Baal Shem Tov, given name Yisroel ben Eliezer

Shem Tov, given name Yisroel ben Eliezer

Jewish Mystical Rabbi, Founder of Hasidic Judaism

Author Quotes

"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.

If the Bible didn't show us the weaknesses, the vulnerabilities , the sins of our heroes, we might have deep questions about their true virtue.

The wholesome simplicity of the simple Jew touches on the utterly simple essence of G?d.

A soul may descend to this world and live seventy or eighty years just in order to do a Jew a material favor, and certainly a spiritual one.

It is written, "For you (the people of Israel) shall be a desirable land, says G?d" (Malachi 3:12). Just as the greatest explorers will never uncover the limits of the great and valuable resources which the Almighty has placed within the earth, neither will anyone ever discover the limits of the great treasures which lie buried within a Jew - G?d's "desirable land."

The world is new to us every morning - this is God's gift; and every man should believe he is reborn each day.

As man acts, God reacts.

It is written, "You stand upright this day before the L-rd your G?d" (Deuteronomy 29:9). "This day" refers to Rosh Hashanah which is the Day of Judgment. Yet you remain standing firmly upright, meaning you will be vindicated in judgment.

There are two levels in the study of Torah, Torah of the mind and Torah of the heart. The mind cogitates, comprehends and understands; the heart feels. I have come to reveal Torah as it extends to the heart as well.

Before you can find God, you must lose yourself.

It is written: "When you will see the donkey of your enemy collapsing under its burden, and you are inclined to refrain from aiding him, you shall nevertheless aid him" (Exodus 23:5). The Baal Shem Tov applied this instruction to the body and the material self (chamor, "donkey", also means "materiality"). Initially - the Torah is saying - you may see your body as your enemy, resisting your soul's objectives, collapsing under the "burden" of the mitzvot. You may therefore be inclined to fight the body by denying its needs and mortifying it. Says the Torah: You must aid your soul's "enemy". Purify the body, refine it, do not break it.

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Why? Because every human being has a root in the Unity, and to reject the minutest particle of the Unity is to reject it all.

"An angel of G-d appeared to [Moses] in a flame of fire amidst the thorn-bush; and he saw that, behold, and the bush burned with fire, but was not consumed" (Exodus 3:2). It is in the simple folk - the "lowly" thorn-bush - that this insatiable Divine flame is found, for theirs is an unquenchable thirst for G-dliness, Torah and its commandments.

Cleaving to G-d is the master-key that opens all locks. Every Jew, including the most simple, possesses the ability to cleave to the words of Torah and prayer, thereby achieving the highest degrees of unity with G-d.

Mind is the foundation of man.

Tishrei, the month of the new year, is blessed by G?d Himself, on the Shabbat of Blessing, the last Shabbat in the previous month of Elul. With this power, the people of Israel bless the other months eleven times a year.

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Shem Tov, given name Yisroel ben Eliezer
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Jewish Mystical Rabbi, Founder of Hasidic Judaism