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Israel
Israel
ben Eliezer (born circa 1700,[2][3] died 22 May 1760), known as the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov (Hebrew: בעל שם טוב‬, /ˌbɑːl ˈʃɛm ˌtʊv/[4] or /ˌtʊf/) or Besht, was a Jewish mystical
Jewish mystical
rabbi considered the founder of Hasidic Judaism.[2] "Besht" is the acronym for Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov, meaning "Master of the Good Name" or "one with a good reputation."[5] The little biographical information about Besht comes from oral traditions handed down by his students ( Jacob
Jacob
Joseph of Polonne
Polonne
and others) and the legendary tales about his life and behavior collected in Shivḥei ha-Besht (In Praise of the Ba'al Shem Tov; Kapust and Berdychiv, 1814–15).[6]. Hasidim approach these legends with a blend of suspicion and belief. Rebbe
Rebbe
Shlomo Rabinowicz of Rodomsk declared, "Whoever believes all the miracle stories about the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov in Shivhei Ha Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov is a fool, but whoever denies that he could have done them is an apikoros [a heretic]". Similarly, the Rebbe Mordechai of Neshkiz explains, "Even if a story about him never actually occurred, and there was no such miracle, it was in the power of the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov, may his memory be a blessing for the life of the World-to-Come, to perform everything".[7] A central tenet in the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov's teaching is the direct connection with the divine, "dvekut", which is infused in every human activity and every waking hour. Prayer is of supreme importance along with the mystical significance of Hebrew letters and words. His innovation lies in "encouraging worshipers to follow their distracting thoughts to their roots in the divine".[8] He is believed to be descended from the Davidic line
Davidic line
that traces its lineage to the royal house of David.

Contents

1 Biography 2 Leadership 3 Disputes with the Frankists 4 Legacy 5 Practices 6 Core doctrines 7 Influence on Hasidism 8 Teaching methods 9 Legends 10 Notable students 11 See also 12 References 13 Further reading 14 External links

14.1 Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov stories

Biography[edit] Yisroel (Israel) was born to poor parents Eliezer and Sarah
Sarah
in a settlement near Okopy Świętej Trójcy, a newly built fortress close to Kameniec in West Ukraine, where Zbruch
Zbruch
connects with Dniester. Today, Okopy is a village in the Borschiv Raion
Borschiv Raion
(district) of the Ternopil Oblast. He died in Medzhybizh[2] (Ukrainian: Меджибіж, Polish: Międzybóż, Yiddish: מעזשביזש‎), which was part of Poland and today is situated in the Khmelnytskyi Oblast (Ukraine) (not to be confused with other cities of the same name).[9] In 1703, Israel
Israel
became an orphan, and was adopted by the Jewish community of Tluste (near Zalischyky). It is reported that, after the conclusion of his studies at the local cheder (Jewish elementary school), he would often wander into the fields and forests that surrounded the village. In 1710, he finished cheder and became an assistant to a melamed (instructor in cheder). Sometime in 1712 Israel became a shammash (sexton) of the local synagogue. He was hired as a teacher's assistant in the cheders of the small villages through which they passed. He later related that he took great pleasure in accompanying the children to and from school, using this opportunity to recite prayers with them and tell them Torah stories. The Mezritcher Maggid, the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov's successor, would later say, "If only we kissed a Torah
Torah
scroll with the same love that my master [the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov] kissed the children when he took them to cheder as a teacher's assistant!"[10] According to Hasidic legend, the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov would have visions in which the prophet Achiya Hashiloni would appear to him.[11] In 1716 the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov married, but soon his wife died and he went on traveling throughout Eastern Galicia. After serving for a long time as helper in various small communities of West Ukraine, he settled as a melamed at Tluste. The Besht was introduced to Kabbalah
Kabbalah
by Rabbi
Rabbi
Adam Baal Shem
Baal Shem
of Ropczyce
Ropczyce
(Yiddish: ראָפּשיץ‎) who was a disciple of Rabbi Yoel Baal Shem
Baal Shem
(I) of Zamość
Zamość
(Yiddish: זאמושטש‎), the successor of Rabbi
Rabbi
Eliyahu Baal Shem
Baal Shem
of Worms (Yiddish: ורמיזא, ורמישא‎).[12] The Besht became the leader of this movement at the age of 18.[13] Caring for the Jewish poor, the group of Tzadikim
Tzadikim
encouraged Jews
Jews
to move to agrarian lifestyles as alternatives to the chronic poverty of city Jews. In continuation of this policy they decided that they needed to look after the educational needs of the children living in small farm communities. If a suitable teacher could not be sourced they themselves would provide one, and therefore the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov became a teacher’s assistant. He later commented "The most joyous time in my life was teaching the small children how to say Modeh Ani, Shema Yisrael
Shema Yisrael
and Kametz Alef Ah".[14] He was chosen by people conducting suits against each other to act as their arbitrator and mediator. His services were brought into frequent requisition because the Jews
Jews
had their own civil courts in Poland. He is said to have made such an impression on Ephraim of Brody
Brody
that the latter promised the Besht his daughter Chana in marriage. The man died, however, without telling his daughter of her betrothal; but when she heard of her father's wishes, she agreed to comply with them.[2] After their marriage the couple moved to a village in the Carpathians between Kuty
Kuty
and Kassowa,[2] where their only income was from his work digging clay and lime, which his wife delivered to surrounding villages. The couple had two children: Udl (born in 1720) and Zvi Hersh. See also: Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov family tree Leadership[edit]

The Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov’s personal Siddur
Siddur
(now in Chabad library
Chabad library
archive #1994)

The Besht later took a position as a shohet (ritual butcher) in Kshilowice, near Iaslowice, which he soon gave up in order to manage a village tavern that his brother-in-law bought for him. During the many years that he lived in the woods and came into contact with the peasants, Israel
Israel
ben Eliezer had learned how to use plants for healing purposes. In fact, his first appearance in public was that of an “ordinary” Baal Shem. He wrote amulets and prescribed cures.[2] After many trips in Podolia
Podolia
and Volhynia
Volhynia
as a Baal Shem, Besht, considering his following large enough and his authority established, decided about 1740 to expound his teachings in the shtetl of Medzhybizh
Medzhybizh
and people, mostly from the spiritual elite, came to listen to him. Medzhybizh
Medzhybizh
became the seat of the movement and of the Medzybizh Hasidic dynasty. His following gradually increased, and with it the hostility of the Talmudists. Nevertheless, Besht was supported at the beginning of his career by two prominent Talmudists, the brothers Meïr (chief rabbi of Lemberg
Lemberg
and later Ostroha, and author of Meir Netivim (a work of halachic responsa) and other works) and Isaac
Isaac
Dov Margalios. Later he won over recognized rabbinic authorities who became his disciples and attested to his scholarship. These include Rabbi
Rabbi
Yaakov Yosef Hakohen, rabbi of Polnoy; Rabbi
Rabbi
Dovid Halperin, rabbi of Ostroha; Rabbi
Rabbi
Israel
Israel
of Satinov, author of Tiferet Yisrael; Rabbi
Rabbi
Yoseph Heilperin of Slosowitz; and Rabbi
Rabbi
Dov Ber of Mezrich (AKA the Maggid of Mezritch). It is chiefly due to the later that Besht’s doctrines (though in an essentially altered form) were introduced into learned Jewish religious circles.[2] Israel
Israel
undertook journeys in which he is recorded as effecting cures, and expelling demons and evil spirits (shaydim). Later Hasidic tradition, however, downplayed the importance of these healing and magical practices, concentrating on his teachings, his charm, magnetism, and ecstatic personality.[15]

Exterior of the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov’s synagogue in Medzhybizh, circa 1915. This shul no longer exists, having been destroyed by the Nazis. However, an exact replica was erected on its original site as a museum.

Some direct historical evidence remains of the Besht during the days he lived in Medzhybizh. Rosman discovered numerous legal documents that shed light on this period from the Polish Czartoryski noble family archives. The Besht’s house is mentioned on several tax registers where it is recorded as having tax-free status. Several of the Besht’s colleagues in his stories from Shivhei HaBesht also appear in Polish court records, notably, Ze'ev Wolf Kitzes and Dovid Purkes. Rosman contends that the Polish documents show the Besht and his followers were not outcasts or pariahs, but rather a respected part of mainstream Jewish communal life.

