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Tradition and Fantasy in the Tales of Reb Nahman of Bratslav by Ora Wiskind-Elper

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By Ora Wiskind-Elper

Some of the most extensively leading edge of Hasidic masters, Reb Nahman of Bratslav reworked photographs and ideas uncomplicated to Jewish concept into new and compelling varieties. culture and myth within the stories of Reb Nahman of Bratslav makes use of comparative literary feedback, a number Hasidic statement, and unique exegesis of the resource texts to deliver the complicated artistry of Reb Nahman s suggestion to gentle, making it obtainable to a much broader audience."

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Additional resources for Tradition and Fantasy in the Tales of Reb Nahman of Bratslav

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Yet his understanding is, forever, uniquely his own. It comes into being in the silence between the voices. 3. T H E A P P R O A C H I N G R E D E M P T I O N We turn now to a troubling and volatile chapter in the history of Hasidism as a whole: the messianic aspirations of its leaders, and interest expressed by followers in the process of redemption. 53 Our focus, as always, is the tales Reb Nahman told; both the players and events described in them open a window upon the author's most profound beliefs concerning the theme of messianism.

The fantastic world of the tales, the flashes of insight that engender Likkutei Moharan, the dreams and messages that, according to his students, visited Reb Nahman throughout his life—is his genius begotten by the Creator Himself, or is he but a madman, controlled by the forces of the Other Side? 91 The threshold between madness and prophetic inspiration, and awareness of its tenuous nature, was clearly a dominant factor in Reb Nahman's life. The description offered by Reb Nahman's followers of their rebbe's presence and his ways vividly illustrates this dialectic: Before he would present a teaching he would sit with us for an hour or two, and he would labor intensely, with movements and groans.

And melancholy. . 87 Both The Master of Prayer and the Clever Son and Simple Son dramatize this very dialectic. The sects contaminated with materialism and the clever son with his intellectual vanity worship their own egos and turn their backs to faith. The tragic end of the latter tale shows, as a warning, the fate of the apostate who refused to be cured. In other instances, the paralyzing despair that grips the protagonist is eventually neutralized, even resolved, by hope. The king's true son (Two Sons Who Were Reversed) is reduced to near-suicidal thoughts and decides to live out his life as a lewd drunkard.

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