BAAL SHEM TOV
The Baal Shem Tov
The Baal Shem Tov (Rebbe Yisroel Baal Shem Tov) was born on Chai (18) Elul 5458 corresponding to 25 Aug. 1698
In 1998, 18 Elul was 9 Sept, and being the Baal Shem Tov Shul, we thought that a special feature was appropriate.
This is a photograph of a new mural on the wall inside the Orange Grove shul. It was painted by David Magnes, and is a painting of the Kever (Tomb) of the Baal Shem Tov in Medziboz.
If you look carefully, you may see the Baal Shem Tov davening behind two lit candles !
The Baal Shem Tov was the founder of the Chassidic movement.
Chassidus then split into many groups, with each student of the Rebbe emphasising a specific aspect of chassidus.
Rebbe Nachman was the great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, and Rebbe Nachman was the founder of Breslov Chassidus.
The Baal Shem Tov had many profound and wonderful teachings and sayings.
You will notice that many of Rebbe Nachmans sayings follow the same lines and are clearly based on the Baal Shem Tov's teachings.
The Baal Shem Tov is a legend and his impact on the world was fantastic. There are too many stories to relate here. He was held in equally high esteem and much loved by Jew and Non-Jew alike.
Here are a few of his sayings and teachings:
The Baal Shem Tov said: " When a person's body is sick his soul is also weakened and he is unable to pray properly despite the fact that he may be clean of sin. Therefore a person must take the utmost care of his physical health" (Keter Shem Tov #231)
Said the Baal Shem Tov: " If you consider G-d to be a kind & compationate Being, He will manifest kindness & compassion toward you. If, on the other hadn, you preceive G-d to be a strict & judgemental being, then he will manifest that severity towards you. As you perceive Him, so He manifests." (Keter Shem Tov 17a)
The Baal Shem Tov once heard his students praising (in a half-hearted manner) their people, Israel. He said to them: "You are like a step-mother who praises her step-son, not out of affection but in order to please her husband." It is not sufficient to always say the right things. One has to mean them.
Said the Baal Shem Tov: "Whoever makes an imitation of the incense (of the temple) shall be cut off from his people" (Shmot 30:38)
"This refers to one who outwardly imitates the ways of the Hasidim and merely adopts their external modes of conduct and codes of dress." (Keter Shem Tov p136)
The Baal Shem Tov explained the tribulations in the era just before the coming of the Mashiach (Messiah): "There will be a period of great wealth and Jews will become wealthy. They will grow accustomed to extravagant living and forget how to live frugally. Later a terrible depression will come and it will be difficult to make a living. Poverty will then be the lot of those who don't know how to live fruagally." There are the trials and tribulations of the time before Mashiach."
The Baal Shem Tov Said: "There are 4 catagories of those who give tzedakah (charity):
1. He who gives, but doesn't want others to give.
2. He who wants others to give, but he himself does not.
3. He who gives and wants others also to give.
4. He who doesn't give and doesn't want anyone to either.
- Why is the 4th included among those who "give" ?
Because in this world, light exists because of darkness. Pleasure exists because of pain.
Memory because of forgetfulness. Tzedakah, because some don't give at all."