Other direct evidence includes the Besht's daily prayer-book (siddur, owned by the Agudas Chabad
Chabad
Library in New York) with his handwritten personal notes in the margins. His grave can be seen today in the old Jewish cemetery in Medzhybizh. Over the past few years, the "Agudas Ohalei Tzadikim"[16] organization (based in Israel) has restored many graves of Tzadikim
Tzadikim
(Ohelim) in Ukraine, including the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov's. A new guesthouse and synagogue has been built[when?] next to the Ohel of Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov, and the Baal Shem Tov's synagogue in the village proper has been painstakingly restored. Both synagogues are used by the many visitors from all over the world who come to pray near the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov's grave. Disputes with the Frankists[edit] The Besht took sides with the Talmudists in their disputes against the Frankists ( Jacob
Jacob
Frank's cultist movement which regarded Frank as the Messiah, modeled after Sabbatai Zevi.) After the mass conversion of the Frankists, the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov allegedly said that as long as a diseased limb is connected with the body, there is hope that it may be saved; but, once amputated, it is gone, and there is no hope.[17] It is alleged that he died out of grief that the Frankists left Judaism. [18] Legacy[edit] Israel
Israel
ben Eliezer left no books; for the Kabbalistic commentary on Ps. cvii., ascribed to him (Zhitomir, 1804), Sefer mi- Rabbi
Rabbi
Yisrael Baal Shem-tov, may not be genuine. In order to get at his teachings, it is therefore necessary to turn to his utterances as given in the works of his disciples Hasidim. Most are found in the works of Rabbi Jacob
Jacob
Joseph of Polnoy. But since Hasidism, immediately after the death of its founder, was divided into various parties, each claiming for itself the authority of Besht, the utmost of caution is necessary in judging as to the authenticity of utterances ascribed to Besht.[2] Chapin and Weinstock contend that the Besht was essentially the right person, in the right place, at the right time. Eighteenth century Podolia
Podolia
was an ideal place to foster a sea-change in Jewish thinking. It had been depopulated one generation earlier due to the Khmelnitsky Massacres. A Turkish occupation of Podolia
Podolia
occurred within the Besht’s lifetime and along with it the influence within this frontier territory of Sabbatai Zevi
Sabbatai Zevi
and his latter day spiritual descendants such as Malach and Jacob
Jacob
Frank. Once the Polish Magnates regained control from the Turks, Podolia
Podolia
essentially went through an economic boom. The Magnates were benevolent to the economic benefits the Jews
Jews
provided and encouraged Jewish resettlement to help protect the frontier from future invasions. Thus, the Jewish community itself was essentially starting over. Within this context, the Jews
Jews
of Podolia
Podolia
were open to new ideas. The Besht’s refreshing new approaches to Judaism
Judaism
were welcome, expanding with little resistance in a community hungry for change. Practices[edit] The Besht was a mystic and who claimed to have achieved devekut (“adhesion”), meaning that his soul had reached the high level where he could speak with the Messiah, and intervene between humans and God. He had the ability to protect the Jewish community from plague and persecution.[19] Core doctrines[edit]

A well outside Medzhybizh
Medzhybizh
thought to be hand-dug by the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov that still contains fresh water.

