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Sunday, 9 September 2018

193) DANIEL BOMBERG –THE STORY BEHIND THE TZURAS HADAF:


Bomberg edition of Mikraot Gedolot 1525, edited by Yaakov ben Chaim Adoniyah.
INTRODUCTION:
It is often emphasized - when teaching any section of Torah, especially to children – that the exact printed format with the original page layout of the text should be used. So, for example, one shouldn’t just type out the wordage, but rather copy the primary text from the Gemora or Chumash itself.
This is known as Tzuras haDaf, or the format of the page, which is said to be beneficial for students to learn from and become acquainted with – almost as if it has some mystical significance.
In this article, we are going to look at the fascinating and rather surprising story of how that basic format of a typical Chumash and Gemara which we use today, was first developed.

DANIEL BOMBERG:
Daniel Bomberg[1] (1483-1549) was the father of printing and publishing when it came to Jewish religious books. He was born in Antwerp and he was a Christian, yet he wasn’t just a printer – he became the catalyst for the preservation of our main Torah texts as we know them.
All in all, Bomberg published about two hundred Jewish books, many for the first time.

MAHARAM OF PADUA:
Among the rabbis Daniel Bomberg employed and consulted with, were some of the most respected of the time, including R. Meir ben Isaac Katzenellenbogen (he was the founder of the Katzenellenbogen family), known as the Maharam of Padua:
The Maharam of Padua authored the well-known responsa work, She’elot uTeshuvot, and was an interesting rabbi in his own right. He was related to R. Moshe Isserless who referred to him as the Rabbi of Padua, and he was known for his more lenient and liberal rulings. He also referred to the non-Jewish months by name (in some cases) which was very unusual for a rabbi of that time.
To illustrate the dangerous spirit of those difficult times: In 1549, the Maharam of Padua was involved in printing the Rambam’s Mishneh Torah, under the licence of another printing press, the Bragadini press. Jews were not allowed to own printing presses but they were allowed to operate them, under the patronage of non-Jewish owners.
At the same time, a rival printing press - the Giustiniani press – pirated the Bragadini press’ Mishneh Torah. Things turned sour and the censors got involved and the result was a large-scale burning of Talmudim and other Jewish books.[2]
In another instance, the Maharam of Padua wrote that one should not rely on his opinion because he had no copy of the Talmud to refer to, as all the manuscripts were burned[3]. This additional burning of the Talmud took place around 1553 under Pope Julius III, who was advised to take such action by Jews who had recently become baptized!

DANIEL BOMBERG AND HIS TALMUD:
In Venice, Daniel Bomberg adopted aspects of the earlier Joshua Soncino format of 1483, with what is known as the ‘foliation'[4] (such as Bava Kama 52b) and what has become the universal format of the Talmud page, with Rashi on the ‘inside’ and Tosefot on the ‘outside’. 
Bomberg added the other commentaries which are found at the back of printed tractates of Talmud. Soncino had only printed sixteen tractates and did not access all the Talmudic manuscripts which Bomberg was able to source. This made Bomberg’s Talmud much more reliable.
To this day, the standard and conventional layout of the Talmud follows the 1523 edition of the Bomberg Talmud.
It took him four years, from 1519-1523, to produce his Talmud, which was project managed by R. Chiya Meir ben David who was a judge on the Beit Din of Venice.

POPE LEO X:
The Bomberg Talmud was published with the approval of Pope Leo X (although he died in 1521), who showed special favours to the Jews. He was a patron of all forms of study, having raised the salaries of the eighty-eight professors who taught at the Roman University and he wanted to elevate the church by encouraging all intellectual pursuits. He believed that the printing of the Talmud would help him in with the ascension of the Church.

