“WHO WILL TAKE RESPONSIBILITY?”: Ukraine’s Rabbi Moshe Azman Warns Against Rosh Hashana in Uman

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Uman 2021. (Photo: Ezra Hamburg)

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Rabbi Moshe Azman, one of several who claim to be the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine, is urging Breslover chasidim from other countries not to visit Uman for Rosh Hashana, saying that he fears for visitors’ safety.

“I am afraid that there could be provocations. Who will take the responsibility for the lives of the people?” Rabbi Azman said in an Israeli radio interview.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Israel warned against traveling to Uman, telling charedi media outlets that Ukraine “cannot guarantee the security of pilgrims” because of the ongoing war.

The mayor of Uman, Iryna Pletnyova, has also attempted to deter people from coming, saying that the city simply doesn’t have the capacity to protect the tens of thousands of potential visitors.

However, Jewish leaders in Uman insist that the city is far from the front lines and that safe arrangements can be made for those who wish to come for Rosh Hashana.

Israel’s Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky said last month that a final decision has not yet been made regarding allowing nationals to visit Ukraine for Rosh Hashana, but that Israel would respect Ukraine’s wishes on the matter.

Even if visitors are ultimately allowed to go to Uman, the logistics of getting there would present a challenge. Airlines are not operating commercial flights into the country and the only way to get in is by bus or train through a land border. Currently, the fastest route to Uman is by entering the country through the Moldovan border.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


26 COMMENTS

  1. With all the challenges now confronting Ukraine, the LAST thing they need are a bunch of crazy Nachmanites sneaking into the country against the wishes of the government. Those who defy the rules deserve whatever may happen.

  2. In the Soviet years it was also dangerous, and yet true chassidim were moser nefesh to sneak past the military guards and go anyway. The numbers were of course very small, but they went.

  3. > yet true chassidim were moser nefesh to sneak past the military guards

    Were there guards at the kever? Or were these chasidim sneaking from E’Y through the choma shel barzel?
    I heard from one Rov from IL who went there at the end of Soviet years and he thought he was the first in many years. Maybe some people are creating fake legends of their activities back then?

  4. Maybe they can form a Breslav brigade for Ukrainian army? While a Lubavitch batallion can liberate Lubavich and Lyadi, supported by a Stoliner Air Force detachment?

  5. If a morah d’asra gives a p’sak and assessment that it is a sakanato to come to Uman, which daas Torah gives a right to ignore the morah d’asra. (Even if one disputes his “authority” compared to other rabbonim from other regions – Chazal tell us Yiftach b’doro k’Shmuel b’doro.

    Milhouse speaks of chassidim being mosser nefesh, that is great if done for a mitzvah, as the Rambam says about going al kiddush Hashem for any mitzvah, and maybe that extends to a minhag, but to an hanhoga which isn’t even a minhag, rather, a preference – for THAT to be mosser nefesh needs a heter, especially when the local daas Torah prohibits it.

    Rabbosai, we are speaking here about “dinei nefoshos”! It isn’t a game. A sofek or even a s’fek s’feika of sakonos nefoshos, we always go l’chumrah, and one is prohibited to be meikel.

    As the Rov, the mora d’asra said, who will take achrayus if chas v’sholom rachmona l’itzlan the unimaginable happens??? Al tiftach peh, but we must not stick our heads in the sand. V’shomer p’sa’im Hashem.

  6. As much as it’s a thrill and a beautiful thing to spend R”H by the holy R Nachman, it ISNT part of the Aseres Hadibros. The holy Tzadik does NOT support endangering lives and travel to his grave. ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY NOT!!
    People! Wake up! There can be mass casualties G d forbid. Stay in the corners of your shul and daven there. R Nachman doesn’t need any of you. Not this year.

  7. You can’t rationalize with people who don’t deal in reality. Yah Rav No Rav this IS their Yidishskeit. This is a cult that believes their only salvation is Uman.While there is another cult that 80% (40%open 40% it’s possible ,who else?) believes that their deceased Rebbe ZT”L is Moshiach.
    Boy have we fallen

  8. I guess most people won’t go. There were always people sneaking in even in the communist years. I knew a few. For money you were able to move around the communist regime. Just as there are Jews who joined the Ukrainian army there are all kinds of people taking all kinds of chances. Smart to stay home this year and wait till Putin takes over Uman. He will give the same protection to the chassidim as Ukrainians gave. After all money talks. Getting fifty thousand tourists plus year round ones means more money. Putin could use a few extra bucks.

