Page 81 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 29

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ahm an
man’s tales, and
Beur ha-Likkutim
(Bene Berak, 1967), a com*
mentary on Rabbi Nahman’s
L ikku te Moharan.
The first hundred years were the hardest. By the end of the
nineteenth century, a number of hasidic rabbis cultivated a more
friendly attitude to Braslav hasidim, among them members of the
Leiner family of Radzin and Zadok ha-Kohen Rabinowitz of
By that time Haskalah had spent itself. The rising interest in
folklore, in Yiddish and a general flirtation with mysticism aroused
interest in the tales of Rabbi Nahman. Y. L. Peretz, in his hasidic
stories, included some with motifs from “Reb Nahmanke’s” tales.
Martin Buber published a free translation of
D ie Geschichten
des Rabb i Nachman
(1906). An English translation by Maurice
Friedman was published in New York in 1956, and now is also
available in a Schocken paperback. Meyer Levin retold some of
Nahman’s tales in his
Golden Mountain
(New York, 1932), later
reprinted in a paperback under the title
Classic Hassidic Tales.
Samuel Abba Horodetzky, a direct descendant of Rabbi Nah-
man, published his German dissertation,
Rabb i Nachman von
Bratzlaw: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Juedischen Mystik
lin, 1910). In his various works on hasidim he devoted much space
to his ancestor and also prepared popular Hebrew anthologies of
Nahman’s tales and discourses. But he never succeeded in pene-
trating to the depth of his thinking.
Modern Approaches to Nahman3s Thought
The pioneer to open modern approaches to Rabbi Nahman’s
thought was Hillel Zeitlin, whose Hebrew
Rabb i Nahman mi-
appeared in Warsaw in 1910. An ardent admirer of Rabbi
Nahman, Zeitlin viewed his life, his sayings and tales as part of
his incessant struggle with Existence, Redemption and the problem
of Evil. Zeitlin’s Yiddish articles (together with a few translated
from the Hebrew) were edited by his son Aaron and were published
under the title
Rab Nahman Braslaver der Ze’er fun Podolie
York, 1952). Aaron Zeitlin added two chapters on Nathan of
Nemirov. Some of Hillel Zeitlin’s Hebrew articles are gathered in
A l Gevul Shne Olamot
(Tel Aviv, 1965).
In the introduction to his modern Yiddish version of Nahman’s
Sippure Maasiyot
(New York, 1929), S. H. Setzer argued
that the Yiddish version of Nahman’s tales as we now have it, was
really a re-translation from the Hebrew. This was refuted by
Samuel Niger in his introduction to Jonah Speavack’s dramatic
R abb i Nachman in der gestalt fun zayn mayse m it d i