Although the teachings of the Ba’al Shem Tov derive to some extent from the Kabbalah
Kabbalah
and frequently employ kabbalistic terminology, he added an emphasis on personal existence and the salvation of the soul of the individual, as a requirement for the redemption of the world: “For before one prays for general redemption one must pray for the personal salvation of one’s own soul” (Toledot Ya’akov Yosef). He emphasised the personal against a previous preoccupation on messianism. In a letter to Abraham
Abraham
Gershon (dated 1751), he describes his dialogue with the Messiah
Messiah
during a spiritual ascent on Rosh Ha-Shanah, 1747: “I asked the Messiah, ‘When will you come, master,’ and he answered me, ‘When your learning will be made known and revealed to the world and its source will spread and all can recite yiḥudim and experience spiritual ascent as you can…’ and I was astonished and deeply grieved by this, and wondered when this would come to pass” (Ben Porat Yosef). At the core of the Besht's teaching is the principle of devekut, and he demanded that devekut exist in all daily acts and in social contacts. Man must worship God not only when practicing religious acts and holy deeds, but also in his daily affairs, in his business, and in social contacts, for when a “man is occupied with material needs, and his thought cleaves to God, he will be blessed” (Ketonet Passim (1866), 28a). This belief is linked with the Lurianic doctrine of the raising of the holy sparks (niẓoẓot), though he limited this concept to the salvation of the individual soul. Because of his emphasis on devekut, he did not advocate withdrawal from daily life and society, and he vigorously opposed fasts and asceticism. He believed that physical pleasure can give rise to spiritual pleasure. A physical act can become a religious act if it is performed as worship of God and the act is performed in a state of devekut. The study of Torah
Torah
is of prime importance in his teachings, although he interpreted the traditional ideal of “ Torah
Torah
for its own sake” as “for the sake of the letter.” Through contemplation of the letters of the text man can open the divine worlds before him. He based this belief on the assumption that the letters of the Torah evolved and descended from a heavenly source, and therefore by contemplating the letters, one can restore them to their spiritual, and divine source. The student thus becomes joined to their higher forms and receives mystical revelations. Similarly, through prayer, a man can reach devekut and contact with the divine, by concentrating on the mystical meaning of the letters: ″According to what I learned from my master and teacher, the main occupation of Torah
Torah
and prayer is that one should attach oneself to the spirituality of the light of the Ein Sof found in the letters of the Torah
Torah
and prayer, which is called study for its own sake” (Toledot Ya’akov Yosef, p. 25).″ The Behst's concept of the doctrine of the zaddik is the recognition of the existence of superior individuals whose spiritual qualities are greater than those of other human beings and who are outstanding in their higher level of devekut. These individuals influence society, and their task is to teach the people to worship God by means of devekut and to lead sinners to repent.[20] Influence on Hasidism[edit]

Gravestone of the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov in Medzhybizh
Medzhybizh
(before restoration in 2006–2008) bearing the inscription רבי ישראל בעל שם טוב

The later developments of Hasidism are unintelligible without consideration of Besht’s opinion concerning man’s proper relation with the universe. True worship of God, consists in the cleaving to, and the unification with, God. To use his own words, “the ideal of man is to be a revelation himself, clearly to recognize himself as a manifestation of God.” Mysticism, he said, is not the Kabbalah, which everyone may learn; but that sense of true oneness, which is usually as strange, unintelligible, and incomprehensible to mankind as dancing is to a dove. However, the man who is capable of this feeling is endowed with a genuine intuition, and it is the perception of such a man which is called prophecy, according to the degree of his insight. From this it results, in the first place, that the ideal man may lay claim to authority equal, in a certain sense, to the authority of the Prophets.[2] This focus on oneness and personal revelation helps earn his mystical interpretation of Judaism
Judaism
the title of Panentheism. A second and more important result of the doctrine is that through his oneness with God, man forms a connecting link between the Creator and creation. Thus, slightly modifying the Bible verse, Hab.
Hab.
2:4, Besht said, “The righteous can vivify by his faith.“ Besht’s followers enlarged upon this idea and consistently deduced from it the source of divine mercy, of blessings, of life; and that therefore, if one love him, one may partake of God’s mercy.[2] On the opposite side of the coin, the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov warned the Hasidim:

Amalek
Amalek
is still alive today … Every time you experience a worry or doubt about how God is running the world—that’s Amalek
Amalek
launching an attack against your soul. We must wipe Amalek
Amalek
out of our hearts whenever—and wherever—he attacks so that we can serve God with complete joy.

