Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Dream Assembly: Tales of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

The Dream Assembly: Tales of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Collected & Retold by Howard Schwartz, is a clever, modern take on the classic Hasidic tale.

Schachter-Shalomi is the father of the Jewish Renewal Movement, and these stories reflect that very post-modern sensibility (although the stories take place in nineteenth century Poland).   

The Reb Zalman of the stories leads a group of Chasidim who experience all manner of mystical understandings.  This includes richly layered dreams, visions, classic coincidences in the world which show that the seemingly random events which clutter the human space are really part of God’s plan.

Interesting, the Reb Zalman of the stories is painted in Messianic colors.  Is Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi trying to broadly hint at his own role in the contemporary Jewish world?   

It is hard to know; what we can know is that these sharply written, beautiful stories convey a very Jewish and worldly sensibility while transporting the reader to a Judaism and world that exists, perhaps, only in dreams.

No comments:

Post a Comment