Late in the 1600s, on a lovely spring day, the beloved but elderly Rabbi of Berdicheva, accompanied by three of his students, sets out traveling north from Berdicheva through the Pale of Settlement toward Vilna, the rabbi's birthplace and still the home of his brother and his family. Though he is still a vigorous man, the rabbi is too wise to assume he will remain so forever. He longs to see those he loves, and yearns to revisit the cherished places of his childhood at least one more time. Along the way he has agreed to visit the congregation of the Great Rabbi of Chelm and meet with the wise men of his congregation, the legendary Khakhomim of Chelm. Like all the learned men of his time, the rabbi is aware that Chelm, despite its reputation as a center of erudition, is also known as the legendary "City of Fools." Inclined to think well of his fellow man, the Rabbi of Berdicheva had always dismissed such talk as nonsense. But as he and his party draw closer to Chelm, he begins to hear stories of the consequences of the unique reasoning and surprising wisdom of the Great Rabbi and the Khakhomim of Chelm. These stories, if true, would make a person think that what passed for wisdom elsewhere would be regarded as folly in Chelm, and what passed for wisdom in Chelm would be seen as foolishness anywhere else. To those who were not immersed in the ways of Chelm, what was understood as the justice and generosity decreed by the Khakhomim of Chelm often appeared to be unfair, cruel, and even puzzling beyond comprehension. The Rabbi of Berdicheva finds himself becoming particularly unsettled by accounts of how a very technical scholarly decision by the Chief Rabbi had ruined the reputations of a poor widow and a humble itinerant umbrella repairman named Fievel, leaving them destitute, severed from the Jewish community, and slowly starving to death. How can such things be understood as expressions of the wisdom and generosity of the Jewish community of Chelm? When the Rabbi of Berdicheva meets with the Great Rabbi and the Khakhomim of Chelm, the Khakhomim try to convince him that their Rabbi is beyond compare in piety and wisdom. They tell him of how the Great Rabbi saved their community from the ravages of a great fish possessed by the evil impulse. The Rabbi of Berdicheva appears to take this information in stride, but the Great Rabbi suspects his visitor is skeptical of his powers. He resolves to demonstrate his wisdom and piety by capturing the moon But when he tries to display his triumph to the assembled multitude, it is no longer where he placed it, guarded under the watchful eyes of his Khakhomim. Suspicion rapidly falls upon the unfortunate Fievel, the poor widow, and a large catfish Will their miserable lives be destroyed completely? How can the Rabbi of Berdicheva find a way to outwit the Chief Rabbi of Chelm and the Khakhomim of Chelm who believe and accept the literal truth of the Great Rabbi's every word? What can a gentle and honest man do to defeat false accusations leveled against the innocent by irrational men completely confident that their unbelievable folly is the most profound form of wisdom? When those who are thought to be wise seem to be possessed by foolishness, what is one to think? How is one to understand? How can one make sense of a world turned topsy-turvy? Where can one turn for answers? Welcome, dear readers Welcome sweet children Welcome honest students in pursuit of the truth And welcome sour scholars who, regardless of the facts, just have to insist that they are right Welcome, my friends, to Chelm Enjoy your visit to the legendary City of FoolsAuthor:
Richard P. KluftPublisher:
And the Horse You Rode in on PressPublished:
9.02h x 5.98w x 0.25dISBN:
About the Author
Richard P. Kluft, M.D., Ph.D., practices psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and medical hypnosis in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. Over the last 40 years Rick has brought over 200 patients with Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder) to complete integration. Cornelia B. Wilbur declared him a pioneer in the dissociative disorders field. "Of course you're a pioneer, Rick!" she said. "Just count the arrows in your back!" Rick Kluft has written nearly 250 scientific articles, book chapters, commentaries, and reviews. He has edited or co-edited four books on dissociative disorders, incest, and trauma treatment, including (with Catherine G. Fine, Ph.D.) Clinical Perspectives on Multiple Personality Disorder. He has taught his approaches to treatment in twelve countries. His teaching, clinical, and research work have brought him many awards, most recently the 2009 Pierre Janet Award for Clinical Excellence honoring his clinical innovations in hypnosis, a 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the understanding and treatment of dissociative disorders, and the 2012 and 2013 Milton Erickson Awards for his research into the causes of adverse side effects of hypnosis and how they can be prevented. The award for the best paper of the year given by the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation is named for him. Rick is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Temple University School of Medicine, and on the faculty of Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. He has served as President of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Rick relishes all forms of comedy, devours mysteries, and enjoys opera, travel, fishing, sailing, and walking. He is also the author of Shelter from the Storm, a recent and innovative text concerning the pacing of trauma therapy. After talking about writing a novel for many years, he has published a mystery/medical thriller, Good Shrink/Bad Shrink.
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