Claude Messinger introduce the Badchan

Purim poster HCC 2024

The Badchan: Jewish Shows and Pedagogy

Photos ©: Dominique Desrue (Paris)

Badchan(in hebrew) translates as an actor, an entertainer. Not so long ago and still today, especially in Hasidic communities he entertains the brides. But there's more than just entertaining. His mission is to bring comfort and happiness. This function is called Badchanut. It is above all a Jewish concept of prime importance. I explain:

What means Badchanut ?

"Bedichut Hadaat" » in Hebrew means "pushing knowledge to its limits." This is Jewish humour in its essence, a know-how used by the sages of the Talmud to attract the attention of their students and especially to teach them deep notions (Shabbat 30(b). They're called "the Badchanim". This humor not only makes us laugh, but also conveys a sharp, optimistic view of the future, so its message is doubly beneficial.

At first Badchanut makes fun and makes laugh, in a second time it teaches and nourishes the mind. We laugh for a moment and then we think. You'll wonder; "But is it permissible to laugh when it comes to deep and sacred notions? It seems that laughter is a very serious thing to study and grow ...

From show to pedagogy

I've always loved to make people laugh, so at a very young age I learned the trade by the famous pantomime Marcel Marceau in Paris. Strangely, my path led me to other masters who introduced me to the Torah. Then recently I discovered a "forsaken pedagogy" that might give taste to study and think.

That's why I wish to work under the heading of the Badchan and combine comedy and pedagogy to participate in the debate of education together with all those who work with our young people to restore their taste and desire to learn. (I translated two books by Rabbi Jonathan Rietti and his son Eli Rietti: Consideration on Chinuch and The Froum Revolution)

My three work directions are:

1. Shows for all ages

2. "Conference/show" for parents, Mechanchim Morim and Morot and future young parents to explain a Haschkafa of Jewish pedagogy that makes sense, initiate the debate in my way and bring ideas "ready for employment"

3. Deliver the educational programme called "iheart"