Storytelling & Believability
In this course Rabbi Dr. Stuart Fischman will discuss a very sensitive topic: Are we meant to believe all the stories told about rabbis who made miracles (especially Chasidic masters)? A famous Chasidic Rebbe, Rabbi Shlomo of Radomsk zt”l, is reported to have said, “If someone believes all of the stories told about the Baal Shem Tov then he is a fool. But if he does not believe any of them then he is a heretic.” The question about believing these stories, and their place in encouraging belief is a very old one. We will see that a thousand years ago two of the last גאוני בבל debated this point.
To explore the positions taken by the great halachic authorities towards magic please see Rabbi Fischman’s course “Magic: Is it Real?” There he teaches how the Rambam became the symbol for all those who sought to establish a “rationalist” version of Judaism while the Ramban personified the “mystical” approach to Judaism.
Rabbi Dr. Stuart Fischman graduated from Yeshiva University in 1980 and the dental school of Columbia University in 1985. In 1989 he began studying and teaching at Yeshivat Hamivtar and now studies and teaches at Yeshivat Machanaim in Efrat. He has rabbinic ordination from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg.