Glenn Dynner is a professor and chair of religion at Sarah Lawrence College. His most recent book is Yankel’s Tavern: Jews, Liquor, and Life in the Kingdom of Poland (Oxford University Press).
Everything contains sparks of the divine, the Ba’al Shem Tov and his disciples taught; therefore, everything—even material things—can be sanctified.
One day in the 1860s, a father burst into Rabbi Elijah Guttmacher's study house begging for help. His son's stomach was distended, and he was barking like a dog.
There was a common idea behind ritual murder and host desecration accusations: Jews were imagined to be re-enacting the crucifixion.