is a tradition of stories
. Rabbis are in essence trained storytellers. They are educated in these narratives that have made the Jewish
people who they are and are implored to continue telling their story.
In the past these stories were passed down in an oral tradition. Just after the destruction of the second temple in the time of the Roman occupation this all changed. A small group of rabbis were worried that they would lose a large body of wisdom under the oppression of the Roman empire. So they set out to do something they had never done: write down large portions of their oral tradition. This process is now referred to as the Gleanings and it's outcome was the mishnah or the "oral torah".
Today rabbis are the keepers of not only the spoken story but also experts in the written story. In some ways they are the thread that has held an exiled people together.