The fascinating sacred tales of Rabbi Nahman (1772-1810) are presented to the world in the most authentic translations ever accomplished.
The body of this book is comprised of the thirteen Tales of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav, one of the most renowned of the early Hasidic masters of prayer and probably the greatest of the Hasidic storytellers. These tales are presented in a style both readable and scrupulously close to the original. No previous translators of these tales have attempted to take the original text this seriously, for they changed, added and deleted at will. As the editor of the volume states in his foreword, "Of the thousands of Hasidic tales circulated in the past two centuries, few have earned the veneration and affection of the thirteen Tales of Nahman of Bratslav Still studied as scripture, these tales have attracted a varied audience intrigued by the remarkable blend of intense Kabbalistic faith and narrative artistry." Dr. Band goes on to say, "In this English translation I have tried to capture the ambiance of the oral familiarity and charm of the Yiddish and the metaphysical rigor and grandeur of the Hebrew." In his preface Dr. Joseph Dan of Hebrew University, Jerusalem, addresses the question, "Why is this an important work today?" He says, "Rabbi Nahman's tales should be regarded as a great literary accomplishment of a mystical author, who achieved complete identification and unity between external and internal elements and expressed them in a unified spiritual autobiography, in the guise of folktales. Such achievements are very rare in the history of religious literature, and as one such rare example it should be read in the twentieth century." The volume includes an introduction giving a biography of Nahman as well as a theory of spiritual literature. To each of the Tales, Dr. Band prefaced a brief editor's prologue to set the tone and direction of the reading. At the end of the volume he has appended a fuller commentary on each tale.