More neo-Hasidic parables, comparable to Schwartz's The Captive Soul of the Messiah (1983), which dealt fictionally in the same manner with Reb Nachman of Bratslav. Here the tales are set among the holy men of the Polish town of Buczacz. And, as before, Schwartz's parables are richly swagged with visions and coincidental dreams--as they follow the spiritual progress of one Hasid, Reb Hayim Elya, who is very possibly one of the Lamed Vovniks, the elect 36 tzaddikim (righteous men) who at all times exist in order to support the world. Schwartz does offer a modern touch or two: Reb Hayim Elya shares his studies with wife Tselya; he even visits with his Sephardic co-religionists at Fez. But primarily the tzaddik delves into wondrous books, scrolls, and amulets, displaying a holy weakness for the oracular. With only the faintest, most oblique sort of storyline: a slightly more satisfying collection than the Reb Nachman mosaic--supported by a glossary, enlivened by a didactic edge that's true to the pleasantly pious Hasidic-legend tradition.