINA of EY. not that it is EY

    • Right, mistakenly wrote Kalev went to Kever Rachel instead of Kever Avos. It was Yosef who went to Kever Rachel. When Jews went to galus they went to Kever Rachel on the way.

  15. The Holy Tzaddik which was Nifter over 200 Years ago ,but his Light Burns Stonger then ever When Thousends go in his ways and get Chizuk through hid teachings The Rebbi R’ Nachman Of Breslov Said:
    My Entire thing is “Rosh Hashana”

    and so many souls that are looking for their tikkun aND by coming to me I can be mesaken there neshomes, a concept that was known from the Bal Shem Tov and Other Chasudic Masters, so in a Genarration like ours y take chances ,let’s go to the holy rebbe where ever it will be ,becauz. A kever of a Tzaddik has the Medusa of Eretz Yisrael. ..

    • I wonder what the reaction would be if an open orthodox person spouted what spouted! For some reason chassidim gets a pass with their mishagas!

  16. Eretz Yisroel has more kedusha than the rest of the world. Period. Sure it has so much shmutz now, but it is not the fault of our beautiful holy land. You can feel it in the air and it makes you a better person if you want to be… In fact, in E”Y you are forced to be.. the hashgacha here is so strong, you are afraid to be anything else, especially in Yerushalaim. You feel Hshem near you all the time…. It is not easy or simple. When there is such kedusha there has to be the opposite, just as strong… It is easy to theorize sitting in chu’l but when you live here there is no argument … The whole conversation of toeva parades, etc.. is nonsense. E”Y is still the ONLY place we can feel so close to our Abba. The whole tradition of going to Uman works for certain families and it is difficult to understand, but we have bigger fish to fry than to worry about this. If people want to connect spiritually, so be it. .. if that is how they do it… There is SO much more to discuss besides this “terrible” situation with people going to Uman.. What about all the divisions, lack of unity and love from one Jew to another? There are important situations going on… Something to think about… When the Bais Hamikdosh was destroyed, everyone learned Torah and kept all the halachos…

    And by the way, there are many people in Israel who are becoming shomer Shabbos now.. I see it before my eyes.

  17. How can all these chevra afford to fly there and rent a room and pay for food? I can’t afford to go away, even for Shabbos Nachamu. My Shabbos Nachamu is just another tisha bi’av. No body cares about me.


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