The Jewish Saint Industry

Rabbi Nachman El Hadad
The Paths of the Righteous

This is not a lecture. Rabbi Nachman El Haddad describes the organization in which he is active called “Derech Tzaddikim”, “The Paths of the Righteous”. In response to questions, he also explains his own spiritual path of Breslov Hassidism. Rabbi El-Haddad speaks in Hebrew, and is translated by Alon Goshen-Gottstein.

The organization is involved in three projects:
1) Locating and renovating the graves of different Hassidic masters in the Ukraine
2) Organizing pilgrimages to these graves
3) Location of common graves of Jews mass-murdered by the Nazis

Rabbi El-Haddad describes in great detail how the graves are located. Testimony of elderly Jews from the different towns is relied on. Many times these Jews have since moved to Israel, and are flown in specifically for this purpose. The local non-Jewish population and government help a great deal. They benefit from the increased revenue brought on by tourism, and the subsequent improvement of the local infrastructure. The presence of Jews searching for their spiritual roots also serves as an impetus for their return to their own Christian religious tradition. Rabbi El Haddad points out that the people who come on the pilgrimages do not belong exclusively to the Orthodox community. Many Jews who do not identify themselves with Orthodoxy also come. They come to gain spiritual strength at times of turning points in their personal lives. Breslov Hassidism, in the view of the rabbi, is unique in that it emphasizes the ability of every person to connect with God, and stresses the importance of maintaining a grounded worldly existence alongside of one’s spirituality. It is also a deeply emotional path. He sees the goal of his organization in exposing Jews alienated from their tradition to the power of the Breslov path, and through this to connect them with their spiritual heritage and to God.