7 Beggars*

We already discussed Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. He would tell stories of various men who were able to conjure up relationships with God. He used these stories to mask and reveal the hidden powers of the world. No story might be more influential than his story of The Seven Beggars.

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I have lumped the 7 Beggars together because Rebbe Nachman did as well. Presumably they each were their own Lamed Vavnick and their obstacles were all different. We have already learned that many of the Lamed Vavnickim lived secluded lives, hidden lives, and deal with great hardships; the 7 Beggars personify those ideas.

In the story (using Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s translation), which I will explain briefly, two children were in need after their community fled. Suddenly, a beggar appeared with bread to help them. It says “The children realized that God was watching over them, and had brought them this blind beggar to give them food.” The beggar was blind and facing hardships but found it in himself to help the children. Later the beggar says to them, “You think that I am blind. Actually, I am not blind at all. But the entire duration of the world’s existence is not considered by me to be even like the blink of an eye.”

The children grow up and get married. They encounter other beggars, stories and blessings. These stories, the people in which Rebbe Nachman used to bring light to the world could have been completely fictional. But there is a realness to their existence and with Rebbe Nachman’s ability to help hide powerful Jewish truths in the mysteries of the world around everyone; I am led to believe there is some amount of reality at the root of the story.

If anyone is interested in the book here is the link.