Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blog Post #9: Jewish Folk Tales





    Jewish folk tales revolve around themes and people from the Judaism religion.  Unlike many other folk tales, most Jewish folk tales include a Rabbi as one of the main characters.  Rabbis are interpreters of the Torah, which is the religious book that Jewish people follow.  Their interpretations are what the Jewish community must follow.  Both "The Rabbi and the Inquisitor" and "It Could Always Be Worse" have Rabbis as main characters.  Also, Jewish folk tales frequently include the Jewish communities that follow Rabbis.  In "The Rabbi Who Turned Into a Werewolf", the Rabbi travels with a large group of his students.  It says, "And so the rabbi went away with fifty of his yeshivah students, and no one in the community knew about it."  This group of Jewish people is very common in most Jewish folk tales.  Another common theme is traveling.  All throughout history, Jews have traveled great distances due mostly to persecution, in which they were forced to travel, or the seeking of knowledge.  Because this was a big part of their life, it also made it into their narratives and tales.  For example, in "The Magic Mirror of Rabbi Adam" Rabbi Adam must travel to a different city to help a fellow Jew.  It says, "When he saw this, Rabbi Adam resolved to do something to help this Jew, and he mounted his horse and pronounced a spell, so that the hooves of the horse flew along the ground without touching it, and before an hour had passed Rabbi Adam had arrived in the city of the Jew who was in danger."  Again, the element of travel is present in the tale.  These qualities do not belong to Jewish folk tales alone, but they are frequently seen in them.  They are what make Jewish folk tales unique.


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