Thinking with the Hodja

Hodja_Donkey ©TamarLevi_11

The Torah can be read on four levels: 1) Pashat, the literal, or 'simple', 2) Remez, the allegorical, or 'hint', 3) Drash, the metaphorical, or 'search' and 4) Sod, the 'hidden' meaning.

Jewish teaching known by the acronym ‘PaRDeS’

The Hodja, also known as Nasreddin, is a story character thought to have originated in Turkey, although his stories can be found as far afield as China. Sometimes he is wise and sometimes a fool but his exploits often give the reader something to think about. The Hodja stories usually contain a touch of irreverence and they boldly challenge some deeply held assumptions of the time in which they were written - but also assumptions of our own time. Very often, the virtue of the stories lies in how they invite the audience to untangle the Hodja's misunderstandings and mistakes. Afterall, badly asked questions are not the same as questions that are bad to ask! (See ‘Badly Asked Questions’ in Conversations and Controversies.)

Peter Worley originally wrote these for Once Upon an If, so we have collected them together here for you to use as they didn't make it into the book (click the button at the bottom of this page to download the resource). Peter used these in the classroom to provoke some very interesting discussions. 

I have tried to keep them as short as possible because there is merit in brevity and very many of the Hodja stories are brief. By keeping them short they retain a Haiku or Koan-like quality providing a very small but effective catalyst to thought. 

Peter Worley

Download 'Thinking with the Hodja'