Story-telling has been an integral part of the hasidic movement from its very beginnings in the eighteenth century to the present day. Stories about the holy hasidic leaders-the tsadikim, or rebbes-and their mystical powers have been a key factor in attracting followers and maintaining their devotion. Such tales were told by the tsadikim and their followers alike. The tsadikim saw them as a way to promote the movement and justify their leadership; their followers saw them as a way to exalt their masters, cleanse them of any shred of imperfection, and defend them from every trace of criticism. No other social or religious movement in the entire course of Jewish history has engaged so intensively in the telling of stories, and nor have stories occupied such a central and important place in any other intellectual movement within Judaism. Originally published in Hebrew and expanded for this English edition by a new introduction, this book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the history of hasidism or of Hebrew literature and the literary aspects of Jewish popular culture. It acts both as a compendium of stories by theme and as a reference work for the identification of the subject-matter, authors, editors, and editions of books that have been a popular Jewish literary genre since the second half of the eighteenth century. Hasidic tales have been reprinted many times, anthologized, and even quoted by contemporary scholars, without the identity of their authors or editors being known, and without any awareness of their background and origin. In this important work, based on analysis of all the published anthologies as well as tales scattered in a variety of obscure sources, the author traces the sources and development of the different stories. An introductory historical survey is followed by full discussions of the stories themselves, grouped by subject. Among the themes covered are matchmaking and marriages, childbirth and progeny, sickness, death and the world to come, dybbuks and the powers of evil, apostasy, and many more.
Breathes new life into classic stories from people who so marvelously combined the mystical and the ordinary. Rabbi Rami serves as an expert guide to these wise and meaningful stories that can help further your own spiritual awakening.
Derived by the author from interviews and oral histories, these eighty-nine original Hasidic tales about the Holocaust provide unprecedented witness, in a traditional idiom, to the victims' inner experience of "unspeakable" suffering. This volume constitutes the first collection of original Hasidic tales to be published in a century. "An important work of scholarship and a sudden clear window onto the heretofore sealed world of the Hasidic reaction to the Holocaust. Its true stories and fanciful miracle tales are a profound and often poignant insight into the souls of those who suffered terribly at the hands of the Nazis and who managed somehow to use that very suffering as the raw material for their renewed lives." -- Chaim Potok "A beautiful collection." -- Saul Bellow "Yaffa Eliach provides us with stories that are wonderful and terrible -- true myths. We learn how people, when suffering dying, and surviving can call forth their humanity with starkness and clarity. She employs her scholarly gifts only to connect the tellers of the tales, who bear witness, to the reader who is stunned and enriched." -- Robert J. Lifton "In the extensive literature on the Holocaust, this is a unique book. Through it we can attain a glimpse of the victims' inner life and spiritual resources. Yaffa Eliach has done a superb job." -- Jehuda Reinharz
This new paperback edition brings together volumes one and two of Buber's classic work Takes of the Hasidim, with a new foreword by Chaim Potok. Martin Buber devoted forty years of his life to collecting and retelling the legends of Hasidim. "Nowhere in the last centuries," wrote Buber in Hasidim and Modern Man, "has the soul-force of Judaism so manifested itself as in Hasidim... Without an iota being altered in the law, in the ritual, in the traditional life-norms, the long-accustomed arose in a fresh light and meaning." These marvelous tales—terse, vigorous, often cryptic—are the true texts of Hasidim. The hasidic masters, of whom these tales are told, are full-bodied personalities, yet their lives seem almost symbolic. Through them is expressed the intensity and holy joy whereby God becomes visible in everything.
Hasidic tales are often read as charming, timeless expressions of Jewish spirituality. The best-known versions of these stories, however, have been rewritten for audiences outside traditional Judaism and few works have explored Hasidic tales as they were created by Hasidic Jews.
A guided tour of Hasidism and Hasidic storytelling introducing the reader to rare and unique translations of Hasidism. Gives readers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of Hasidic wisdom and narrative and in the teachings of a modern Hasidic teacer.
"The most comprehensive account of its subject now available, this impressive study lives up to the encyclopedic promise of its title." -- Choice The Hebrew Folktale seeks to find and define the folk-elements of Jewish culture. Through the use of generic distinctions and definitions developed in folkloristics, Yassif describes the major trends -- structural, thematic, and functional -- of folk narrative in the central periods of Jewish culture.
