The Power of Hasidic Stories: Their Meaning for Our Time

This is the kind of book you want to have easy access to for a frequent dose of Hasidic wisdom.

Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins analyzes 62 stories, cleverly and often humorously written by the Hasidic Masters. He draws out what we should learn from each story to understand its meaning for our time, emphasizing what he sees as the core lesson of the story.

The foundation for each story is based on the wisdom of Rabbi Yisrael ben Eliezer, popularly known as the Baal Shem Tov, (1700-1760) and by the acronym, the Besht. The Besht found ways to enliven, brighten, and invigorate many aspects of Jewish life. In addition to story-telling, he introduced wordless melodies, which became a central part of Hasidic prayer, and Hasidic dancing, giving worship a cheerful tone.

Rabbi Elkins also presents the genealogy of the Hasidic Masters, including the Besht’s great-grandson, Nahman of Bratzlav (d. 1810). To this day, thousands of disciples of Rebbe Nahman make their annual pilgrimage to his grave in Uman.