Watch “The Turkey Prince,” more than meets the eye

Rabbi Nachman's stories come to life with levels of meaning for parents, educators and everyone else.

Baruch Gordon ,

מתוך 'סיפורי מעשיות של רבי נחמן'
מתוך 'סיפורי מעשיות של רבי נחמן'
צילום: הפקת הסרט

Rebbe Nachman, the iconic founder of Breslov hassidism, said that while many people told stories to put children to sleep, he told stories to wake people up from their slumber in the service of G-d. The days preceding the High Holydays are the perfect time to reflect on Rabbi Nachman's inspiring words.

Now, his famous story, “The Turkey Prince,” has come to life in Tzvi Fishman’s film, “Stories of Rebbe Nachman.” Besides being beautifully filmed and wonderfully entertaining, the four stories in the full-length movie have great educational value. Each tale can be screened separately in a classroom, or at a lecture, leaving plenty of time left over for discussion of the Torah themes hidden in the narrative.

To help educators and general viewers, Fishman has included in the DVD a guide to the stories.

On a simple level, this story is about children who rebel from the accepted norm, and stray from the path which parents and educators expect them to follow.

What are parents and teachers to do? To get down on the unruly child? Try to get down to his level, to accept the child for whom he or she is, to appreciate his or her good points, and patiently build a relationship of love and trust, in order to help the child deal with the powerful emotions and conflicts in his or her life? Rabbi Nachman says yes.

On deeper levels, the son of the king, represents the Jewish People in its descent into exile, “under the table,” where it exists like a turkey, wandering here and there, depending on the beneficence of foreign rulers in foreign lands. How do we get back to being sons of the king – independent Jews in our own Land, back at the table of the King?

And on a universal level, the son of the king is all of mankind, who, with the fall of Adam, was cast away from the Garden of Eden into exile. Who will lead humanity back to the Garden and to world tikun (rectification)? The nations of the world, represented by the magicians and sages of the king, all try and fail. Only the Jewish Sage succeeds in returning the fallen prince to the table of the King.