Originally posted by wittywonka
Although I haven't read the story in a while, I agree; I think the story is a metaphor. But that's just my opinion.
Well, I think they’re all stories
—which, as you have said, we have to wrestle with. Even stories that may have actually happened—I tend to think that their metaphorical and allegorical content is more important. Just as I suspect that your story
is more than a list of biographical/historical details...
That is why I have always liked the rabbinical dictum that one must bring her/his own “torah” to the Torah—and out of that engagament, new Torah is generated.
One Shabbos afternoon, Reb Reuven called me into is study. He was sitting behind his desk and motioned me to take the chair across from him. A volume of the Zohar was lying open in front of him.
“Do you know what the Zohar is?” he asked.
“Of course,” I said. “It is a mystical commentary on Torah written by Moshe deLeon, a thirteenth century Spanish kabbalist who....”
“Nonsense!” he yelled at me, half rising out of his chair. “The Zohar isn’t just a commentary; it’s a Torah all by itself. It is a new Torah, a new telling of the last Torah. You do know what Torah is, don’t you?”
Suspecting that I didn’t, and afraid to invoke his wrath a second time, I waited silently, certain that he would answer his own question. I was not disappointed.
“Torah is story. God is story. Israel is story. You, my university-educated soon-to-be a liberal pain in the ass rabbi, are a story. We are all stories! We are all Torahs!...Listen, Rami,” Reuven said in a softer voice. “Torah starts with the word b’reisheet,* ‘Once upon a time!’”
—Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Hasidic Tales
* Conventionally translated “in the beginning” or “with beginning.”