Page 80 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 19

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such as the ten melodies which can cure diseases, or the palace
suspended in mid-air, or divine symbols which become concrete.
One can also interpret the stories allegorically, as was done
by Rabbi Nachman himself and his disciples, as dealing with the
Shechinah in exile, the Messiah banned into a vague future, and
the Golden Gates of Jerusalem now hidden. However, these
approaches by themselves are inadequate for a full evaluation
of the tales. The only proper approach should combine a knowl­
edge of folklore and kabbalistic parallels, a critical sense for
allegory and an understanding of the soul of Rabbi Nachman
—a deep well which will never be exhausted.
The 150th anniversary of the death of these interpreters of
Hasidism—Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav in 1960, Rabbi Shneor
Zalman in 1962, and Rabbi Yaakov Yitzhak in 1963—prompted
their being grouped in this paper. Each has made his unique and
distinct contribution to Hasidism; each represents an unmatched
strand in the mystical tapestry which was woven by many leaders
beginning with the Baal Shem himself. The spiritual common­
wealth these three leaders helped to create continues to exercise
a profound impact on our modern day.