It may be said of Hasidism that there is no other Jewish sect in which the founder is as important as his doctrines. Besht himself is still the real center for the Hasidim; his teachings have almost sunk into oblivion. As Schechter (“Studies in Judaism,” p. 4) observes: “To the Hasidim, Baal-Shem [Besht] ... was the incarnation of a theory, and his whole life the revelation of a system.”[2] Teaching methods[edit] Besht did not combat rabbinical Judaism, but the spirit of its practice. His teachings being the result of a deep, religious temperament, he stressed the spirit. Though he considered the Law to be holy and inviolable, and he emphasized the importance of Torah-study, he held that one’s entire life should be a service of God.[2] Hasidic legend tells of a woman whom her relatives sought to kill on account of her shameful life, but who was saved in body and soul by Besht. The story is said to be characteristic of Besht’s activity in healing those in need of relief. More important to him than prayer was a friendly relationship with sinners. Unselfishness and high-minded benevolence are a motif in the legends about him.[2] Besht’s methods of teaching differed from those of his opponents. He directed many satirical remarks at them, a characteristic one being his designation of the typical Talmudist of his day as “a man who through sheer study of the Law has no time to think about God”. Besht is reported to have illustrated his views of asceticism by the following parable:[2]

A thief once tried to break into a house, the owner of which, crying out, frightened the thief away. The same thief soon afterward broke into the house of a very strong man, who, on seeing him enter, kept quite still. When the thief had come near enough, the man caught him and put him in prison, thus depriving him of all opportunity to do further harm.[2]

Besht held a firm conviction that God had entrusted him with a special mission to spread his doctrines. He believed that he had heavenly visions revealing this mission to him. For him every intuition was a divine revelation; and divine messages were daily occurrences.[2] An example of the power of his spiritual vision is found in the beginning of his grandson's work, Degel, where he writes that his grandfather wrote to Gershon Kitover who lived in Israel, asking him why he was not in Israel
Israel
that particular Shabbos. Legends[edit]

1758 Polish tax census of Medzhybizh
Medzhybizh
showing "Baal Shem" as occupying house #95

In Hasidic tradition, there’s a saying, “Someone who believes in all the stories of the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov and the other mystics and holy men is a fool; someone who looks at any single story and says “That one could not be true” is a heretic.”[21] According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica the number of legends that are told relating to the Ba’al Shem Tov have 'distorted his historical character.'[20] An anthology of legends about him was first compiled by Dov Baer b. Samuel of Linits, who was the son-in-law of Alexander Shoḥat, who had acted for several years as the Besht's scribe. The collection was copied many times and over time it became filled with errors. It was printed with the title, Shivḥei ha-Besht after Dov Baer's death. It was published by Israel
Israel
Jaffe who rewrote the first chapter, and removed what he considered to be the distortions caused by copyists. This edition, printed in Kopys (Kapust) in 1814, contains 230 stories grouped by common themes, characters, and motifs. Two editions also appeared in Yiddish that differ markedly from the Hebrew edition. In the 19th century several further collections of legends about the Ba’al Shem Tov, and his followers appeared, in Hebrew and Yiddish, some of which repeated stories found in Shivḥei ha-Besht and some of which contained new stories. According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica only a few of these stories can actually be regarded as true.[22] One legend tells that his father, Eliezer, was seized during an attack, carried from his home in Wallachia, and sold as a slave to a prince. On account of his wisdom, he found favor with the prince, who gave him to the king to be his minister. During an expedition undertaken by the king, when other counsel failed, and all were disheartened, Eliezer’s advice was accepted; and the result was a successful battle of decisive importance. Eliezer was made a general and afterward prime minister, and the king gave him the daughter of the viceroy in marriage. But, being mindful of his duty as a Jew and as he was already married, he married the princess only in name. After being questioned for a long time as to his strange conduct, he confessed to the princess that he was a Jew, who loaded him with costly presents and helped him escape to his own country.[2] On the way, the prophet Elijah
Elijah
is said to have appeared to Eliezer and said: “On account of thy piety and steadfastness, thou wilt have a son who will lighten the eyes of all Israel; and Israel
Israel
shall be his name, because in him shall be fulfilled the verse (Isaiah 49:3): ’Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’” Eliezer and his wife Sarah, however, reached old age childless and had given up all hope of ever having a child. But when they were nearly a hundred years old, the promised son (Besht) was born.[2]

Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov’s shul reconstructed (as a museum); August 4, 2008

Ohel of Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov; August 4, 2008

New guesthouse and synagogue next to Ohel of Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov (work in progress); August 4, 2008

Notable students[edit] The Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov directly imparted his teachings to his students, some of whom founded their own Hasidic dynasties.

