In seventeenth-century Poland, a rabbi takes on the education of a king.
The Polish monarch has outlawed a portion of the Jewish funeral rite, and none of the community’s lawyers, judges, or scholars will come forward to defend the custom before the crown. Only one man dares challenge the sovereign: The spindly old Rabbi Eliezer of Rimanov, whose eccentric habits conceal the mind of a dreamer and the curiosity of a child.
The rabbi is reduced to laughter at the sight of the king, for the country’s ruler is but a boy - and Rabbi Eliezer knows how to speak to youngsters. They make a bet: If the rabbi can convince him that there is more to the universe than meets the eye, the funeral rite will be restored. To make his case, Eliezer launches into the story of Judah ben Simon, a tale of such majesty and wonder that it promises to make a dreamer out of all who hear it, changing them forevermore.