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Monday, 23 August 2010 12:04

meditations of the BeShT

Written by riverton mussar

art-yafa-homeOn his 16th birthday, the Baal Shem Tov wandered into the open fields to meditate on the significance of the day. He had been lodging at a local inn in a nearby village, managed by Aaron Shlomo the innkeeper and his wife Zlata Rivka. The simplest Jews, they were barely literate in daily prayers. but both were God fearing, and praised God at every opportunity. "Blessed is He forever!" offered the innkeeper, while his wife would say, "Blessed be His Holy Name." In the fields the Baal Shem Tov recited Psalms with great feeling, concentrating on the various mystical intentions associated with each verse, that his mentor the hidden Tzadik Rabbi Chaim had imbued him with. Immersed in spiritual thought, he suddenly saw Elijah the Prophet standing before him. Although he had merited such visions before with the other mystics, he was humbled by this first vision alone, a smile on the Prophet's countenance. Said the Prophet, "You invest such effort in meditation, trying to attain lofty levels, while the hearfelt words said by Aaron Shlomo and his wife cause a delight in Heaven, more than the commotion caused by the esoteric meditations of the righteous. When God is blessed, this causes great satisfaction on High, particularly when offered by simple folk, whose sincere faith unites them constantly with the Creator." The Baal Shem Tov later shared this revelation with the circle of hidden mystics and suggested they inquire after the welfare of the common folk in their travels. This will cause them to praise God, and if they are not faring well, our concern will cause them to arouse Divine mercy with their supplications.1

 

1. The Great Mission: the life and story of Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov, Eli Friedman, Kehot pub, p. 16-17

Thursday, 19 August 2010 13:16

fountain of youth

Written by rav rafael

art-coachOnce, the Baal Shem Tov went to spend Shabbat in Polnoye, the hometown of his student, the "Toldot", Rabbi Yaacov Yosef of Polnoye. The Baal Shem Tov was traveling in quite a fancy carriage and a resident of the town, a well known instigator, used the opportunity to disparage the Baal Shem Tov for what he deemed unwarranted opulence.

Thursday, 19 August 2010 13:04

nachash nachash

Written by rav rafael

art-nachashThe scene is years ago in Israel shortly after the second destruction. The great sage and Holy saint Rebbe Elezar (the son of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai; grand master Kabbalist and author of the Zohar) was walking with his holy friends in an open field discussing deep mystical secrets found in some sentence of the Torah. It was a very hot day and they were pleasantly surprised when they came upon a remarkably beautiful spot carpeted with flowers and shaded by gracious trees.

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