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By Justin Jaron Lewis

Hasidic stories as expressions of resistance to modernity, tensions with culture, and struggles among soul and physique.

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Additional resources for Imagining Holiness: Classic Hasidic Tales in Modern Times (Mcgill-Queen's Studies in the History of Religion)

Example text

The rabbi understood that Rabbi Abish was one of the hidden holy ones and that Elijah the Prophet had been there with him. And my ancestor, who had thought he was hidden, was pained that what had been concealed from everyone was now revealed. But Rabbi Phinehas promised R’Abish not to reveal it to anyone; he only asked that when he came to town from time to time, he would meet with him. Now, in the old days the words of a rabbi and his commands were treasured; so when Rabbi Phinehas became ill, the heads of the community came to him to ask who should take his place as their rabbi after many more years of his life.

Then he went in to the holy table for the meal before the fast. Our holy master R’ Naphtali was drinking water with sugar, and he tucked away a lump of sugar in his white pants for after Yom Kippur. That evening, when the rebbe was reciting the holy prayers, the sugar evidently softened and melted from the great heat of his praying, and became a spot on his white clothing. In the morning, when he saw a spot on his white clothing, and did not remember tucking away the sugar, he guessed that, heaven forbid, he had had a nocturnal emission, God help us.

But the young man and the young woman agreed to go begging from door to door to raise their wedding expenses, because at their age they would not be able to work as servants for someone else long enough to earn so much. [After some time] they bought a horse and a wagon and travelled together from town to town to raise the money they needed. They committed no transgression, even though they were always together. Wedding Presents 29 All of this caused a great tumult among the household of heaven.

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