Tormented Master: A Life of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav

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Throughout the s Nahman led a small group of devoted disciples, but felt deeply ambivalent about his public role. In he left his family and embarked on a year-long pilgrimage to the land of Israel, a formative moment in his theological development and maturation as communal leader. After his return he began to function as a rebbe Hasidic leader in earnest, and became embroiled in bitter conflicts with two prominent masters: his uncle Barukh of Medzhibozh b. Two important events made a watershed year for Nahman.

The second was meeting Nathan Sternhartz of Nemirov b. Nahman lived and taught in Bratslav until a few months before his death, at which point he moved to the small town of Uman. He was buried there after his death from tuberculosis on 16 October , and his grave is now the most important site of Hasidic pilgrimage in Europe. After nearly a century of intense mistreatment by other Hasidic groups, followed by persecution by the Soviet authorities and then the Nazis, Bratslav Hasidism has been reborn in North American and Israel and is now a strong and vibrant community numbering with thousands of followers.

Hillel Zeitlin wrote the first biography of Nahman in , which he followed with a series of articles throughout the s. His work is of limited academic use, though Magid includes his interesting comparative study of Nahman and Friedrich Schleiermacher. Two Israeli scholars forged new ground and set the tone for the subsequent study of Bratslav Hasidism. Weiss is a posthumous collection that represents the fruits of his efforts. Mendel Piekarz published extensively on the literature of early Bratslav Hasidism and was the first to study contemporary Bratslav communities. Piekarz is a revised edition of his collected essays.

Building upon the work by Weiss and Piekarz, Green paved new methodological ground in his biography of Nahman. Kamenetz compares and contrasts the life and writings of Nahman with those of Franz Kafka, another creative and conflicted Jewish thinker. Magid pairs essays by contemporary academics with newly translated foundational studies by earlier scholars of Bratslav Hasidism. Mark brings together the studies of an important contemporary Israeli scholar of Bratslav Hasidism. Green, Arthur. Woodstock, NY: Jewish Lights, Landmark intellectual biography of Nahman.

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Be the first to write a review About this product. About this product Product Information A major contribution to the understanding of Hasidic Wisdom and thought; it brings the reader closer to Hasidism s greatest teller of tales. Elie Wiesel The search for spiritual meaning drives great leaders in all religions. This classic work explores the personality and religious quest of Nahman of Bratslav , one of Hasidism s major figures. It unlocks the great themes of spiritual searching that make him a figure of universal religious importance.

In this major biography, Dr. Arthur Green teacher, scholar, and spiritual seeker explores the great personal conflicts and inner torments that lay at the source of Nahman s teachings. He reveals Nahman to have been marked at an early age by an exaggerated sense of sin and morbidity that later characterized his life and thought. While subject to rapid mood swings and even paranoia, Nahman is a model of spiritual and personal struggle who speaks to all generations. Green s analysis of this troubled personality provides an important key to Nahman s famous tales, making his teachings accessible for people of all faiths, all backgrounds.

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