Sunday, April 21, 2013

Jewish Tales vs European Tales


     Reading the Jewish tales we have read, I was interested in how they were very different from European tales.  In one way, I was interested in the antisemitism that was portrayed in each story.  In the story, "A Dispute in Sign Language," the story begins with the priest saying he hates Jews.  To me that is interesting since in most of the European tales we have read, there is no statement of racism or any hatred of a group of human beings.  In fact, we generally don't know if the heroes in the fairy tales are jewish, catholic, black, white, or anything.  Generally, I feel as if I can picture myself as the princess in any story.  In the Jewish tales, you have to be Jewish.

    Also, I like the way that the Rabbi is the main character of most of these stories.  We learn about the Rabbi as an individual and how he makes an impact on the community.  Also, unlike European fairy tales, the  Jewish stories actually focus on the community.  In European fairy tales, they generally focus on the individual.  I also like the fact that the Rabbi can sometimes be portrayed as a trickster figure such as in that story where he swallows a piece of paper that has guilty written on it.

   The stories also show the Jewish tradition.  We can use these folktales as documents to what Jewish people back in the time of these oral stories believed or practiced.  I also like the morals they teach like the story about Rabbi Adam teaches its readers that magic can be risky and life-threatening.  Only in Harry Potter have I seen this presented just as well.  I also like how these stories have someone solve a problem with a story.  For example, I like how instead of the Rabbi just telling the man in the story called "It Could Be Worse" how to solve his problem of his house and family problems in a straightforward way, he teaches him to be grateful for what he has by having him put his animals in his house so he can truly see how much worse off he could be.  Now I will admit that sometimes I do like a straightforward answer, but sometimes I also like the way that people come up with a creative solution to a problem.  I think that if the rabbi had just told the man to be grateful for what he had instead of teaching him how to be grateful, the man would not have absorbed and really taken that lesson to heart.

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