In class we read several Jewish folktales this week. I personally enjoyed them because being Jewish; I have heard some of these folktales before in temple from my rabbi. I can also identify with some of the themes that are prevalent in almost all of the folktales. I believe that these Jewish folktales are unique and distinct but also share some similarities and differences with all of the other fairytales and folktales we have read this semester.
There are several components that make the Jewish folktales unique and different from the rest of the tales we have read this semester. First and foremost the origin of these tales is not from Germany or a specific country like most of the tales we have read but rather it’s from a specific religion and culture of people spread around the world. Therefore these stories most likely did not have a single cultural influence but rather many diverse ones and could be told from various different perspectives during the same time period. The same folktale can be told all around the world and have the same significance despite the location.
Another key difference from these stories, compared to the others we have read, is the main character. In most other stories we have read the protagonist is often a child or a naïve person who ends up succeeding through the use of magic or enchantment. However in the Jewish folktales the main character is a rabbi who solves problems himself through wisdom and faith. A third component of Jewish folktales that make them unique is the power of god in the tales. Although in many of the tales the rabbi are very wise and cunning and can often outsmart the oppression they face, they still put all of their faith in god to help them solve their problems. This is different than many other tales which rely on magic from a sorcerer or a witch.