In Uman, a pilgrimage to Rebbe Nachman’s grave becomes a lesson in reading and understanding.
I was coming to the destination. I was going to fetch my portrait of the Rebbe. My fantasy was a personal quiet meditative event. Me and the Rebbe, the Rebbe and me. But it was a seething hive of Jews. Near the entrance is a washstand, as it’s customary to wash hands on returning from a grave. But any sense of actually being at a grave is overwhelmed by the crowd. I’d come at the peak hour, just before Rosh HaShanah. Last chance to have a special conversation with Rebbe Nachman. For me, it would have to be a sort of shouting conversation and at a distance.