FIRST EDITION OF MIKRAOT GEDOLOT – UNDER FRIAR FELIX PRATENSIS:
As mentioned, in Daniel Bomberg’s Venice publishing house, he consulted expert sages, scholars and rabbis. But one of his main consultants was Felix Pratensis, a Jew who had converted to Christianity to become an Augustinian Friar! In fact, it was Felix Pratensis who first encouraged Bomberg to publish Torah books in the first instance.
Daniel Bomberg’s first published work, as early as 1517, was the Chumash (Five Books of Moses) with many commentaries (some which had never been printed before), and it was entitled Mikraot Gedolot.  Friar Felix Pratensis was particularly involved in this publication, and it was also endorsed by the Pope.
The first Mikraot Gedolot was not widely welcomed by the Jews, because it had mistakes with cantillation or musical symbols, but the fact that the apostate Pratensis was involved was also a major part of the objection.
What the Bomberg’s Mikraot Gedolot did do was to innovate the Torah text by organizing it into Chapters and Verses. Although this reference system had been in use in Christian circles since the 1200’s, this was the first time it was used in a printed text of the Torah. It has remained the standard printing procedure ever since then. Many would find this surprising as every Chumash we open today, naturally has chapters and verses and one somehow imagines that it was always like this.
Bomberg wanted to be as accurate as he could with his versions of the printed texts, but his hands were tied by some of the restrictions of the Church. In the case of R. David Kimchi, known as the Radak, much of his commentary was indeed censored as some of his writing contained anti-Christian polemics. However, in fairness to Bomberg, he later published a limited edition of the full text of the Radak as a separate enterprise.

SECOND EDITION OF MIKRAOT GEDOLOT – UNDER YA’AKOV BEN CHAIM ADONIYAH (1470-1538):
A second revised and corrected edition of Mikraot Gedolot was published a while later, this time with Tunisian born Yaakov ben Chaim Adoniyah as editor – and that became the format for all future Mikraot Gedolot. He was an expert in Nikud or vocalization, and also edited the first edition of the Jerusalem Talmud and Rambam’s Yad. Later Adoniyah was also to convert to Christianity - yet his edition remains the standard we still use today.

 DAVID GINSBURG (1831-1914):
A more modern scholar, who studied and wrote about Yaakov ben Chaim Adoniyah, was David Ginsburg. He was born to a wealthy family in Warsaw and studied in top Polish Yeshivot.
Yet - in keeping with the strange history of those involved in perpetuating our sacred texts - he too converted to Christianity. He moved to England and became Christian David Ginsburg.
Ginsburg considered Yaakov Adoniyah as a type of ‘mentor’ (although he had lived three hundred years earlier), and he took up the subject almost where it was left off by those early pioneers who worked with Bomberg. Ginsburg continued the search for portions of text from the countless manuscripts scattered throughout Europe and the East.
Christian David Ginsburg translated into English Yaakov Adoniyah’s Introduction to Mikraot Gedolot:


(NOTE: I couldn’t help but notice that the original Mikraot Gedolot of 1525 was called Shaar Hashem haChadash [see picture at beginning of article] whereas in Ginsburg’s book he refers to it as Shaar Hashem haKadosh.)



