Getting back to the movie, “Stories of Rebbe Nachman,” one of the beauties of Rebbe Nachman’s stories is that they can be explained in many ways. For instance, in the famous tale of the “Turkey Prince,” the son of the king becomes crazy and starts behaving like a turkey. One of the causes of craziness is over isolation. Hurt by his or her surroundings, a person can retreat into his own private universe, screened off from others. Sometimes children, wounded by the insensitivities or aloofness of their parents, will seek security in their own fantasy worlds. This can lead to depression, escapism, schizophrenia, and anti-social behavior. Like the prince in the story, the child abandons the ways of his parents, “goes crazy,” and climbs down under the table, where he acts like a turkey, cut off from everyone else. Doctors try to cure him with their diagnosis and pills, but they don’t succeed. Only the Jewish Sage has a solution. He gets down under the table with the youth and acts like a turkey too, until he wins the trust of the prince. He doesn’t get down on the youth – he gets down with him. Slowly, by example, he guides the youth back to sit at the table like everyone else, not by lecturing to the boy, and demanding he be this way or that, but by accepting the youth for who he is, seeing his good points, quietly gaining his trust, and gently, without coercion or blame, enlightening his way back to being the son of the king.
The stories of Rebbe Nachman, which, with your help, will hopefully be available soon on big and little screens, have the power to “get down under the table,” where so many of us are isolated in our own little worlds, and break down the barriers and screens which separate us from one another, and from Hashem.
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