The parable of the produce


27 May 2006, 11.42 CET

Once the king said to his beloved vizier: “Since I am a star-gazer, I see that all the produce which grows this year will cause madness in anyone who eats of it. What advice do you have?” The vizier replied that enough food should be set aside so that the two of them would not have to eat of that produce. But the king answered: “If we alone, from among the whole world, are not mad, and everyone else is, we are the ones who will be considered madmen. We too must eat of that produce. But let us place signs on our foreheads, so that we shall at least know that we are mad. If I look at your forehead or you look at mine we shall see the signs—and know that we are madmen.”

—Green, Arthur. Tormented Master: A Life of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav. Alabama: U of Alabama Press, 1979. p. 173.