Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Hasidic Finnegans Wake: Likutey Moharan Vol 2

Rabbi Nachman is best known for his tales, for the most part as retold by Martin Buber.  But he left behind a large body of direct teachings, here provided by the Breslov Research Institute out of Jerusalem and New York

This multi-volume series is presented in a bilingual edition: Hebrew on the left, English on the right.  It is structured as a Hebrew book (i.e. the “back” cover is the front).   Surprisingly for Hasidic Hebrew, Rabbi Nachman’s prose is fluid and easy to understand, with none of the cramp short hand and stilted diction of much of Hasidic prose [Saying this, I don’t know how much of the text was cleaned up by the editors, and how much is actually Rabbi Nachman].

This is a great collection if you want a crack at some religious Hebrew directly from the source, without mediating elements.  You don’t have to read the notes provided by the editors at the bottom of the pages.  You also get to see how Rabbi Nachman connect ideas across a wide range of sources and texts.  One thing flows into the next, making these teachings a kind of Hasidic Finnegans Wake.

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