The Seer of Lublin once said, “Between mentor and mentor (Rebbe and Rebbe) I can’t differentiate and I don’t want to differentiate. Between disciple and disciple (talmid and talmid) I can differentiate but I don’t want to differentiate.” The two mentors he was referring to were the Arizal and the Ba’al Shem Tov. The two disciples he was [...]
Tag Archive 'Ba’al Shem Tov'
The Seer of Lublin passed away, at the age of 70, on the 9th of Av 5575 (1815), a day of national mourning, but also, according to the sages, the birthday of the Mashiach. Long before his passing he hinted to his followers that he would pass away on the 9th of Av. The Seer [...]
Posted in Rectifying the Sense of Sight on Jul 16th, 2011
The Torah lists by name the non-kosher birds. One of them is the ra’ah, literally “the seer.” The sages explain: It stands in Babylonia and sees a corpse in the Land of Israel. Babylonia (בבל) means “confusion” (בלבול). There God confused the tongues of the builders of the Tower of Babel. The Ba’al Shem Tov explains that [...]
In Hebrew, the question “where [am I/are you] from?” (מאין) contains the answer. “Where from?” literally reads “from nothing.” The first appearance in the Torah of the question “where from?” is in the story of Jacob on his way to Haran, about to meet and fall in love (at first sight) with Rachel. (He was [...]
After killing Abel God asked Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He answered, “I know not, am I my brother’s keeper?” God responded: “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries to Me from the ground….” The first question God posed Cain after his sin was “where…?” – the same question He [...]
There are three ways to deal with enemies: surrender, fight, or make peace by neutralizing the root of their animosity.
The Ba’al Shem Tov told it as a story. Once a king called one of his officers and sent him on a secret mission, saying: I desire to test the loyalty of my subjects. Dress yourself as a king and go from state to state throughout my dominion; try your hardest to persuade and win over the people to rebel against me and accept you as king.
The sign of having done a good deed is feeling close to God. Feeling far, estranged from God is the sign of having done something wrong. The 11th of the 13 Principles of Faith outlined by Maimonides is faith in reward and punishment. There is the reward and punishment of the future, in the World [...]
Before Yisroel Ba’al Shem Tov there were three Ba’alei Shem: Eliahu Ba’al Shem, Yoel Ba’al Shem, and Adam Ba’al Shem. “Ba’al Shem” means “master of the Name (of God).” By the power of the Divine Name the Ba’al Shem works miracles, especially to heal the sick. The Ba’al Shem Tov is the master of the [...]
David beseeches God: “Who can understand errors; cleanse me from hidden things” (“שגיאות מי יבין מנסתרות נקני”). Errors are unintentional sins. But what are “hidden things”? An error is a mistake, a miscalculation of the mind (a relatively “subjective” error), or a misevaluation of a situation (a relatively “objective” error; some commentaries call this second [...]
Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz (one of the great disciples of the Ba’al Shem Tov) said that a consummate tzadik (righteous person) is one who loves a consummate rasha (wicked person) and that a not-yet consummate tzadik is one who loves a not-yet consummate rasha. The tzadik sees himself reflected on the other side. He identifies [...]