“Good Points: the Stories & Teachings of Rebbe Nachman” is an original, theatrical, musical expression of the stories and teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Bratzlav. In ten (plus one) scenes each member of the ensemble, who play instruments and sing, guide the audience through the message of the Kabbalist’s teachings by recreating some of the Rebbe’s most beautiful and deep spiritual lessons, parables and stories in a musical vehicle. With great respect to the Rebbe, and with an eclectic score, “Good Points” is a unique production that utilizes a multi-media format, and is mostly in English. Rebbe Nachman famously said that we should turn his teachings into prayers. We can imagine that the Rebbe also said to turn his teachings into songs.
Words and Music by Jordan S Franzel.
Nachman of Bratzlav (April 4, 1772 – October 16, 1810), was the founder of the Breslov Chasidic movement. Rebbe Nachman, a great grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, breathed new life into the Hasidic movement by combining the esoteric secrets of Judaism (Kabbalah) with in-depth Torah scholarship. He attracted thousands of followers during his lifetime and his influence continues until today.
Rebbe Nachman’s religious philosophy revolved around closeness to God and speaking to God in normal conversation “as you would with a best friend.” The founder of this Chassidic movement was born in the Ukrainian town of Medzeboz. He grew to be an outstanding tzaddik, Torah sage, teacher and Chassidic master.
From the autumn of 1802 until the spring of 1810 Rebbe Nachman lived in Bratzlav, Ukraine. He then moved to Uman where he passed away from tuberculosis six months later at the age of thirty-eight. He is buried there till today where a yearly pilgrimage takes place on the Jewish New Year – Rosh HaShanah.
Rebbe Nachman was a Kabbalist and a mystic, and yet at the same time was practical and down-to-earth. He told tales of princes and princesses, beggars and kings, demons and saints and he taught of the need to live with faith, honesty and simplicity.
When Rebbe Nachman passed away his followers saw no one to take his place. Instead of appointing a new rebbe, they continued to turn to Rebbe Nachman’s teachings for inspiration and guidance, continuing to look to him as “the Rebbe.” The Bratzlav Chassidim have done so ever since, studying his widely published writings and endeavoring to follow his teachings in their lives. In this sense Rebbe Nachman is still the leader of the Bratzlav Chassidim. Rabbi Nathan Steinhardt became his foremost disciple and scribe, recording all of Rebbe Nachman’s formal lessons as well as transcribing the Rebbe’s magnum opus, Likutey Moharan – The Collective Teachings of Our Teacher, R. Nachman. After Rebbe Nachman’s death, Rabbi Nathan recorded all the informal conversations he and other disciples had had with the Rebbe, and published all of Rebbe Nachman’s works as well as his own commentaries on them.