Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav left this world 195 years ago. His life is a reproach to all too many modern rabbis.

For Rabbi Nachman, the return to Zion was integral to Judaism, worth suffering for. Rabbi Nachman sold all his belongings and sent his daughter to work so he could undertake aliyah. The effort wasn’t in vain: upon reaching Eretz Israel, the rabbi changed his views so much that he prohibited references to his earlier opinions. Rootless Jews who have never been to Israel cannot understand that change.

Unlike the politically correct rabbinical establishment, Rabbi Nachman was uncompromising about his teachings and goals. That cost him official recognition.

Rabbi Nachman did one unprecedented thing: he refused to bless marrying couples, saying that in a hundred years, a generation would appear which had better not be born. A generation of Ukrainian and Polish Jews born a century later was annihilated in the Holocaust.

Rabbi Nachman made clear that he was horrified by the fate of that generation: he asked to be buried in Uman, among the victims of the Ukrainian carnage that took the lives of 30,000 Jews 43 years before he died. Modern rabbinical establishments, particularly in the Ukraine, are eager to absolve and befriend murderers. They might learn from Rabbi Nachman.