  9. time to bring our Rabbis home…..It is TIME that these countries sit on their own…Jews should not be living in these Christians countries…..tied to a world of evil and adulterous ways…..

  10. You you mean frum Jews didn’t take their vacations in Europe in the early 1940s???? The first week of June in 1944 saw the Normandy beaches overrun by tourists, all planning on a tour of France, the low countries and ending up in Berlin. In America, during the first battles of the Civil War, tourists came to watch, so what’s wrong with Uman in 2023. You can watch a real live war, no reinactors and no script, in real time, up close and personal. In the 1940s the Yidden had it easy since the war came to them, but now if you want to see death and destruction you have to go out of your way to find it. Think, if you go now, you can visit famous graves and with luck be buried near them.

  11. TO: Jeff Burke August 30, 2022 3:04 am at 3:04 am
    You can’t rationalize with people who don’t deal in reality. Yah Rav No Rav this IS their Yidishskeit. This is a cult that believes their only salvation is Uman.While there is another cult that 80% (40%open 40% it’s possible ,who else?) believes that their deceased Rebbe ZT”L is Moshiach.
    Boy have we fallen

    YOUR SPEWING OF HATRED TOWARDS OTHER JEWS IS DESPICABLE AND AN OBVIOUS DETERRENT OF THE COMING OF MOSHIACH.
    YOU OBVIOUSLY DON’T WANT MOSHIACH AS YOUR SINAS CHINAM IS HOLDING MOSHIACH BACK FROM COMING!!!!

  12. If these fools are stupid enough to go to Ukraine year after year, and essentially now, they’ll get what they deserve!
    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!

  13. To Kach you show your true colors in your first sentence. Why do you think they’re fools, because you don’t agree with going to a tzadik for R”H. If you don’t like it stay home, but don’t besmirch thousands of yidden for doing something that brings them closer to Hashem. By the way not only Breslovers go to the rebbe for R”H Its almost universal by chasidim to go to their Rebbe for R”H

  14. Going to Uman will not only risk the lives of these fanatics but will also result in significant risks for those who the government of EY may be forced to send in to rescue them if the security situation worsens. The government of Ukraine does NOT want them to come. The government of EY says to respect the decisions of another sovereign government. What is there about NO they don’t understand.

  15. In all fairness, none of the Breslovers remembers a real war. Israel hadn’t been in a real war since 1949 (the multiple wars they were in since were all very short, defined as finite from the start, with the attempts at massive destruction). If you are an American, and haven’t travelled abroad, the last time there was a real war in North America was over 150 years ago (and that was geographically limited). World War II is remembered only by people who are very old. I suspect the those who go to Uman thinking that it is no worse than a trip to the Old City will see what war is like and lose interest.

  16. AAQ, yes, throughout the Soviet period there were the few and brave who went. Not a lot, but some. Not just from EY (though there were some, such as those who smuggled the chair out piece by piece) but from within the USSR. And yes, there were soldiers, because Uman was a closed city. Nobody was supposed to go there. But those with mesirus nefesh went. The danger now is probably no greater than it was then. It won’t be the mad scene of thousands, but those to whom it’s nogea benefesh will find a way to go.

  17. Milhouse
    Under the former Soviet Union there was no fear of military strikes.Here one missile during davening Chas vshalom could nave devastating consequences. I believe your comparison is lacking .
    The danger now is significantly greater.

  18. CFFOTO1
    So anyone who thinks rationally now doesn’t want Moshiach?
    These people believe going to Uman on RH is the single most important thing in their religion. They borrow ….when they can’t feed their families. I could go on and on about what transpires in Uman.
    Yet when I point out the obvious I spew hate?
    Or maybe your intellectual capacity doesn’t allow for free thought just throw ridiculous accusations.
    Loving Jews doesn’t mean not acknowledging facts.
    As for the other cult (both with no living Rebbe against the Bal Shem Tov who named a successor)80% believe the Rebbe ZTL is moshaich.
    Just like the Catholics.
    Nothing with wanted the REAL MOSCHIACH.A word to the wise if Moshaich doesn’t wear a black Borsalino hat these lunatics will probably try to kill him .They only believe that the Rebbe is Moshiach they say it outright Melech ?????
    Not hate it’s lunacy.

  19. If they want to risk their lives and sneak in like a bunch of rats to Uman on RH notwithstanding the pleas of the government to NOT come, let them g. However, don’t expect the cavalry (aka Israeli military units) to come riding to the rescue if as quite possible, bad things happen.