In 1867, in his preface to his second edition of his English translation of Yaakov Adoniya’s Introduction, Ginsburg writes rather mysteriously:
“...For the elaborate Indices, I am to a great extent indebted to a friend, whose name I am not at liberty to mention.”
One wonders who that individual could have been and why his identity was kept from us.
[Perhaps the following excerpt may shed some light:
Inspite of his personal status his works are still cited and used by many present day talmidei chachamim and serve as an invaluable work towards preserving the massorah of the correct text of Tanach. Seforim Online offers the original 4 vols. in the 6 vols. Edition.”[5]]
Ginsburg gives an overview of the life and times of Yaakov Adoniyah:
Very little is known of the life of JACOB BEN CHAJIM ADONIJAH, who rescued the Massorah from perdition, and for the first time collated, compiled, and gave to the world in a printed form the grand critico-exegetical apparatus, bequeathed to us by the Jews of olden times. In his celebrated Introduction to the Rabbinic Bible, which we publish with an English translation, he tells us that he was a resident of Tunis...Hence he is also called Tunisi...
For more than seven years (1510-1517) Ibn Adonijah roamed about homeless in the different towns of Italy, where at that time Hebrew literature was greatly cultivated and patronised by the highest of the land; and where popes and cardinals, princes and statesmen, warriors and recluses of all kinds were in search of Jewish teachers, in order to be instructed in the mysteries of the Kabbalah.
Whether it was owing to his conscientious scruples, which would not allow him to initiate Gentiles into this esoteric doctrine...[he did not find work, and] he had at first to endure great privations during his sojourn in Rome and Florence. He at last went to Venice, where the celebrated Daniel Bomberg, of Antwerp, had at that very time established his famous Hebrew press (1516), and...he at once became connected with the printing office.”
Then Ginsburg informs us that it wasn’t only the ‘Rabbinic Bible’ or Mikraot Gedolot, that Yaakov ben Chaim Adoniyah edited, but also:
 “...the entire Babylonian Talmud, published by Bomberg in 1520-1528, was partly edited by Jacob b. Chajim [Adonijah]...simultaneously...Ibn Adonijah also worked at the editio princeps of the Jerusalem Talmud.”
And that’s not all, because:
“...within twelve months...he edited...the stupendous legal and ritual code of Maimonides, entitled, Mishne Thora...to this code, which appeared in 1524...Ibn Adonijah wrote an Introduction.
It is perfectly amazing, to find that the editing of these works, which would itself more than occupy the whole time of ordinary mortals in the present day, was simply the recreation of Jacob b. Chajim; and that the real strength of his intellect, and the vast stores of his learning, were employed at that very time in collecting and collating MSS [manuscripts] of the Massorah, and in preparing for the press the Rabbinic Bible, which was published in 1524-25...”
Ginzburg then quotes Yaakov ben Chaim Adoniyah:
Behold, I have exerted all my might and strength to collate and arrange the Massorah, with all the possible improvements, in order that it may remain pure and bright, and shew its splendour to the nations and princes...This was a labour of love, for the benefit of our brethren, the children of Israel, and for the glory of our holy and perfect law...
As regards the Commentaries, I have exerted my powers to the utmost degree to correct them in all the mistakes as far as possible: and whatever my humble endeavours could accomplish was done for the glory of the Lord, and for the benefit of our people. I would not be deterred by the enormous labour, for which cause I did not suffer my eyelids to be closed long, either in the winter or summer, and did not mind rising in the cold of the night, as my aim and desire were to see this holy work finished.”
This is how Yaakov Adoniyah describes his boss, Daniel Bomberg:
When I explained to Bomberg the advantage of the Massorah, he did all in his power to send into all the countries in order to search out what may be found of the Massorah...and we obtained as many of the Massoretic books as could possibly be got. He was not backward, and his hand was not closed, nor did he draw back his right hand from producing gold out of his purse, to defray the expenses of his books, and of the messengers who were engaged to make the search for them in the most remote corners...”

ANALYSIS:
There are many ironies in this story: Besides the Maharam of Padua and R. Chiya Meir ben David, the other main participants were either Christian (Daniel Bomberg and Pope Leo X), or Jews who had converted to Christianity (Friar Felix Pratensis, Yaakov Adoniyah and Christian David Ginsburg).
The extent of this irony should not be lost because it is difficult enough to study the Torah with all its main commentaries, the Rambam’s encyclopaedic Mishneh Torah, the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmudim – let alone know how to collect the most accurate source material for all those texts and then collating and editing them.
Such work requires special minds even more expansive than the great students who later study them. The Reader is urged look at Hachi Garsinan, to get some perspective of just how variant some of the source texts are – to the extent that they can change the meaning of the matter under investigation.[6]
What had happened to Felix Pratensis that he became a Friar and why did converted Jews encourage Pope Julius III to burn the Talmud?
And after reading about Yaakov Adoniya refusing to teach Kabbalah to non-Jews because of the value he placed on the esoteric tradition; and how he tried to make a Kiddush haShem and relentlessly laboured on behalf of ‘our brethren, the children of Israel’- one wonders why such a scholar was later to leave his own religion for another.
One of the heroes of the story must surely be Daniel Bomberg himself who spent his own money to fund the collection of accurate manuscripts (and who fought against censorship as we saw with his limited edition of Radak) and bequeathed to later generations works which were to become the cornerstone of all future Torah learning. 
He must surely rank among the righteous of the nations.





