Page 105 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 49

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Agnon and Rabbi Nahman
o n e
o f
t h e
e a r l ier
stories o f the Hebrew writer, Shmuel
Yosef Agnon, the reade r notes that a leading character is sched­
uled to lecture on the Tales o f Rabbi N ahm an1 T h e subject
o f the famous tales o f that hasidic master recurs when in a novel
by the same au tho r, one o f the characters explains that “On
Shabbat morn ing following the prayer, when the leader o f the
g roup reads aloud from the Tales o f Rabbi Nahman, it seems
tha t there is no delight comparable with tha t.”2
On an earlier page o f the same novel we read concerning
one o f the secondary characters who once stayed at the Western
Wall th rough the hou r o f midnight.
. . . Bratzlav hasidim came to lament the Destruction (of the
Temple). They gave him a slender volume and said to him, “Here
you will find the needs o f your soul.” He placed the booklet
in his pocket. At night in his dream, he saw an orchard, but
was not permitted to enter. The owner o f the orchard, who re­
sembled the Rabbi, glanced at him and stretched forth his hand
and brought him in. The following day he went to the Western
Wall; The Bratzlav hasidim asked him, “Did you look into our
Rabbi’s book?” He told them that he hadn’t. “Why,” they asked.
“I don’t know,” he answered. They told him, “Your face is beam­
ing, what happened to you?” He said, “Nothing happened to
me.” “Nonetheless,” they urged him. He recalled his dream and
told them. They responded, “You are fortunate, for you were
able to see our Rabbi in a dream”. They proceeded to ask him,
“how did our Rabbi look at that moment?” He told them; they
responded, “That’s him; that’s him!”3
1. From
Givat ha-Hol,
A l Kappot ha-Manul, Kol Sippurav Shel Shmuel Yosef
(Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv: 1953) III, p. 364; appeared originally in
Berlin, 1920.
Temol Shilshom, Kol Sippurav
V. p. 532; appeared originally in 1945.
3. Ibid., p. 376.