Page 94 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

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Nevertheless, one is struck by an occasional clumsiness in lan­
guage which m ight have been avoided. One example may be cited
here: The Yiddish text speaks o f the “m ed ina” being happy; this
is translated as “the state” when “coun try” might have been a
more p roper equivalent.
Nahman of Bratzlav, The Tales,
translated by Arnold J. Band
(New York, Paulist Press, 1978, in the series “Classics o f Western
Spirituality”) is not as “literal” as Koenig’s, yet it offers a very
faithful rendition o f the original. It includes a preface by Joseph
Dan and a b rief biography o f Rabbi Nahman. Two commentaries
accompany each o f the tales, a br ief one preceding it and ano th e r
at the end o f the book. These utilize kabbalistic, moralistic and
psychological in te rp re ta tion s deve loped by Joseph Dan and
Joseph Weiss, among others. It is a first-rate achievement with
universal appeal.
Adin Steinsalz’s
Beggars and Prayers,
New York, Basic Books,
1979, is disappointing. It is a translation (by his students) into
English from his own abridged version in Modern Hebrew, with a
very elaborate commentary. N ahm an ’s personality is completely
absent, and one has the feeling tha t the work represen ts a show­
piece o f kabbalistic erud ition written altogether too hastily. T he
kabbalistic commentary is very detailed and at times irrelevant. In
the story o f the Clever Fellow and the Simpleton, fo r example,
Steinsalz points ou t tha t the simpleton, a poor cobbler, rep resen ts
Enoch who in the Midrash is said to have been a shoemaker.
Sippure Maasiyot Mi-Shanim Kadmoniot,
Je ru sa lem , Mosad
ha-Rav Kook, 1971, by Yehuda Yaari, the Israeli d iplom at and
au thor, is a modern Hebrew recension o f N ahm an’s Tales; it has a
charm ing introduc tion to the life o f Nahman. Still ano th er edi­
tion o f Nahman’s
Sippure M a’asiyot,
edited by Israel H a r on the
basis o f various versions, was published in Israel last year by
Hakkibutz H am euhad . T he novelist-poet Pinhas Sadeh was the
editor o f a fu r th e r collection o f N ahm an ’s tales, dream s and
discourses which was published by Schocken in Israel this year.
Adin Steinsalz also issued six o f N ahm an ’s tales, toge ther with an
introduction and commentary, un d e r the Dvir imprint.
Hillel Zeitlin is considered to be the fa the r o f Nahmanic studies.