[1] Sometimes referred to as Bombergi.
[2] Cecil Roth, History of the Jews in Venice, p. 256.
[3] She’erit Yosef 1.
[4] The is a difference between foliation and pagination: Pagination is defined as:consecutive page numbering to indicate the proper order of the pages, which was rarely found in documents pre-dating 1500, and only became common practice c. 1550, when it replaced foliation, which numbered only the front sides of folios”.
[5] Massorah Massoreth Massoretic RabbinicHebrewBible.  C.D.Ginsburg. 1865. 1905. 4vols. plus 3 vols.
[6] My friend, Mendy Rosin recently visited R. David Bar-Hayim in Israel, and he writes: 
"...He [R. Bar-Hayim] then showed me what he was currently working on, comparing various early manuscripts of the Mishna for discrepancies. It also just so happened that on the screen at that time, he showed, was a page from the Gemora (possibly Bavli Nedarim 62a at the bottom) where a verse from Vayikra was quoted but missing a whole world (the four-letter name of Hashem if my memory recalls correctly). Rav Bar-Hayim mentioned that there are many instances of single letter differences between our text of the Torah and what the Gemora quotes - but a whole world is irregular."

Sunday, 2 September 2018

192) THE SEARCH FOR R. NACHMAN’S UNLIKELY DESCENDANTS:

A very rare1821 edition of Likkutei Moharan, secretly printed in Breslov, by R. Natan at his illegal press, due to persecution by authorities and others. The city of Ostroh appears on the Title Page, but the actual location (Breslov) was kept secret. "By operating an illegal press, Reb Noson could be construed as putting not only himself but the Breslov community at risk, since there were enough people who would have been only too happy to take collective revenge..."[1]

INTRODUCTION:

After researching R. Moshe, son of the Baal haTanya - where it appears that he (Moshe) converted to Catholicism and thereafter had his approbations removed from his father’s books – it was even more surprising to discover what may have transpired with some of the descendants of R. Nachman of Breslov.

THE MISSION TO TRACE R. NACHMAN’S DESCENDANTS:

Some years ago, according to an article in Ynet[2]- which was copied in RISU (Religious Information Service of the Ukraine) – two leading Breslover rabbis went on a mission to locate some of R. Nachman’s lost progeny, “dozens of whom who were scattered across the former Soviet Union”. Many of these descendants had assimilated and were living as non-Jews.

In one instance, R. Yisrael Pinto of Jerusalem and R. Yisrael Natan Barzel of Uman journeyed to Uzbekistan and identified two older women who were direct descendants of R. Nachman.

During World War Two, a certain Tzvi Herschel fled the Ukraine for Uzbekistan and bore two daughters in his new homeland. They were now old and living in poverty, but in one of their houses was a dusty library filled with very valuable first edition Breslover books, which their father had originally brought along with him. These books turned out to be of great interest to the Breslover community.

The rabbis tried to persuade the women to move to Israel but the matter was complicated because their daughters had married gentiles and now there were grandchildren, some allegedly studying in Catholic institutions. They then paid $5,000 to a Catholic monastery - in a country where the average monthly salary is just $30 – to have the children released. However, there were issues and apparently, the children produced were not the right children.

