F or thousands of Jews, visiting the grave of Rebbe Nachman in Uman is the highlight of their year. Rebbe Nachman, the founder of Breslov chassidus, spent the last five months of his life in Uman, in Ukraine. Before he passed away, in 1810, Rebbe told his followers he wanted to be buried there.

The Nazis completely destroyed the Jewish cemetery during World War II, but a Breslover chassid later discovered Rebbe Nachman’s grave and preserved it.

Before he passed away, Rebbe Nachman made a promise — that he would pray in Shamayim for anyone who came to pray beside his kever at Rosh Hashanah. Since then, it has become a custom to travel to Uman to do just that.

It’s not just Breslover chassidim who travel to Uman on Rosh Hashanah. Every year, close to 40,000 Jews from all of the world — Ashkenazim and Sephardim, chassidim and Litvaks and even those not so religiously connected — make the long trip to Ukraine to pray beside the tziyun at Rosh Hashanah. So many people come to pray at the kever that preparations for feeding and accommodating them have to begin months before.

Many young boys also make the trip with their father, as there is a special segulah involved. Rebbe Nachman said that if a boy comes to his kever before the age of seven and says Tikkun Haklali there, he will give him special protection all his life. For a young boy not yet seven, it must be quite an experience. Mishpacha Jr. spoke to three boys who had this amazing experience:

Moshe Nachman, 8, Tzfas

Nachi and Eli Weingot, 8 and 6, Tzfas

Number of times I’ve been to Uman

Moshe Nachman: Six times — three times last year and three times the year before. I’ve been there for Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah, Shavuos, and Yom Kippur.

Nachi: Twice

Eli: Once

How old I was when I first went

Moshe Nachman: Six

Nachi: Six

Eli: Six

Who I went with

Moshe Nachman: Most times I’ve been just with my abba. Once my ima came too [not on Rosh Hashanah], and once I went with my abba and all my uncles.

Nachi: The first time I went with my ima, in the winter, for the Alter Rebbe’s yahrzeit, and then with my abba.

Eli: I went with my abba.

How I got there

Moshe Nachman: The first time we went with a friend of Abba’s. We got a plane to Odessa, and he picked us up from the airport.

Nachi: We went by plane to Kiev, and then we took a taxi from the airport to Uman.

What the journey was like

Moshe Nachman: Very tiring because it’s so long. But it’s still fun.

Eli: A lot of fun. We stopped off on the way to daven Minchah and I threw snowballs at my abba! (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 678)