This volume constitutes the first reference grammar of the Hasidic Hebrew hagiographic tales composed in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Eastern Europe. It presents a thorough survey of Hasidic Hebrew orthography, morphology, syntax, and lexis illustrated with extensive examples.
Folktales from Eastern Europe presents 71 tales from Ashkenasic culture in the most important collection of Jewish folktales ever published. It is the second volume in Folktales of the Jews, the five-volume series to be released over the next several years, in the tradition of Louis Ginzberg's classic, Legends of the Jews. The tales here and the others in this series have been selected from the Israel Folktale Archives at The University of Haifa, Israel (IFA), a treasure house of Jewish lore that has remained largely unavailable to the entire world until now. Since the creation of the State of Israel, the IFA has collected more than 20,000 tales from newly arrived immigrants, long-lost stories shared by their families from around the world. The tales come from the major ethno-linguistic communities of the Jewish world and are representative of a wide variety of subjects and motifs, especially rich in Jewish content and context. Each of the tales is accompanied by in-depth commentary that explains the tale's cultural, historical, and literary background and its similarity to other tales in the IFA collection, and extensive scholarly notes. There is also an introduction that describes the Ashkenasic culture and its folk narrative tradition, a world map of the areas covered, illustrations, biographies of the collectors and narrators, tale type and motif indexes, a subject index, and a comprehensive bibliography. Until the establishment of the IFA, we had had only limited access to the wide range of Jewish folk narratives. Even in Israel, the gathering place of the most wide-ranging cross-section of world Jewry, these folktales have remained largely unknown. Many of the communities no longer exist as cohesive societies in their representative lands; the Holocaust, migration, and changes in living styles have made the continuation of these tales impossible. This volume and the others to come will be monuments to a rich but vanishing oral tradition
A collection of traditional stories from around the world, reflecting the cumulative wisdom of Sufi, Zen, Taoist, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, African, and Native American cultures.
The storytellers represented in Chosen Tales are among the most active and talented Jewish storytellers in the world. This extraordinary collection of 68 stories is, in a way, a Jewish storytelling festival, where storytellers gather to share stories, hear each other's stories, and get to know each other better through the stories that are told. Come and experience the magic of the oral tradition. Read and retell these stories again and again so that you too can shape the destiny of the timeless tradition of Jewish storytelling.
Social activist, teacher and religious writer Martin Buber was one of the 20th century's most important and passionate representatives of the human spirit. Two of his most influential works - The Way of Man and Ten Rungs - resonate to this day. The tales and aphorisms retold by Buber in Ten Rungs are drawn from Hasidic lore, where the various ways in which individuals learn to perfect themselves are the rungs on a ladder leading to a higher realm. The Way of Man is a masterpiece of economy in which Buber relates and interprets six Hasidic stories that offer wisdom for any age.
Scattered throughout many kabbalistic and Hasidic texts are numerous teaching stories with reincarnation as their central theme. In order to make the classical stories understandable to the modern reader, each tale has been expanded to include clear explanations of cultural and religious details. Both classical and contemporary tales are included here, from sources as widely varied as kabbalistic texts, folklore anthologies, and discussion on the Internet. Of special interest are several new tales collected by the author himself, which have never before appeared in print.
Israel Ben Eliezer, the great Jewish mystic and miracle worker known popularly as the Baal Shem Tov or the Besht (1700-60), has inspired countless tales in European Jewish tradition. The founder of the Hasidic movement, the Baal Shem Tov preached that God could be found as much in nature, songs, and folk stories as in the pages of holy texts. His religious expression was one of joy and ecstasy - a radical shift from the predominant legalistic and rationalistic observance of Judaism. He traveled through Eastern Europe performing wonders and healings for his devout followers, and spawned a tradition of oral storytelling about his feats that continues among Hasidic Jews to this day. Mark Ari takes that tradition as his departure point in The Shoemaker's Tale, while adopting the larger canvas of a novel to explore more fully his characters and the oftentimes surreal world they inhabit. Here, shoes that force their owners to walk backwards, or an elderly couple that is transformed into a tree are part of life's fabric - perhaps emblems of divine intervention, perhaps the imaginings of a superstitious believer, but always juxtaposed with the real heartache and yearning of the world as we know it. A Chagall painting brought to life, The Shoemaker's Tale is a sweeping story of love, suffering, and the quest for meaning.