Burnt Books: Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav and Franz Kafka
Part of the Jewish Encounter series
Rodger Kamenetz, acclaimed author of The Jew in the Lotus, has long been fascinated by the mystical tales of the Hasidic master Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav. And for many years he has taught a course in Prague on Franz Kafka. The more he thought about their lives and writings, the more aware he became of unexpected connections between them. Kafka was a secular artist fascinated by Jewish mysticism, and Rabbi Nachman was a religious mystic who used storytelling to reach out to secular Jews. Both men died close to age forty of tuberculosis. Both invented new forms of storytelling that explore the search for meaning in an illogical, unjust world. Both gained prominence with the posthumous publication of their writing. And both left strict instructions at the end of their lives that their unpublished books be burnt.
Kamenetz takes his ideas on the road, traveling to Kafka’s birthplace in Prague and participating in the pilgrimage to Uman, the burial site of Rabbi Nachman visited by thousands of Jews every Jewish new year. He discusses the hallucinatory intensity of their visions and offers a rich analysis of Nachman’s and Kafka’s major works, revealing uncanny similarities in the inner lives of these two troubled and beloved figures, whose creative and religious struggles have much to teach us about the significant role played by the imagination in the Jewish spiritual experience.
From the Hardcover edition.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - raizel - LibraryThing
Lots of fascinating bits about Kafka and Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav/Breslou/Breslov. He shows that not only did Rabbi Nachman probably influence Kafka, since Martin Buber had translated his stories ... Read full review
Other editions - View all
Aryeh Kaplan asked Baal Shem Tov believe Bratslav Breslov Research Institute Buber burned burnt book conﬂict Czech death diary divine dream face father feel Felice felt ﬁction ﬁnal ﬁnally ﬁnd ﬁre ﬁrst ﬂame Franz Kafka gate Gershom Scholem gilgul God’s Hasidic Hasidic parable Hasidim Hebrew Hermann hidden holy humble king inﬁnite inﬂuence Jerusalem Jewish Jews joke Joseph journey kabbalah kabbalist Kafkaesque Kalka Kamenetz knew Kresh land of Israel Langer letter literary lived look Maggid man’s Max Brod means messenger Messiah midrash mystical Nathan of Breslov never ofhis ofthe one’s Palestine portrait Prague prayer priest Rabbi Nachman Rabbi Simeon Rebbe Rebbe’s reﬂects Rosh Hashanah says Schocken Books secular sense signiﬁcance son’s sophisticate soul spiritual story synagogue Talmudic teaching tells there’s tion told Torah town trans Translated Trial tzaddik tzaddikim Ukraine Ukrainian Uman wanted wisdom wise writing wrote Yaakov Yiddish Yohanan York Zionist Zohar