Storytelling and Spirituality in Judaism

Storytelling and Spirituality in Judaism

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"The purpose of this book is to elevate stories and storytelling in people's esteem, so they will understand their holiness and appreciate them at their full worth. There are those who enjoy stories and storytelling but in the back of their minds think, 'After all, they're only stories.' But in the same way that the Western Wall of the Temple is not just a wall, a mere pile of stones, neither are the stories of the Torah or of the tzaddikim 'just stories.' Holy stories are the light of the world. When we understand that, when both tellers and listeners know they are engaged in sacred activity, we will hold stories and storytelling more dear. The teller will tell with the tongue of faith, the listeners will hear with ears of faith, and the circle of holiness will be closed." -from the Introduction
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Product details

  • Hardback | 255 pages
  • 146.8 x 216.9 x 22.9mm | 507.6g
  • Jason Aronson Inc. Publishers
  • Northvale NJ, United States
  • English
  • 0765761661
  • 9780765761668
  • 1,827,815

Table of contents

Part 1 Introduction: Storytelling and Spirituality Part 2 Part I: Storytelling in Hasidism Chapter 3 Ch.1 What Made Hasidic Storytelling Different? Chapter 4 Ch.2 Hasidic Praise of Stories and Storytelling Chapter 5 Ch.3 The First Hasidic Storyteller: The Baal Shem Tov Chapter 6 Ch.4 The Besht's Stories Chapter 7 Ch.5 The Besht's Use of Secular Tales Chapter 8 Ch.6 The Besht's Storyteller Disciple Chapter 9 Ch.7 Storytelling in Hasidic Life Chapter 10 Ch.8 An Established Place in Hasidism: The Mitzvah of Storytelling Chapter 11 Ch.9 Drawing People to God Through Storytelling Chapter 12 Ch.10 Traditional Opposition to Storytelling Chapter 13 Ch.11 Scriptural Support for Storytelling Chapter 14 Ch.12 Storytelling Among the Misnagdim and Non-hasidim Part 15 Part II: Hasidic Teaching About the Methods and Practices of Storytelling Chapter 16 Ch.13 Deriving Lessons from Stories Chapter 17 Ch.14 How to Tell, How to Listen Chapter 18 Ch.15 Hearing the Hints in Stories Chapter 19 Ch.16 Miracle Stories: What to Believe Chapter 20 Ch.17 Different Story Versions: Issues of Truth and Falsehood Chapter 21 Ch.18 How Rebbes Use Stories Chapter 22 Ch.19 An Exceptional Case: Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav Part 23 Part III: Hasidic Teaching About the Benefits of Storytelling Chapter 24 Ch.20 Stories Save Chapter 25 Ch.21 Stories Save-Continued Chapter 26 Ch.22 Messiah Chapter 27 Afterword: Applications for Today
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Review quote

Storytelling is an integral feature of hasidic culture. "Mayses" about rebbes, their lives, teaching, and philosophies are a rich source of Jewish values and Buxbaum has taken the disparate strands and woven a colorful textile. He has made accessible material generally not available in English, and explicates it for those not acquainted with much of the esoteric lore. This scholarly book is not just stories. What mainly interested me was the importance storytelling played in the lives of hasidic masters and how we can use these stories in this day and age. -- Sylvia Friedman, Association of Jewish Libraries In recent years there has been a revival of Jewish storytelling in North America and this book is the first and only work on the subject. The author increases our appreciation of how hasidic tales can awaken the religious spirit and how even the average person can become a valuable storyteller. -- Canadian Jewish News
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About Yitzhak Buxbaum

Yitzhak Buxbaum is a maggid, an inspired and inspiring teacher and storyteller, who teaches at synagogues, Jewish community centers, and colleges. He graduated from Cornell University and has an advanced degree from the University of Michigan. The author of Jewish Spiritual Practices and The Life and Teachings of Hillel, he resides in New York City.
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