The Breslovers launched a worldwide campaign to “bribe clerks, priests – all in order to return lost daughters to Judaism...[but] many details still remain confidential for legal reasons.” According to the Breslovers in Uman: “We’ll do anything to get [R. Nachman’s] descendants to Israel.

“BE CAREFUL WITH MY OFFSPRING, MAKE SURE THEY STAY WITHIN THE HASSIDIC MOVEMENT”:

These were the words spoken by R. Nachman again and again, as if he knew that there were going to issues with his descendants. In the last few decades, dozens of such descendants have been discovered and identified, many of them having no knowledge of their ancestry. And the search is ongoing.

R. NACHMAN’S CHILDREN:

R. Nachman married his first wife, Sashia and had six daughters and two sons. Two daughters died in infancy and his two sons both died within a year or so of their births. The remaining daughters were Adil, Sarah, Miriam and Chaya.[3]

R. Nachman’s wife, Sashia died in 1807 and a month later he got engaged to a woman from Brody, who apparently was the daughter of the wealthy Yehoshua (or Yechezkel?) Tractenberg. It is uncertain what his second wife’s name was, but it has been suggested that it was Devora.

YAAKOV BARON?

To illustrate just how complicated the story becomes, what follows is an extract from a contemporary self-described ‘Catholic Jew’ who claims to be a direct descendant of R. Nachman!

[NOTE: I wish to stress that I have no way of verifying this claim, nor any of the information this writer provides. Some of his suggestions are so radical that I cannot quote them without proper evidence and reliable sources. However, I will share the kernel of this story, because I do recall hearing vague references to something like this from within the Breslov community itself. Also, it is very difficult to find information on some of R. Nachman’s descendants for reasons that may become apparent.]

He writes:

“... groups such as those led by Reb Moshe ben Zalman the son of the Alter Rebbe and some of Rebbe Nachman and Rav Nosan of Nemirov's children and grandchildren [including Rebbe Nachman's daughters Udil Auerbach (Della O'Brien) and Chaya Zaslavski (Catherine Lavin)] also were baptised (though more quietly) and took Gentile names and occupations but within a few generations their descendants also had lost their Jewish identity.”

He also claims that: 

“Rebbe Nachman of Breslov was married twice. His first wife Sashia of Brody (Alexandra Body/ Braude) was the daughter of the secret Frankist Rebbe Benjamin Ephraim Braude (aka Alexander Margoliot/ Sender Brody) of Sheklov. She was the mother of most of his children. His wife died in 1807 and he remarried soon after to Devorah Brody (Braude) a daughter of the Frankist Rebbe of Sheklov and his second wife Rachel Mayer a granddaughter of Rebbe Jacob Frank. In 1808 Rebbe Nachman disappeared with his new wife to Lvov for 8 months to await the secret birth of his son named Jacob ben Rebbe Nachman (BaRoN) who he left with the Frankists to rear. This son later used the name Yankel Baron...”

The writer then claims to be descended from Yankel Baron.

“Yankel Baron (b.1808 Lvov) married Bracha Zaslavski (b.1819) a daughter of Aharon Zaslavski and Chaya (b.1801) a daughter of Rebbe Nachman [i.e. he married his niece]. Bracha's sister Miriam Chaya Zaslavski (1820-1860) married Michael Brennan (b.1820 Sheklov) a grandson of Rabbi Nathan (Nosan) of Nemirov the Chief Disciple of Rebbe Nachman. Michael's father was Moshe ben Rabbi Nathan of Nemirov (BReNaN/ BRENN) who became a follower of the Alter Rebbe's son Moshe ben Schneur Zalman [who had become the leader of the Jewish Catholics (secret Frankists)]. Moshe (b.1795 d.1865 Kilkenny Ireland) and his wife Sarah Auerbach (b.1807) (daughter of Adil and R. Yoska) was removed from the family tree and records of the family by the Jewish community...”


