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Rabbi Nahman Of Bratslav

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Chapter Summary

Nahman ben Simhah, later known as Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav, was born on April 4, 1772, in Medzhibozh, the Ukraine. Nahman’s great-grandfather on the maternal side was Israel ben Eliezer Baʾal Shem Tov. The Baʾal Shem Tov, also known as the BeShT, was considered the founding father of Hasidism at the time of Nahman. Bratslav sources claim that Nahman had, by the age of nine, completed reading the Talmud, Shulkhan Arukh, Sefer haZohar, and various Musar books. Green adds that Tikkuney Zohar, the entire corpus of Lurianic writings, Reshit Hokhmah, and the Hebrew Bible were also part of Nahman’s childhood readings. The thirteen tales in Sippurey Maʾasiyot are dissimilar to any previous Jewish mystical expression. Nahman created something new. Nevertheless, he was most likely inspired by different sources. Nahman’s real intention behind turning to telling tales depends on something else, according to Joseph Dan.

Keywords: Bratslav; Hebrew Bible; Jewish mystical expression; Rabbi Nahman; Sippurey Maʾasiyot



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