Inspired by Reb Kalonymos Kalman's ideal of a group of people coming together with the common goal of enhancing their service of God, increasing their sensitivity to all things spiritual, strengthening their love of acheinu kol beis Yisrael, and unlocking the enormous potential that we all have to cleave to the Almighty.

Interaction and discussion of practical ideas and concepts toward this end, culled from any Torah true source is welcome and appreciated.

Observations and personal experiences are also welcome; the point is to grow!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

One-Minute Hitbodedut

Hisbodedus is a wonderful way of nurturing one's relationship with HaShem. While hisbodedus is probably most famously associated with Rebbe Nachman and is a major pillar of Breslov avodah (see Hishtapchut HaNefesh), hisbodedus has been around in one form or another going back at least to the Avos. Other famous non-chassidic practitioners were Reb Yisrael Salanter, the Chofetz Chaim, and more recently, Reb Shimshon Pincus.

Hisbodedus according to the Breslov method involves (ideally) secluding oneself for an hour every day, and speaking to God "as one would speak to a friend".

While doing hisbodedus for a whole hour seems daunting even to some seasoned practitioners, beginners are encouraged to begin with baby steps. Rabbi Ozer Bergman, a teacher and writer associated with the Breslov Research Institute gives a step-by-step suggestion on how to begin practicing hisbodedus in earnest, in his work Where Earth and Heaven Kiss: A Guide to Rebbe Nachman's Path of Meditation:

Set a time during the day when you know you will be alone and fully available for just one minute.
  • Stop what you're doing
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Thank God for any two things in life - one current, the other current or past.
  • Ask God for two material things - one related to today, one related to the future.
  • Ask God for two spiritual things - one related to today, one related to the future.
  • Ask God to help the Jewish people in two ways.
  • Either:
  • (a) Ask God to talk again tomorrow and say, "Thank You," or
  • (b) Keep talking. When you finish, go to (a) 


  1. Contrasting this with the structure of Shemoneh Esrei. Each of the following is 3 berakhos long (before the 19th berakhah was added):

    1- Praise
    2- Asking G-d for personal spiritual things
    3- Asking G-d for personal physical things
    4- Asking G-d for physical things for the Jewish People
    5- Asking G-d for spiritual things for the Jewish People
    6- Thanks

    Just want to point out the differences between opening with praise and opening with thanks, and between placing my material needs first vs placing my spiritual ones first.

    It looks like Anshei Keneses haGedolah decided that for myself, I should prioritize spirituality higher, but for others, I should place their physical needs first. "יענעמס גשמיות איז בא מיר רוחניות. -- Another’s physical needs/wants are for me, spiritual."


  2. While I pretty much agree with the "praise, petition, thanks" formula, my "material things" in the hisbodedus I did two minutes ago were (and despite having a personal blog, I often do not share personal inner thoughts like this):

    a) Please let me continue working today, when so many people are out of work, thus allowing me to know that the food purchased for Shabbos was earned honestly (TODAY)
    b) May we find a home that we can afford, so that it can be used for chessed and as an inviting place for those looking to grow. (FUTURE)

    As it turns out, I'm going to Michigan for a few days with my family and R Bergman's book is one my "might bring with me" list (although I have to finish RAV GIFTER and also my re-reading of B'nai Machshava Tova).