According to this account, Moshe, the son of R. Shneur Zalman of Liadi married into the family of R. Nachman. (The reader is urged to read the full story of Moshe as per link above.)[4]

 He continues:

“...I do not want people to misunderstand my tree - not everyone on it became Catholics. The descendants of Yaacov Baron and Bracha (Brocho) Zaslavski remained mostly Jewish. It is Miriam Chaya Zaslavski and Michael Brennan that became Catholics. Their daughter Mary Phoebe (Miriam Feige) Brennan reverted to orthodox Jewish...”


I emphasize, again, that I am not suggesting that this account is accurate. He appears to know his ancestry but even if he is inaccurate on some of the very controversial details, it still shows how confused and entangled the lines became.[5]

Arthur Green writes “...the record on Nahman’s daughters’ marriages becomes somewhat confused...[6]

‘CONTROVERSIES WITHIN HOUSEHOLDS’:

R. Nachman writes, perhaps rather tellingly, about 'controversies within households':

The whole world is full of controversy...and even within a household...and children...
For each one in the household represents a particular nation; their challenges to one another are like the wars between the nations...
...this war can spread out among his household...
The controversies that go on in the tzaddik’s house also contain the wars of the nations...[7]

In another place he writes:

Believe me, I have the power to make peace with the entire world...but what can I do when there are certain heavenly rungs which can only be attained by means of conflict...”

On Erev Pesach 1798, R. Nachman announced his plan to travel to Eretz Yisrael. His daughter asked what would become of the family while he was away. He replied:

You will go to your in-laws. Someone will take your older sister as a household servant. Your younger sister will be taken into someone’s home out of pity. Your mother can find work as a cook, and I shall sell everything in the house to cover expenses for the journey.[8]

"It is also interesting to note that there is no mention of his [R. Nachman's] saying Kaddish for his father."[9]

"When Rabbi Nachman was about eighteen, his mother-in-law [in whose home he was living] passed away. When his father-in-law remarried, the new mistress of the house made it very difficult for the young Tzadik to engage in his usual devotions. He then moved to the nearby town of Medvedevka..."[10]

DEBATE OVER SABBATEAN INFLUENCE:

On the issue of R. Nachman’s relationship with Sabbateans and Frankists, though, there is much scholarly debate. Some say that the influential R. Yehuda Leib of Shpola (the 'Shpola Zeida') accused R. Nachman of being connected to the Sabbateans and Frankists.

According to Mendel Piekarz, there are documents which appear to connect R. Nachman with certain teachings of the false messiahs Shabbatai Tzi and Jacob Frank. This led him to believe that the suspicions and accusation levelled against R. Nachman as being a secret Sabbatean, may have been true.

One document suggests that “...Frank married a Jewish girl from our city (the opponents of the Bratslav Hasidim said she was of the family of MaHaRan (R. Nachman)...there were many [Frankists] there [in Bratslav] who held onto the ways of Sabbatai Sevi...other Hasidim, led by the old one (Shpoler Zeide) accused him of being a follower of that sect and a Sabbatian...”

However, Arthur Green[11] completely discredits the document as an ‘obvious forgery’. He writes: “...hard evidence to support the claim that Nahman was accused of Sabbatianism is lacking.”

He continues: “Lacking authentic historical sources on the nature of the Zeida’s complaints against Nahman, we may attempt some surmises of our own.”

And then he suggests that the Shpola Zaide’s opposition may have been nothing more than a ‘turf war’ or hasagat gevul against “...the young man [R. Nachman] [12] who so obviously and brashly challenged him...” 


Another Breslov source suggests the controversy was centred around R. Nachman permitting his followers to imbibe alcohol before the morning prayers in order to pray with deeper emotion.[14]

Another suggestion was that R. Nachman was accused of plagiarising his grandfather, R. Nachman of Horodenker’s teachings, of which he was said to have had a secret collection.[15]

According to Shevachay HaRan
[16]

"He [R. Nachman] made a joke of this rumor, saying, 'My grandfather was really good to me! He left me lessons fitting each occasion, no matter what happens. It all fits what people need to hear...' 
...The Rebbe said that those who knew Rabbi Nachman Horodenker, knew that his grandfather was not capable of revealing such lessons...he was not an outstanding innovative scholar."

