Baal Shem Tov, given name Yisroel ben Eliezer

Shem Tov, given name Yisroel ben Eliezer

Jewish Mystical Rabbi, Founder of Hasidic Judaism

Author Quotes

"Seek peace and pursue it" (Psalms 34:15) - One must seek and pursue means of making peace and establishing harmony between the material world and the G-dly life-force that vitalizes it.

For my sake, the entire world was created.

The Baal Shem Tov was very fond of light, and said, "Or (light) is the numerical equivalent of raz ('secret'). Whoever knows the 'secret' in every thing can bring illumination."

When a father complains that his son has taken to evil ways, what should he do? Love him more than ever.

"Shall a man conceal himself in hidden places and I will not to see him?" (Jeremiah 23:24). The Baal Shem Tov interpreted this verse thus: Should "a man conceal himself in hidden places and I" - i.e., he retains his ego, his "I" - then, says G-d, "I will not see him."

From every human being there rises a light.

The Baal Shem Tov's love of a fellow Jew was beyond imagination. His successor, the Maggid of Mezeritch, said: If only we could kiss a Torah-scroll with the same love that my Master kissed the children when he took them to school as a teacher's assistant.

Whenever feeling downcast, each person should vitally remember, "For my sake, the entire world was created."

"The earth shall rest a Sabbath to G?d" (Leviticus 25:2) - Give earthiness a rest; permeate it with the Sabbath of spirituality and holiness.

G?d commanded Noah to "Enter into the teivah" (literally "ark", but also "word"). One should enter into and cleave to the letters and words of Torah and prayer. This will protect the person and his entire extended family, enabling them to receive from G?d all their necessities.

The central aspect of worship is the feeling of being at one with God.

Your fellow man is your mirror. If your own face is clean, the image you perceive will also be flawless. But should you look upon your fellow man and see a blemish, it is your own imperfection that you are encountering - you are being shown what it is that you must correct within yourself.

"Torah that is unaccompanied by labor will ultimately cease" (Ethics of the Fathers 2:2). The "labor" of which the Mishnah speaks is the labor of loving one's fellow Jew.

G?d's love of each and every Jew is infinitely greater than the love of elderly parents to their only child born to them in their later years.

The love G?d has for every Jew extends not only to the Jew's soul but also to his body. G?d loves all Jews without distinction; the greatest Torah genius and scholar and the most simple Jew are loved equally by G?d.

"Who alone performs great wonders" (Psalms 136:4) - All that G-d does is "great wonders." Most wondrous of all these wonders are those of which He alone is cognizant.

He who is full of joy is full of love.

The simple true faith of a Jewish man or woman that finds expression in their recitation of Psalms is the highest level of attachment to G?d. It arouses G?d's Divine mercies and provides succor to the one who recites these holy words in a spirit of oneness with G?d.

"Your beginning shall be small, and your end shall flourish exceedingly" (Job 8:7) - Small and inauspicious beginnings are often crucial for the person to flourish exceedingly in the end.

I am going out one door, and shall go through another.

The three loves - the love of G?d, love of Torah, and the love of one's fellow - are indeed truly one.

A broom sweeps clean, and itself becomes soiled; cleanse yourself of those offenses of which you may feel guilty.

I asked the Moshiach, "When will you come?" and he said to me: "When your wellsprings shall spread to the outside."

The Torah (Numbers 33) enumerates the 42 encampments in "the journeys of the Children of Israel who came out of Egypt." Each and every one of us goes through our own personal forty-two journeys in life, beginning with our "exodus," our birth, passing through the many way-stations in our lives, and concluding upon reaching the promised celestial "Land of Life."

A sigh emitted because of a fellow's pain, breaks all the impenetrable barriers of the heavenly "accusers". And when a person rejoices in the joy of his fellow and blesses him, it is as dear to G?d and accepted by Him as the prayers of Rabbi Yishmael the High Priest in the Holy of Holies.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Shem Tov, given name Yisroel ben Eliezer
Birth Date
Death Date

Jewish Mystical Rabbi, Founder of Hasidic Judaism