Yaakov Yosef of Polonoy (1710–1784) Ze'ev Wolf Kitzes of Medzhybizh
Medzhybizh
(~1685–1788) Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov (1721–1786) Dov Ber of Mezeritch
Dov Ber of Mezeritch
(1704–1772) traced to King David
David
by way of Rabbi
Rabbi
Yohanan, the sandle-maker and master in the Talmud Pinchas of Korets
Korets
(1728–1790) Nachum Twerski of Chernobyl
Chernobyl
(1730–1797) founder of the Chernobyl Hasidic dynasty Leib of Shpola
Shpola
(1725–1812) Avraham Gershon of Kitov, brother-in-law of The Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov (1701–1761); descendant (possibly the grandson) of Shabbatai ha- Kohen
Kohen
(“the ShACh”) (1625–1663) Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sudilkov (his grandson) Boruch of Medzhybizh
Medzhybizh
his grandson Meir Hagadol of Premishlan (1703–1773) Nachman of Horodenka

See also[edit]

Kabbalah
Kabbalah
portal

Hasidic Judaism History of the Jews
Jews
in Brody List of Hasidic dynasties Hasidim and Mitnagdim Tzavaat HaRivash

References[edit]

^ "Ba'al Shem Tov". tovste.info. Retrieved October 28, 2014; "The Ba'al Shem Tov". onthemainline. March 15, 2006. Retrieved October 28, 2014.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Singer, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "BA'AL SHEM-ṬOB, ISRAEL B. ELIEZER". Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.  ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica ^ Jones, Daniel (2003) [1917], Peter Roach, James Hartmann and Jane Setter, eds., English Pronouncing Dictionary, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 3-12-539683-2 CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) ^ p. 409, The Light and Fire of the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov, Yitzhak Buxbaum. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006. ^ ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 10, pg 743, Avraham Rubinstein ^ p. 5, The Light and Fire of the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov, by Yitzhak Buxbaum. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006. ^ The brilliance of the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov now in English, Haaretz ^ "Medzhybizh". Wumag.kiev.ua. Retrieved 2013-03-27.  ^ Hayom Yom, Tammuz 16. ^ Golding, Peretz. "The Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov—A Brief Biography – Jewish History". Chabad.org. Retrieved 2013-03-12.  ^ "לקוטי דבורים – חלק ג – שניאורסון, יוסף יצחק, 1880–1950 (page 39 of 405)". hebrewbooks.org. Retrieved 2014-02-10.  ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-17. Retrieved 2014-02-17.  ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-17. Retrieved 2014-02-17.  ^ ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 10, pg 744, Haim Hillel Ben-Sasson] ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-09-06.  ^ The Besht: Magician, Mystic, and Leader, Immanuel Etke, UPNE, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography, pg 95 ^ Macijeko, Pawel (2011). The Mixed Multitude.  ^ Comparative Perspectives on Judaisms and Jewish Identities, Stephen Sharot, Wayne State University Press, 2011, pg 59 ^ a b ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 10, pg 746, Avraham Rubinstein ^ "Meaningful Life Center". Meaningfullife.com. 2000-07-23. Retrieved 2009-05-05.  ^ ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 10, pg 747, Avraham Rubinstein

Further reading[edit] The chief source for the Besht’s biography is Ber (Dov) ben Shmuel’s Shivchei ha-Besht, Kopys, 1814, and frequently republished, and traditions recorded in the works of various Hasidic dynasties — especially by the leaders of the Chabad
Chabad
movement.

Jacob
Jacob
Joseph ha-Kohen, Toldot Yaakov Yosef Likutim Yekarim (Likut) — a collection of Hasidic doctrines The works of Rabbi
Rabbi
Dov Ber of Mezeritch Tzava’at HaRivash, guidelines, doctrines and instructions for religio-ethical conduct Keter Shem Tov, an anthology of his teachings, compiled mainly from the works of Jacob
Jacob
Joseph of Polonne
Polonne
and Likutim Yekarim. Sefer Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov, a two-volume anthology of his teachings compiled from over 200 Hasidic texts, and constituting the most comprehensive collection.