Green is joined by other scholars such as Joseph Weiss and Yehuda Liebes who show that R. Nachman was clearly familiar with the teachings of Shabbatai Tzvi and Jacob Frank but that he studied their teachings in order to combat them!

In fact, Liebes shows that part of the main mission of R. Nachman’s life was to struggle against and then to rectify the sin of the Sabbateans. (His Tikkun haKelali, for example, was instituted to combat the overt promiscuity of the Sabbateans. See here for more on the Sabbateans.)

 R. Nachman of Breslov wrote: 

For that Shabbatai Tzvi...led astray a number of the greatest men of the generation and outstanding scholars...they left the fold and spoke evil regarding the Oral law...but when a Tzadik sweetens their words, he transforms their sayings back into Torah.”[17]

Finally, to the best of my knowledge, Arthur Green does not mention the alleged Christian descendants anywhere in his well-researched book. (I mention this as a great irony because Green denounces any Sabbatean and Frankist influences and makes no mention of non-Jewish descendants – yet I have been told by some Breslovers not to have his book in my library!)

Whichever way one chooses to take the story and the varying and controversial interpretations thereof, there certainly does appear to be a great deal of entanglement and uncertainty one way or the other.

We shall probably never know the real facts - but if lost descendants can be found and brought back to Judaism, then the tumultuous journey over all these generations may have been worthwhile.




[1]Through Fire and Water, by R. Chaim Kramer, p.620.
[2] Operation Breslov: Tracing Rebbe’s Descendants, by Akiva Novik, 10.31.10 
[3]There are conflicting accounts as to the number of children.
[4] In the article on Moshe, his wife’s name is given as Shifra - although this does not exclude the possibility of him marrying a second time.
[5]See Rabbi Nachman' s Wisdom, p. 430, for the Breslov version of the Family Tree.)
[6] Tormented Master, by Arthur Green, p. 129. This note is referring to another matter but I quoted it to show that a degree of uncertainty overshadowed at least some factual aspects of their marriages. To give some idea of the degree of speculation regarding just who married who, what follows are some random extracts from an internal Breslov source; Through Fire and Water:  "It is not known when Reb Avraham Ber was born, but he was probably about fifteen years old when he married (notwithstanding the Czar's decree yo marry after the age of 18; since birth certificates were not issued, it was difficult for the authorities to follow up the exact age)...Erb Noson wrote to his son Reb Yitzchak mentioning that he had spent the entire week in Sherevitz for sheva brakhos... Reb Noson does not state who the bride and groom were, but we are assuming they were Moshe Chenkes' daughter and Reb Avraham Ber for the following reasons. We can exclude Reb Noson' s children, as his older sons were already married, while Reb Dovid Zvi did not marry until 1835. If it was Chana Tsirel's first wedding, the celebrations would have been in Breslov, nor Sherevitz, and Reb Yitzchok, as a brother, would have been aware of where Reb Noson was for the celebrations. On the other hand, Moshe Chenkes came from Sherevitz , which was a little village next to Breslov...We therefore conclude that this wedding was that of Reb Avraham Ber to Moshe Chenkes' daughter, which can be dated to October, 1830." (Through Fire and Water, by R. Chaim Kramer, p. 624.)
[7] Sichot 77.
[8] Shivchey II 6.
[9] Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom, translated and annotated by R. Aryeh Kaplan.
[10] Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom. p. 432. 
[11] Tormented Master, by Arthur Green, p. 103, 126.
[12] Parenthesis mine.
[13] Rabbi Nachman' s Wisdom, p. 433.
[14] Yemet haTela’ot, p. 174.
[15] Sichot 211.
[16] Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom p. 347. 
[17] Likkutei Moharan 1:207