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Rebbe Nachman’s “Tikun HaKlali” - Preface PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tzvi Fishman   
Tuesday, 03 February 2015

Tikun HaKlali


[Skip to the ten psalms of the Tikun HaKlali]

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810) was a great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism.

The Tikun HaKlali (תיקון הכללי) is considered by the Breslov Hasidim to be a comprehensive rectification for all sins - in particular the sin of spilling semen in vain through involuntary nocturnal emission, masturbation, premature ejaculation, and other sexual sins. The Tikun HaKlali is a set of ten Tehillim (Psalms) whose recital serves as repentance over these sins. It is comprised of the following ten Psalms, said in this order: 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, and 150.

Each recital is preceded by a paragraph expressing one's desire to bind himself to the Tzaddikim (righteous saints) of all generations, especially Rebbe Nachman, and several verses which are customarily recited before the recital of Psalms. The recital of the ten Psalms is followed by a confessional prayer (vidui) composed by Rabbi Natan, Rebbe Nachman's foremost disciple, asking God for forgiveness from sin.

Rebbe Nachman taught that these ten Psalms would serve as a rectification, since they correspond to the ten expressions of song and praise on which the Book of Psalms is based. These ten types of song are: Ashrei, Bracha, Maskil, Nitzuach, Shir, Niggun, Mizmor, Tefillah, Hoda'ah, and Halleluyah. Rebbe Nachman explained how these expressions are a direct counter force to the kelipah (impure husks and forces of evil which capture the life force and myriad of holy souls contained in semen which is spilled in vain). These Psalms therefore have the power to extract the captured holy souls from the realm of unholiness, and return them to their Heavenly source.

Rebbe Nachman promised his students:

"Bear witness to my words: When my days are over, and I leave this world, I will still intercede for anyone who comes to my grave, says these ten Psalms, and gives a coin to charity. No matter how great his sins and transgressions, I will do everything in my power, spanning the length and breadth of the creation to cleanse and save him. I will take hold of his side locks and pull him out of hell."

"I am very positive in everything I say. But I am most positive in regard to the great benefit of these ten Psalms."

"These are the ten Psalms: 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, 150."

"This is the General Remedy. There is a specific remedy for each sin, but this is the general remedy."

"Go out and spread the teaching of the ten Psalms to all men."

"It may seem like an easy thing to say ten Psalms. But it will actually be very difficult in practice."

In another lesson, Rebbe Nachman asserted:

"Know that the ten Psalms which a person must recite on the very same day as he has an impure experience, G-d forbid, are: 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, 150. These ten Psalms are a very great remedy for this problem. One who is worthy of saying them on the same day need have no more fear whatsoever of the terrible blemish caused by an impure emission, because it has indubitably been corrected by this remedy, without any doubt."

While reciting the Tikun HaKlali at the gravesite of Rebbe Nachman has special significance, it is a powerful remedy wherever it is recited.

Rebbe Nachman taught that another important remedy in rectifying this sin was to immerse in a mikvah. One should endeavor to immerse oneself on the very same day that the impurity occurred, as soon as possible. He said:

"Whoever can immerse in a mikvah and then recite the Psalms, this is certainly good. But even if he is unable to immerse himself, when it is simply not possible, for example, if he is ill or traveling on the road, it is still very effective for him to recite the ten Tehillim, for they are a great and very awesome rectification. And if he says them with the proper understanding and intention (kavanah), certainly this is beneficial, but even when they are said simply, they are very effective."   

The Tikun HaKlali is based on the institution of the Brit (Covenant) which G-d made with the Jewish people. In return for guarding the Brit and allegiance to G-d on the part of the Jewish nation, G-d promised to give them the Land of Israel as an inheritance (Bereshit,17:7-8).

As a mark of this Covenant, G-d commanded Avraham to perform the mitzvah of brit milah (circumcision):

"This is My Brit which you shall keep between Me and you and your seed after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a token of a Brit (Covenant) between Me and you" (Bereshit, 17:10-11).

The mitzvah of keeping the Brit involves not only circumcision, but also guarding one's sexual life in holiness according to the laws of family purity (Taharat MaMishpachah) and the guidelines of Jewish Law. By choosing this specific organ to bear the sign of the Brit, G-d indicated the tremendous holiness and power of the sexual organ. When it is used for procreation, and to bring joy to one's wife at the permitted times, in the context of marriage, the sexual organ is elevated, and man becomes a partner with G-d in creation. But when it is used for personal gratification alone, it distances a person from G-d and leaves him unfulfilled, frustrated and depressed.  

Rebbe Nachman taught that depression is the antithesis of the joy one should feel by uniting with one's marriage partner according to the guidelines of Jewish law, and the antithesis of the joy one should feel in performing all of G-d's other commandments. Depression, he taught, is in the domain of Lilit, the name of the kelipah (impure husk) associated with unholiness and sexual transgression. The momentary joy a person experiences during a sexual transgression transforms into a feeling of non-fulfillment, depression, and alienation from G-d.

The Tikun HaKlali comes to rectify the sin of misusing the sexual organ and uproots the feelings of depression that lie at the core of the transgression. It does this through the power of Tehillim (Psalms), which are songs of praise and rejoicing in G-d.

The word Tehillim has the same numerical value (gematria) as the word Lilit (with five units added for each of the letters of Lilit). Moreover, the word Tehillim has the same gematria as the two names of G-d, El and Elohim, which have the power to release the seminal seed from the kelipah. Thus, by reciting these ten Psalms, the wasted seed is released from the forces of evil and rectification is complete.

Although the sin of wasted seed is considered the most serious of the violations of the Brit, other sins also cause damage to the Brit. For instance, the way one thinks, speaks and acts are also areas in which a person can damage the Covenant. Also, looking at erotic images damages the Brit.

Rebbe Nachman taught that the Tikun HaKlali can rectify all spiritual and physical flaws or maladies. He stated:

"There are places that are so fine and narrow that no remedy has the power to penetrate them except through the General Remedy, which injects healing into even the narrowest, finest places."

In his introduction to the Tikun HaKlali, Rebbe Nachman's foremost student, Rabbi Natan, writes that if a person has a nocturnal emission, if he goes to the mikvah and recites the ten Psalms, he should take great care not to worry at all, because worry and depression are very damaging in this matter.

"It is very very important that a person fortify himself by always being happy, and not to let any happening in the world make him depressed, even in this regard. And if he is firm in his mind, and doesn't worry at all, and doesn't think any bad thoughts, but rather goes about his business with a simplicity and joy, he will merit to pass through everything in peace."

Many Breslover Hasidim, and Jews all over the world, recite the Tikun HaKlali every day. Women also recite it as a general rectification.  Its recital is also a cornerstone of any visit to the Rebbe's grave in Uman, Russia, in keeping with his promise.

[Click here to continue to the ten Psalms of the Tikun HaKlali]


[Based on the Introduction of Rabbi Natan to the Tikun HaKlali; and Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia,, on Tikun HaKlali.]

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 03 February 2015 )
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