Inaugural Post

Shalom and Chanukah Sameach! I am pleased to announce the opening of this new website/blog, devoted to the teachings of Rabbi Yaakov Kranz, the celebrated Maggid of Dubno. The Maggid, who lived around 200 years ago, is famous for his use of clever parables to bring out profound lessons.
I am David Zucker, the site originator and administrator. I was born in Baltimore, and now live in Jerusalem. I became interested in the Maggid around 2001, when I came across his commentaries on the Five Megillos and was impressed with their depth and beauty. From that point on, I have spent a lot of time studying the Maggid’s various works (click on “The Maggid’s Works” for a list). Since 2003, I have been translating into English the Maggid’s commentaries on the Five Megillos. So far, I have published volumes on Lamentations (Eichah), Esther, and Ruth. I have recently completed the volume on the Song of Songs, and I hope to publish this volume by this coming Pesach. For more information about these books, navigate to “NJMDP Publications” or to the volume-specific pages.
About a month ago, I decided to expand my efforts and “go online.” This website/blog is the result. I hope you will find the material on this site interesting and inspiring. You are cordially invited to submit comments and posts to this blog (I have set the default user role at “Contributor”).
Many people in the Jewish world are familiar with the Maggid and have heard or read some of his parables. When people quote the Maggid, they typically relate a Maggid parable and present a brief moral. But in the original works, the parables are only part of an intricate tapestry of commentary. If you read the book excepts I have posted on this site (on the volume-specific pages), you will see what I mean.
For the moment, though, I will kick off the “posts” segment of this blog with a typical brief presentation of one of the Maggid’s parables. It is one of my favorites. As a person with a background in statistics, some years ago I came up with the following saying: “It is good that there is variation in the world, because it gives statisticians the chance to make a living.” A number of years later, I found what the Maggid has to say on the topic of variation in the world, and I was bowled over. Here is the Maggid’s parable (from Ohel Yaakov, parashas Korach):
A guy shows up at a clothing store, just as the owner is locking up. The owner says, “Since you are here already, I’ll open the store back up and let you in.” So he opens up the store and turns on the lights. He asks: “What kind of clothes are you looking for? Work clothes? Casual clothes? Fancy clothes? Let me know, and I’ll show you what I’ve got.” The customer answers: “Oh, well, it’s all the same to me.” The owner then turns out the lights. The guy asks: “Why did you do that?” The owner answers: “Listen, buddy, if it’s all the same to you, what do you need the lights for?” The message, in brief, is that if not for variation there would be no use for the human intellect.
Chanukah is called the “Festival of Lights.” On the spiritual plane, light represnts wisdom and intellect. God put variation into the world because He wants us to exercise our human intellect and free choice. Our mission in life is to apply the light of wisdom and intellect to make the right choices: the choices that strengthen our relationship to God and build us up as spiritual beings. 
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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