Tzava’at HaRivash and Keter Shem Tov
Keter Shem Tov
are the most popular anthologies and have been reprinted numerous times. All editions until recently are corrupt, with numerous omissions, printing errors and confused citations. Both texts have now appeared in critical annotated editions with extensive corrections of the texts. (Tzva’at HaRivash 1975, fifth revised edition 1998; Keter Shem Tov
Keter Shem Tov
- Hashalem 2004, second print 2008.) These new authoritative editions were edited by Rabbi
Rabbi
Jacob
Jacob
Immanuel Schochet who also added analytical introductions, copious notes of sources and cross-references, commentaries, numerous supplements and detailed indices, and were published by the Chabad publishing house Kehot in Brooklyn NY.

Buxbaum, Yitzhak, Light and Fire of the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov, ISBN 978-0826417725, Bloomsbury Academic, NY, 2005 (420 pp). Etkes, Immanuel, The Besht: Magician, Mystic, and Leader (The Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry) Hardcover – December 21, 2004 Dubnow, Yevreiskaya Istoria, ii. 426–431 idem, in Voskhod, viii. Nos. 5–10 Heinrich Grätz, Gesch. der Juden, 2d ed., xi. 94–98, 546–554 Jost, Gesch. des Judenthums und Seiner Sekten, iii. 185 et seq. A. Kahana, Rabbi
Rabbi
Yisrael Baal Shem, Jitomir, 1900 D. Kohan, in Ha-Sh. ;ar, v. 500–504, 553–554 Rodkinson, Toledot Baale Shem-Tov;ob, Königsberg, 1876 Schechter, Studies in Judaism, 1896, pp. 1–45 Zweifel, Shalom ’al-Yisrael, i.–iii. Zederbaum, Keter Kehunah, pp. 80–103 Frumkin, ’Adat Ẓaddiḳim, Lemberg, 1860, 1865 (?) Israel
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Zangwill, Dreamers of the Ghetto, pp. 221–288 (fiction). Chapin, David
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A. and Weinstock, Ben, The Road from Letichev: The history and culture of a forgotten Jewish community in Eastern Europe, Volume 1. ISBN 0-595-00666-3 iUniverse, Lincoln, NE, 2000. Rabinowicz, Tzvi M. The Encyclopedia of Hasidism: ISBN 1-56821-123-6 Jason Aronson, Inc., 1996. Rosman, Moshe, Founder of Hasidism: ISBN 0-520-20191-4 Univ. of Calif. Press, 1996. (Founder of Hasidism by Moshe Rosman) Rosman, Moshe, “Miedzyboz and Rabbi
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Israel
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Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov”, Zion, Vol. 52, No. 2, 1987, p. 177-89. Reprinted within Essential Papers on Hasidism ed, G.D. Hundert ISBN 0-8147-3470-7, New York, 1991. Schochet, Jacob
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Immanuel, Rabbi
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Tov, Liebermann, Toronto 1961 Schochet, Jacob
Jacob
Immanuel, Tzava’at Harivash — The Testament of Rabbi
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Baal Shem
Tov (annotated English translation with an introduction on the history and impact of this work and the controversy it evoked in the battle between Hasidism and its opponents), Kehot, Brooklyn NY 1998. Full text provided online Schochet, Jacob
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Immanuel, The Mystical Dimension, 3 volumes, Kehot, Brooklyn NY 1990 (2nd ed. 1995) Sears, David, The Path of the Baal Shem
Baal Shem
Tov: Early Chasidic Teachings and Customs Jason Aronson, Queens NY 1997 ISBN 1-56821-972-5 Singer, Isaac
Isaac
Bashevis, "Reaches of Heaven: A Story of the Baal Shem Tov", Faber, 1982

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 64812822 LCCN: n80067290 ISNI: 0000 0001 1659 9183 GND: 119235587 SELIBR: 63711 SUDOC: 027629023 BNF: cb12482683f (data) NLA: 36580873

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