Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Just Published by BRI: The Water Castle

By Dovid Sears
Edited by Ozer Bergman and Yaacov David Shulman

Breslov Research Institute has published another “first”: an in-depth study of three sections of Reb Noson’s Likutey Halakhos with original Hebrew text and elucidated English translation, on facing pages. The text is extensively annotated, with a wide range of source references for further study.

The focal point of Reb Noson’s profound discourses is Rebbe Nachman’s story of “The Water Castle” – which is a section of a larger story, “The Seven Beggars.” This portion of the story is told by the Beggar With No Hands, whose hands turn out to be his greatest power.

His story about the wondrous “Water Castle” corresponds to the fifth day of the wedding festivities of a nameless young couple, who have been adopted by a group of wandering beggars. Their “wedding hall” is a pit covered by sticks and refuse, and the food consists of leftovers from a royal banquet. But the guests of honor are seven awesome tzaddikim, who bless the couple with the awesome powers they possess – which are seven facets of the spiritual goal of all creation.

These discourses are among Reb Noson’s masterpieces, and include many intricate and profound kabbalistic references. This  English translation’s original commentary and myriad source references, painstakingly compiled by the Breslov Center’s Rabbi Dovid Sears, do much to explicate Reb Noson’s teachings.

The paradox of duality and nonduality, the role of the tzaddik, the healing power of music and joy, and many central themes of Breslov Chassidism are presented here. “The Water Castle” is particularly addressed to the student who has read introductory works, but now wishes to delve into the core teachings of Breslov, without those texts being “watered down” (no pun intended).

Amazon is selling this ground-breaking (or water-breaking) work for $13.46. Amazon Prime can deliver it to your door in two days. But since shipment from Israel usually takes three weeks, the book won’t be in the Judaica shops until February.  

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