Rabbi Yisroel Karduner
Rabbi Yisroel Halpern, also known as Yisroel Karduner (? -1920) was a Breslev Rabbi that lived in Safed, Israel and served Hashem with intense devotion. He brought a number of people close to the Breslev Hasidic group including Rabbi Yisroel Ber Odesser. A number of Breslev books were reprinted by Rabbi Yisroel Karduner and he also composed a number of well known Breslov songs. He was held by many to be one of the thirty six hidden tzadikim.
Yisroel Halpern was born in Poland to Yehuda Laib Halavi a wealth merchant. Yisroel was very handsome and had a distinguished presence, he was very popular in his city where everyone coveted him as a future son-in-law. From his youth he took an active part in his fathers bushiness and eventually became its manager. Despite his material comfort, Yisroel Halpern felt very lacking and his heart always burned for fear of Hashem. He would enter his fathers warehouse and meditate in-between the barrels, calling out to Hashem from the depths of his soul that he should merit to become a righteous individual.
Intruduction to Breslev
Once Yisroel Karduner found a Tikkun Klali in a pile of Shemos and from that point on was attracted to the teachings of Breslev. Yehudah Halpern became outraged at his son and went as far as disowning him.
Rabbi Yisroel Karduner went to Uman where he married his first wife. Later his father regretted disowning him and accepted him for what he was.
In Uman, Rabbi Yisroel Karduner helped compose the books Hishtapchus Hanefesh, Meshivas Nefesh, Emunos Etecha and Matana Tova along with Rabbi Alter of Teplik. Ironically it was the book Hishtapchus Hanefesh that first introduced his disciple, Rabbi Yisroel Odesser to the Breslev teachings. Rabbi Yisroel Karduner also composed an expanded version of the Kitzur Likutay Maharan adding much new material to the short original version created by Rebbe Naton of Nimorav.
Teacher of Yisroel Ber Odesser
Write about sipor Hiskarvos of the Saba
Write about techiyas hamasim of Sabas mother
Together they would dance for the entire night each Shabbos.
Rebbe Yisroel Karduner brought many people close to Hashem but due to his intense suffering and devotion they were never able to remain around him for more then a few months. Yisroel Dov Odesser was the exception an he remained with him for five years until Rabbi Karduner passed away.
The Broken Cloud
Rabbi Odesser would often tell over the story of the 'Broken Cloud' to show an example of his masters devotion. One they were traveling when a severe storm broke out and the entire landscape turned into flood of mud and quicksand. Barley able to make it out alive, the two managed to find a village after hours of searching. One of the villager took them into his home and gave the tea, a change of cloths and a place to sleep. Yisroel Ber could not imagine that his teacher would wake up to do Chatzot that night. Yet when the time came, Rabbi Karduner roared up like a line and did the most powerful prayer that his student had ever witnessed. Yisroel Dov crept into the room and saw the entire table where his teacher sat shaking. When he saw the holy form on Rabbi Karduner's face, he sunk back in embarrassment.
In the morning R' Yisroel Karduner woke up to pray Netz and the entire village who passed the home on the way to work gathered to listen to his awestruck prayers. When the host realized that he had a righteous person as a guest, he prepared an entire feast for him but Rabbi Karduner would not take anything other the bread and tea. All the one in the vicinity covered their arms with any material they could find out of heavenly fear that R' Karduner brought down.
Tzvi Aryeh Rosental
Tzvi Aryeh Rosental had been a student of the Chofez Chaim before moving to Tiberias and was considered one of the young prestigious Torah scholars of the city. After being introduced to Rabbi Karduner by Yisroel Ber, Tzvi Aryeh decided to become Breslev. Not able to face the opposition that followed, Tzvi Aryeh set off by foot to study from the Breslevers of Jerusalem. Noticing his absences Tzvi Aryeh's worried family summoned the Turkish police who accused Rabbi Karduner and Yisroel Ber of kidnapping him and sending him to Uman. Yisroel Ber was arrested and tortured but the police were unable to arrest Rabbi Yisroel Karduner as long as he remained in his home, due to his Austrian citizenship. In the end Rabbi Karduner was saved by there wealthy men that were impressed by the devotion of his prayers.
Tzvi Aryeh was eventually found in Afula. He was brought back to Tiberias and forced to sign a paper obligating him to refrain from having any contact with Rebbe Yisroel Karduner. Shortly after signing the paper Tzvi Aryeh became sick. Rabbi Karduner sent Yisroel Ber with the message that in order for Tzvi Aryeh to live the paper must be destroyed. Unfortunately his father in law refused to rip the agreement and Tzvi Aryeh Rosental passed away shortly afterwords.
When the British entered Tiberias to take control over from the Turks they brought the Cholera disease with them. This lethal plague spread around the city like wildfire, killing many of its inhabitants. Most of Rabbi Karduner's children passed away as the plague broke out. Eventually his remaining 12 year old son passed away as well. Rabbi Karduner took the tragedies with great faith. He then announced that he too would pass away and would take the plague with him. That Friday on the 9th of Cheshvan 5778 Rabbi Karduner passed away and the plague stopped.
After his death Rabbi Karduner would come to his widow, Gitale on Shabbos night to make Kidush for her. A similar account is brought down in the Talmud for Rebbe Yehuda Hanasi.
When R' Yisroel Karduner would pray at the Rashbi, he would stand on the side of the Tzion and pray with constantly increasing strength and devotion. Often when he was done the entire Tzion would be wet from tears as if someone had poured water on it.
Would put his Avodas Hashem before his family.
Even the people that were very opposed to Breslev would respect him and considered him a holy man.
Had a strong radiance of holiness constantly coming from his face.
Most of his life only ate unsweetened tea and bread.
Would wake up Chatzot each night without exception.
His letters are published in Mechtivay Yisroel by Keren Yisroel Odesser.
When he would pray at the Rosh Hashana Kibutz in Meron his prayers would go on long after everyone else already finished their meal.
At Chatzot he would take off his shoes and carry them wrapped up so no one would hear him go out to the woods to do Hisbodedute. Each night he would go into the woods despite the great danger and even in middle of the winter.
He sold his home and all his possessions to be able to print Rebbe Nachman of Breslovs books.
Was medium height and very thin, would never go to any doctors, was always in a state of happiness. He also had a lot of charisma and all his traits were perfectly refined. Was completely clean from any lust and ran far away from any honor.
He made many true Bali Teshuva throughout his life.
Even amongst the other Breslov Hasidim he was considered completely incomparable.
Was completely nullified to the teachings of Rebbe Nachman.
Was considered a holy man even by the opponents of Breslev.
Kever Rebbe Yisroel Karduner
Hillulah of Rabbi Yisroel Karduner
Rabbi Yisroel Karduner passed away on Tes Cheshvon. Each year on the day of the Hillulah many Na Nach's visit his Kever to celebrate the occasion and pray by the Tzion. Festivities are generally held in the nearby courtyard of Kever Rachel wife of Rabbi Akiva.