Baal Shem Tov: The Mission
Into the terrifying, dark night that marked Jewish life in seventeenth and eighteenth century Eastern Europe, Heaven sent Rabbi Yisrael ben Eliezer, otherwise known as the Baal Shem Tov. His mission was to reveal to the masses of ordinary, unlearned Jewish people their immense spiritual value and to strengthen their dedication to live according to their ancestral heritage, that of the path of Torah and Mitzvos. He accomplished his mission by founding the Chassidic movement and spreading the new teachings of Chassidus.
Every Individual’s Unique Union With God
The basis of Chassidic thought derives from the powerful spirit of the Baal Shem Tov probing the mystical aspects of the Torah. The most fundamental teaching of Chassidism Zolpidem Canada is the omnipresence of G•d, that the whole universe is a manifestation of the Divine. This manifestation is not an emanation but an actual portion of G•d; nothing is separate from G•d. Therefore, everything in creation, including man, animals, plants and even inanimate objects are directly and at all times overseen by G•d.
Characterized by his extraordinary sincerity and humility, the Baal Shem Tov spoke directly to the masses of unlearned Jews. His teachings emphasized each person’s continuous spiritual union with G•d and that enthusiasm and joy are essential to an experiential relationship with the Holy One, blessed be He.
Chassidus For the Masses
Chassidus was cherished and loved by the common and often illiterate Jews. Among them, it found its home. Chassidic sayings of wisdom and stories about the leaders of the various Chassidic communities became part of a vibrant way of life that thrives until today.
The beis midrash of the holy Baal Shem Tov served as a synagogue and as a place to gather and learn Torah. Moreover, it became a spiritual center that drew his followers and even non-believers for advice and blessings. The Baal Shem Tov instilled his very spirit into his inner circle of followers, known as the “Chevraya Kadisha.” His teachings struck a responsive chord in their hearts, and they eagerly undertook to follow his way of worship and thought. These devout followers saw in the Baal Shem Tov the image of the ancient ideal — a master of Torah who embodied the personal power of King David and the spiritual countenance of an angel. Thus, they considered it a rare privilege to spend time in the presence of their Rebbe.
Those of the inner circle were the first sources that absorbed the miraculous stories and accounts of the Baal Shem Tov. Often, they were eye witnesses to the miraculous deeds themselves, or they heard of the miracles directly from those who were involved. Thus, the wondrous tales of the Baal Shem Tov took form as oral narrative and spread from them among the masses of the Jewish people, echoing the world over.
The Baal Shem Tov : A Guide For Us All
The deeds and sayings of the Baal Shem Tov tell their own story; they speak for themselves. There is no need for explanations and interpretations. A pure heart and a Divine soul will certainly be moved by the actions and sayings of one who devoted his entire life to lead, guide and inspire Jewish people to live a life filled with joy and in accordance with their ancestral Torah traditions.