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The Tainted Grain

grain-1502644The Tainted Grain is a story by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810), whose stories express truth at many spiritual levels, including the psycho-spiritual and emotional.

The Tainted Grain

Once upon a time, a worried king had a talk with his prime minister and good friend.

The king said, “I can see in the stars, that every person in my kingdom who eats grain from this year’s harvest is going to go mad! What, dear friend, do you think we should do?

The prime minister thought about it and came up with an idea. He told the king he they could perhaps set aside grain from last year’s good-quality, un-damaged harvest so they wouldn’t have to eat any of the tainted grain.

“But it will be impossible to set aside enough for everyone in the kingdom,” said the king.

“And, if we set aside just enough grain for you and me, we’ll be the only ones who aren’t mad. Everyone else will be mad, but they’ll look at us and say that you and I are the mad ones.

raw-grain-1320654“I have a better idea. Instead, you and I will eat this year’s tainted grain along with everyone else. But this is what we’ll do: We’ll put a sign on each of our foreheads. I will look at your forehead and you will look at my forehead. And when we see the sign, then we will remember that we are mad.”

The End

Questions to Ponder:

Who is the king? 

Who is the prime minister?

Who are the people of the kingdom?

What does the grain represent?

What is the sign?


The Tainted Grain

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

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APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2017). The Tainted Grain. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 30 Nov 2017
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