The Captive Soul of the Messiah: New Tales About Reb Nachman

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9780805238730: The Captive Soul of the Messiah: New Tales About Reb Nachman

Dust jacket notes: "One of the ways in which followers of Hasidism communicate their teachings is through the telling of stories. This tradition started with the eighteenth-century Hasidic master, Reb Nachman of Bratslav, who was the great grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism. Reb Nachman was the first rebbe to teach primarily through stories, and his tales remain among the most haunting and imaginative Hasidic tales that have come down to us. The personality and tales of Reb Nachman have long fascinated the contemporary poet Howard Schwartz. The Captive Soul of the Messiah represents a unique effort by Schwartz to create new Hasidic tales about the famous storyteller himself. These tales present a portrait of this charismatic rebbe and capture the beauty and intensity of authentic Hassidic tales. Schwartz interweaves mystical and kabbalistic themes with events from Nachman's life, and with his teachings, dreams, and visions. The tales in this collection are magical and allegorical; many take the form of fairy tales in which we follow legendary characters through fantastic adventures, imaginary lands, and mystical encounters. In one tale, we learn of the existence of a secret book of wisdom and how it comes into Reb Nachman's possession. Another tale tells about a golden dove that takes on life when touched by a human being - and needs human help in order to repair the rainbow. Some of Schwartz's stories are parables attributed pseudepigraphically to Nachman; others narrate the adventures of his faithful disciple, Reb Shimon, and his devoted scribe, Reb Nussan. But Nachman himself emerges as the protagonist in the three novellas that represent the stages of his spiritual questing."

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Schwartz, Howard, Mark Podwal
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