Let My People Know

"Why Rabbi Nachman chose the format of storytelling"


“Rabbi Nachman himself explained why he chose the particular format of storytelling, rather than direct statements of Torah teaching.


In order to absorb knowledge and a message from well constructed and direct Torah teaching, one has first of all to be knowledgeable to a certain extent.


More than that, one has to make a conscious effort to learn while one hears any direct statements.


At the same time, one has to have a willingness to accept what one hears.


Rabbi Nachman stated in his symbolic form that the stories he was telling were even for people who had been sleeping, in a way, for seventy years, meaning that the message in the stories somehow gets to them, even when they are not consciously thinking about it as a teaching.


Rabbi Nachman avoids the possibility of evoking antagonism from the reader who might react to or be unable to accept direct statements.


His stories seep in and later on do the work.


Because of that, even though the stories can be misunderstood, somehow the inner content does not get lost, and afterward, in one way or another, it has some impact on the reader."


–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

 From The Tales of Rabbi Nachman, p. 275, by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz