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What Is Nechama?

What did Rebbe Nachman, Rav Soloveitchik, Rav Hutner, and Rav Kook think was nechama? Rabbi Joey Rosenfeld tells us—and more.

This feature is part of Joey Rosenfeld’s popular “list series” posted to his Twitter, @Jorosenfeld, where he explores the thoughts of diverse Jewish thinkers on popular Jewish subjects.


Nechama is: 

Rebbe Nachman: Recognizing that everything is for the good

Baal HaTanya: Recognizing the opportunity within exile itself

Rav Moshe Shapiro: Changing our minds regarding our circumstances 

Rav Kook: Seeing the light of unity emerge from within the concealment 

Vilna Gaon: Realizing that if things are at their lowest, the only direction is up 

Baal Shem Tov: Seeing the light of Hashem in every possible situation 

Mei Shiloach: Knowing that everything that happens is the will and desire of Hashem

Ramchal: Seeing the present difficulty through the lens of the future redemption 

Rav Hutner: Beholding the perpetual renewal of all things 

Kotzker Rebbe: Understanding that brokenness is the path to true wholeness 

Leshem Shevo V’Achlama: Knowing that rejuvenation of life is always happening

Rav Dessler: Knowing that one is never ever alone in their pain 

Rav Soloveitchik: Seeing our pain in the context of a historical and collective process

Rav Shagar: Knowing that the shattering is the very site of rebuilding


Talmud Teaching

“During the course of a lifetime, virtually no one can avoid an encounter with death. Yet it is an experience for which one is rarely prepared.” — Dr. Emanuel Rackman


Tears do not come easily to Tisha B’Av for us all. Rabbi Joshua Berman explores the reason why.


The strangeness of death, of loss, is that no matter how many books we read, how many philosophical discussions we have, how many psychologists we speak with, how many times we experience it, it will always be elusive—impossible to understand.